Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin's love of nature was life-long and spanned multiple continents. When Marion was a child her family moved to Hubbard Woods on the shores of Lake Michigan. There, her parents gave their children free rein to explore 'Mother Nature's paradise’, and Marion took great pride in her ability to scale trees of any height. Similarly, Walter's family members recalled him patting the plants and flowers in his family garden as a child. After success in the Federal Capital Design Competition in 1912, the Griffins travelled to Australia and were instantly captivated by the Australian flora.
When selected as the site of the Federal Capital, Canberra was far from the bush capital people know today. A 1918 Afforestation Report described the pastoralists who had settled on the site as the 'worst enemy of the real forest country.' They had cleared the land of native vegetation and left it barren and rabbit infested. In 1913, horticulturist Thomas Charles George Weston (1866-1935) was appointed as officer-in-charge of afforestation and tasked with rehabilitating the site.