Page 784 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 April 2014

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The initial national nursery was established in 1911 in Acton where the National Museum now stands and not Yarralumla. The nursery was opened in Yarralumla in 1914, and most of the trees planted on public and even private land within the territory began their life there. At its biggest, the nursery took up a rather large 28 hectares, not to mention another 130 hectares which was eventually used for permanent plantings. Interestingly, the Yarralumla Nursery has also been used as a research site for parks and gardens research and the Department of Health plants quarantine area.

As I mentioned previously, pretty much all the plants on public land in Canberra were raised in the nursery. There is also the free plant issue scheme, which currently provides $220 worth of plants per newly developed residential block of land anywhere in the territory. The scheme began in 1930 and has added to the garden city feel from which we benefit in the ACT to a large degree.

The plants for this scheme are entirely provided by Yarralumla Nursery and have been since its inception. Nowadays, not only does the free plant issue scheme provide for a certain number of plants but also a 30-minute consultation with a horticulturist. This allows for people to make good decisions in regard to the types of trees they purchase, along with the allocation of plants on the newly developed land. Advice on irrigation or drainage systems and choosing sustainable plants for your block can reduce water consumption or waste.

The event on Sunday was a lot of fun and, as you have heard, I had a lot of fun too. The Sing Australia choir gave a splendid performance, which I really enjoyed, and, as always, the carousel organ was an entertaining part of the day and added to the heritage feel of the celebrations. The organ is an interesting piece of equipment and is quite enchanting to watch. It is fascinating when viewed from a historical perspective.

Children at the event had an opportunity to learn a bit of horticulture from the experts, with hands-on potting classes as well. The vintage car displays were one of my favourite parts of the event, along with the displays of some old machinery which were in the past used at the nursery.

I would like to thank several people in regard to the organisation of and time donations to the event. In no particular order: Cedric Bryant, a fantastic garden guru in Canberra; David Doherty, the nursery manager; Belinda Ryan, production, planning and operations manager; Jenny Newman, front of house at the nursery; and the rest of the fantastic nursery staff.

Scott McAlister, president, and Di Johnstone from the National Trust were there, along with Ted, who manned the barbecue, and Dawn Waterhouse and Lenore Coltard, who are both great historians of the ACT and Canberra. Staff members of the nursery gave a great demonstration of potting plants for the children and the public.

Another piece of entertainment at the nursery was the capital metro stand where Kim Barton was talking about the Canberra Rail Trail coming up in the next few weeks across the ACT. The Rail Trail can help you identify how rail has been a part of

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