Beckler's Botanical Bounty Project

Community Arts & Cultural Development

Beckler’s Botanical Bounty of Menindee

We are finding, collecting, documenting and illustrating the plants on Dr Hermann Beckler’s Menindee list of 1860. This is an inspiring project in the arts, science, history and country.

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On the Riverine plains and semi-arid desert of the Barkindj people, we find each plant on Beckler’s list and accurately identify and illustrate it.

Our leader is Mali Moir, well known Botanical Artist, who sincerely believes that ‘artists make science visible.’ For the past seven years at the end of September, our group journeys to Menindee on the Darling River in New South Wales. At the same time, we also collect and press a sample for donation to the National Herbarium of Victoria and the National Herbarium of New South Wales. The outcome will provide comparative material (over the 150 year time interval) for information and research in the arts and plant sciences in particular.

Dr Hermann Beckler was a botanical observer and Doctor on the Supply Party of the Burke and Will expedition. We are enjoying the evolution of the project across the four themes of art and science, history and country, and developing a rich base of information for further study.

We hope to develop resources to support the outcomes of the project in several publications. At least 40 art works and other related artefacts will be displayed in our second Art Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat (AGB) in February 2018.

Gordon Morrison, Director of AGB, writes: ‘This will be a very special exhibition, and we see this project as a natural development of our brief to collect, display and celebrate the art of Australia’s unique natural history.’

This very interesting project is persistently evolving, with great joy.

We conducted our first Exhibition at the Menindee Regional Tourist Association in 2014, when we donated the high quality exhibition prints to the Association for use within the Central Darling Shire. We are continuing to develop our relationship with this remote community in the Central Darling Shire on the banks of the Darling River just south of the Menindee Lakes. Many tourists pass too quickly through this area because the riches of the region are not obvious.

We hope the BBB project will provide the Menindee community and the Barkindji people with resources to share their very special environment with visitors, and would like to develop several publications to support these local opportunities.

This group of botanical artists are celebrating the work of Dr. Hermann Beckler, the botanical collector who was a Member of the Victorian Exploring Expedition and Botanical Observer on its famous journey across the continent. We aim to revive interest in his collection and contribute comparative material valuable for research in the plant sciences.

Over the past seven years, we have collected, documented and illustrated the same plants (120) as Beckler did in the Menindee area in 1860. Most of the plant species have now been found. Specimens are collected for the National Herbarium of Victoria and the New South Wales Herbarium.

We are now planning an exhibition of the paintings, for February 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. The exhibition focus on art will be supported by material on three other themes (science, history and country).

One of our aims is to encourage plant collection, documentation and illustration, to inspire interest and educate into the culture and value of herbaria and to develop a rich data resource for further study.

The Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project is a not-for-profit and unincorporated group of serious and skilled botanical artists. The leader is Mali Moir, Melbourne Artist.

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Evelyn Brandt

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Cee Bee

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Lynda Entwisle

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Robin Wilson

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Ann Jeffries

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Heather Parker

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Shona Dewar

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Pam Bakes

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Karen Inge

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