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Arboretum foundation memberships for sale

David Marshall of the Canberra Business Council at the National Arboretum. The Arboretum is set to charge $10,000 each for 200 "foundation memberships".

David Marshall of the Canberra Business Council at the National Arboretum. The Arboretum is set to charge $10,000 each for 200 "foundation memberships". Photo: Melissa Adams

Canberra's National Arboretum will sell ''foundation memberships'' for $10,000 each as the marketing and sponsorship of the centenary project begins in earnest.

The Canberra Business Council will announce the memberships for sale at the Arboretum's first major corporate function next month and hopes to raise $2 million by recruiting 200 companies, families and individuals.

The chairman of the council's tourism taskforce, David Marshall, told Fairfax that fund-raising would go into a National Arboretum Trust, a non-government entity set up to provide a perpetual fund to develop the landmark attraction.

Mr Marshall said that ''up to a dozen'' sponsorship and marketing opportunities were being developed for the arboretum as it prepared for its grand opening on February 1 and that bookings were flooding in from couples who wanted to get married at the precinct's new pavilion.

The council will begin its marketing push for the memberships on February 7, at the arboretum's first major corporate function, a dinner for 400 people at the Village visitor's centre, named after local building outfit Village Building Company, which has already donated more than $1 million to the project.

''The first thing we're going to do is focus on foundation memberships, which will be at a cost of $10,000,'' Mr Marshall said.

''We want 200 members, either corporations, individuals or families who might wish to be part of that initiative, a bit like the National Gallery where they have foundation members.

''We'll put a board up which will be there in perpetuity and it will be something very special.

''We're thinking that a lot of people will take it up.''

Mr Marshall said the money raised would go to the arboretum's independent trust.

''All that money will go into the Arboretum Trust, so it's totally separate from government.

''It will be a trust that will build over time with that money, and the interest from that money, used to further develop the arboretum,'' he said.

''We've got about 15 [members] already and that's just from having a chat with people, with no publicity, so the enthusiasm is definitely there.''

But other sponsorship ideas are in the pipeline, Mr Marshall said.

''You can purchase a seat, not just little things but quality, quality seats and they are around $5500.

''There's another one that is around $10,000 and I'm sure a lot of families in Canberra would want to do that; it's something they'll always have because there will be a plaque there to let everyone know who donated it.

''There will be a number of walking trails and they will be available too for sponsorship, so naming rights will be available for sponsorship around the arboretum.

''Picnic areas too are being developed and they too are available for sponsorship''

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