City of Trees, the National Library of Australia’s Centenary of Canberra exhibition, tells the real story of the nation’s capital – from its very roots.

The new exhibition, which opens on Friday 5 July, is the creation of British artist Jyll Bradley who, in 2011, was invited to Canberra to explore its potential for a Centenary project.  It became clear immediately that the city’s trees were intrinsic to its history.

 ‘Every tree has a story behind it,’ Bradley said. ‘So for City of Trees, I conceived an installation revealing how trees, treescapes, tree-related folklore and personal histories form a vital and pervasive backdrop to life in Australia’s capital. For me, it’s all about who you are through what you plant.’

 Bradley, who trained in London at Goldsmiths and at the Slade School of Fine Art, spent many months in Canberra researching for the exhibition. Working with National Library staff and its collection, she also travelled throughout the capital recording stories and capturing images for the exhibition.

  ‘Trees tell the story of Canberra, just like a book – you can read what has happened – fire, drought, rain – by evidence on the tree. And where better to stage such an exhibition than at the National Library of Australia. The treasury of stories in the Library’s collection has connections with trees in the many leaves of paper that act as doors to human feelings and achievements.’

 The exhibition runs from 5 July-7 October 2013, National Library of Australia, Canberra.


The media is invited to a preview of City of Trees at 11am on Thursday 4 July at the National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Media Contact: Sally Hopman 0401 226 697 or

 City of Trees is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government, the Australian Government and the National Library of Australia.