Bringing Arthur Boyd’s vision to life

I just love working with bright young minds who grab life with both hands and run with it. Rachel Walker is one of those young people

I have reblogged this from Art4AgriculutureChat as I am confident Rachel’s journey will inspire you just as much as it does me

Background

Art4Agriculture’s Young Eco Champions have each identified a farmer they want to work side by side with to get best environmental outcomes for Australia’s natural resources 226A5485.JPG.Still001_HIres

Art4Agriculutre Young Eco Champions (right) with some of our Young Farming Champions and members of the Art4Agriculture network

We were very excited to have the opportunity to pair Rachel Walker with Bundanon Trust.

Rachel’s shares this wonderful opportunity with you today through her guest blog post …

Bringing Arthur Boyd’s vision to life – by Rachel Walker

As a Young person with a love for Australia’s wonderful landscapes and a deep respect of how scarce our natural resources are and the opportunity that young people have to pay an active role in protecting and enhancing them

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Rachel left participating in a Face to Camera to camera workshop at a recent Young Farming Champions/Young Eco Champions workshop 

I also believe that Australia can play an integral role on a global scale by setting good examples in the management of our scarce resources.

I have learnt that the majority of the Australian landscape and its resources, are managed by our farmers, and much of that includes privately owned areas of native bushland. Hence our farmers also have a very important environmental role to play

As a Young Eco Champion, I have been able to spend some time with the Bundanon Trust in the Shoalhaven. The trust has the unique challenge of rehabilitating and maintaining a large area of native bushland as part of Arthur Boyd’s gift to the Australian people.

The 1,100 ha of river front land was generously left to the people of Australia in 1993, by renowned Australian artist, Arthur Boyd, and featured in much of his artwork. Since the gift the properties have been under the care of the Bundanon Trust, which has preserved the natural and cultural heritage, and developed a fantastic artistic educational experience that is adaptable and applicable to all levels of knowledge. It hosts school children year-round, as well as artists in residence

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The Riversdale Property regularly hosts workshops for young people

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As well as guests from all over the world who see views to die for

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and enjoy fine Shoalhaven Produce prepared by local chefs

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Including local wines

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And beef grazed on the property

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On Friday I was fortunate enough to be taken on a personal tour of the four properties that together form the Bundanon Trust. A stipulation of the bequest was that Bundanon was to always remain a working property in some capacity, and to be accessible to the people of Australia. Today the properties have reduced their beef cattle production in favour of restoring native forest, a tribute to the inspiration in many of Arthur Boyd’s artworks.

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Arthur Boyd, Peter’s fish and crucifixion, 1993 Copyright Bundanon Trust Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust 1993

 

During my visit to Bundanon, Riversdale and Eearie Park it became apparent to me what a fantastic job the Bundanon Trust has done in caring for and managing this magnificent resource combining farm, education and culture, and also what an enormous responsibility they have for the environmental management of the properties for the people of Australia. This is particularly so given the length of Shoalhaven riparian zone (boundary between the land and river) that the properties border.

My ever-enthusiastic guide and Bundanon’s education manager, Mary Preece, has been utilising her photographic skills to catalogue the diverse plants species present across the properties, in order to contribute to the understanding of the biodiversity across the 11 vegetation communities in the landscape.

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Mary Preece Bundanon’s Education Manager works with local school students at Riversdale

However the management of 1,100 ha of diverse, native landscape has its challenges, and the Bundanon Trust is using theirs as an opportunity to learn and educate others by setting a great example of natural resource management.

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Mary Preece is photographing and cataloguing the diverse plant species on Bundanon in order to contribute to the understanding of the biodiversity across the 11 vegetation communities in the landscape.

One of the most apparent ongoing battles that the Bundanon landscape faces is the infestation of Lantana, particularly along the 15km riparian zone.

Haunted-Point-100_4507Pulpit Rock viewed from Bundanon Property

.As luck would have it, Bundanon’s caretaker Gary, who is also the longest serving resident of the properties, was happy to take me up to a place called Haunted Point, where the battle against invasive Lantana has been ongoing for a few years, and threatens the properties’ biodiversity and ecosystem health.

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This aggressive weed has been removed from the properties once before, and so there is a strong push to remove it again – this time for good! Landcare Australia, Greening Australia and the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority are partnering with the Bundanon Trust to orchestrate the enormous task of removing Lantana from all the properties. Even from my brief tour around Haunted Point, the difference between cleared and uncleared areas was incredible! The cleared areas looked unburdened in contrast to the dense weed that seemed to be choking the understorey of the uncleared zones.

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This task is expected to take 3 years and to be completed by 2015. The removal of Lantana however is not a once off job, and will require constant management once the initial removal is complete, to prevent reinvasion. With so many knowledgeable people on hand, and the enthusiasm of the people that I met on my trip to Bundanon, I’m sure it is a labour of love that will lead to the eradication of this weed and the rehabilitation of the region. I am looking forward to seeing the progress as it continues.

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As we drove down the rocky road away from Haunted Point, we were able to identify a variety of vegetation that is inherent to the Shoalhaven region – red cedars for which the area was first colonised, figs, gums, banksia’s and bush lemons were all found along the way, not mention some petrified wood from a rock that had recently been split in half by a falling tree!

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Another environmental issue that Bundanon faces is the threat of bank erosion, which is unfortunately exacerbated by the removal vegetation (yes, even lantana) from the riparian zone. The property has taken many steps forward in reducing the impact of their practices on the riparian zone, by fencing off livestock and reinforcing vulnerable areas with local rocks to slow erosion rates. The awareness of such issues and the dedication of the Trust towards developing management strategies not only benefits the local region, but by sharing these experiences with visitors and students as part of the educational experience, Bundanon sets a great example of achievable goals, and such knowledge is passed on to the public where is has no boundaries!

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Bundanon Homestead

To add a great end to a fantastic day, I was shown around the sandstone homestead of the Boyd family, completed in 1866. Walking through the homestead was quite a personal and unique experience, with no ropes or barricades to keep you from getting a close up look at the displayed art collection, which includes artworks from Arthur’s childhood and throughout his life, and from all members of the family.

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Arthur Boyd’s studio at Bundanon

My favourite things were that children were allowed to play the family’s grand piano, and that the studio light switches were still covered in paint!

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Bundanon Trust is in a unique position where they have the opportunity to involve the public and educate students on the impacts that they are having through their natural resource management choices. It was a great day in the Shoalhaven, and a a great example of how the team are integrating the exploration of the artistic heritage of Arthur Boyd and his family with response to landscape and immersion in the natural environment.

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Riversdale – Spectacular scenery teamed with an award winning building designed by Glenn Murcutt in association with Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark

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