Today I inspected the latest milestone in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens expansion, the planting of a rare 250-year-old Cycad tree — which now stands as an impressive centrepiece of this project.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Got a problem in your suburb that needs fixing? email me at

To give you an idea of the scale of the tree, it weighs a whopping two tones and stands at 6.5 metres. It originated north of Injune in South West Queensland and was sourced from a tree plantation in Northern New South Wales.

The Cycad is the oldest known plant species to human kind as they were around when the dinosaurs were grazing this land and every country has their own indigenous cycads. Ours is nicknamed ‘Captain Cook’ as it is has been alive since before the First Fleet arrived!

There are four smaller 30-year-old Cycads also being planted in the Gardens Cycad collection and at least one of these trees is a female, so there is the potential for the 250-year-old male Cycad to fertilise and produce further Cycad trees in the Gardens.

This Cycad tree was a rare find and represents the quality of species being planted among the 31,000 individual new plants that will form part of an impressive collection for the Botanic Gardens expansion.

The new area will feature more than 1100 different plant varieties, including Queensland native Bottle Trees and Palms up to five metres in height, so this will be a great area to use from day one.

In addition to the plantings, new features, including an 18 mega litre lagoon, forest and lagoon walks, picnic facilities, nature-themed playground and an interactive kitchen garden, will be added to make this the largest upgrade of the Gardens since its opening in 1970.

A great deal of work had gone into the design of the Gardens expansion.

We’ve consulted extensively with the curating team to ensure the final design will add to the social amenity, connectivity and open space, adding to the Gardens’ reputation as one of Brisbane’s most popular tourist destinations.

I’m looking forward to opening this new space for Brisbane residents and our many visitors to enjoy.