Local flora exhibition blossoms from partnership

12 Mar 2019

A cross-pollination of science, environment, education and art has spawned a vivid depiction of Newcastle’s diverse flora, now on exhibition at Newcastle Museum.

The Flora of the Hunter Region exhibition features 33 natural illustrations of plant life carefully reproduced from images in a newly released book published by the University of Newcastle in partnership with the CSIRO.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Museum Director Julie Baird at Newcastle Museum

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the exhibition had several layers to it, which have come about through an important collaboration of scientific, academic and artistic minds.

“This is a striking and colourful art exhibition that wraps the science and history of Newcastle’s endangered flora all into one,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The level of thought and the detail to which this exhibition has been planned and curated is truly remarkable and a credit to our staff and exhibition partners.

“What was first simply a conversation to launch a book has now turned into an established partnership between the University of Newcastle, CSIRO and Newcastle Museum that adds serious credibility to the book’s meaning, and in turn, the museum’s exhibition."

Broad-Leaved Pepperbrush: Installation by Esther Bolz

Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird said the exhibition captures the exceptional level of detail and history of the local plant life contained within the book.

“The University approached us about a space to launch a new book they were publishing on endangered plant life of the Hunter.”

“Three months since that December meeting, we’re proud to say we’ve been able to achieve that vision.”

The book, Flora of the Hunter Region – Endemic Trees and Larger Shrubs, piqued the interest of the CSIRO, Australia’s chief science agency, due to its level of rare and insightful scientific information.

Co-authored by Hunter-based botanist and University Conjoint Stephen Bell, Christine Rockley and Anne Lewellyn, it details 54 endemic trees and large shrubs native to the Hunter.

Information includes the identification, habitat, ecology and distribution of each of the 54 different each species.

The exhibition itself will showcase 33 of the images contained within the book, including three plant species new to science and two presumed extinct. Everyone one of them is native to the Hunter.

The exhibition will be on display in Newcastle Museum from 12 March until 10 June 2019. For more information, visit http://www.newcastlemuseum.com.au/Exhibitions/Exhibitions/FLORA-of-the-Hunter-Region.