Illawara 2016 — Day 2: Wollongong Botanic Garden


The second day in the Illawara saw us vis­it the Wollongong Botanic Garden. We’d swapped kayak­ing out for the gar­dens ini­tially due to the price of kayak­ing ($50 pp), which was prob­ably just as well as D, T and N were nurs­ing sore legs from the Kiama Coast Walk.


They ran out of maps for the Gardens, but this map for the exhib­it ‘Sculpture in the Garden’ served just as well. The art­works are avail­able for pur­chase (upwards of $20,000).


This is It Was You I Saw Up Ahead by Tamsin Salehian, an art­work inspired by one of the last examples of a half-house in Australia.


A short dis­tance away is ‘Plume No 2’ by Didier Balez and Paulineke Polkamp.


It’s not a par­tic­u­larly large garden com­pared to the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, but we were in time to catch them in bloom. D and T were happy to relax on a bench, absorb­ing the scenery, while N and I roamed around the flower­ing plants.


These reminded N and me of pipe clean­er crafts.


The bloom­ing flowers were more inter­est­ing than the sculp­tures on dis­play.


That said, I’ve no tal­ent for identi­fy­ing plants. At all.


The shape of the flower on the left reminded us of lav­ender, but they don’t have the tell­tale scent, while the shape of the sal­mon col­oured flowers (right) reminded us of geese.


They also come in plain white, and red and white!


There seem to be a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of pink/​purple flowers in the world.


The flower and leaves of the plant on the right were covered in a furry sub­stance that looked like some defense mech­an­ism against insects/​animals. N and I did not touch!


Sitting some 100 – 150m away one time, D and I con­tem­plated wheth­er the flowers in the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney were canna lilies or sun­flowers. They were canna lilies — we’ll nev­er for­get! And doesn’t the flower on the right have the pret­ti­est petals?


These golden yel­low flowers are just per­fect.


I may not be great with identi­fy­ing plants, gen­er­ally, but I know these are angel’s trum­pet. Fifteen years ago, my loc­al coun­cil man­dated that these plants be removed from back­yards as all parts of the plant can be tox­ic.


They also come in pink. According to Wikipedia, effects of inges­tion [par­tic­u­larly of the seeds and leaves] can include ‘para­lys­is of smooth muscles, con­fu­sion, tachy­car­dia, dry mouth, diarrhea, migraine head­aches, visu­al and aud­it­ory hal­lu­cin­a­tions, mydri­as­is, rap­id onset cyc­lo­ple­gia, and death’.


This Australian bottle tree lives up to its name with the shape of its trunk.


The suc­cu­lent sec­tion is full of spiky plants and The Architecture of Diversity Illawarra 400 by Sharnie Shield.


This huge aloe vera reminded me of Davy Jones from Pirates of the Carribean.


Almost everything is giant, but nurs­ery-sized suc­cu­lents are around too.


This was the largest cluster of flowers we saw in the suc­cu­lent sec­tion.


Are all suc­cu­lent flowers small?


D points out this fern and notes that as a child he’d noticed tiny little eggs lin­ing the under­side of its leaves. They’re still there, and a quick Google explains that while ‘at first glance, the tiny dots on fern leaves may look like an insect infest­a­tion .… As flower­less plants, ferns use these struc­tures as cases that hold their repro­duct­ive mater­i­al’.


I won­der if birds have pecked away at each lay­er on this trunk?


This is Urban Myth by Geoff Overheu, argu­ably the most visu­ally and con­cep­tu­ally fas­cin­at­ing of all the sculp­tures.


The artist’s state­ment reads:

This work is about cre­at­ing that nar­rat­ive with­in the viewer’s ima­gin­a­tion, one that encom­passes all people, no mat­ter where they come from or where they may live.

Barriers take away any neces­sity for us to make decisions. Their func­tion is to guide, dir­ect, pre­vent or divide the flow of human­ity, be it people, cars, bikes, etc. No decision is required once we are con­fron­ted by a bar­ri­er. We simple fol­low the silent instruc­tion that it gives without any recourse to think­ing. The imagery used in the bas relief sec­tions is of past philo­soph­ers, Popes and pop icons, along with the detrit­us of every­day life.

What have the images of Aristotle and Plato got to do with a plastic bar­ri­er? What are Popes doing in the mix? This imagery depicts entit­ies that can form bar­ri­ers to our own think­ing by using their status to guide, dir­ect, pre­vent or divide the flow of our thoughts.

The mater­i­als used bookend two peri­ods of human civil­isa­tion from the Bronze Age to the Plastic Age.


We stumble across a chalk draw­ing of a pair of para­keets.


.…which is right in front of Felix Allen’s Forests of Ancient Illawarra.


These are the roots of a tree, but they look like an army of bird sculp­tures.


A fat duck lazes about in the sun — doesn’t even startle when I get close.


D and I climb up a flight of rocky stairs for a rest, only to find a flight of prop­er stairs down the oth­er side.


This ori­ent­al fix­ture is the Kawasaki Bridge, presen­ted to the City of Wollongong as the fifth anniversary Sister City gift by the City of Kawasaki in Japan.


This is a rep­lica opened in 2005, the ori­gin­al bridge hav­ing deteri­or­ated as the mater­i­als used were not suit­able to Australian weath­er. Bridges that have a curvature sim­il­ar to the round body of a drum (taiko) are referred to as taiko-bashi.


Near the bridge is Ralph Tikerpae’s Into the Future.


T spots the nest of a male sat­in bower­bird. These birds col­lect blue objects to dec­or­ate their nest in a bid to impress a pro­spect­ive female part­ner.


N spots an unmov­ing liz­ard under the Kawasaki bridge…


…and more pretty flowers near the bridge, which three, loud, middle-aged Chinese women have since mono­pol­ised for their selfies.


A sign tells us there’s a wed­ding sched­uled in the rose garden later in the after­noon.


And we fin­ish our time at the Garden with the duck pond.


The algae covered area sur­round­ing the island extends to the area with the bridge.


Signs abound as to what you can and can’t feed the ducks in the pond.


We’re not here to feed the ducks, but we do enjoy watch­ing them swim around the pond.


These are the two old­est and biggest ducks.


D thinks the white is the male and the brown is the female, as the brown one always fol­lows the white.


We spot a gaggle of baby ducks…


…they’re not that pretty up close, though.


N named this duck ‘Classic Duck’ as it has all the fea­tures of a story­book duck.


Classic Duck has some styl­ish moves. As does its friend.


I’d call this the clas­sic duck you see in doc­u­ment­ar­ies. So pretty!


And this poor fel­low had the mis­for­tune of being called the ‘ugly’ duck by D. It’s feath­ers are a mess.


And finally, a pair of dragon­flies to break up all the duck pho­tos.


After spend­ing the after­noon play­ing boardgames, we head out to Wollongong Central.


There’s a ded­ic­ated brownie store — the first I’ve seen of its kind!


And the food court has fas­cin­at­ing decor, with rolling pins lin­ing the columns and colan­der ceil­ing lights.