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.


25 March
Peter Byron and Joe McAuliffe ‘Enlightened Conservatory Design and Plants’

Peter and Joe will talk about the design of the conservatory building and plants. Peter will focus on the building being for botany and visitors. Joe will talk about thematic content and plans for displays as well as plant selection and succession, cultivation and conservatory horticulture.

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 ‘‘Living on the Edge: How do Plants of Threatened Ecological Communities Cope with Extreme Temperature?’

Adrienne, from the Research School of Biology, ANU, will talk on a research partnership between the ANU, ANBG 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 ANU, Alicia will talk about developing techniques that offer opportunities to examine how diversity has changed across time. As a post-doctoral fellow at ANU she to 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.

18 June
Member of Orchid Society  ‘Australia’s Amazing Orchids’

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

25 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 the 1872 Cape York Expedition’

Peter’s presentation will describe William Hanns’ 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

Check  for details

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 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