GardenDrumPort Arthur: Exotic Garden – unlocking the botanical jouneys

Nasturtium by Jill

Nasturtium by Jill Chuckowree

Tasmania is hosting a wonderful botanical art exhibition at historic Port Arthur. Port Arthur: Exotic Garden – unlocking the botanical journeys is on until March 6, 2015.

Thistle by Jean

Thistle by Jean Henley

The trees and flowers in the Port Arthur gardens are bright and tangible links to the past: to the convicts who prepared the soil and planted the seeds and the men and women who treasured them as they grew 150 years ago.

As many of our ancestors took the voyage to Van Diemen’s Land, so too did hundreds of plants from all over the world – Great Britain, Europe, the Americas and Africa.

As well as providing essential food and medicine, the plants represent a gentler aspect of life at Port Arthur, one that counterbalances the harshness and brutality of daily life in an isolated colonial prison. They reveal human stories with which we can all identify: tales of loneliness and homesickness, the desire to create a haven of beauty in an otherwise harsh and unfamiliar landscape and a driving passion to understand the natural world.

Magnolia by Annie Rushton

Magnolia by Annie Rushton

Students of Lauren Black, well known Australian botanical artist, portray the plants, their journeys and the human stories behind them in watercolour, mixed media and pencil.

The exhibition includes works by Diane Perndt, Kaitlin Swindon, Susan Grahame, Annie Rushton, Jean Henley, Debbie Collins, Jill Chuckowree, Annick Ansselin, Judy Palfreyman, Susanne Thompson-Hill, Carolyn Robinson and Mauryeen O’Connor

Port Arthur: Exotic Garden – Unlocking the Botanical Journeys is at the Port Arthur Historic Site in the Asylum until March 6. Click here for more information about visiting Port Arthur.

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