20 May 2021


New Friends activities

The Friends Council is always on the lookout for new activities which might be of interest to members. We are currently considering two new activities:

Video Recording Group: Over the past couple of months we have been making a video recording each fortnight of the Flowers, Fruit and Foliage walk in the Gardens. This has been an experiment to see if other activities might benefit from video recording. The Flowers, Fruit and Foliage experiment has been successful, and it will continue, together with recordings of additional subject matter. With this in mind, we are considering formation of a Video Recording Group to record, edit and upload various activities. If you are interested in joining such a group, please contact Neville Page on

Nature Journaling and Field Sketching: This type of activity has become very popular in recent times. The idea is that a group of people who enjoy the outdoors, get together to focus on a particular area of interest, and make drawings and paintings of appropriate subjects. Together with the field sketching, notes are kept in journal style. Sketches and notes are subsequently shared with other members of the group by email, Facebook, Instagram and the like. The ANBG lends itself to this kind of activity. If you are interested in joining a group, please contact Lesley Page at

Construction works and temporary access changes

Work has begun on several construction projects that will affect access to sections of the Gardens.

Map showing changed access to Pollen CafeStage 1 of the East Core Precinct works (Café deck, lawn and new section of the Main Path) is scheduled for 17 May to 25 June. A fence has been erected around the worksite, and the rainforest bridge is now closed.

Access to the Café has changed. Pedestrian access to the take-away window and toilets is now through the laneway between the Ellis Rowan building and the Horticulture Depot.

The Ian Potter Conservatory site will be fenced off from Thursday 20 May, and an alternative route will be in place for visitors to access the main path past the construction site.

The stairs from the lower rainforest boardwalk up to the wedding platform are being rebuilt using non-slip material, commencing Monday 17 May for approximately 2 weeks.

Various painting projects will commence in the next two weeks including the area outside the Café take away window and Café toilets.

Temporary directional signage for pedestrians is currently being implemented that will provide safe access around all these works.

Walks, tours and trails

Flowers Fruit and Foliage video

A new video is being produced every fortnight and uploaded to YouTube. A link is posted on the Friends website as part of the Flowers Fruit and Foliage notice. Just click on the video link. Each video runs for about ten minutes, and follows the course of the current FFF walk.

Off the Beaten Track themed walks

Twice daily from Monday June 14th to Sunday June 20th, at 11 am-12 noon and 2pm-3pm

A Volunteer Guide will take you to parts of the gardens not frequently visited to see beautiful plants in out-of-the-way spots. Each walk will feature some examples of work done by Gardens staff to conserve our vulnerable, threatened, and endangered native plants, as well as plants currently in flower.

These walks are free and no bookings are needed, but there is a maximum of 10 people per walk. Meet at the clock near the rainforest bridge. For information about other themed walks later in the year, see the Friends website.

Volunteer Guide with walkersFree guided walks

Free guided walks are provided every day at 11 am. Find out what is new and interesting from one of our Volunteer Guides. No bookings are needed, but there is a maximum of 10 people per walk. Meet at the clock near the rainforest bridge. Each walk lasts approximately one hour.

Flora Explorer minibus tours

View the gardens from the comfort of the Flora Explorer electric minibus, conducted by a knowledgeable Volunteer Guide. Tours start at 11.30 on weekends. Bookings are essential: tickets are available from the Botanic Bookshop in the Visitor Information Centre. Each tour lasts approximately one hour.

Thursday Talks

Bookings are essential: A special booking link will be provided for each week’s talk (see the Friends website). Bookings are open from the Friday prior to the talk until Wednesday night, or until seating limits are reached. All tickets are free. Please notify us if you have booked but are unable to come, on 0437 298 711 or 0407 299 704.

COVID-19 safety: Please check in on arrival via Check In CBR QR code or, if unable, provide your first name and phone number for contact tracing. Please follow organisers' directions on seating and social distancing, and ensure that you:

  • have not been in a hotspot before attending Thursday Talks; and
  • do not attend if you are unwell, or awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.

Time and place: Talks are held from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in the ANBG Theatrette, unless stated otherwise.

Entrance: A small donation on entry to help support the Gardens is appreciated.

27 May 2021 - Doug Laing
Fall of the Warbler

Doug, a retired diplomat, will talk about the long migration of the sparrow-size wood warblers, many of which make a brief pit-stop to refuel in New York’s Central Park before continuing north. In May 2018 Doug was witness to this truly great spectacle. He will describe the experience, wonder at the drivers behind this migration, and look at some of the technology that is helping science better understand it.

3 June 2021 - Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker
200 years of data for Lake George; facts, myths and legends

[Note: date changed]

Patrick will discuss some of the myths and legends that are attributed to the lake, along with current suggestions for returning to original name, and the important relevance for lake level records in line with current climatic changes.

10 June 2021 - Dr Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn
How phylogenies inform biocontrol research

Alexander, from CSIRO, will talk evolutionary relationships between native flora and invasive weed species to ensure the safety of biological control measures, particularly daisies, and an unexpected outcome.

17 June 2021 - Peter Coyne
Australia’s Amazing Orchids

Peter will talk about what makes orchids so exceptional, our local orchids and growing orchids in Canberra.

24 June 2021 - Dr Kathy Eyles
50 years of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

[Note: new speaker & topic]

Australia was one of the first countries to sign up and listed the world’s first Ramsar site, the Cobourg Peninsula in the NT. Kathy will provide an overview of the Convention in Australia and look at what’s happening at the local level to ensure the ‘wise use of our wetlands’.

1 July 2021 - Dr Bob Godfree
How Great Historical Droughts have Shaped Australia

Bob, a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO, will talk about his research on the impact of great droughts on Australian people and landscapes, particularly the 1895-1903 Federation Drought. Lessons learnt give key insights into the likely future of the Australian landscapes and society in coming decades of climate change.

Exhibitions at the Visitor Centre Gallery

Open daily 9.30am to 4.30pm

5 - 30 May 2021 - Talking with Trees

An exhibition featuring historic and contemporary images showing how the Gardens has evolved into a site of understanding of our native flora, as well as a place of reflection, discovery and species protection. Part of Canberra Tree Week.

Artist Tracey Benson seeks to evoke the emotions of reverence, hope and empowerment through the use of photography, video and augmented reality.

2 - 20 June 2021 - Into The Wild

A collection of floral designs that take audiences “into the wild” and give an insight into the diversity and range of Australian native wildflowers and foliage. Created by students in the Floristry Certificate 3 at Canberra Institute of Technology.

23 June - 25 July 2021 - Australia’s Megafauna

An exhibition featuring original large scale paintings of Australia’s Megafauna by Australian wildlife artist, author and paleontological illustrator, Peter Schouten AM.

Peter Schouten has an international reputation for his specialised area as a Paleontological Reconstructionist, which is the rebuilding of a fossil species. David Attenborough termed his skills as “rare and precious” and among the world’s best. Peter has published some of Australia’s most outstanding wildlife publications.

Peter’s works are featured in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, the Natural History Museum in New York, the Naturalis Museum in Holland and in David Attenborough’s private collection.

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