Australia’s biggest and newest Herbarium facility, with a collection of more than one million plant specimens, has opened in its new Western Sydney home at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.
Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the National Herbarium of New South Wales would become an important cultural and scientific asset and safeguard the Australian Institute of Botanical Science’s growing collection of important plant specimens.
“It is fitting that this world-class facility has found a new home in the growing Western Parkland City, made possible through a commitment of $60 million from the NSW Government as part of the Western Sydney City Deal (WSCD),” Mr Ayres said.
“This has brought an important cultural and scientific attraction to the west and more than 100 leading scientists to work in Sydney’s south-west.”
Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes said the new Herbarium held one of the most significant and precious botanical resources in the Southern Hemisphere.
“This world class facility will play a crucial role in discovering, understanding and protecting specimens for future generations and reinforce the Australian Institute of Botanical Science as a global plant science leader,” Mr Stokes said.
“In the midst of climate change, habitat loss and the extinction crisis, Australian scientists are more motivated than ever to ensure plant species are conserved, which is vital to all life that depends on them.”
Member for Camden Peter Sidgreaves said he was proud to welcome the Herbarium to Sydney’s south-west after close to 170 years at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
“With more than 8000 new plant specimens being added to the collection every year, the Herbarium will support vital scientific research and be essential in informing decisions about the conservation of our natural environment,” Mr Sidgreaves said.
“The project has generated more than 350 jobs already, with expectations to create more as the science hub expands and gives the region an economic boost with plans to host public programs.”
The facility’s innovative, functional, and sustainable design is inspired by the waratah seed pod of New South Wales’s floral emblem.
A key feature of the facility are the six protective vaults with precisely controlled environmental conditions, which are assisted by the building’s elegant, long span “fly-roof” to shield the collection from bushfires and extreme weather conditions.
As part of the move to the new facility, the largest herbarium imaging project in the southern hemisphere took place to capture each specimen as a high-resolution image to create a new tech-enabled era of management.
The WSCD is a partnership between the three levels of government overseen by the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, the NSW Minister for Western Sydney, the Hon Stuart Ayres MP, and the eight Mayors of the Western Parkland City.
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