The stench of a durian fruit has caused a library in Australia to evacuate 500 people.

Fire and rescue teams in the Australian Capital Territory were called out to investigate calls of "a strong smell of gas" inside the University of Canberra library.

"Firefighters have completed a search of the building and located the source of the smell," read a statement from the emergency services department.

"The library is now being reoccupied and the building has been handed back to University of Canberra staff."


Emergency services identified that the pong was coming from a pungent durian fruit.

"We are open!" a post on the university library's Facebook page stated. "The lingering gas-like smell in the building is completely safe – someone left a durian fruit in one of our bins! Very sneaky."

Considered the "king of fruits" in many South-east Asian countries, the distinctive odour of durian is very divisive – food writer Richard Sterling once described it as "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock".

This is the second time in a year that a durian has led to the mass evacuation of a university library in Australia.

In 2018, 600 staff and students at the RMIT campus in Melbourne's central business district were evacuated as 40 firefighters and a specialist crew searched the building for a suspected gas leak.

In November last year a flight was also grounded in Indonesia after fights broke out over a two-tonne cargo of pungent durian.

Passengers on the Sriwijaya Air flight from Bengkulu province in Sumatra to Jakarta on November 5 complained to cabin crew after smelling the fruit and refused to board the flight, the ABC reported.