Chief Minister Gallagher said 40,000 trees across 100 forests have been planted on the 250-hectare site, with many of the trees being threatened species.
“The National Arboretum site has emerged from the ashes of devastating bushfires, to be transformed into a place of beauty, tranquillity, recreation, research and learning.
“With Canberra’s changing seasons and the continual growth of the forests, a visit to the Arboretum will be a different experience each time. As well as the majestic views across Canberra, the Village Centre’s range of interactive displays reveal the stories, people, wildlife and science of the Arboretum’s rare, endangered and symbolic forests.
“The opening of the Arboretum is a fantastic way to start Canberra’s Centenary year. 2013 will be a year of celebrating what we have achieved as a city in this comparatively short time.
“I particularly would like to acknowledge the vision of former ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope for pursuing this project, for without his steadfast commitment, this ambitious project would not have been realised.”
Minister Simon Crean said the $20 million provided by the Commonwealth for the Arboretum showcases the strong and still growing partnership between the Commonwealth and ACT Government.
“A project of great historical significance, today marks the realisation of a concept first envisioned in Walter and Marion Griffin’s plan for Canberra which won an international design competition in 1912,” Mr Crean said.
“Their plan envisaged establishing an international arboretum to the west of the lake.
“The fires of 2001 and 2003, which impacted the pine plantation which formerly occupied the site, presented the opportunity to progress this vision.
“No attraction in the ACT complements the notion of the ‘bush capital’ and garden city better than the Arboretum.”
A special community open day event will be held tomorrow on Saturday, February 2, from 10 am to 3 pm. It will feature live music throughout the day as well as interactive workshops, talks and art activities.
The Arboretum will be open seven days a week every day of the year. The Village Centre, with a visitor display and cafe, will be open 9 am to 4 pm daily (except for Christmas Day). More information at nationalarboretum.act.gov.au