Students Staff

08 August 2013

Australian High Commissioner discovers Marks Hall history

Australian High Commissioner with Professor James Raven

His Excellency The Hon Mike Rann and his wife Sasha Carruozzo with Professor James Raven at Marks Hall

Australian High Commissioner His Excellency The Hon Mike Rann visited Marks Hall near Coggeshall to discover more about a section of the estate devoted to species from the Southern Hemisphere and a research project led by the Department of History at the University of Essex.

During a tour of the estate the former Premier of South Australia planted a Wollemi Pine in the Gondwanaland section of the estate’s gardens and discussed the history of Marks Hall with Professor James Raven.

Professor Raven is a Marks Hall trustee who is also leading a major research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which is piecing together its past. As part of the research project an archaeological dig is being undertaken at the site which Mr Rann was able to visit.

With the Gondwanaland section the Marks Hall estate has devoted a little corner of Essex to the plants of Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere and the visit by Australian High Commissioner offered a chance to celebrate those links with Down Under.

Australian High Commissioner plants Wollemi pine

His Excellency The Hon Mike Rann plants a Wollemi pine in Gondwanaland at Marks Hall assisted by Senior Arborist Ian Chandler watched by trustees and guests

General manager Rebecca Lee said: “The Trustees and staff at Marks Hall were delighted to welcome Mr Rann to the Estate. The Wollemi pine planted in Gondwanaland is our 73rd of the planned 100 Wollemi which will eventually complete the Southern Hemisphere section of the Arboretum. ”

Gondwanaland is situated in an area that was devastated by the 1987 hurricane and has therefore been cleared of the conifer crop. Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) are an important feature.

With less than 100 trees known to exist in the wild it is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival. Sheltered on the western edge by the planting of Nothofagus (southern beech), 200 Eucalyptus trees have also been planted so on warm days the oil aroma provides a heady scent. In addition to the Wollemi Pine, there is also an experimental planting of Cordyline australis, the Cabbage Palm, Agapanthus and Cortaderia richardii New Zealand Pampas.

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