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   Issue 6 of Wollemi Watch
>> Newsflash: Wollemi Pine a Diplomatic Gift to Austria
>> Behind the Scenes: Chris Pavich, NPWS Ranger
>> Wollemi Pine Meets Mickey Mouse
>> Wollemi Pine Conservation Club: 10 Year Anniversary Celebrations?
>> Fact File: How Fast and How Big Will a Wollemi Pine Grow
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Did you know?
The Wollemi Pine will be available for sale in 2005/6. This date has been set to allow sufficient time for horticulturalists and scientists to research and cultivate the plant so as to secure the ongoing survival and conservation of this rare and threatened species.

As the 2005/6 public release of the Wollemi Pine in Australia and internationally is expected to generate widespread demand, we encourage all potential buyers to register their interest by subscribing to the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club.

As a subscriber, you will receive Wollemi Watch - a quarterly e-newsletter covering the latest product information and research findings on the Wollemi Pine. Closer to the release date of 2005/6, we will also provide you with details on how you will be able to purchase your own Wollemi Pine.
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Happy festive season and welcome to the sixth edition of Wollemi Watch, a quarterly online newsletter for Wollemi Pine enthusiasts the world over.

This edition reports on an exciting time in the life of the Wollemi Pine. As the one year countdown to the horticultural release of the Pine has begun, the popularity of the ancient conifer species is growing worldwide. The first Wollemi Pine has arrived in Europe as a diplomatic gift from Australia to Austria and Tokyo Disneyland has welcomed a Wollemi Pine to be displayed in its Adventureland. New information on its growth habit highlights the versatility of the Wollemi Pine as both an indoor plant and garden tree. We feature the important work of the parks ranger responsible for caring for the Wollemi Pines in the wild and report on the 10 year anniversary celebrations of the discovery of the Wollemi Pine. A new wallpaper is also on offer to refresh your PCs over the holiday period.
Get your new wallpaper. link

Wollemi Pine a Diplomatic Gift to Austria

Newsflash: Wollemi Pine a Diplomatic Gift to Austria

Australia has gifted a Wollemi Pine to the Vienna Botanic Gardens to celebrate its 250th anniversary at an historic handover ceremony in Vienna on 2 November 2004.

The Australian Ambassador to Austria, Ms Deborah Stokes, presented the 1.5m Wollemi Pine to Dr Karin Vetschera, Head of the Institute of Botany of the University of Vienna launching the first public display of a Wollemi Pine in Europe.

"The gift of Australia's oldest and finest botanical treasure represents the strong and enduring friendship Australia enjoys with the people of Austria", said Ms Stokes.

The handover ceremony was followed by a scientific symposium with experts presenting on topics such as the significance of botanical links between Australia and Austria, the story of relic conifer species, and the importance of plant conservation for botanic gardens.

The Vienna Botanic Gardens is located close to the centre of Vienna and covers an area of 8 hectares featuring more than 9,000 cultivated plant species. The Wollemi Pine display is located near the Palm House and the the Gardens are open daily and free of charge.

Following the display at the Vienna Botanic Gardens, the Wollemi Pine will be moved late 2005 to its permanent home at the historic Palm House at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Schönbrunn Palace. The Palm House was first erected in 1881 and is 113m long with a 28-metre high central pavilion and two lateral pavilions creating 3 distinct climates for showcasing exotic plants from around the world.

The Wollemi Pine will no doubt be a star attraction among the 6.7 million people that visit the impressive palace complex each year.

Special thanks go to Austrian Airlines for sponsoring the freight of the Wollemi Pine from Australia to Vienna.

For more information on Schönbrunn and the Palm House link
For more on the University of Vienna Botanic Gardens link

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Behind the Scenes with Chris Pavich

Behind the Scenes with Chris Pavich

Chris Pavich has worked as a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger in the Wollemi National Park area for the past 16 years. He was therefore on hand to assist in researching the Wollemi Pine when David Noble, a fellow ranger, first discovered the Jurassic conifer in 1994.

"I was really excited to learn that something extraordinary had been found in my patch and I worked closely with David and Wyn Jones from NPWS to find out if anyone in the region had knowledge of this very unusual tree," Chris explains.

Chris is one of the few select researchers permitted to visit the Wollemi Pines in the wild in his role as the site manager and member of the Wollemi Pine Recovery Team since 1997. His main responsibilities include site monitoring, site security and fire management in the area.

A key concern for Chris is unauthorised visits to the site as diseases and root pathogens could be introduced to the fragile wild population via the boots of walkers. Bushwalkers could also trample the seedlings on the forest floor which would destroy the chances of new trees developing among the population.

To ward of unwanted visits, the NPWS will fine any person closer than 500 metres to the wild population without the consent of the NPWS Director General. Penalties of up to $220,000 also apply to people found to be damaging the wild population, as specified under the National Parks and Wildlife (Land Management) Regulation (1995).

Chris regularly conducts site surveillance patrols to deter potential visitors and reduce the threats posed to the site. He also acts as a community liaison officer to ensure neighbours in the Wollemi National Park are on the look out for illegal visitors.

Chris' authorised visits to the site are conducted in accordance with the Wollemi Pine Access Strategy as set out in the Wollemi Pine Recovery Plan to minimise threats to the Pines in the wild.

"We ensure that there is limited and careful movement of researchers about the site so as to reduce the impact of soil compaction and to eliminate seedling trampling. Site hygiene is also vital so all gear and boots are disinfected and new gear used when appropriate."

Chris believes that by educating the public about the dangers of visiting the site, threats to the wild population will be reduced and the Wollemi Pines will have the opportunity to survive undisturbed for millions of years to come.

Prior to his current role, Chris has had 30 years of experience working on various conservation projects in Australia and overseas. He has conducted geomorphological fieldwork in the Kimberly region in Western Australia, worked on the establishment of the Canberra Nature Park, and has also been based in the UK as an engineering geologist.

Stay tuned to hear more about people like Chris who are working to conserve and protect the Wollemi Pine for current and future generations to enjoy.

For more on the Wollemi Pine Recovery Plan. link
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The Wollemi Pine Meets Mickey Mouse

The Wollemi Pine Meets Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters are set to become the Wollemi Pine's newest friends with the Pine's first appearance at Disneyland, Tokyo.

Mr. Henry Palaszczuk MP, Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Queensland presented the "Jurassic Tree" to Mr. Toshio Kagami, the Managing Director of Oriental Land Co., Ltd. (OLC), the owner and operator of Tokyo Disneyland, at a ceremony attended by Mickey Mouse on 16 November 2004.

The Wollemi Pine is to be planted in "Adventureland", one of the seven Disney theme lands which is part of the Western River Railroad section of the theme park. A dinosaur is also to be added to the area where the Wollemi Pine is to be displayed.

Visitors to Disneyland Tokyo will be able to learn about the fascinating history of the Wollemi Pine aboard a real steam train journey through the wilderness of an exciting primeval world.

The Wollemi Pine is a fitting addition to the theme park which aims to foster a love of learning in young people and give them a taste of the exotic and unknown.

For more information on Tokyo Disneyland link
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10 Year Anniversary Celebrations

Wollemi Pine Conservation Club: 10 Year Anniversary Celebrations

The 10 year anniversary of the discovery of the Wollemi Pine was celebrated at the Mount Annan Botanic Garden in Sydney on September 10, 2004.

David Noble, who miraculously discovered the Wollemi Pine in 1994 attended the event and was invited to speak about the day he stumbled upon the ancient conifer.

"It looked totally different to anything I had ever seen before and completely out of place in the forest dominated by coachwood and sassafras. The bark was weird and bubbly and the foliage was really distinctive," said David.

His instinct to take a fallen branch for identification led to what has been dubbed today as the botanical find of the century. It has also resulted in a project to propagate the Wollemi Pines that is set to safeguard the survival of the species for future generations to enjoy.

The anniversary celebrations also culminated in David planting a commemorative Wollemi Pine at the Mt Annan Botanic Gardens.

In addition to David's speech, Patricia Meagher from the Botanic Gardens Trust presented updates on research relating to the Wollemi Pine and Wollemi Pine International updated guests on the latest news of the Pine in cultivation.

Invited guests to the celebration included members of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens and Wollemi Pine Conservation Club members. In the words of one Club member, "I was really glad to be invited and it was great for me to discover more about the Wollemi project and the people working around it."

We would like to thank all that attended the event, especially our Wollemi Pine Conservation Club members for their ongoing support and interest in the Wollemi Pine.

See more frequently asked questions more frequently asked questions

Joining the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club registers your interest in purchasing a Wollemi Pine when they are released in 2005/6.
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How Fast and How Big Will a Wollemi Grow?

Fact File: How Fast and How Big Will a Wollemi Grow?

The Wollemi Pine is a very versatile and hardy plant and it adapts to its environment by its growth rate and changes in foliage colour.

The Wollemi Pines are very slow growing in the wild and can remain as small seedlings for up to 50 to 100 years. With its remote location, deep in a gorge within the Wollemi National Park, the Pines in the wild experience only 10% of light per day. Those that are able to reach the light can grow up to 40 metres over several hundreds of years.

Under optimum growing conditions, 50 per cent high shade and 50 per cent side shade, with protection from wind, high light and other environmental factors, the Wollemi Pines' growth rates are quite outstanding. In such conditions and with fertilisation, the growth rate of the Wollemi is closer to 0.5 metres per year for smaller sizes and up to 1.5 metres per year for larger sizes.

These growth rates will not apply if the Wollemi Pine is kept indoors in low light situations. With its strong but not invasive root system, the Wollemi Pine can be containerised and maintained in a home, office or patio setting with a reduction in growth rates. For instance, if a Wollemi Pine is kept in a small 15-20cm tall pot indoors, it will remain compact. Regular pruning will assist in a potted Wollemi Pine maintaining its attractive bushy form. Significant trailing has been conducted, including in air conditioned environments, which affirms the suitability of the Wollemi Pine as an ideal indoor plant.

Due to its unusual and interesting growth habitat, growing a Wollemi Pine will be a journey of discovery. Under optimum conditions in the growth seasons, the apical shoots can grow up to 50 cm vertically in the space of a month and then cease with lateral buds developing in the following few weeks. The branches will then begin to unfurl on both the primary and secondary shoots. This very distinct new apple-green foliage provides a striking contrast to the older grey-blue foliage of the plant.

When placed in the full sun, similarly to other rainforest and Araucariaceae species, the Wollemi Pine will lighten in colour as a response to the increased light exposure. However after the Pine adapts to its full sun position after a six month period, the Pines' foliage will return to its regular colouring and grow actively. The Wollemi Pine can also be pruned and shaped which will help the tree become bushier and aid in growth management.

The versatility of the Wollemi Pine as an indoor, patio/container plant as well as a feature tree in large gardens means that anyone who wishes to care for one should be able to make a suitable home for their Wollemi to enjoy with friends and family.

Want to experience the Wollemi Wilderness? Download your own Wollemi wallpaper >> Click Here
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Photos: Sue Stubbs and Wollemi Pine International
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