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Event description


Date: Thursday 18th August 2022

Time: 7.30pm - 8.30pm

Location: Theatre, Level 2, Powerhouse Museum

Price: Free

As part of Sydney Science Festival, and in conjunction with the major exhibition Eucalyptusdom, the Powerhouse presents Sentinels of a Changing Climate. Our expert panel will discuss the impact of climate change on the Eucalypt and potential solutions to save our much-loved gum tree.

From the bush to our own backyards, the Eucalypt is the stalwart of the Australian landscape. With over 800 species spread across the country facing extreme heat, drought and bushfire, the future of the iconic eucalypt is tied to our own survival.

From preserving genetic diversity and experimental adaptations, to applications of traditional knowledge, this panel will explore the impacts of climate change on the environment, the solutions we need to conserve our unique wilderness.

On at Powerhouse Ultimo till 28 August 2022, Eucalyptusdom reckons with our cultural history and ever-changing relationship with the gum tree, presenting over 400 objects from the Powerhouse collection alongside 17 newly commissioned works by creative practitioners working across the fields of design, architecture, film, applied arts and performance.

This event is part of the Powerhouse Lates program for Sydney Science Festival.


Victor Steffensen is an Indigenous writer, filmmaker, musician and a traditional knowledge practitioner. A descendant of the Tagalaka clan, from North Queensland, much of his work is based on the arts and reviving practical traditional knowledge values; particularly Aboriginal fire management, with Aboriginal and non-indigenous communities. He is a co-founder of the Firesticks Alliance, which involves a large community network across Australia. Steffensen is an Honorary Doctor of Science through James Cook University and the author of Fire Country (Hardie Grant, 2020) and the children’s book, Looking After Country with Fire (Hardie Grant, 2021). His artistic label Mulong has published music tracks and videos such as Great Land, and Cool Burning.

Dr Rebecca Jordan is a CSIRO Research Scientist who employs the latest (landscape) genomics approaches to understand how climate and environment have shaped genetic variation in trees and uses this to predict how they may respond to changing climates. Working with a diverse range of colleagues her research works to inform restoration efforts – guiding where to source seed to capture variation resilient to future climates; and to predict the vulnerability of natural trees stands to climate change, helping to highlight priority areas for conservation.

Professor Belinda Medlyn is an ecosystem modeller whose work aims to predict possible futures for vegetation in Australian and globally. She works closely with experimental researchers and citizen scientists to study how trees are affected by rising CO2, droughts, heatwaves and fires. She has a particular interest in how the many different species of Eucalypt have adapted to their environments and what that means for their resilience in the future. She is a Distinguished Professor at Western Sydney University.

Rae Johnston is a multi-award-winning STEM journalist, Wiradjuri woman, mother and broadcaster. The first Science & Technology Editor for NITV at SBS, she was previously the first female editor of Gizmodo Australia, and the first Indigenous editor of Junkee.  She is a part of the prestigious ‘brains trust’ the Leonardos group for The Science Gallery Melbourne, a mentor with The Working Lunch program supporting entry-level women in STEM and an ambassador for both St Vincent De Paul and the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge.

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