Minister Garrett - Queensland Kauri

Group Photo

Left: Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope MLA, the Hon Peter Garrett, Minister for Environment, Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Mr Andrew Leigh, Ms Gai Brodtmann and Canberra Artist Mrs Robin McKeown.

Minister Garrett planting the Agathis robusta

Minister Garrett planting the Queensland Kauri (Agathis robusta).

Minister Garrett and Mrs McKeown

Minister Garrett with Mrs Robin McKeown

Minister Garrett

The Hon Peter Garrett, Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts.

On Tuesday 3 August 2010, Midnight Oil front man and Federal Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett, joined Chief Minister Jon Stanhope MLA, in planting an Agathis robusta, more commonly known as the Queensland Kauri, in the Central Valley of the National Arboretum.

It joins the New Zealand Kauri planted last year by the NZ Prime Minister John Key and other trees that have been planted by dignitaries visiting from Hungary, Botswana, Timor-Leste, Bulgaria and the Maldives.

The Kauri planted by Peter Garrett is an evergreen that will grow up to 50 meters tall and  was donated to the Arboretum by Canberra artist Robin McKeown who grew the tree from a seedling.

In January this year, high winds caused the two meter high tree to fall over smashing the pot. It was then that Mrs McKeown realised the Kauri was becoming too big for her to continue to care for. She rang the Chief Minister’s office, offering the tree to the Arboretum.

Curator Adam Burgess met with Mrs McKeown, re-potted the tree and took it to the Yarralumla Nursery to be cared for.

When discussions were being held about an appropriate tree for Peter Garrett to plant, Adam Burgess immediately suggested the Queensland Kauri and, knowing the history, the Chief Minister agreed.

Mrs McKeown was present at the planting of the Kauri and was overwhelmed that the tree she had nurtured from a seedling now had such a prominent place in the Arboretum and had been planted by the Chief Minister and Minister Garrett.

“Who would have thought that when I brought the seedling from Toowoomba three years ago that it would end up here in this magnificent Arboretum. I’ll certainly be visiting it regularly to watch its progress,” Mrs McKeown said.