What’s been happening…

Wallaroos on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, photo Sonya Duus

Hi everyone, this is an update on Bimblebox 153 Birds and the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, scroll down for the areas of interest to you.

2019 Recap…

Bimblebox 153 Birds Touring Package: Early 2019 saw the completion of the touring package for Bimblebox 153 Birds.  Crating, Didactics, Education Kit, Exhibition touring manual and media Kit, In-gallery children’s activities, were all developed and completed. I was able to develop this with the money raised by your donations through the Australian Cultural Fund.  Thank you once again to everyone who donated to this project. I am, as always, humbled by your continued support.  I also want to thank all the different people, each in their are of specialisation and the mentoring with Donna of M&GQ who I worked with during the development of the touring package. Bimblebox 153 Birds is available to galleries, more information at the NETS listing here.

Bimblebox 153 Birds was shown at Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum during March 2019. Thank you to everyone at this Gladstone Art Gallery for your incredible support and welcome.  It was wonderful to visit Gladstone again, to see the exhibition on display and to speak at the opening event and to also give a curators talk. It was also a wonderful privilege to show alongside the Wetlanders by Migaloo Press Artists Collective, an exhibition inspired by Kate Gorringe-Smith’s far reaching Overwintering Project.  

It was fantastic to meet some of the artists and writers of the Gladstone and Rockhampton region who have contributed work to Bimblebox 153 Birds and I thank those who spoke about their work and read their poetry at the curator’s talk.

EcoArts Australis 3rd National Conference – Using the Visual and Performing Arts to Encourage Pro-environmental Behaviour.
In May 2019 I was a keynote speaker at the EcoArts Australis conference in Wollongong, NSW.  It was a wonderful opportunity to speak about Bimblebox 153 Birds and to meet and to hear about the projects of others who are working in the environmental arts space.  Thank you to everyone involved in organising this conference, especially Dr David Curtis.

Bimblebox 153 Birds in Brisbane
September 2019 Bimblebox 153 Birds was shown at the Webb Gallery, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.  It was a whirlwind couple of week’s with the presentation of four public programs and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the install, sitting with the exhibition, public programs, talks and the demount – Thank You! The opening event highlight was musician Colin Offord performing on the Wedgetail Eagle Feather Flute and the Harmonic Windpipe.

Art in the Pub – talk/presentation, Mullumbimby, NSW
October 2019 I was invited to give a presentation on Bimblebox 153 Birds as part of the fantastic Art in the Pub initiative by c.a.s.e and the Byron School of Art. Thank you to everyone involved in this ongoing program of artist talks. It was a rather sombre talk that I gave, as it was at the time when Waratah Coal gave public notice of their application for the final approvals of the coal mine that they want to build over the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. However the artwork combined with audio of poetry and music that were part of the presentation, lifted our spirits and showcased the birds of Bimblebox.

Rufous Songlark sings, 2014, Richard Morden
Rufous Songlark, Poet DA Carter and Musician Brian Ritchie on Shakuhachi, audio compilation and mixing by Boyd


I do hope you have all fared well through the difficult year that 2020 was for many of us. Huge changes and challenges came to everyone and these of course continue into this year.  In 2019, I began a concerted effort to promote Bimblebox 153 Birds into NSW with the plan to gradually build it toward touring into other Australian States as well. Then in 2020, when Covid began to impact the arts and gallery space, I felt I had to push the pause button, to observe and try to understand how best to work within these new parameters. Even so, I continued to work on a book chapter and planning and developing aspects of Bimblebox 153 Birds. However events unfolded for me in quite an unexpected way. I have written a brief explanation toward the end of this update.

Book Release:
Using the Visual and Performing Arts to Encourage Pro-Environmental Behaviour, edited by David Curtis.
I am very excited to have written a chapter for this book. Chapter 14, Bimblebox 153 Birds: flying under the radar outlines the development of the Bimblebox Art Project, focusing especially on Bimblebox 153 Birds.  Thank you to Dr David Curtis for putting together this wonderful book, published by Cambridge Scholars.

Postponed and rescheduled:
Bimblebox 153 Birds was to show at Dogwood Crossing Art Gallery, Miles, Qld, during late 2020. However due to the coronavirus, this has been rescheduled for 2022. I am looking forward to taking the Bimblebox birds out into western Queensland and being involved with the community of Miles and its birdlife!

PhD Research Project
QUT Doctoral candidate Andrew Grodecki is conducting his research study on stakeholder engagement on art science projects focused on climate change and environmental emergency. It is a great privilege to have the Bimblebox Art Project included in this research. I look forward to the outcome of Andy’s research project.

Bimblebox Nature Refuge Calendar for 2021
The Bimblebox Alliance, Paula of Seedhead Design and myself all got together to produce the 2021 calendar.  This calendar features artwork from the Bimblebox 153 Birds exhibition.  Thank you to everyone involved and most especially to the artists who have generously allowed us to feature their inspirational artwork in this calendar. You can still buy this beautiful calendar, now at a discounted price, here.

Into 2021

Photo by Alison Clouston

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge
There have been life giving falls of rain over the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. The flowers in spring are set to be an astonishing riot of colour attracting an array of birdlife, insects and  other fauna to its abundance.

While the Bimblebox Nature Refuge continues to do what it has for thousands of years, The Land court hearing to decide if the Bimblebox Nature Refuge has the right to continue to exist or if it is to become a coal mine, has been scheduled for February 2022. 

“The Bimblebox Alliance is challenging Waratah Coal’s Mining Lease and Environmental Approval on 11 grounds – including that approval would cause environmental harm and would not be consistent with the core objectives of ecologically sustainable development.

The Bimblebox Alliance is also objecting on two human rights grounds  – the right to property and the right to Privacy. “ (link to EDO article here)

Please go to the Bimblebox website to learn more about this vital nature refuge, to see how you can support the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and I would encourage you to subscribe to their newsletter so you can keep up to date with what is happening. Please share about the Bimblebox Nature Refuge so everyone knows about the threat it is facing. For those of you who have visited Bimblebox or participated in the art projects, I would encourage you to share your story, your artwork, music, poetry and prose, in support of this vital and precious ecosystem. The more of us who give voice to this issue, the more who will know what is at risk.

Please follow and share Bimblebox posts on these social media platforms:
facebook: Bimblebox Nature Refuge and Bimblebox 153 Birds
Instagram: @Bimblebox_nature_refuge and @Bimblebox153
Twitter: @BimbleboxNR

Bimblebox 153 Birds, photo Steve Mardon, 2019.

Bimblebox 153 Birds:
Bimblebox 153 Birds continues to be available to galleries. If you are interested in exhibiting this beautiful installation please message me through the contact form on this website or you can contact me via the NETS listing.

Bimblebox 153 Birds is a unique installation inspired by the birdlife of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge in Queensland. Each bird species found at Bimblebox, a nature refuge threatened by coal mining, is lovingly documented by a writer, an artist and a musician. Experience the artist prints, poetry, prose and musical interpretations contributed by more than 450 people worldwide.

Bimblebox 153 Birds enthralls gallery visitors who love being surrounded by birds, sparking stories and conversations. It’s our story of our birds, how we experience them and sadly how we could lose them.

Curator Jill Sampson
Audio compilation and mixing by Boyd

A Personal Journey
While I began during 2020 to implement further plans for the development and promotion of Bimblebox 153 Birds, frustratingly I had to postpone much of this work due to illness.  Through 2020 I became increasingly ill, experiencing compromised health and restricted mobility. It wasn’t until November that I was diagnosed with a particular type of cancer. I have been undergoing treatment and will continue through various rounds of treatment through the majority of this year.

My health has improved over recent months and while I am about to go into another phase that will take me to hospital and will need some recovery time, I hope to be back on board and able to work once again on different aspects of this project later in the year.  If I don’t answer your emails and messages immediately, please know that I will as soon as I can.

Meanwhile Bimblebox 153 Birds remains available to galleries this year, through 2022 and beyond.  It would be fantastic to have the birds flying for the Bimblebox Nature Refuge as the fight to keep this Nature Refuge intact for future generations, continues and comes to a head during February 2022.

Once again, thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. Let’s do all we can to help #savebimblebox
Jill Sampson

Brolgas, 2014, Heather Kepski, Bimblebox 153 Birds.

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