Public seminar: the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Published 10 March 2014

botanic gardensWhat is it to be Australian?

Canberra has a number of institutions that tell us about our cultural and military heritage, but for many being Australian means living in and appreciating this ‘wide brown land’. Our continent is marked not only by striking landforms but by a distinctive flora that is one of the world’s most diverse and fascinating. The Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) on the eastern slopes of Black Mountain highlights our botanical heritage.

On Friday 14 March, former UNE historian and current guide at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Professor Don Beer, will present a public seminar about this icon of Australian flora.

How did the ANBG come into existence? The surprising thing about its creation is that there was no forceful movement of public opinion in its favour, no leading politician who took it up as a cause, no pressure group agitating for it nor any of the other forces that historians usually look to as explanations of events.

Mr Beer will examine the place occupied by a botanic garden in the early discussions of the ideal federal city, the contribution made by Walter Burley Griffin, the limited but important steps taken in the 1930s in very unfavourable circumstances, and the roller coaster of development and delay post-World War II that led to the official opening in 1970.

Don Beer taught history at UNE from 1964 to 1998. He now lives in Canberra and is a guide at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Friday 14 March
A3 – Arts Building, followed by morning tea

All are welcome

Enquiries to: Karin von Strokirch –