Saturday, 19 August 2017

Family day at the Australian PlantBank

As part of National Science Week the Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan held the Plant Bank Party.

This family focused activity encouraged visitors to explore the mysteries of seeds, rainforests, rocks, reptiles, flowers, insects and botanical drawing.

The PlantBank Party was promoted as activities and games that would keep the kids interested and intrigued.

The Australian PlantBank entrance at the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan in 2017 (ABG)

On his visit to the PlantBank Party this blogger found a host of things to keep the visitor intrigued and interested. Professional staff were on hand to help the inquiring mind of grown-ups and little-grown-ups with answers to a host of questions.

The Australian PlantBank
The Royal Botanic Garden website states
The Australian PlantBank is a science and research facility of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and is located at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. It houses the Trust's seedbank and research laboratories that specialise in horticultural research and conservation of Australian native plant species, particularly those from New South Wales.
Some of the furry friends on display at the PlantBank Party for families at the Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan (I Willis)

Back-of-lab tour

The grown ups and littlies had the opportunity to do a back-of-lab tour which entered areas off-limits to ordinary visitors. Our expert guide took the visitor through the seed preparation area and sorting areas.

Our guide explained the ins-and-outs of collecting seeds in the field. We all had a look through a microscope at some acacia seeds. They look different up close.

Different seeds have different protection and can be hard to germinate. Some are triggered by bushfires and the lab has to copy the conditions of a bushfire.

The mysteries of mechanical seed sorting were demonstrated and shown how much time and energy it saves. Manual sifting is no fun and very slow.

The visitors looked through the heavily insulated tripled glazed window, (and they are 4-hour rated fire proofing as well) into the area of the cool room (4 degrees) and cold room (-20 degrees). Here the seeds are kept for years, sometimes decades.

Some of the thoughts for visitors to consider at the Australian PlantBank ABG (I Willis)

The tour then looked into the x-ray seed facility and finally back along the corridor to the plant-tissue culture room for preservation of plants where seeds cannot be preserved, eg, rainforest seeds.

Occasionally the seeds in storage are brought and propagated in the nursery out-the-back of the laboratories.

The nursery area had a scrumptious sausage sizzle run by the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living for the hungry.


There were lots of activities for kids and big-kids. Doing  a botanical drawing while looking at the original is harder than you might think.

Big-kids had the opportunity to ask tricky questions of the experts on hand - propagation, pollination, ecologist, germination, and lots of others.

Visitor promotion at the Australian PlantBank ABG 2017 (I Willis)

Why is the Australian PlanBank important?

The website states
The Australian PlantBank brings together, under one roof, seed and living plant collections that form a resource for identification, research and restoration of Australian plants. The main function of the Australian PlantBank, through its science activities, will be to document the biology of species through studies in the field, the laboratory and in cultivation. It will therefore enhance other conservation initiatives as it will provide a unique function as the repository of regenerative material and the associated knowledge.

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Friday, 18 August 2017

Preview of Alan Baker Art Collection

In July 2017 there was a preview of Alan Baker Art Collection at the Tegel Gallery at Cobbitty.

This is the invitation to the preview of the Alan Baker Collection at the Tegel Gallery, Cobbitty in July 2017. The painting used on the invitation is Alan Baker's Lady in Pink (Marjorie). Marjories was Alan's wife.
Work is coming along on the new Alan Baker Art Gallery that is going to be located in the iconic Italianate style Macaria in John Street Camden. The building is currently surrounded by scaffolding and a construction safety fence. The original chimney's are being replaced by the heritage construction company doing the restoration work. They are currently on view at the Camden Museum.

Roger Percy with latest promotional material for the Alan Baker Art Gallery at Macaria at the Tegel Gallery Cobbitty preview of the Alan Baker Collection in July 2017. Behind Roger is the Alan Baker's portrait of Majorie Alan's wife. (I Willis)

There will 77 works by Camden artist Alan Baker (1914-1987) on loan from Max Tegel and Garry Baker, Alan's son, dating from the 1930s to the 1980s.

The gallery will have themed rooms around commercial artist, still life, flowers, portraits and landscapes.

Macaria will also house the Camden Art Prize Collection for care, storage and management.

Roger Percy spoke at the Camden Historical Society on the plans for Macaria in April 2017. He outlined the progress of the project and the conceptual design of the interior and how the art works might be displayed around the walls.

It is anticipated that the gallery will open later in 2017.

The gallery will looking for a friends of the gallery and is looking for volunteers.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Out and about in Cootamundra

The HN blogger was out and about in Cootamundra recently in the New South Wales Riverina. The town has been immortalised in the song 'Cootamundra Wattle' by John Williamson where he sings about the flowers in July.

The Post Office on the corner of Cooper and Wallendoon Streets Cootamundra designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnet in 1880  (I Willis 2017)

The town was originally settled in the 1860s when gold was first discovered in the area.
The post office building shown here was designed by colonial architect James Barnet in 1880. The Australian Heritage Database describes it
The building reflects well the characteristics of Victorian Italianate architecture and its clocktower is a superb focal point in the town centre. The building is two storey and built of face brick with stucco dressings and stucco to the tower. Decoration includes stucco to window arches, and imposts and cornices; there is a dentil course to the eaves of the main roof and across the tower. A verandah has an iron roof and paired timber posts. The building's main roof is hipped and clad with corrugated iron. Of four storeys, the clocktower is the post office's major feature.
The town centre is an interesting place to wander around and the HN blogger discovered this Art Deco Style shopfront in Wallendoon Street near the Post Office in the Norfolk Building.

The Art Deco Style shopfront from the Interwar period is located in the Norfolk Building in Wallendoon Street near the Post Office. 2017 (I Willis)

The Norfolk Building that the shopfront is located in is dated 1889.

The Norfolk Building with Art Deco Style shopfront in Wallendoon Street near Post Office 2017 (I Willis)

The Norfolk Building is listed on the Cootamundra Heritage Inventory as a building of local significance under the 2013 Cootamundra Local Environment Plan Heritage Schedule. The heritage inventory lists over 140 buildings of interest in the town area.

The Cootamundra Herald (14 July 2014) reports:
Plans for the building were drawn up by his brother in law, architect TD Morrow.  Mr Burgess purchased the land on which the shops stand from the then Bank of Australasia (now Custom Accounting). The construction was completed in October of 1899, with locally-sourced labour carrying out the majority of the work. Falconer Bros made the bricks and they were laid by Ford Bros (although the contractors were named as Sorenson & Ramburg of Sydney). McBeath & Co supplied the timber. Plasterer was Mr Grinrod and T Fisher did the painting, while GH Bundock asphalted the front footpath.

Learn more about Cootamundra: 

Cootamundra Heritage Inventory 2013 LEP

Australian Heritage Database Cootamundra Post Office

Norfolk Building Cootamundra Herald 14 July 2014

Learn more about Cootamundra  at Australian Heritage

Out and about in Yass

The HN blogger was out and about recently and called into Yass, NSW.

Yass is about 280 south-west of Sydney on the route of the Old Hume Highway. The site for the town was gazette in 1837.[4] Yass was incorporated as a District Council in 1843, and boasted a population of 274 by 1848.

The former Australian Arms Inn Comur Street Yass built 1862 (I Willis 2017)

One of the buildings in Comur Street, the main street, is the Australian Arms Inn built in 1862 as an inn. 

Commemorative plaque on the former Australian Arms Inn in Comur Street Yass b.1862 (I Willis, 2017)

The building is listed on the Yass Valley 2013 Local Environment Plan Heritage Inventory. 

Learn more

Yass Valley 2013 LEP Heritage Inventory