The Ian Potter Foundation and Commonwealth Government fund conservatory for Canberra


The Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra will soon begin work on a $3-million national conservatory. The Ian Potter Foundation has generously matched the Australian Government funding for this project in the largest ever private donation to be received by National Botanic Gardens.

The Ian Potter Foundation National Conservatory will present Australia’s amazing array of native tropical plants to more than 450,000 visitors a year.  

Senator for Australian Capital Territory, Zed Seselja said the conservatory would be a great addition to tourism in the bush capital.

“The Conservatory will add a unique experience to the capital’s reputation as a growing, vibrant and sustainable city, with national and international visitors able enjoy flora from Australia’s Top End and remote islands” Senator Seselja said.

“The Coalition Government announced the 20-year Master Plan for the Gardens in June and provided $5 million in funding. Less than six months later we are starting work. This is the first major infrastructure project for the master plan which will see the Gardens remain at the forefront of botanic gardens world-wide” Senator Seselja said.

The Ian Potter Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Craig Connelly said the Melbourne-based not-for-profit was thrilled to make such a big contribution to Australia’s environment and to the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

“Not only will this conservatory house some of Australia’s rarely seen and most spectacular tropical plants, it will provide a gateway to learning and discovery for families from all over the country to discover significant flora in a purpose-built, accessible environment,” Mr Connelly said.

“The conservatory will become an icon for Canberra. It will display hundreds of species of sub-tropical and tropical plants, from Christmas Island and Norfolk Island to Kakadu, as well as seasonal displays of native flowering orchids - and all in a building with the latest sustainable energy technology.”

The iconic nature of the conservatory will be reflected in its unique and innovative design and its integration and compatibility with the surrounding landscape. The conservatory will be a space for educational programs, functions and a diversity of visitor experiences.   

For more on the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ Master Plan visit