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Here you will find a calendar of Friends’ activities in the Gardens including lunchtime talks, social events, exhibitions and the ever-popular spring and autumn plant sales. In addition to events arranged by the Friends, we include some events arranged by the Gardens and by other organisations. A full list of events arranged by the Gardens is in their What's On webpage.

Lunchtime talks are held at 12.30pm every Thursday from February to November in the Gardens’ Theatrette. Talks last for 1 hour. Admission is by gold coin donation. There is no need to book. Some other events do require booking – please see individual items.

See all lunchtime talks | See all the recent events

Event title Date Details
ANBG Friends Plant Science Group Technical Talk Monday, 6 July 2015 - 10:30am to 11:30am

Place: Theatrette, ANBG

Topic: Biodiversity Research Program for Parks Australia

Speaker: Dr Judy West, AO, Executive Director, ANBG

Talk summary: Not only does Parks Australia manage the Commonwealth's iconic national parks, but it also undertakes and funds a range of research projects for scientific study, providing information for better park management decisions. Judy will provide an overview of this program with an emphasis on those with a botanical focus.


Ben Wallace, ‘Plant hunting in Yunnan’ Thursday, 9 July 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Ben, former horticultural botanist at Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, will describe his recent eco-tour to Yunnan Province in China.

Dr Elizabeth Dennis, ‘How plants flower at the right time’ Thursday, 16 July 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Plants respond to environmental cues to induce flowering, day length, cold temperature being the best examples. This ensures plants flower at an appropriate time. The response to these signals works through changes in the activity of genes. The talk will cover the advances in our understanding of these pathways.

Dr Elizabeth Dennis, a CSIRO Fellow, studies the genes underlying plant processes.  She spent many years studying the molecular basis of flowering for which she won (jointly) the Prime Minister's Prize for Science.

Michael Doherty, ‘How plants respond to fire: Examples from the ACT Region with a Particular Focus on Recovery After the 2003 Fires’ Thursday, 23 July 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Michael Doherty is a plant ecologist with CSIRO Land & Water Flagship, based in Canberra. Born in southern Sydney, he spent much of his formative years botanising and bushwalking in the sandstone country of the Sydney Basin, and graduated with an Honours Degree in Science from the University of Sydney in 1986, majoring in plant ecology. For the past 30 years he has worked on a range of vegetation conservation and management projects at local, regional and national levels both in Australia and overseas.

Dr John Turnbull, ‘Bunya pine and other Araucarias’ Thursday, 30 July 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

John will discuss the lifestyles of these iconic trees and their impact on our lives.

Dr John Turnbull is a former CSIRO scientist who researched the use of Australian native trees and exotic introductions. Later, as Chief Scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, he managed an international research program on tropical rainforest conservation and rehabilitation. He has been a volunteer guide at ANBG since 1999.

Chris Davey & Kathy Eyles, ‘The gang-gang special survey’ Thursday, 6 August 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

The Gang-gang cockatoo survey is an ambitious citizen science project initiated by the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) in 2014. Surprisingly little is known about this much-loved bird. Survey Project manager, Chris Davey, and Communications officer, Kathy Eyles, will discuss what we have learned about the Gang-gang population and its habitat from the survey and from local community engagement. Implications for habitat management and the potential for further research will also be explored.

Lori Gould,‘Re-greening the Capital Region: Engaging the Community in Bushfire Recovery and Sustainable Farming’ Thursday, 13 August 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Lori, scientist with Greening Australia, will talk about community and land-holder engagement in Boorowa River recovery and Canberra's recovery from bush-fire.

Dr Brian Cooke ‘A rabbit’s progress: from the Crusades to Barwon Park’ Thursday, 20 August 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm


 Brian will describe his research at CSIRO into control and management of wild rabbits in Australia’s arid zone and on sub-Antarctic islands. His recent book “Australia’s War Against Rabbits: The Story of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease” uses rabbit haemorrhagic disease as an important case study in understanding how animal populations adapt to diseases.

Meredith Cosgrove ‘Oh the humanity: rarity in plants, with examples from the ACT flora’ Thursday, 27 August 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm


Many things can make plants rare. In this talk Meredith will give an overview of the process that threaten plants, give concrete examples from the local flora, and explain what is being done to save them. Meredith, author of ‘Photographic Guide to the Native Plants of ACT, will illustrate her talk with photographs of some of the 327 native species featured in her book. Many things can make plants rare.

Catriona Anderson ‘What a lot about Wattles: Wattles in the Pictures Collection of the National Library of Australia’ Thursday, 3 September 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Catriona will talk about images of wattle that are in the Picture Collection of the National Library of Australia by different artists and for different purposes, in recognition of Wattle Day.