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Description and plan (including name and location)

Section 4, Block 7, Yarralumla
Street Address: Banks Street, Yarralumla, 2601
Building 002 – Forestry House
Building 009 – Former Forestry School
Building 010 – Former Museum Store
Building 017 – Store

Discrete heritage place identification number for each place

Place ID: 105426
Place File No: 8/01/000/0369

Details of ownership or other tenure arrangements

The site is currently leased by CSIRO. CSIRO has control of the site and is therefore responsible for heritage management.

Summary description of any significant physical characteristics and elements of the place

The CSIRO Forestry Precinct comprises about 11 hectares of land that includes groups of buildings mainly comprising the former Australian Forestry School that are clustered around an oval, plant nursery and arboretum.

The former Forestry School is significant for its architectural design, its contribution to the townscape and its place in the early social history of Canberra. The buildings (main building and former museum building) are good examples of the simplified Classical approach common to Federal Capital Commission designs of the period. The timbers used in the building are examples from every Australian state and an effort has been made in the design to use otherwise common timbers in a decorative way. Significantly, Australian timbers have been used instead of exotic timbers.

Sequential summary of the use of the place

  • 1927 – 1968: Australian Forestry School
  • 1968 – 1975: Forestry and Timber Bureau
  • 1975 – 2004: CSIRO Division of Forest Research/CSIRO Corporate
  • 2004 – Current: External tenant

Statement of significance, identifying heritage values and specifying any that are Commonwealth Heritage Values

The Australian Forestry School, consisting of the former school building, the former museum building and the formal landscaping surrounds, has strong associations with the early development of the federal capital. It was designed and built as part of the Federal Capital Commission's building program, and was one of a few institutions established by the Commonwealth. It reflects the Commonwealth's effort to establish a national forestry school in the new national capital to produce professional foresters for federal and state services and forestry research workers.

The establishment of a national forestry school was part of the national approach to many issues that followed Federation in 1901 and the international growth of forestry and forest industry. (Criterion A4) Australian Historic Theme 8.10: Pursuing excellence in the arts and sciences, advancing knowledge in science and technology.

The Australian Forestry School is a fine example of the Inter-War Stripped Classical style of architecture, being symmetrically composed, divided into vertical bays, with a central entrance and roundels suggestive of classical entablature. Other features are stepped parapets, round arched openings at the entrance and projecting bay ends, and a hipped tiled roof. (Criterion D)

The school, including its formal landscaped frontage, in its setting of mature pine forest plantings has aesthetic value for its historic character. As the terminal feature of the Schlich Street axial vista, it creates a major landmark feature in Yarralumla. (Criterion E1)

Central to the building is a magnificent domed hall which features the use of superbly crafted Australian timbers from various states of Australia in panelling, flooring, ribs for the dome and light fittings. (Criterion F1)

The school has social importance to the former students educated at the place. (Criterion G)

The school has a strong association with its principals who were also pioneers of forestry research in Australian, Charles T Lane Poole and Dr Maxwell Jacobs.(Criterion H)

A record of any other heritage listings

Also on former National Heritage List – RNE 013338.

Dates and natures of any works, maintenance or other activity that is relevant to conservation of heritage values

Buildings have been internally modified with creation and/or demolition of walls over the years.

1998 – The buildings were painted (using heritage approved paint) and terracotta tiles replaced on Forestry School Building. The former museum building was refurbished in a manner sympathetic to the main building.

Property or information access restrictions/requirements

The building is currently occupied by external tenants. Access is limited and must be arranged through CSIRO Business and Infrastructure Services. For access to this premises, please e-mail

Consultation requirements relating to the place


Relevant conservation documents or references

  • 2008 Heritage Management Plan prepared by Peter Freeman Pty Ltd Conservation Architects & Planners
  • 2001 Conservation Management Plan

A record of when information has been updated

2001 and 2008.

Records of any objects that are significant by association with the place, indicating their current location and/or archived records of particular importance to the heritage values of the place

The Max Jacobs Collection includes the following:

  • Two chairs of Queensland Maple – possibly ex original Meeting Room of Forestry School
  • Secretaire – made primarily from Queensland Maple and formerly part of the furnishings in the principal’s office
  • Long Queensland Maple table supported on three pairs of legs – originally located in the Australian Forestry School Library
  • Dr Max Jacobs’ office chair
  • Dr Max Jacobs' papers and personal items

 Collection stored in another CSIRO Building.

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