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The National Research Collections Australia is home to 15 million natural history specimens that are used by researchers, government and industry to describe, manage and benefit from Australia's rich biodiversity.

Our collections are located in Canberra, Hobart and Cairns.

Our collections precinct in Canberra would include a new National Collections Building, jointly funded by CSIRO and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

A new collections precinct in Canberra

Our collections precinct would co-locate four collections:

Architect's impression of the New Collections Building. ©  Hassell

  • Australian National Herbarium, including CSIRO's Dadswell Memorial Wood Collection
  • Australian National Insect Collection
  • Australian National Wildlife Collection
  • Australian Tree Seed Centre.

The Australian National Herbarium and the Australian Tree Seed Centre are already located on the site of the new collections precinct. Their existing buildings would undergo minor upgrades.

We propose that a new National Collections Building would accommodate the wildlife and insect collections. It would provide:

  • modern storage facilities for our collections
  • storage for ethanol-preserved specimens
  • new molecular laboratories
  • dedicated digitisation facilities.

We anticipate that building works would commence in early 2022, with the project completed in the latter half of 2023.

Accessing our collections during the relocation

The Australian National Algae Culture Collection and Australian National Fish Collection in Hobart, Tasmania and the Australian Tropical Herbarium in Cairns, Queensland would not be impacted by this process.

We expect minimal disruption to the operations of the Australian Tree Seed Centre and minor impacts to loans, students and visitors at the Australian National Herbarium.

The Australian National Insect Collection would move only a few hundred metres from its current location, however this would involve significant disruptions to all activities as a result of relocating our 12 million specimens and associated research equipment. We anticipate visitors, loans in/out and enquiries that require access to the collection to be interrupted for 24 months. 

The Australian National Wildlife Collection would move a distance of around 10 kilometres from its current location. Physical access to our specimens for visitors and external researchers would be impacted during the relocation for around 24 months. We expect to be able to continue responding to requests for tissue grants, except while the freezers are being moved.

For more information, please contact

Dr Andrew Young

Director, National Research Collections Australia

Dr Leo Joseph

Director, Australian National Wildlife Collection; Group Leader, Vertebrate Collections (NATL COLLECTIONS & MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE)

Dr David Yeates


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