Denman W18 Masthead 2

More than a seat with a view

Jessica Schumann

It’s the classic story of love and what better day to share their story then today, on Valentine’s Day.

While working as a scientist at the CSIRO, Dr Ron Hackman met his wife and CSIRO illustrator, Yvonne. They wed and upon Ron receiving a scholarship offer for a PhD, they packed up and moved to Cambridge in the UK. for two years, before returning to Canberra to raise a young family of three daughters including Jocelyn Plovits.


Dr Ron Hackman and his beautiful bride, Yvonne.

A healing legacy filled with memories from throughout their life, the National Arboretum offered the elderly Canberra couple who were married for 63 years, more than just a place to picnic.

“Mum and Dad had a particular spot where they loved to sit together on Dairy Farmers Hill,” says Jocelyn, a Friend of the Arboretum.

“They spent hours together just sitting there looking out to the mountains.”

When Ron passed away a couple of years ago, his loving and devoted wife, Yvonne, purchased a bench chair in memory of her husband through Friends of the Arboretum. The chair was place in their special place so that future generations can enjoy the spectacular view.


Dairy Farmers Hill holds a special place in Yvonne Hackman’s heart.

When Yvonne has trouble remembering all of her adventures with Ron a simple visit to their spot on Dairy Farmers Hill brings back a flood of memories, ensuring she’s never short of a smile or two.

“She and Dad loved the mountains and spent happy times skiing at Mount Franklin—you can see the mountain chain from the seat shed donated,” shares Jocelyn.

“Through Dad’s career (as a scientist at the CSIRO), he and Mum travelled the world and so the Arboretum…represents so many of the amazing trees they had seen on their travels.”

The Arboretum celebrated its two year birthday earlier this month and witness many weddings and celebrations throughout its very young life. Says Jocelyn, “People understand that planting a tree is an act of hope, a belief in the future; what better place to hold a ceremony like a wedding.”

That’s exactly what Jocelyn’s son, Nick, and his now wife, Tabitha, chose to do.

“Nick and Tabitha were visiting from Darwin to explore potential places to be married in Canberra,” says Jocelyn.

“When I took the up to Dairy Farmers Hill to show them the Arboretum, they were amazed and decided then and there that this significant place would always be significant to them.”

Nick and Tab wedding

Nick and Tabitha wed at Dairy Farmers Hill in 2012.

On Wednesday 12 December 2012 they were married and now the Arboreutm will forever remain a particularly special place for this family.

Ron and Yvonne’s bench is not the first to be purchased nor the last with 15 donations gathered by the Friends of the National Arboretum that will see the installation of seats in many meaningful locations and plenty of room for more. Each bench chair is marked with a plaque to let visitors know of the celebration of life—forever to be remembered at the Arboretum.


While each chair installed marks a special memory for those who donate it, Jocelyn says it also offers visitors something equally special.


“All of the seats offer a place to pause, reflect, rest and take in the fabulous views.”

If you would like to make a donation, email Jocelyn Plovitis (Project Manager) for more information or visit the Friends of the Arboretum website. There are two levels of tax deductable donations: $5,500 for most locations, $10,000 for special locations such as the top of Dairy Farmers Hill or on the Event Terrace.


Jessica Schumann

A 'rambling ranga' at heart, Jessica Schumann is a bubbly, creative social thinker who thrives on words, social media and an innate knack for sharing stories. When she finds the time to write, Jessica seeks out the beauty in change and the essence of human condition. Varied and diverse in nature, her writing delves into the enviable world of people, travel, food and culture. When you can't find her in a nook writing, just follow your nose and you’ll soon find Jessica indulging in her other passion – cooking – or curled up on the couch with a good book in hand. You can find her over at More about the Author