Promoting awareness and conservation of significant gardens and cultural

landscapes through engagement, research, advocacy and activities

ACT Monaro Riverina

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Covering southern NSW and the ACT; each year we organise a number of garden visits and in winter we hold a series of talks on a wide range of historic garden and landscape topics.


View across Lake Burley Griffin to the Carillon. Photographer:  Sally Petherbridge

Forthcoming events


Thursday 9 March, 4.45 for 5pm


Neil Hobbs who hosted our event at Contour 556 has invited us to the garden he created with his partner Karina Harris.


The Harris Hobbs garden is a constant work in progress.  Over 26 years the garden has been in a state of transformation.  The garden was first opened for the former Open Gardens Australia in 1996, and is unrecognizable from that time.  The garden is an artful blend of exotic and native plants, and is full of sculpture.


Recent changes have added an upper level deck that overlooks the front garden, providing a new sense of the scale of the garden.  As a result of the new outlook the owners have removed some trees and added new plantings to continue to play with the forms and spaces. Refreshments will be served at the end of the evening. 


Address: 16 Robe Street, Deakin. Parking is available along this street or surrounding streets. Please ensure you don’t block any drive ways!

Cost: $10 Members, $15 non-members - including refreshments.

Bookings: Helen Elliot at (phone 6284 4749 home).



Sunday 30 April, 2.30 – 4.30pm


Living and working in Canberra in the 19th Century: Two Heritage Sites in Belconnen
A Heritage Festival Joint Event with the National Trust ACT


Join a guided ramble to discover what we know about life on two early settlements on the Limestone Plains - the Charnwood Homestead site in Fraser, and Palmerville in McKellar.


We tend to think of European settlement in Canberra as centred on great pastoral stations like Duntroon and Yarralumla, but there was also much activity in what are now the Belconnen and Gungahlin areas, with land grants made to George Thomas Palmer on Ginninderra Creek in 1826, and to Henry Hall who in 1833 became the first resident landholder in the region.  The sites of their settlements have fascinating histories that we have the opportunity to explore. 


Nothing visible remains of the built structures at Henry Hall's Charnwood but there are a number of heritage trees, including olives that still bear fruit and an Osage orange.  At Palmerville Heritage Park there is more evidence of the many buildings in what became a substantial settlement, as well as what are thought to be the oldest living European trees in the ACT.


This is a joint event between our Branch and the National Trust ACT, and will form part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival /Australian Heritage Festival.

BOOKING DETAILS will follow by the end of February





Planting Memories for the Centenary of ANZAC

The ACT Riverina Monaro Branch received an ANZAC Centenary Local Grant to honour all the men from the Canberra region who served in World War 1. On 13 October 2016, immediately prior to the 2016 National Conference a commemorative sign was unveiled in Weston Park, Yarralumla, close to the Yarralumla Nursery. The text and images on the panels draw on the poem The Forester by eminent Canberra poet Geoff Page. The service of the volunteers is personified by Private Malcolm McIntosh (Mack) Southwell, who worked for Charles Weston (the forester of Page's poem). Southwell enlisted in October 1916 and was killed in action in France in November 1916.


Montague Island kitchen garden

Assisting with maintenance of the kitchen garden on Montague Island continues as an ongoing project for the ACT Riverina Monaro Branch. Following the guidelines in Colleen Morris' award-winning  Plan for the Reinstatement of the Kitchen Garden, Montague Island, a group of members joined National Parks and Wildlife staff in early May to clear the garden for the winter and to conduct winter planting. On this occasion Bill Brown, a reporter from ABC South East NSW joined the team: see his report Colleen Morris' plan is available on the AGHS website at


 The 'English Garden' and Yarralumla Nursery

The English Garden and Yarralumla Nursery are two of Canberra’s heritage treasures. Preserving this heritage is an ongoing task to which the ACT Monaro Riverina Branch has helped contribute. In 1914 the fledgling nursery established at Acton by Charles Weston was relocated to Yarralumla, to trial and raise the plants which would transform Canberra from a grassy plain to the richly treed and planted city we know and love. Weston set in place a meticulous process of record keeping, and on some 15,000 handwritten cards and in three large ledgers the history of the seeds and plants grown in, purchased by, or donated to the Nursery is recorded. 

In 2010 AGHS received an ACT Heritage Grant to preserve these extraordinary records and make them available to the public. The cards and ledgers have been copied electronically and can now be easily accessed from the website of  Archives ACT (Find Yarralumla Nursery Records on the home page). The ’English Garden’ originally formed part of the Yarralumla Nursery. In 2008 AGHS, with the assistance of grants from the ACT government, carried out a condition assessment of the English Garden and produced an interpretive leaflet and signage. The pamphlet is out of print, but a copy can be downloaded here.




February 2017

December 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
June 2016
April 2016



ACT Monaro Riverina Branch Committee

Chair: Sue Byrne (
Deputy Chair: Judy Pearce 
Secretary: Nancy Clarke
Treasurer: Helen Elliot
Committee member and NMC Representative: Kay Johnston
Committee: Bronwyn Blake, Wendy Dodd, Greg Johnson, Lainie Lawson, Helen Wilson, Marie Wood