Tag Archives: melbourne

Rewilding Melbourne’s West.

I live in Altona Victoria, home to Melbourne’s petro/chemical refineries, car plants and other major industries. The main waterway here is Kororoit Creek which was once a beautiful babbling brook but had become an industrial drain.

Unfortunately the original creek escarpment has been all but obliterated, but if you know where to look there are still stone chips left by the Wurundjeri  people  200 years ago. Work has been going on for over 20 years,  dragging away rubbish, landscaping, planting and maintaining. This video shows one  unexpected creature which has come to raise a family here. There is no sound because there is still an enormous tip close by and bulldozers are operating seven days a week. The area is surrounded by factories but this little oasis is showing signs of new life.

Folkc shows  what can be accomplished with a little organization and determination by ordinary people.

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Cardboard Redgums and half-cooked creatures

We have been in residence at Nathalia Grainstore now for one and a half weeks and our redgum (which had to be finished before the weekend due to size limitations) is well on the way.

393A6142.JPG CARDBOARD GLUE GESSO AND PAINT PLUS LOTS OF EFFORT.

Tomorrow is another day and we will be seeing 20 pre-schoolers who will be making superb parrots which will be included in the final installation. Superb parrots are a rare and diminishing species and this part of the country is major habitat, red gums near water seem to be a favourite place for them to find nesting hollows.

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Local lad and workshop participant Ian Bolton heads off with his masterpiece. However not everyone sees benefit in maintaining species and habitat..

THIS IS A HAPPY LITTLE SIGN WE GET TO READ EVERY MORNING ON OUR WAY INTO TOWN.

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I could not have achieved what I have without the help of my partner and lover Heather, who has shown her graphic skills are still up to par.

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Three days remain for my residency and still so much to do. Exhibition is scheduled for June.

 

Arid Australia at the Garden Show, video

Our arid garden installation at the Melbourne International Garden Show seemed to be the only ‘garden’ example not related to people and their leisure activities. We noticed it was those people who had travelled to inland Australia who most appreciated our efforts and who had an interest in how many of our small mammal species are under threat.

 

Communicating species loss…by gardening?

This week Heather and I have been installing a ‘garden’as part of the MIFGUS event, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. I am using this opportunity to introduce the subject of loss of mammal species to a large audience. Here’s some photos of our week’s work. The rock outcrop is in fact made of recycled cardboard, so lets hope it doesn’t rain!

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A blank canvas, the builders had finished their support stucture and gone.
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Placing the stones and ‘outcrop’
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So far so good, we have to finish by Tuesday
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You can always tell who’s boss.
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Eri, Rob’s Japanese girlfriend helps out.

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By Saturday 3pm, the garden instal is starting to gel, but we are all gardened out!

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This flier will be handed out and kids encouraged encouraged to find a Warru.

120,000 people attend this event.

FOUR DAYS LATER….the installation is finished. Here’s how it looks for opening day (Wednesday 16th March)

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Thanks for all the likes and comments..Peter

 

Beauty and terror out west

Werribee Gorge State Park would have to be the most underated and under-appreciated piece of wildlife realestate within one hour of Melbourne. My guess it’s partly because its on the arse-end (western) side of the city, just past all those factories and thistle paddocks. For bell-birds, tall mountain-ash forests and fern glades, go east. We western suburbs boys and girls prefer a landscape with guts, no namby pamby waterfall walks with carpark kiosk here.

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But if you love ‘Rugged mountain ranges and droughts with flooding rains’ and ‘Her beauty and her terror’ the you’ll appreciate this place.

The gorge sits on the fault line which demarcates the sinking basin on which Melbourne lies, and the upland plateau of Ballarat etc. It’s the reason Port Phillip Bay exists. The river, which is really only a stream, has over millions of years cut through the rocks and exposed the underlying sandstone which has been compressed and forced into a serpentine buckle by continental plate action in the ancient past. The power which created this feature must have been unimaginable.

The gorge also is the only place I know which shows signs of glaciation, unusual for Australia.

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The ‘plum-pudding’ deposits of mixed striated rocks show they have been transported in ice and dropped into an ancient  sea at time of melt.

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Striated parrallel gouging is proof of ice embedded rock erosion. Its likely that from where I took the photographs there where icebergs melting above my head! But that was in the times of Gondwana.

Werribee gorge is great place for city people to escape for an hour or two of quiet and a chance to see wild species.

greyfantail Rhipidura fuliginosa

Its a place where superb fairy wren families visit your picnic table if you move quietly, grey fantails and whiteplumed honeyeaters abound.

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and yellow robins heal your soul by looking into your eyes.

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Silver eyes work the eucalypt flowers

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and stiated thornbills call from nearby bushes.

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I also saw a group of red-browed finches

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and white-faced honeyeaters visiting from Queensland for summer.

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fat lacewings provide food for thes birds and by their presence tell us the water quality is clean.

very large fat fly

Atriplex, in flower, attracted these very large flies which like huge bumble-bees zoomed through the bushes.

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The significance of the gorge was understood over 100 years ago when it was declared a “site for a Public Park” in 1907, but no-one has yet found a way to remove the goats (photographed Feb 2016) which destroy the fragile plants growing in inaccessable places, pity. Goats are also rampant in nearby Lerderderg Gorge.

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Photo: Richard Daintree, 1859 (State Library of Vic)

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1896 Working Men’s College Photographic Club camp

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“Taking a Boobook Owls Nest”, 1890 A.J. Campbell  featured in “Nests and Birds of Australia”. The nest was quickly chopped out and three eggs taken therefrom. We may feel shocked by this portrayal of whitefella history, but we have learned nothing, people STILL burn hollows for ‘pleasure’ see https://open.abc.net.au/explore/57124

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Do You See Jesus in your morning toast?

Do you see Jesus in your morning toast?

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Monsters in floorboard woodgrain?  “Researchers used MRI technology to monitor brain activity and determined that the frontal cortex, where expectations are generated, sent signals to the posterior visual cortex, which processes the…” blah blah… it’s just letting imagination flow. Nothing abnormal about this, artists (and scientists) should use this ability daily.

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I’m waiting to hear of a robot which has…. imagination.

Today I’m making arid-land escarpment ‘rocks’ for our MIFGS installation, from cardboard. How? By using my imagination. Children with instruction do this all the time.

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Sadly most people seem to lose this ability as they age. Adults these days require computer generated props or gaming software in order to learn to play. Commercial game makers have become a billion dollar industry by usurping adult imagination.

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Life generally is governed by silent rules e.g. choosing which side of the road to drive, how to speak in a civil way, how to eat with ‘manners.’

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This is something which is governed very much by culture. In China slurping as you eat and messing the table is considered appreciative of a meal, not so in the West. Nose blowing with handkerchief however, is not considered etiquette in the East. I sometimes think a lack of understanding of ‘foreign’ body language is an under-examined cause of conflict.

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Making artwork is one happy place where rules do not apply, in fact artists have a habit of purposefully abandoning accepted ‘rules ‘or ‘manners’ to extend an idea, or experiment on audience reaction. The naked human body is an example of this and has been used by generations of artists in every conceivable manifestation. e.g. Stelarc hangs his naked body on hooks http://stelarc.org/?catID=20325

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If asked how I make or why use a particular method, my answer is inevitably; I use what works for me. Power-saws, hammers and even boots are used to achieve shape. Or, how to determine shape, colour or surface?

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Look at nature; it’s there for the asking.

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So if you see Jesus in your morning toast, don’t despair, you may be an afflicted artist too.

MIFGS, Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show opens at Exhibition Buildings Melbourne, and surrounding gardens, 16th  – 20th March 2016. We will be in the Boutique Garden section.

Partytime, quinces and poo.

Who after watching this could  feel grumpy about a few apples or quinces? How lucky we are to have this beautiful animal adapting its former forest behaviour to live with us. Here I am in the middle of a city of 3 million people and ringtails arrive on the dot of 11pm ready to party.  They sleep by day in nests they’ve made around the neighbourhood, eat their own poo (special daytime poo which they need to digest their food) lick their paws, yuk!(two digits forward, two digits behind). Then shove the kids in the pouch if tiny or sling the whole family on the back and told to hang on tight.