Minutes of Friends' Council Meeting 4 September 2012

You are here

Meeting of Council of Friends of ANBG

Tuesday 4 September 2012

1.30pm – 4 pm Dickson Room



1. Attendance:

Present: David Coutts (Chairman); Dennis Ayliffe, Anne Campbell, Lesley Jackman, Marion Jones, Anne Philips, Barbara Podger, Andy Rawlinson

Ex officio: Peter Byron, Steve Spee, Judy West

Invited: Glenys Bishop, Jan Finley

Apologies: John Connolly, Alan Munns, Warwick Wright

2. Confirmation of Minutes of Council

Motion: That the minutes of the Council meeting of 7th August 2012 were confirmed:

Proposed: David Coutts,  Seconded: Lesley Jackman. Carried

3. Matters arising from Minutes of 7th August 2012

3.1 Centenary – Red Centre Artwork

A Report from Pamille Berg, Art Consultant contracted to manage this project, had been circulated in advance. In order to contain costs, she had explored the use of novel technology for embedding of the artwork at the central meeting place rather than the traditional stone-work method which was likely to be nearly three times more expensive than the budget available. She had selected the artwork of Theresa Pwerle, an artist  from the Utopia Region, as the most suitable for testing as it could be rendered as a computer file.   In her report, she says  “ With the endorsement of the ANBG, a 760mm x 760mm prototype of a portion of the Theresa Pwerle design (a dot painting) was traced and laser-cut by Acuform Pty Ltd into 6mm-thick Lyten plate and sandblasted with the copper slag on both faces to reduce the tendency for the steel to “cup” when blasted.” Research had also been undertaken on the grouting to set the steel sheets.  The cost of this latter could be reduced considerably by using two layers – one of conventional grouting and the other a “special” grouting  onto which the steel plate was laid and which would highlight the dots.

The Council had the opportunity to view the prototype and agreed to fund it as the gift of the Friends of ANBG, on the Centenary of Canberra and the establishment of the Red Centre Garden.

Motion: Council agreed to provide $100,000 for the artwork at the meeting place of the Red Centre Garden covering purchase of the painting, fabrication and installation.  If costs exceeded this, then a further submission would be required to detail these.

Proposed: David Coutts,  Seconded: Dennis Ayliffe. Carried.

The painting was on hold in a Sydney Gallery and was to be purchased immediately and a user agreement finalized.  It was noted that the Artist was very excited at the prospect of her work being used; it depicts her country – Grandmother’s County-  and is very red- centre oriented.

Action: Peter Byron to arrange purchase of  the painting at once and to develop a payment schedule for the project for implementation by the Treasurer, Marion Jones.

Action: Peter Byron is to keep the Projects committee fully informed as the project develops.

Confidentiality is to be maintained until the painting has been purchased and then advice about it is to be posted to the Friends’ website.

The completion date for the project is 30th July 2013.  The pavement is to be dedicated at the formal opening of the Red Centre Garden in October 2013 in the presence of the Artist, as an honoured guest.

3.1 Centenary – Bush Capital Grant

Funding of $15,000 (reduced from the application of $25,000) had been received.  The grant is to the Friends as it was a community event; thus the Deed of Grant has to be signed by the Friends and this has raised a number of issues because the Deed of Grant:

  • says under Conditions of Funding Recognition of the Centenary of Canberra funding is to be attributed to the Red Centre and Indigenous components of the event
  • specifies we are committing to indemnify the Territory for a number of things connected with the Funded Activity. 
  • specifies $20M public liability insurance. (The Friends’ cover is $10M). 

Actions arising:

  • It is proposed to request a change of the wording under Conditions of Funding to:

Recognition of the Centenary of Canberra funding is to be atttributed to the opening of the Red Centre garden and indigenous and community components of the overall event.

  • David Coutts to check that the indemnity is covered by the Garden’s insurance
  • David Coutts to ask the ACT Government if they will accept $10M public liability insurance and if they will, he will then sign the document having requested a change to the purpose of the conditions of funding and that the Garden’s insurance covers the indemnity.
  • If the above conditions are agreed the Friends will sign the Deed.

3.2 Friends office and storage space

The Friends will share the store room with the Café and install shelving and a refrigerator (Summer Concert drinks); it was decided that there was no need, at this stage, for a partition.  Access is via an external door.

Action: Steve Speer to advise when the room is clean and available

Action: Andy Rawlinson and Marion Jones  to look into the provision of shelving (AR) and a refrigerator (AR/MJ)

3.3 Eucalypt Discovery Walk

As a follow on from the July Council meeting, Anne Campbell had submitted to the Public Trust Fund a request for funding of up to $10,000 to cover additional signage (for extra species) and a brochure – with due recognition to be given.

At its meeting on 3rd September 2012, the Public Trust Fund Committee  agreed to the request.  Some thought is to be given to launching the Walk (due for completion mid December 2012).

Action: An article for Fronds describing the Eucalypt Discovery Walk  is to be written by late October.

3.4 Wattle Day Launch

This was held on Saturday 1st September and went very well.  The focus was the launch of the new edition of Maria Hitchcock’s book “A celebration of wattle” by the Hon Peter Garrett, MP, Minister for School Education, Childhood and Youth, with the Wattle Day Association also participating.  About 90 people attended including representatives from the Japanese Embassy; 51 copies of the book were sold. “Sing Australia” provided vocal entertainment. 

Council noted, with appreciation, the effort of several Friends in making the arrangements, in particular John Turnbull.

4. General Business

4.1 Projects

Theatrette data projector; this  has been installed and is working well.  The lap top will be available by 27th September and will have a sensor to move the screen up and down when the lap top is on.

Action: Put a note on the Friends Web site to advise about the new data projector and laptop provided by the Friends.

Environmental Monitoring Stations: Both are now working subsequent to installation of mains power (rather than solar).  Several diodes need replacing on the Rainforest station and the Kiosk in the VIC has to be replaced because the computer blew up.

Friends Banksia Garden: This is on hold until the Red Centre Garden is finished.  An estimate of likely cost would be helpful.

Wollemi Pine Forest: It was noted that this is a long term proposal but donations of  Wollemi pines are welcomed, subject  biosecurity issues.

4.2 AGM on 25th September.

A speaker has still to be finalized following the inability to secure Minister Burke, Robyn Archer or David Headon.

Action: Judy West offered to approach Malcolm Thompson, Deputy Secretary of the Environment Department who is very supportive of ANBG.

Council will provide pre-meeting refreshments from 5pm; the meeting will start at 5.30 pm and the speaker at 6.30 pm. 

Action: Existing Council Members are encouraged to renominate and nominations are due the week before  viz 18th September.

4.3 ANPC Conference

Kristanne Hermann is liaising with ANPC on behalf of the Friends.  Our role in the Opening Ceremony needs clarification.  John Turnbull has been nominated at the Friends’ representative to take part in the planting of 21 eucalypts (21 Gum Salute) to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ANPC.

Action: David Coutts to seek clarification on the  Friends’ role in the opening ceremony and participation in the NGO Workshop and thus whether to submit an abstract (on how the Friends support research).

4.4 Other Business

Volunteer registry - It was seen that we need to have a more structured approach to identifying interests and skills of members so that as opportunities present they can be contacted with a view to helping.

Action: David Coutts to activate a more effective Volunteer Registry.

DASSH Conference- the organizers have decided that in lieu of gifts for speakers they will provide certificates of appreciation which indicate that a donation has been given to the ANBG Friends.

Action: David Coutts to draft wording for the Certificates for DASSH Conference speakers which acknowledge a donation has been given to the Friends of ANBG.

Botanical Interms - the Friends will once again support, with a book voucher and free Friends Membership (1 year), the annual Student Intern Program run by Bronwyn Collins.

Motion: That Council agree  to increase to $80 the amount for book vouchers for the Student Intern Program

Proposed: David Coutts, Seconded: Barbara Podger. Carried.

A report to Council at its October meeting will be made about the recent conference of the Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens held at the Arid Gardens in Port Augusta.  The next Association meeting is scheduled for 2014 at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens in Queensland.

5. Reports:

5.1 Executive Director

Annual Parks Forum – with all Parks Managers and Senior Executives of the Department was held over two days at the ANBG.  The theme was sustainability and how each group addressed it.  As a consequence of this, ANBG plans to review the ANBG Emergency Plan.

Myrtle Rust - ANBG has been invited to convene a second Myrtle Rust Workshop on November 21st; this will bring together key people and strive for national coordination.

NLA- Judy West was the key note speaker at the NFAW (National Federation of Australian Women) Winter’s Tales at the NLA; 50 people attended and there was much interest in her topic (From the Field to the Herbarium – the importance of archiving).  Good links have developed with the NLA.

Grants – A one year grant ($360K) with Greening Australia was obtained to develop mini seed orchards for 10 threatened species; David Taylor will be the project manager.  Several small grants have been obtained by the Seed Bank.  The focus of the ANBG’s new Seed Biologist will be alpine bogs.

Director Kew Millenium Seed Bank – Dr Paul Smith will speak at the ANPC Conference and also meet with the Seed Bank Partners.  The thrust is  now taking the seed bank from collection and banking to use.  He will also participate in a round table meeting with key Departmental people to help highlight the work of the ANBG Seed Bank.

5.2 General Manager

Red Centre Garden – sub surface drainage is nearly finished; the bottom layer of sand will soon be topped with red sand.  Tenders have just been called for the construction of the viewing platform

Staff – Interviews will be conducted for the position of Botanical Information Manager (Murray Fagg’s position before retirement) and advertisements placed for Horticulture Manager (David Taylor’s previous position) as well as a Trades Manager.  There are also vacancies to be filled for several Horticultural staff.  The Education Officer has gone to the NMA and Sally Bowman, Ranger, will act until the end of the Calendar year and her position will be back filled with temporary assistance.

5.3 Friends Liaison

Graduate – From 3rd Sept to 7th December, another graduate will be working to update the Aboriginal Plant Use Trail and it is hoped the signs (funded by a benefactor) can be installed during this period.  The graduate will also help in the Seed Bank.

Events – The theme for the next quarter of “After Dark” tours in the Rainforest and beyond will be indigenous bush food; these will continue to be run on the first Saturday of each month.  “Sing Australia” will perform on the Café Lawn on the first Saturday of each season eg 1st September, 1st December.

Summer Concerts – Concerts will be for 2 hours with a 30 minute interval, in which it was suggested short guided walks might be offered.  Floresco will be invited to provide coffee, food, ice cream in lieu of individual suppliers (as in the past).  It is suggested wine be sourced from one provider. Instead of a bucket collection, it was proposed that cars will be charged $5 each on entry and foot traffic will also pay when they enter.  There will be a children’s hub in lieu of a children’s activities table – the hub will be bigger and more organized. A bus (sponsored) and the Flora Explorer will be used to transport people in need from the VIC to the Eucalypt Lawn; eskies may also be transported ($1 an esky).  The number of volunteers required to help may be greater than in the past; this will need to be managed to avoid “volunteer- fatigue”.

Major event group – This will comprise Barbara Podger and Jan Finley  for the Friends and Steve Speer with Jennifer Salkeld for ANBG.  Particular focus will be the Summer Concerts and the Bush Capital event in Nov (2013).  The group will meet monthly.

Flora Explorer – An additional information session was held for potential new drivers; 3 people are now being trained.

Human Brochure Campaign.  This is an initiative of ACT Tourism to raise the national profile of Canberra leading into 2013 Canberra Centenary. Up to 500 people from across Australia, who are heavy participants in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog etc), are being invited to a free weekend in Canberra. ANBG are participating in this Campaign and will host 200 (of the first 250 participants) (plus media and organizers) on Sunday 28 October between 9 and 10.30 am.; they will be treated to a bush food themed morning tea, children’s activities, a sample of music from 2013 Summer Concerts and a Gardens’ experience; hopefully they will tweet, blog, Facebook and send to their virtual friends accounts of their positive experience. The second intake of 250 participants will arrive in Canberra in February 2013. Over 7000 applicants had been received by ACT Tourism in the first week of promotions for the October visit.

5.4 Treasurer

Motion: That Council approve the audited accounts and payments for the month.

Proposed: David Coutts. Seconded: Barbara Podger. Carried

  • The President indicated he had inspected and approved  the bank statement for August.
  • It  was noted that a request for reimbursement for registration fees at the Port Augusta Association for Botanic Gardens Conference had been received;  payment was approved as per Council's agreement to pay up to a total of $2K for this purpose.
  • It was determined that the reimbursement policy for conference attendance be reviewed to standardize the approach in the future.

Action: Review policy on reimbursement for attendance at conferences.

5.5 Secretary

As the Secretary was away, there was nothing to report other than that covered by the President at item 4.4

5.6 Public Fund

Marion Jones, as Treasurer of the Public Fund, reported that the Public Trust Fund Committee were very keen to fund for $10,000 the extra signage and brochure for the Eucalypt Discovery Walk ( as in item 3.3).  Due acknowledgement will be given on the signs, brochure and in an article for Fronds as well as in the President’s AGM Report.  This is important as it shows what the Public Fund is used for and thus helps to encourage donations.

The Public Trust Fund Committee also approved $10,000 for an interactive, educational project to display a termite mound.  Of the $52,000 available in the Fund, $20,000 had been allocated for 2012.  Funding of a third project might be considered.

5.7 Membership

Council noted the summary.  There are now a total of 1374memberships (some 1768 people in all); there were 42 new members in August presumably attracted by the bonus of an extra 3 months of annual membership if they joined at this time.

5.8 Thursday Talks

The program up until the end of 2012 has been finalized and speakers approached for the first part of 2013 – including the Vice Patron, Mrs Marlene Jeffery.  A replacement on the sub-Committee  is being sought for Peter Davidson, who is stepping down; it was suggested that Beth Heyde be approached.

The talks have been well patronized.

5.9 Newsletter

Fronds – The next edition is due out on 1st December 2012.  Deadlines are: late October for articles and AGM Report; 10th November for “What’s On”.  The editorial committee would appreciate warning in advance of  possible  articles so that they can allocate space.  It is proposed to start a series highlighting different members of ANBG staff in a Q&A format.  The Thursday Talks Program for February to April will be included.

Occasional Newsletter – This will be dispatched within the next few days, with a primary aim to advise of the AGM and the agenda for same. To encourage more people to provide email addresses a competition will be included; winners will receive a DVD “Africa United” donated by Hopscotch Films on submission by email of the first five correct entries to a short questionnaire.

5.10 Guides

  • For the week starting 1st September, the 11 am walk will be a wattle walk and during Floriade the walks at 11 am and 2 pm will highlight spring flowers.
  • Booked Tours will be trialled for the Flora Explorer for $50 for 1 hour for 12 people between 10.30 and 3.30 on weekdays; bookings to made via the Bookshop.  This will not be advertised publically for the time being.

5.11 Social Events  and Activities

  • The Subcommittee will meet on 11th September. 
  • Jennifer Salkeld  will speak to the Guides on 18th September.
  • Bookings for Breakfast with the Birds are relatively poor so far
  • Visits to the Red Centre Nursery and to see the Ellis Rowan original paintings are planned for 2013.
  • Some difficulty has been experienced with the event booking system; Steve Speer is investigating other suppliers.

5.12 Growing Friends

The sale will be on Saturday November 10th . Some difficulty had been experienced recently with the pump which Andy Rawlinson is investigating.

5.13 Website

Updates are being added frequently to the new website in order to encourage people to use it as an information  and news resource.  Send information to website@friends.org.au

5.14 Botanic Art Group

  • Plans for 2013 exhibition are being developed.  The Friends will supply the wine for the opening. 
  • The painting purchased from the 2012 exhibition by the Friends will be given to the ANBG at the AGM for hanging in a prominent location (probably the Dickson Room). 

Action: Rules for guidance on the selection of a painting for purchase by the Friends at each annual exhibition will be developed.

5.15 Photography Group

  • The Schools exhibition is well advanced and being coordinated by Carol Summerhayes
  • Contributions are to be sought for the Photographic Competition being mounted by the ACT Centenary Committee in 2013.

Next meeting of Council – 1.30 pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in the Dickson Room, ANBG


Approved by Council 2 October 2012

D Coutts, President