3.2.3 Security and fire management


As custodian of a significant Commonwealth biological collection, the Gardens has responsibility for the security and maintenance in perpetuity of this collection. The collection is not generally open to the public, although anyone with a bona fide research interest is granted access. The collection is housed in secure, weatherproof buildings, within a locked boundary fence and with security patrols at night. The specimens are stored in robust steel cabinets, with close shelving to reduce physical handling and damage. Since the buildings are situated in large areas of bushland, great attention has been paid to fire prevention, from both inside and outside the buildings. A boundary sprinkler system is designed to prevent fire getting into the Gardens, and the Herbarium is fitted with an external drenching system and an internal, central gas fire-extinguisher system. In addition, hand-held extinguishers are situated throughout the buildings. Staff are trained in the use of these systems.

It should be noted that water on dried herbarium specimens can do as much damage as fire. Disaster contingency plans include bulk freezing of waterlogged specimens until means can be found of drying them.

Management prescriptions


The objective is to provide a safe and secure environment for the storage of the collection in perpetuity.


The physical security and storage of the specimens will be maintained at current levels; specimens will not be stored in physically insecure environments. The buildings will have approved fire prevention measures, such as flame retardant gas and drenches, both internally and externally, and these will be independently inspected and tested on a regular basis. Staff will continue to receive regular training on the use of the herbarium drenches and the gas retardant systems.

The central gas extinguisher is based on a chemical that no longer meets required environmental standards. The system is large and will remain in place until a safe means of disposing of the gas and a suitable replacement system can be found.

The site disaster plan will be reviewed to ensure that adequate provision is made for the security and recovery of specimens and printed material.