Ceremonial Tree Plantings in the Central Valley
Central Valley forms an important arrival feature for visitors, leading from the Arboretum's main entrance, up the hill to the Village Centre. It is home to ceremonial trees planted by significant dignitaries and leaders from Australia and around the world. As the trees grow, Central Valley will become a shady zigzag walkway through a diverse range of trees, representing many people and places from around the world. Ceremonial tree plantings began in Central Valley in 2009, and 39 trees occupy this space (as of February 2015).
For information about Ceremonial Tree Plantings outside the Central Valley, please see the section after Forest 104.
In November 2014, His Excellency Mr Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, planted a Betula pendula (silver birch). This deciduous tree can also be found in Forest 44. It is a member of the birch family and grows naturally across most of Europe. The bark of the young trees is grey, smooth and shiny and then turns white. The serrated triangular leaves give a bright yellow autumn display. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins which come out before the leaves in early spring and produce small winged seeds.
In November 2014, the President of the Senate, Senator the Honourable Stephen Parry, planted an Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine) to mark the 25th Anniversary of Parliament House and the Centenary of Canberra 1913-2013. Although this species is native to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest areas of Australia, it is also tolerant of cooler regions. The name hoop pine refers to the horizontal ridges that develop on the bark with age..
In November 2014, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop MP, planted an Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine), to mark the 25th Anniversary of Parliament House and the Centenary of Canberra 1913-2013. Although this species is native to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest areas of Australia, it is also tolerant of cooler regions. The name hoop pine refers to the horizontal ridges that develop on the bark with age.
In October 2014, Her Majesty, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, planted a Cupressus cashmeriana (Bhutan cypress). This medium to large conifer is a member of the cypress family and native to the eastern Himalaya in Bhutan and adjacent areas of northeastern India. It is also introduced in China and Nepal. The Bhutan cypress is the official national tree of Bhutan, where it has been widely planted around Vihara monasteries and Buddhist temples for centuries.
In June 2014, His Excellency Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of Singapore and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, planted an Albizia julibrissin (Persian silk tree). His Excellency and his wife were joined by the Minister for Transport in Singapore, Mr Lui Tuck Yew; the High Commissioner for Singapore, Mr Michael Teo and the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, Mr Phillip Green. The Persian silk tree is a hardy, small deciduous tree native to south-western and eastern Asia. The sweetly-scented flowers of the Persian silk tree are beautiful, just one of the many reasons the Arboretum grows these trees in Forest 6.
In April 2014, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge planted a Quercus robur (English oak), a species that can also be found in Forest 82. The English oak is a traditional symbol of England, representing strength and endurance. It is a large deciduous tree, well known for its long life, with many trees over 1000 years old. Over time, the English oak tree has become known as the Royal oak. The Royal British Navy has a long affiliation with the tree as many of the sailing warships were constructed using timber from the Royal oak. Many Royal British Navy warships have proudly borne the name the Royal oak and the Navy's official quick march is known as the Heart of the Oak.
In November 2013, His Excellency Professor Dr Boediono, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, and Madam Herawati Boediono planted a Phyllanthus emblica(Indian gooseberry). This is a deciduous tree with attractive pealing bark and feathery leaves. It is widely cultivated for its fruits throughout its natural range which extends south-eastwards from India to many countries, including Indonesia. The 2 cm roundish light-green fruits are of great importance in traditional Asiatic medicine. Modern medical research is also assessing their therapeutic properties.
In May 2013, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei Darussalam planted a Trachycarpus fortunei (windmill palm). This species is native to central China, Burma and northern India where it withstands heavy frosts.
In August 2012, The Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, and Madam Bronwyn Lilo planted a Casuarina cunninghamiana (river sheoak). This tree is not native to the Solomon Islands but they do have other Casuarina species that would not survive in Canberra.
In July 2012, The Hon. Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, planted a Schotia brachypetala (huilboerboon). This species is native to the southern parts of Africa and it is widespread in Zimbabwe at elevations of around 1200 m. It usually produces many large, red, nectar-filled flowers in springtime and long woody pods in autumn. This species can also be found in Forest 28.
In May 2012, Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, planted a Toona sinensis (red toon) which is native to many parts of eastern Asia, including Thailand. This deciduous species also occupies Forest 75. Red refers to the colour of the timber which is valuable and used for furniture making. This species also has medicinal properties. New spring growth is deep pink and quite spectacular.
In May 2012, His Excellency Professor Anibal Cavaco Silva, President of the Republic of Portugal, planted a Quercus suber (cork oak). In Portugal and Spain the cork oak forests are home to endangered species such as the Iberian lynx. Mature cork oaks can be found in Forest 1.
In April 2012, His Excellency General Michel Sleiman, President of the Republic of Lebanon, planted a Cedrus libani (cedar of Lebanon). This is the national tree of Lebanon which is featured on the Lebanese flag. The species is native to Turkey, the Middle East and the mountains of the Mediterranean region. Cedrus libani ssp. libani can be seen in Forest 39
In March 2012, Mr Romaldo (Aldo) Giurgola, planted a. Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine). Aldo was a founding partner in the firm that in 1980 won the international competition for the design of Australia's new Parliament House. He was also a member of the Arboretum competition jury in 2004 when the '100 Forests 100 Gardens' design was chosen. Although this species is native to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest areas of Australia, it is also tolerant of cooler regions. The name hoop pine refers to the horizontal ridges that develop on the bark with age.
In December 2011, Mr Jon Stanhope, former ACT Chief Minister, planted the National Liberty Tree— a Brachychiton populneus (kurrajong), a species that can also be found in Forest 79. This tree-planting was an initiative of Civil Liberties Australia to honour Jon's contribution to human rights in Australia and acknowledge his vision in establishing this Arboretum. Charlotte Withers, aged 7, was involved because she was born on 1 July 2004, the day the ACT Human Rights Act (which Jon championed) came into effect.
In November 2011, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark planted an Acer campestre (field maple) which is native to much of Europe and beyond. A ballot was held to enable many members of the public to attend the ceremony and they were not deterred by the rain on the day. Giralang Primary School students sang welcoming songs while sheltering under a tarpaulin. One student recited Dorothea McKellar's poem 'My Country' including the stanza with the words: 'the wide brown land for me' (because of its association with the Arboretum's Wide Brown Land sculpture).
In November 2011, The Hon Peter O'Neill, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, planted a Flindersia schottiana (silver ash). This species is native to Papua New Guinea, West Papua, northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
In October 2011, Mr Wolf Blass, wine-making legend, also planted an Araucaria cunninghamii(hoop pine). Although this species is native to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest areas of Australia, it is also tolerant of cooler regions. The name hoop pine refers to the horizontal ridges that develop on the bark with age.
In September 2011, Mr Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary- General of the United Nations, planted an Olea europaea 'Swan Hill' (olive tree). This tree was chosen because the United Nations' peace symbol features an olive branchlet carried by a dove.
In September 2011, His Excellency Mr José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, planted a Fagus sylvatica 'Tricolour', which is a variegated European beech cultivar with pink edges to the leaves. The Fagus sylvatica species is distributed throughout the countries of Europe and can also be seen in Forest 80.
In August 2011, His Excellency Mr James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles, planted a Diospyros lotus (date plum). This deciduous species from China, the Himalayas and other parts of Asia Minor can also be seen in Forest 86.
In July 2011, Sir William Deane, former Governor-General of Australia, planted a Eucalyptus pauciflora (snow gum). Other examples of this species can be seen in Forest 20.
In July 2011, renowned author Mr Thomas Keneally planted the fifth Araucaria cunninghamii(hoop pine) in this row. Although this species is native to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest areas of Australia, it is also tolerant of cooler regions. The name hoop pine refers to the horizontal ridges that develop on the bark with age.
In June 2011. The Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, planted an Araucaria bidwillii (bunya pine). This conifer can also be found in Forest 71. The ACT Government donated three emergency service vehicles to the Samoan Fire and Emergency Services and this tree represents the growing relationship between the ACT and Samoa.
In May 2011, His Excellency Demetris Christofias, President of the Republic of Cyprus, planted a Quercus alnifolia (golden oak). This species gets its name from the colour of the undersides of the leaves. In 2006, the Parliament of Cypress selected Q. alnifolia as the country's national tree.
In April 2011, Major-General Michael Jeffery, former Governor-General of Australia, planted a Eucalyptus caesia 'Silver Princess'. This is a very attractive tree from Western Australia with showy pinkish-red flowers that hang from silver branches in winter. Michael Jeffery was born in Wiluna in Western Australia, next to the region where the tree grows.
In March 2011, Mr Jimmy Barnes, Australian rock legend, planted a Brachychiton acerifolius (Illawarra flame tree). This tree was made famous by Jimmy Barnes as lead singer in Cold Chisel's 1984 hit song 'Flame Trees', a song about the tree, of lost loves and old flames. The large, bright-red, bell-shaped flowers can cover the tree in spring, prior to new leaves emerging.
In March 2011, The Right Hon. Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister of Australia, also planted a Eucalyptus camaldulensis (river red gum). Malcolm Fraser spent his youth in the Riverina, north of Deniliquin, where forests of glorious river red gums line the banks of the Edwards River.
In March 2011, four Australian sporting legends: Mr David Campese, Mr Robert de Castella, Ms Lauren Jackson and Mr Mal Meninga, planted four Araucaria cunninghamii(hoop pines). Although this species is native to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest areas of Australia, it is also tolerant of cooler regions. The name hoop pine refers to the horizontal ridges that develop on the bark with age.
In February 2011, His Excellency Sukhbaatar Batbold, Prime Minister of Mongolia, planted an Ulmus pumila (Asiatic elm). This species grows on the south facing slopes of the northern Mongolian mountain range and is also native to other parts of Asia. The bark is stripped and fed to stock in times of famine and the northern Chinese eat the young fruits as a cooked or raw vegetable.
In February 2011, Mr John Schumann and Mr Hugh McDonald, music icons from the band 'Redgum' planted a Eucalyptus camaldulensis (river red gum).
In August 2010, The Hon. Peter Garrett MP and former Midnight Oil music legend, planted an Agathis robusta (Queensland kauri tree). This tree was grown from a seedling sourced in Toowoomba by Canberra artist Robin McKeown. The tree was getting too big for a pot when Arboretum Curator Adam Burgess repotted the tree and took it to Yarralumla Nursery for care. When discussions began on which species Peter should plant, Adam suggested this plant and ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope agreed. Robin donated the plant and attended the planting ceremony.
In June 2010, His Excellency Mr Mohammed Nasheed, President of the Democratic Republic of the Maldives, planted a Wollemia nobilis (Wollemi pine). Other examples of this species can be seen in Forest 32.
In June 2010, His Excellency José Ramos-Horta, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, planted a Melia azedarach (white cedar). This deciduous tree can also be found in Forest 5. It is a member of the mahogany family and is native to parts of Australia and South East Asia, including Timor. It produces small lilac and purple flowers in November which are followed by decorative (though toxic) yellow fruits.
In April 2011, The Hon. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, planted the Tree of Knowledge— a Corymbia aparrerinja (ghost gum). This tree was grown from a grafted cutting taken from the 150-yearold 'Tree of Knowledge' that once grew next to the railway station in Barcaldine, in Queensland's central west. During the Great Shearers' Strike of 1891, the strikers gathered for meetings under that tree. They were eventually forced to return to work on the squatter's terms but the strike gave rise to the formation of the Australian Workers Union and subsequently, the Australian Labour Party.
In March 2010, His Excellency Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, planted a Calodendrum capense (cape chestnut). This very ornamental tree is native to the southern and eastern regions of Africa, including Botswana.
In October 2009, His Excellency Georgi Parvanov, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, planted a Pinus heldreichii (whitebark pine). This species is native to the Balkans and southern Italy.
In September 2009, His Excellency Lászlo Sólyom, President of the Republic of Hungary, planted a Fraxinus ornus (flowering ash), which is native to parts of Europe and south-western Asia.
In August 2009, The Hon. John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, planted an Agathis australis (kauri). This species is native to New Zealand's North Island.