New multi-functional stage to make Arboretum a major performance venue

Ian Bushnell 14 February 2019 24

The National Arboretum is turning into a tourism bonanza for the ACT. File photo.

The National Arboretum is set to become a permanent performance venue with plans to upgrade the amphitheatre and build a multi-functional performance stage.

The Midyear Budget Review has earmarked $210,000 for early planning work for the stage, as well as the proposed hotel for the national attraction.

A study and design package will look at the development of the stage at the bottom of the amphitheatre and a development strategy for the hotel.

The Midyear Budget Review says this will be in support of the National Arboretum Canberra Master Plan 2018, which sets out the benefits of enhanced visitor experiences and commercial opportunities.

The move comes soon after the release of a tender for 12 kilometres of new multi-use trails across the Arboretum.

The Government is moving to make the most of the key attraction, recognising its huge tourism potential as hundreds of thousands of visitors a year make the climb up the hill to take in the panoramic views and explore the grounds.

The Arboretum has been hosting one-off amphitheatre performances for years, and last year’s Anthems concert featuring the likes of John Farnham was a sellout.

Last year’s Anthems concert was a sellout event. Photo: Facebook.

The installation of a permanent, covered stage would increase the frequency of concerts and community events, and make them more commercially viable and secure.

It would also be an alternative to Stage 88 at Commonwealth Park.

The proposal for a boutique hotel has been in the works as far back as 2016, and last year Chief Minister Andrew Barr identified a 1.7-hectare site south of Dairy Farmers Hill with unsurpassed views.

Mr Barr had said the site would go to market this year and he hoped to attract international bidders.

The National Capital Authority will have to sign off on any proposal.


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24 Responses to New multi-functional stage to make Arboretum a major performance venue
Naomi Mathers Naomi Mathers 10:01 am 16 Feb 19

Darren Waite hopefully they add more parking and better traffic management at the same time

Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 7:43 am 15 Feb 19

As long as they get the transport to events worked out... 😂

Tom Keogh Tom Keogh 6:06 am 15 Feb 19

Anything is better than stage88

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 1:58 am 15 Feb 19

Leave the Aboretum as a peaceful , natural masterpiece and stick with stage 88 for events

Bin Barnier Bin Barnier 11:20 pm 14 Feb 19

Exciting times 😁

Natalie Brown Natalie Brown 10:48 pm 14 Feb 19

Agreed, the traffic at Anthems was an absolute nightmare - put me off ever going to another event there.

The show itself was awesome.

Jen Wright Jen Wright 10:42 pm 14 Feb 19

They will need better event management than they had for anthems if this is going to work.

    Nic McNaughton Nic McNaughton 11:59 pm 15 Feb 19

    Jen Wright absolutely agree. Parking debacle, ridiculous food and beverage rules etc

Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 10:29 pm 14 Feb 19

yeah but no pill testing on NCA sites so will they stop this site too?

Robyne Mitchell Robyne Mitchell 10:07 pm 14 Feb 19

There's plenty of room to build a multi storey car park with moveable walkways to the seating venue, let people bring in their own food and chairs, then provide big bins for all the rubbish left behind after the event. Go for it.

Alicia Flack-Kone Alicia Flack-Kone 10:07 pm 14 Feb 19

Yes totally agree Tracey. Also, there needs to be more than 1 way in and 1 way out when it traffic!

Stephen McPherson Stephen McPherson 9:45 pm 14 Feb 19

I can see Highland Light playing here one day! 🤩

Tracey Crump Tracey Crump 9:37 pm 14 Feb 19

This has plenty of potential, but traffic will be an issue, and food seems to be hopelessly inadequate at all these events. Either allow people to bring their own food in, or actually provide affordable, decent quality catering options that haven't got wait times of over 30 minutes or have just run out completely by half way through the event.

    Lisa Ries Lisa Ries 7:16 pm 15 Feb 19

    Tracey Crump i agree re catering, last weekend at John Butler stage 88 was terrible

Brenda Lander Brenda Lander 9:32 pm 14 Feb 19

Agree that Anthems was such a wonderful event but most definitely traffic /people control and catering was nothing short of a complete disaster. Maybe the planners could also look at use of less plastic.

    Bec Moroney Bec Moroney 10:07 pm 14 Feb 19

    Brenda Lander if they fixed up the traffic and let us bring in our own food ( im happy to buy drinks ) it would have been PERFECT

Melissa Woolf Melissa Woolf 9:28 pm 14 Feb 19

Traffic and food needs to be addressed for any permanent co very venue there.

Bec Moroney Bec Moroney 9:21 pm 14 Feb 19

The stage and venue was awesome at Anthems. But they will need to really seriously look at traffic leaving the venue....that was atrocious!

    Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 9:48 pm 14 Feb 19


    Bec Moroney Bec Moroney 10:05 pm 14 Feb 19

    I was lucky enough to catch a lift out with a friend who was a VIP . we were out in 20 mins. I know people who were still waiting for over an hour just to get on a bus. Into the city. I think the IDEA was great but poorly executed. But im not angry was their first time can only get better 👍

    Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 7:45 am 15 Feb 19

    Bec Moroney they knew from previous events. They just couldn’t/didn’t want to

    Alison Elliott Alison Elliott 8:45 am 15 Feb 19

    And I'd do vip again Bec Moroney just to avoid the traffic nightmare, they need more roads in and out. They should just let us organise the events lol

Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:08 pm 14 Feb 19

Every day this destination becomes less of an arboretum and more of a theme park for most things that have little relevance to growing trees.

I think the general concept of an arboretum is one of a place to merge one’s senses with nature; definitely not a place to hear over modulating performers trying to make the audiences’ ears bleed.

We the ratepayers are the financial stakeholders in this bottomless pit. When are we going to see a balance sheet and business plan?

In the meantime, the chief minister is to build a “boutique” (there’s the favourite buzz word again) hotel there. What next, an international airship port?

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