Beyond the ex-urbs and over the paddock fence lies the other Australia: A living land (and marine shelf system) that has endured for 45 million years but which, from many perspectives, is now damaged beyond repair. The life-forms, physical landscapes and ecological systems it nurtured over that time gave rise to the Australia found by successive waves of human immigrants an inestimable gift from deep time. In a very real sense, the genomes of Australia's contemporary native plants and animals are an encoded treasure trove of the land's prehistory they have the continent's millions of years of evolution hardwired into their paws, beaks and twigs. A gift from before clocks kept time. AFR 5-4-2002

Pushed along by immigration arising from the Millennial Drought, growing numbers of birds (and animals) are now calling cities home. These are the urban adaptors – creatures who have learned to live with us along with invertebrates. Still others are urban avoiders who can’t live with us and suffer when their habitats are overwhelmed with loss of bushland and farmland due to urban expansion.

For the adaptors, cities are increasingly evolutionary hot spots – places where speciation is quite rapid. A deeper understanding of habitats (esp. their importance to the avoiders), whether as public lands or private gardens, is key to conserving vestiges of that other Australia as desiccation encroaches on the land under climate change.

This platform therefore aims to drive that understanding and provide sound leadership for habitat preservation and expansion. It taps into advances in high end sense & display technologies that can bring the natural sceneries in city settings to inspire us and to strengthen our appreciation of the importance of Nature in circumstances where city dwellers have become profoundly disconnected from natural processes.