Thursday talks

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The Friends of the ANBG have run a program of popular weekly lunchtime talks for many years, known as the Thursday Talks. Botany is naturally the principal focus of these talks, though they can range anywhere across the natural world.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic Thursday Talks will not be live in the theatrette for the remainder of 2020, however the ANBG and the Friends are exploring ways that may present an opportunity for some talks to be made available online. This decision has been made by the ANBG and the Friends’ Council due to social distancing requirements and the small nature of the theatrette.

There is always an interesting program and an informative experience is assured. During 2019 there was a fascinating diversity of topics which included:

  • Vegetation types, vegetation dynamics and fire ecology on Black Mountain
  • The Night Parrot: the bird and the politics
  • When aliens invade: the impact of invasive species on Norfolk Islands native vegetation
  • The wonders of pollen: a truly Canberra perspective
  • Life of a rain drop – protecting the Cotter catchment
  • Can plants meet the challenge of the food needed for the worlds growing population?
  • Frogwatch: successfully marrying citizen science and community engagement since 2002
  • Taxonomy, plant names and why nothing ever stays the same
  • Monaro runes: an artist’s response to dieback on the Monaro
  • Update on the ANBG Management Plan, including Conservatory and Seed Bank design
  • Camp and Colonies: bats in the Australian Capital Territory
  • Detecting photosynthetic stress in temperate Australian seagrasses
  • Manipulation of host plants by herbivorous insects
  • The four Canberra rivers
  • Dangerous eruptions: volcanoes past, present and future.

During the year there are also some special talks to mark regular events such as Science Week and Wattle Week.

Who can come

All the talks are public events; you are invited to all - or to any that take your attention. Entry is by voluntary gold coin donation to support the activities of the Friends, who in turn work for projects in the Gardens.

Limited numbers: There is no need to book, but please note that for safety reasons the ANBG Theatrette seating is limited to 90 people. So, do come early for a seat at a Thursday Talk.

When, where, and what’s on

The talks are held at 12:30 pm each Thursday from February to November, in the ANBG Theatrette (Clunies Ross Street, Acton, ACT). Talks last an hour (including questions and conversation).

Upcoming speakers and their topics, or other events in their stead, are advertised on the Calendar page of this website, in the Friends magazine Fronds, and on the ANBG website at

Our speakers and their presentations

The Friends of the ANBG thank the speakers who volunteer their time and talents to further the knowledge of all attending events in the Gardens. The Friends use the ‘gold’ coin donations received at each activity to support Gardens’ programs and development and thank all those who have donated.

Some summaries or PowerPoint presentations of Thursday talks are available to Friends from the ANBG library. A donation to the Friends for the use of this material will be gratefully accepted.

Tim Fischer AO gives the first talk in the 2017 series (Photo: Alan Munns)
Tim Fischer AO gives the first talk in the 2017 series (Photo: Alan Munns)

Contact information

The organising committee is always pleased to hear of interesting potential speakers. Contact us by email at

The committee members are:

  • Jan Finley (Convenor)
  • Linda Beveridge
  • Doug Laing
  • Rita Maclachlan
  • Elizabeth Truswell
  • Anthony Whalen

How to find us

Map of the Gardens showing the Theatrette