Part of 'Fools Gold in the homelands'- Caldera Fellowship winner
'In the shadow of the Magpie'
Everybody sees the Magpie,
many misjudge & fear the magpie,
monogamous, sassy Magpie
Be still, sit quietly,
There are many other birds
in my garden...
what can you find
in the shadow of a Magpie?
This 3 part work includes all 36 birds
identified with delight
in the 1 acre organic
gardens of our home & studio
on the fringes of the Caldera
surrounded on 3 sides by monoculture.
Provide varied trees & foliage,
Cool shallow waters,
Native flowering plants & fruits
Then sit back & watch them come,
They desperately need sanctuary.
Copper-foiled & kiln formed glass,
stainless steel, iron oxide
Fools Gold in the homelands - 2012 Caldera Art Fellowship
Recipient - Artist Statement
Before European settlement the Big Scrub Rainforest was the
largest continuous expanse of lowland sub-tropical rainforest in
Australia. This rainforest occurs on the red soils originating from
Mount Warning. The Big Scrub Rainforest covered 75,000 hectares.
For thousands of years the Aboriginal people made use of the
abundance of food in the Big Scrub rainforest.
Unfortunately since then the Big Scrub Rainforest has been
reduced to less than 1% of its original size. The Big Scrub was
cleared for agriculture, development and other purposes.
Now only small scattered remnants of Rainforest remain, most are
less than five hectares in area. These remnants in total would
cover less than 700 hectares in area.
Australia is the world's largest producer of macadamias and has
more than 13 million trees in the ground. Australia's macadamia
industry is worth nearly $100 million at the farm gate. About 60-70
per cent of Australian macadamias are exported every year –
The majority of macadamia farms are located in the rich red soils
of the Caldera and current gross margin return according to the NSW
Dept Primary Industries on a 20ha un-irrigated monoculture orchard
at the mature 15 year mark is $4274.57 per hectare @ $2.5kg.
Australians are the highest per capita consumers of macadamia
How many do you eat?
Would you prefer to walk in the forest?
How much flora & fauna loss is the result of this
Do the earthworms know the difference?
'Fools Gold in the homelands' references my own research and
experience as an artist whose studio is surrounded by monoculture
on the fringes of the Caldera and right next door to the rare
remnant Big Scrub Rainforest of Victoria Park via two contemporary
glass & steel installation works.
'In the shadow of the Magpie' - speaks of the native bird
species adapting to widespread habitat loss and joyfully found
nesting, feeding or migrating on our humble patch of land offering
'What catches the eye' – speaks to the admiration so many
express as they gaze down the cool shaded laneways of these
vacuumed landscapes, where gentle light flickering between the
evenly hedged branches of green hypnotise and lull into a dangerous
“Man has generally been preoccupied with obtaining as much
'production' from the landscape as possible, by developing and
maintaining early successional types of ecosystems, usually
monocultures. But, of course, man does not live by food and fiber
alone...many essential life-cycle resources, not to mention
recreational and esthetic needs, are best provided man by the less
'productive' landscapes. In other words, the landscape is not just
a supply depot but is also the oikos - the home - in which we must
Eugene Pleasants Odum (1913-2002) Ecologist &
Images by R.J.Poole
||Fools Gold in the homelands - In the shadow of the Magpie
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