On Thursday 31 October 2013 the Red Centre Garden was officially opened at a ceremony starting at 10.30 am.
The Master of Ceremonies was the Gardens' Director, Dr Judy West, with key-note speeches from the Director of National Parks, Peter Cochrane, and Parliamentary Sectretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator Simon Birmingham, following a 'welcome to country' smoking ceremony conducted by Aboriginal elder Aunty Jannette Phillips.
Senator Birmingham said in his speech:
"This garden has been three years in the design and making. It's a major new development for our national botanic gardens and a new tourism attraction for the Capital.
"In a first for Canberra, the garden features the arid landscapes and iconic plants of Central Australia. It's great to be here today and see the striking red sand, dunes and rocks and desert trees and plants.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back in 12 months' time and seeing this arid landscape taking shape, with the classic trees and shrubs of our country's heart broken up by a creek bed and a carpet of desert wildflowers. You'll be able to get a unique sense that you're on a trek through Central Australia itself, while standing at the foot of Black Mountain.
"I congratulate the Gardens and their staff on their passion and spirit. This is a place that continues to inspire, inform and connect people to the native plants of our country. Where else in Australia can you see so many tens of thousands of Australian plants, and walk from the Tasmanian garden up through the tropical rainforests past the alpine plants to the Red Centre.
"What a great gift to celebrate the centenary of Canberra. There's nothing more appropriate to the bush capital than a garden that celebrates our country's diverse and fascinating landscapes."
Following his speech Senator Birmingham formally opened the Garden.