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Canberrans have been invited to celebrate a massive fundraising achievement by local individuals, groups and organisations with the opening of the AIDS Garden of Reflection by the Chief Minister at the National Arboretum on Sunday 2 April.

The launch of a permanent memorial to those who have died of AIDS, which will provide a private place of peace and reflection within the Arboretum’s Gallery of Gardens, follows a huge five-year fundraising drive by the Canberra community.

“Richard is a long-term HIV community member and Canberra icon and has led the charge to make this memorial a reality,” Ms Moss said.

“Finally, Canberrans will have their own space to remember those lost to AIDS and increase awareness about AIDS prevention.

“There are so many others including ActewAGL, our own Patron John Mackay, the Snow Foundation, the AIDS Trust of Australia, the ACT Government, the John James Foundation, King O’Malley’s and of course the National Arboretum who have contributed to a giant community effort.

We thank them all and it is immensely satisfying that the AIDS Garden of Reflection will come into being five years after Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched a campaign to support the project at the 2012 AIDS Candlelight memorial event.”

The AIDS Garden of Reflection will be a permanent, secluded place of tribute and memory within the National Arboretum’s Gallery of Gardens as a place of peace and reflection.

This site and other AIDS memorials around Australia have the power to positively influence public awareness, provide a place of sanctuary for those mourning lost loved ones and reduce the stigma which still remains for those who lose people in their life to HIV in Australia.

“We have great confidence that the AIDS Garden of Reflection will provide a place for not only remembrance and reflection, and also inspiration and community building,” Ms Moss said.

“With the support of the Canberra community, this garden has the power to become a focal point and a call to action.”


Come along to celebrate the official launch of the AIDS Garden of Reflection.

This garden will be a special place Canberrans can visit for peaceful reflection to ensure those who have passed from HIV/AIDS are not forgotten and inspire continuing action to eliminate new HIV transmissions and stigma for those impacted by HIV.

What: The Official Launch of the Gallery of Gardens, including the AIDS Garden of Reflection.

When: Sunday 2 April 2017, 12pm – 3pm

Where: National Arboretum, Forest Drive Canberra.


The realisation of a permanent AIDS memorial in the National Capital is nearing with the ACT AIDS Action Council working hard to reach its fundraising target of $125,000 for the AIDS Garden of Reflection at the National Arboretum.

Personal donations from AIDS Action Council Patron John Mackay, community groups and other donors including the Snow Foundation currently total $95,000 leaving a shortfall of just $30,000 still to be raised.

“We are so grateful to the community for its generosity in supporting this important initiative,” said AIDS Action Council Executive Director Philippa Moss.

“We could never have imagined raising this sort of money and now we are so close, the dream is almost a reality,” Ms Moss said.

The 500sqm AIDS Garden of Reflection will be located adjacent to the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion in the Arboretum’s Gallery of Gardens, a series of seven connected gardens to be developed on the Events Terrace. It has been designed by renowned Melbourne-based John Patrick Landscape Architects, who have worked previously on projects in Yarralumla and Old Parliament House. 

Snow Foundation CEO Georgina Byron said: “Throughout the world memorials such as this help to forge links between the generations, those who have lost a loved one and those who experience HIV.

“The space will provide, in perpetuity, a place of reflection so that the lives of people who have died from HIV and AIDS are not forgotten and their story is known by future generations.

“The garden is not only about remembrance and reflection but also about inspiration and action. Most memorials are built after the struggle is over; but there is no cure for HIV, people continue to be at risk and we need to work together to eliminate HIV in our community,” Ms Byron said.

Canberrans have another opportunity to support fundraising for the AIDS Garden of Reflection this Thursday 11 August at an evening to remember the founder of Canberra’s Interchange General Practice and HIV/AIDS campaigner Dr Peter Rowland, who was killed 20 years ago. 

“We invite everyone to join us in this important community fundraising initiative and enjoy a great variety of local wine, craft beer and delicious canapes. Thanks to the generosity of King O’Malley’s, all proceeds raised will go towards the AIDS Garden of Reflection,” Ms Moss said.


Australia’s first AIDS Garden of Reflection begins construction

As Prince Harry and Elton John team up at the 2016 International AIDS Conference in South Africa, locally the AIDS Action Council of the ACT recently secured a significant contribution of $25,000 from ActewAGL to assist in the construction of the AIDS Garden of Reflection.

After 10 years of planning and fundraising, construction of Australia’s first AIDS Garden of Reflection will begin on Monday 25 July at the National Arboretum Canberra.

The AIDS Garden of Reflection is the brainchild of Richard Allen (also known as Rachel), who came up with the idea of the garden in 2006 after losing a friend to HIV. Richard, who has been HIV positive for 27 years, also lost his partner to AIDS in 1994 along with 12 other friends the same year.

Richard said that the idea of the garden was to give people a way to remember those affected by the disease that isn’t a cemetery setting. “I wanted somewhere to remember my friends who I lost too soon. Going to a cemetery is so hard because you’re surrounded by people that loved ones have buried. I wanted the garden to be somewhere tranquil, peaceful and heartfelt to be with the people we’ve lost in spirit.

“The garden will be for everyone who’s suffering, everyone who needs somewhere to sit and remember the good times. My partner is not buried in Canberra but was raised here and we lived our lives together here so I wanted a place to bring his spirit home.

“Canberra is the perfect place for the garden and the Arboretum is so peaceful and harmonising; it’s the perfect place to sit and look over the lake and Black Mountain Tower,” said Richard.

Richard began raising funds for the project in 2006 but it was a slow process. In 2012 he approached the AIDS Action Council of the ACT with the concept of the garden.

“The AIDS Action Council has been fantastic. I’ve been a volunteer for over 30 years and when I approached them about the garden idea they got right behind it and began fundraising.”

AIDS Action Council Deputy Executive Director Sue Webeck, said “The AIDS Garden of Reflection will give many people a place to go and remember those who have died as a result of HIV or AIDS. It will provide a place for the community to gather and inspire action in the continued effort of “getting to zero” (zero HIV transmissions globally). There is no cure for HIV; people continue to be at risk and the AIDS Garden of Reflection will provide us with a centrally located, highly visible reminder of this as well as a place to stand in solidarity for those living with and impacted by HIV and AIDS.

“The contribution from ActewAGL to our fundraising campaign has significantly supported us in reaching our target. Although we still need another $50,000 to complete the project we are now beginning construction; a very important milestone in the project,” said Sue.

ActewAGL Director Marketing and Corporate Affairs Paul Walshe said “We’re very proud to have been able to help the garden reach the construction stage. This will be an important and special place for many people in our region who have been touched by HIV or AIDS and we look forward to seeing Richard’s vision of a peaceful, reflective garden come to life.”

Patron of the AIDS Action Council of the ACT John Mackay generously provided a kick-off donation of $10,000 to begin fundraising and he’s been instrumental in assisting the Council in securing the National Arboretum Canberra as the site of the garden as well as involving businesses in Canberra in the cause.

“ActewAGL's donation has given our fundraising campaign a huge boost. They have a long history of supporting causes that are important to our community and I think it’s a great recognition of the many members of our local community, including ActewAGL staff and their families, who have been touched by the harsh impact of AIDS over the last 30 years,” said John.

Sue urges the community to take part. “We still need the community to get behind the project and help us to raise funds, they can make a tax deductable donation, turn up to one of our fundraising events or share a story of how HIV/AIDS may have impacted their life.


The John James Foundation’s Board has announced today the Foundation will support the AIDS Garden of Reflection with a generous donation of $10,000.

The John James Foundation is Canberra’s leading medical charity, located in Deakin in the Australian Capital Territory.  As a not-for-profit organisation, the Foundation supports volunteer medical programs and a range of medical education activities.  It also provides funds for local, grassroots charities and organisations that align with the Foundation’s objectives.

The Foundation’s programs and activities are wide ranging.  They include the provision of specialist medical services, without charge, to Indigenous Australians in remote regions and similar activities in the Solomon Islands, support for student doctors and medical research, donations to Canberra based charities with a health focus, a major project to provide purpose-built patient accommodation and new office facilities for the Leukaemia Foundation in Canberra at the John James Village in Garran and funding for specialist medical equipment and capital works as part of the Hospital Partnership.

 “Canberra’s beautiful National Arboretum is a fitting place for the location of the AIDS Garden of Reflection,” said Mr Phil Greenwood, CEO of the John James Foundation, when handing over the donation.  “The Foundation is proud and excited to be part of this great initiative and is pleased to kick-start the funding appeal that will support its construction”.

Designed as a peaceful place of contemplation, the garden will join other significant spaces throughout Australia which provide an opportunity for families, friends and supporters to heal, develop hope and remember the human tragedy of the global AIDS pandemic and its ongoing effects. 

Philippa Moss, Executive Director of the AIDS Action Council said “The vision for the Garden is to create a secluded area for reflection which provides a sense of comfort and sanctuary, featuring the views and character of the surrounding landscape.  The Garden will provide a special haven where visitors can remember and honour those lost to AIDS, reflect on their own lives and contribute to their understanding of HIV and AIDS.”

Designed by Melbourne’s John Patrick Pty Ltd Landscape Architects, the AIDS Garden of Reflection will include seats, a water feature and a unique sense of place. It will also feature as cohesive element of the National Arboretum precinct. 

The Council is running a funding campaign to reach its $125,000 target to complete the Garden.  This support has come from community members, people living with HIV, their family and supporters raising funds from the humble Aussie fundraiser – the sausage sizzle.  The John James Foundation has also generously provided a kick off donation of $10,000. 

“We look forward to the support of community members in Canberra and those throughout Australia to help us build this significant place of reflection,” said Ms Moss. “As a result, we will be making some special event announcements in the near future to keep the campaign moving”. 

Donations can be made here. All donations are fully tax deductable and receipts are provided.