Darwin arborist Bill Sullivan has been tasked with the development of a Tree Protection Plan for the Boab tree together with 21 Bismarckia Palms on the site boundary.

Bright future for historic Boab tree

Darwin arborist Bill Sullivan has been tasked with the development of a Tree Protection Plan for the Boab tree together with 21 Bismarckia Palms on the site boundary.
Darwin arborist Bill Sullivan has been tasked with the development of a Tree Protection Plan for the Boab tree together with 21 Bismarckia Palms on the site boundary.

The historic Boab tree on the site of Charles Darwin University’s city campus will be protected and become a key feature of the new campus into the future.

The new precinct is the centrepiece of the Darwin City Deal and will feature a new CBD campus for CDU, the Northern Territory Library and extensive greened public areas.

The heritage-listed and century old Boab tree, which is believed to have been planted in the 1880s and was a landmark of the original Darwin Primary School and Darwin Adult Education Centre that previously occupied the site.

The Boab tree, expected to be more than 140-years-old, is a tangible reminder of the history of education on the site that dates back to 1877 and the future learning and education services that will be provided to students on this site for years to come.

A protection zone around the Boab tree has been established around the tree and an expansive landscaped area will be created on the site to create the best environment for the Boab.

Darwin arborist Bill Sullivan has been tasked with the development of a Tree Protection Plan for the Boab tree together with 21 Bismarckia Palms on the site boundary.

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman AO said the university was proud to have the much-loved Boab tree on its grounds to be enjoyed by generations to come.

“We know how special this tree is to the Darwin community – that’s why we’re ensuring it’s front and centre in the next chapter of learning on this historic site,” Professor Bowman said.

“Excavation for the main building had been carefully considered around the tree to not disturb the root system,” Professor Bowman said.

“Upon arborist advice, we are going to build a raised wood deck around the tree to reduce soil compaction from foot traffic impacting the root system. This will make the tree a central feature of the new campus while also ensuring its ongoing health.”

Mr Sullivan said the preservation of the Boab tree would be an integral part of the development.

“Careful planning will be required at all stages of the project to ensure its historical and cultural values are preserved for future generations,” Mr Sullivan said.

Under the Tree Protection Plan, tree protection zones will be established on the site to eliminate the potential for damage to the trees by excavation and construction.

“Not only will the trees on the site be protected, but they also will now be cared for and regularly maintained,” Mr Sullivan said.

Irrigation, fertiliser and mulch will be used to maximise the health of the trees. If dust becomes an issue on the foliage, they will be hosed clean.

The construction phase of the project is expected to begin in the middle of the year and run until late 2023. The City Deal is a joint initiative of the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the City of Darwin.

Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman AO, inspects the completed excavation for the Education and Community Precinct.

Excavation celebration – new CDU city campus reaches major milestone

Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman AO, inspects the completed excavation for the Education and Community Precinct.
Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman AO, inspects the completed excavation for the Education and Community Precinct.

Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) new city campus has reached a significant milestone this week with the excavation for the main Education and Community Precinct building completed ahead of schedule.

Carried out by Darwin business DTA Contractors, the excavation involved digging a 73-metre-wide and 71-metre-long hole to a depth of seven metres to accommodate a two-level basement carpark.

Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the new precinct is the centrepiece of the Darwin City Deal.

“The new precinct is one of the most significant construction projects in Darwin for a long time, delivering state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities, an art gallery and library that will open up remarkable opportunities for students and the broader community,” Minister Fletcher said.

“Territorians will continue to see new jobs and more cash flowing across local businesses as we continue to progress projects under the Darwin City Deal.”

Northern Territory Minister for Jobs and Training, the Hon Paul Kirby MLA, said the project is a major win for local jobs and the NT economy.

“The Education Precinct is the centrepiece of the Darwin City Deal, with the construction phase delivering 730 jobs, and the precinct forecast to provide a $600million boost to our economy,” Minister Kirby said.

“It is also backing local business and keeping Territory tradies in jobs – and this is why this precinct is so important for the Territory’s economic comeback.

“We need to get more people into the heart of our city and position Darwin as a world-class spot to study, upskill and reskill.”

Senator for Northern Territory, Senator Dr Sam McMahon, said all on-site works have been delivered by Territory businesses so far, with excavation alone supporting the employment of 50 local workers.

“I am very pleased to see this exciting project for Darwin is already providing local job opportunities, which means much-needed employment and economic stimulus for the Territory at such a critical time in our recovery from the impacts of COVID-19,” Senator McMahon said.

“The progress already made is nothing short of spectacular and a sign of the transformational impacts this Deal is having, with excavation alone removing 37,170 cubic metres of soil from the site, which is the equivalent of more than 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Bowman AO, said being in the heart of the city means the university will become more accessible for the community and important stakeholders in government and business.

“Increasing engagement with the local community with a city campus is a priority for the university,” Professor Bowman said.

“So many of the Darwin community have or are attending CDU, and it is a lot easier to keep that bond with the local community if we are right in the middle of the city promoting our work and specialities.”

Detailed design of the project is being finalised, and CDU and consultant partners are working together to meet the conditions of its development approval.

The construction phase of the project is expected to begin in the middle of the year and run until late 2023.

Once complete, the Precinct will house CDU’s Asia Pacific College of Business and Law, the College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society, IT teaching, the university’s International College and Art Gallery.

For more information on the Darwin City Deal visit: infrastructure.gov.au/cities/city-deals/darwin.