Painted Button-quail, Bimblebox Nature Refuge Photo: Greg Harm
Painted Button-quail, Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Photo: Greg Harm

In early September 2016, seventeen artists from Melbourne to Mackay made their way out to central-west Queensland for the 5th annual art camp on Bimblebox Nature Refuge. It was a great success. Recent rain produced a glorious display of heathland wildflowers, highlighting the floristic values that originally qualified Bimblebox as a Nature Refuge. Two new birds were also added to Bimblebox bird list – the Spotted Nightjar and the Painted Button Quail – more proof of just how rich Bimblebox‘s fauna values are as well!

One of the participating artists, Deborah Cavanagh, has contributed the following blog post. The photos below let the beauty of Bimblebox speak for itself. To find out more about past and future art camps at Bimblebox, please visit the art project website. To see more photos from the camp, see this excellent blog by Jill Sampson.

“Soil turns to mush, and right at the camp you can bog a duck.” Ian told us, so we waited out the storm for a day before heading to the 2016 Bimblebox Art-Nature-Science camp in central Queensland’s Desert Uplands.

By Monday afternoon all the Bimblebox artists and crew were present and accounted for. We covered a remarkable range of backgrounds and interest. We had: painters, ecologists, botanists, environmentalists, makers of useful things, sculptors, watercolourists, printmakers, a performance artist, photographers, videographers, curators, a nature journalist, writers, woodworkers, a papermaker, a paleobotanist, textile artists and fabulous cooks.

Ian and Karl Hoch were the Bimblebox generous hosts and backroom boys making it all possible.

Maureen Cooper was the baking queen and Paola Cassoni also cooked and with quiet (except when someone held the fridge door open) expertise she ran the camp.

Jill Sampson from Brisbane kept the Bimblebox home fires burning.
We came from far and wide: Ipswich, Nambor, Brisbane, Melbourne, Townsville, Mackay, Adelaide, Italy, and Alpha,

The rain that caused the delay early on produced the most magnificent display of wildflowers. Spring fever hit the birds who were going berserk building nests and singing their little hearts out for a splendid dawn chorus every day. Even the echidnas got into the action and a troop of them kept Greg awake late into the night with their wild partying. The artists didn’t hang about.  On the first day everyone set up and got started on their varied projects.  Everyone was doing something different and interesting.

Our lunch and dinner chats were great fun as we got to know each other and tell tall tales about past exploits and future plans.   The 2016 group agreed to do a show in mid 2017 in Ipswich so watch this space for more about that closer to the time.

Fuelled by great food from Paola and Maureen’s magic kitchens we were able to work all day, and explore Bimblebox with ecologist, conservationist and author Eric Anderson and bird and plant watcher extraordinaire Diana Anderson. We all become part of a marvellous group of like minded people. A rare opportunity in a unique landscape.  Many thanks to Paola Cassoni and Ian Hoch for making it all possible.

– Deborah Cavanagh

Photos from 2016 Bimblebox Art Camp

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2016 Bimblebox Art Camp