Wollemi planted for World Environment Day

A Wollemi Pine was planted in the Antarctic garden at Kingston to mark World Environment Day on June 5. The planting was presided over by Professor Pat Quilty — the driving force behind the Antarctic garden — and Australian Antarctic Division Deputy Director, Virginia Mudie. The pine is an appropriate addition to the garden because fossil remains have been discovered throughout Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica — including pollen fossils collected by Professor Quilty in the Prydz Bay region of Antarctica. Wollemia nobilis belongs to a 200 million-year-old plant family, the Araucariaceae, and was thought extinct until bushwalker, David Noble, discovered a stand of them in the Wollemi National Park, near Sydney, in 1994. About 100 trees have since been found in the wild, and thousands have been cloned and sold around the country — the Antarctic Division tree is number 72 000.