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 website entry for the respective talk. Bookings available from the Friday before the talk until Wednesday night before the talk.


2 February  | Four Women of the High Country

Matthew Higgins

Matthew’s talk will give insights to the lives of Charlotte Burston nee Lane-Poole, Elyne Mitchell, Dorothy Brown and Miles Franklin.  Bookings can be made from the Friday before the talk until Wednesday night or until seating limits are reached. (Tickets are Free but a gold coins donation on entry is appreciated.) This talk will be held in the ANBG Theatrette. 

9 February | Feather and Brush

Honorary Professor Penny Olsen

Penny, from the ANU, will briefly trace the 300-year history of Australian bird art — from the crude engravings illustrating accounts of the earliest European voyages of discovery to the diversity of artwork available today. 

Penny is happy to sign copies of the book after the talk. 

16 February | Precision Landscape Regeneration

Professor Justin Borevitz

Justin, from Research School of Biology, ANU will introduce precision landscape regeneration, including methods in Eucalyptus foundation species to re-build agro-ecosystems, methods for boosting soil carbon with microbes and management, and the outsized role Australia can have for world’s planetary health and resilience.

23 February | The extraordinary scientific achievements of the French Baudin expedition (1800-1804) in Australian waters

Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker 

In this talk, Patrick will outline the numerous discoveries and achievements made by the French expedition. He will discuss some of its cartographic accomplishments and compare some with those made by Matthew Flinders at about the same time.

2 March  | Towards a better understanding into the Bush Peas Mirbelieae (Fabaceae) in Australia

Dr James Clugston 

Recent evidence shows that the tribe Mirbelieae is greatly underdescribed and James, from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, will talk about recent advances in DNA sequencing of Mirbelieae that has helped a consensus on the taxonomic relationship of species and genera within the tribe.

9 March | Connecting Nature, Connecting People: joining the dots for wildlife connectivity across Canberra

Dr Melissa Snape 

Mel, from ACT Government’s Conservation Research, will focus on urban habitat connectivity, and government initiative to incorporate biodiversity considerations more fully into our planning system. 

16 March

See details on the Friends ANBG website. 

23 March | Eyes on Flies: Why we should love flies and the wonderful things they do

Dr Bryan Lessard 

Without flies there would be no chocolate! What native plant species rely on flies for pollination? Join Bryan, from Australian Biological Resources Study, as he talks about these misunderstood creatures and the essential services they provide free of charge.

Bryan is happy to sign copies of his new children’s book after the talk.

30 March | Why Digitise Biological Collection?

Dr Peter Thrall 

The presentation by Peter, from the National Research Collections Australia, will focus on digitisation projects and added value that these efforts can bring to biological specimen collections for use in research from about 15million specimens. 

6 April | Natural Asset Farming – key ways to integrate woodland conservation and agricultural production

Professor David Lindenmayer AO 

David, from ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society, will provide an overview of the key findings from 24 years of the Sustainable Farms project at the Australian National University that focused on temperate woodland conservation on farmland.

David is happy to sign copies of this new book after the talk. 

13 April | Lindsay Pryor: A Man of the Trees

Dr John Turnbull

John, formerly from CSIRO, will cover the career of Lindsay Pryor (1915-1998). He was a forester, botanist, landscape architect and educator whose legacy involved the biology and cultivation of native and exotic trees in Canberra, elsewhere in Australia and internationally.

20 April | The story of three threatened Eucalypts

Genevieve Wright & Pete Bredell 

Genevieve and Pete will talk about three threatened species of Eucalyptus and research into their conservation; the Mongarlowe Mallee (Eucalyptus recurva), the Mount Imlay Mallee (Eucalyptus imlayensis) and the Suggan Buggan Mallee (Eucalyptus saxatilis)


12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November




Entry by donation