Australian National Botanic Gardens

12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November — Theatrette
Our Thursday lunchtime talks cover diverse aspects of the natural world in Australia and around the globe.

The talks are aimed at a  general audience and everyone is welcome.

Please direct queries about the talks to the Thursday Talks Team

To assist in maintaining COVID-19 guidelines, bookings are essential.

The booking link for each talk is on the Friends calendar websiteentry for the respective talk. Bookings available from the Friday before the talk until Wednesday night before the talk.


1 April
Dr Heidi Zimmer
The iconic Wollemi Pine

Heidi from the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research will talk about her thesis which began with the question why are there so few medium-sized Wollemia nobilis individuals between the seedling and canopy tree size classes (i.e., between 2-20 m in height)?

8 Apr
Dr Francisco Sanchez-Bayo
The decline of the entomofauna and its drivers

Francisco, from the University of Sydney, will talk about the ecological implications of world-wide decline in the biodiversity of insects and the priority actions needed to stem them will be discussed.

15 Apr
Professor Adrienne Nicotra  and Dr Veronica Briceno Rodriguez
Living on the Edge: How do Plants of Threatened Ecological Communities Cope with Extreme Temperature?

Adrienne and Veronica, from the Research School of Biology, Australian National University, will talk on a research partnership between the ANU, the Gardens and Friends, the University of Technology Sydney, the Sydney Botanical Gardens, and Save the Species Program, which seeks to provide critical data on the physiological tolerances of Australian native species from alpine, desert and threatened ecological communities.

22 April
David Coutts & David Maxwell
Ginninderry Conservation Park

The talk will cover the background to the Park and the plans that are currently being put into place by the Trust to preserve and restore the natural environment and cultural values as far as possible in the context of major nearby urban development.

29 April
David Taylor
Banksia Garden

David will talk about some of the challenges, thinking, planning and collaboration that has gone into bringing this garden to reality, and why all the effort is worth it.

6 May
Dr Chris Cargill
The 3 R’s: Riccia, Riella and Research

Chris, curator of the cryptogam collections at the Australian National Herbarium will talk about her latest research on the fascinating and beautiful thalloid liverwort Riccia, and her collaborative projects with colleagues from Victoria to Valencia.

13 May
Dr Anna Howe
Planting Democracy: Plantings, Places and People in the Parliamentary Triangle.

Anne, with a keen interest in urban geography, will ask how will the landscape of the Parliamentary Triangle, that expresses our democracy and changing national identity and how will it evolve when facing increasing and diverse demands.

20 May
Dr Alicia Grealey
Eggshell Collection Genomics: Approaches and Applications to the Study of Australian Birds

From her experience as a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian National University, Alicia will talk about developing techniques that offer opportunities to examine how diversity has changed across time. She found that the study of museum eggshells is an untapped resource of genomic information for thousands of avian species including rare and extinct taxa.

27 May
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
Dr Natasha Robinson
Reintroducing Bandicoots and Quolls to Booderee National Park

Natasha, is a Research Fellow with the National Environmental Science Program, Threatened Species Recovery Hub.  Natasha will talk about what mammal species have been reintroduced to Booderee National Park and what has been learnt so far regarding their ecology and threats to their survival.

10 June
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
Member of Orchid Society 
Australia’s Amazing Orchids

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

24 June
Leanne Wilkinson
Watery Goals and Our Way of Life

Leanne from the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment will discuss how the UN Sustainable development goals affect us and why the protection of wetlands is essential to our continued well-being.

1 July
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.

8 July
Peter Taylor
A re-examination of William Hann’s northern expedition of 1872 to Cape York Expedition

Peter’s presentation will describe William Hann’s Northern Expedition that set out to determine the mineral and agricultural potential of Cape York Peninsula, and the critical role played by the indigenous guide.

15 July
Dr Liz Truswell
One small tract of bushland in southwest WA and the fight for its preservation.

In this talk Liz will outline something of the flora she saw in region of Karri forest in 2018-2019, and describe the Augusta community’s ongoing attempts to preserve a tract of near-pristine bushland.

22 July
Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker 
200 years of data for Lake George; facts, myths and legends

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. 

30 July
Linda Groom
Threatened alpine species: an update on the campaign to save them from feral horses

Linda, a volunteer with Invasive Species Council’s Reclaim Kosci campaign, will talk about some of the Australian alpine plants threatened by feral horses and how those plants function as natural water managers. She will also provide an update on recent developments in the Reclaim Kosci campaign.

5 August
Professor Andrew Cockburn
Love Life of Blue Wrens

Andrew is an Emeritus Professor at the ANU where his research centres on the evolution of mating systems in birds. DNA fingerprinting of fairy wrens debunked the myth that these birds lived in faithful monogamous pairs. But why are the birds in declining numbers?


12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November




Entry by donation