The National Capital Authority is renewing the lawn and trees located in the forecourt of the National Library of Australia.
The renewal works include the replacement of the existing trees, replenishment of the soil, upgrades to the irrigation system and the installation of new grass. The works are scheduled to be undertaken between March and July 2023.
The replacement of the trees is required to restore a suitable level of quality to the forecourt area. Over the past 60 years, several of the trees have been removed and many are in a weakened state with missing or falling branches. The trees have been assessed as being in a state of deteriorating condition and unlikely to return to full strength or character as originally intended.
The replanting of the trees in the forecourt of the National Library of Australia (NLA) will retain the cultural heritage characteristics that contribute to the significance and formality of the forecourt setting.
The identified heritage values of the trees within the forecourt of the NLA are:
Given the heritage significance of this site the existing trees species, Populus nigra ‘Italica’, will be maintained for this landscape renewal.
The NCA was issued a permit by the ACT Government to plant trees that are regulated under the ACT Government’s Pests, Plants and Animals Act 2005. The permit has been granted on this occasion in recognition of the unique heritage site and characteristics required by Populus nigra ‘Italica’ to maintain the heritage values. The ACT Government also noted the very high standard of maintenance the NCA will undertake to reduce any impact on surrounding areas as a result of this tree species being replanted.
Recognising the significance of trees under the management of the NCA and considering the age and ability for adaption to the changing climate of the wide and varied species of the significant treescapes, the NCA undertook detailed considerations for the species selection. Planning for the tree replacement commenced in 2017, running parallel with the development of the NCA’s Tree Management Policy.
Heritage studies and assessments were undertaken, along with soil analysis. A range of tree species were identified and considered that may assist in conserving the heritage values of the formal forecourt planting. A program of works was established and subsequently the planning approval processes commenced.