Looking back at last years Bimblebox art, science and nature camp 4 – 12 September 2022
September 2022 started with rain and storms, just in time for the Bimblebox art, science, nature camp. Paola and our volunteers closely monitored the weather reports and rain resulted in the camp arrival date being delayed by one day to let the nature refuge dry out enough for the convoy of arriving vehicles. a wonderful week ensued with beautiful cool weather and a couple of storms sweeping across during the nights.
Thank you to all of our volunteers, and of course Paola and Ian, who all ensured that the 2022 camp ran smoothly and all participants were well fed!
The next Bimblebox art, science, nature camp is scheduled for 27 August – 4 September 2023.
Read on for photos of the 2022 camp, of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and quotes from many of the camp attendees. All photos by Malcolm Paterson, except one by Dianne Brown, as credited.
“Artists from around the country, braving the lingering threat of the pandemic raging and of flood waters, were prepared to sleep out on the beautiful land, creating, feasting, singing and stoking our hearts fire with plants, paints, the wildlife, love and inspiration with the very soil and air as muse. From day one people pursued their vision alone, in pairs or groups as they rambled and rode, explored waterholes and heaths, wildlife and wildflowers, and marvelled at trees that wore yellow clothes or dangled their leaves like coins in the wind…” Carol Khan
“The quiet serenity of the surrounding bush is teeming with life, the deeper you look the more it reveals. It gets into your soul and will stay with you for ever.” Sally North
“I squeeze the paints from their tubes and sketch the branches of the ’yellow jacket’ eucalypts onto my canvas. I am in ‘the zone’ and work quickly. I listen to the murmur of wind in the treetops and try to recognise different bird calls. These are the sounds and the colours the first people of this land have known for thousands of years.” Frida Forsberg
“After being at the Bimblebox Nature Refuge for a day or so your eyes begin to adjust and attune to the subtle and muted palette of the landscape. What at first glance might be considered drab and unexceptional scrublands is anything but. You start to appreciate the delicate, understated beauty of the flora from the muted hues of the brigalow forest to the vibrancy of the yellow jacket woodlands and the splashes of spring blossoms on the heathlands.” Judith Sinnamon
photos above, L – R: Menu and comms board in outdoor kitchen; Jesse and Carol preparing food for the delicious meals; Outdoor cooking, Bimblebox camp style; Kettle on the outdoor slow combustion stove.
“The time spent at Bimblebox enabled me to quiet the noise of my regular day to day humdrum, be more present and take the time and really see. I woke at dawn most mornings excited for the day and inspired to sketch by the light of the moon. It is amazing how, in a short period of time, we can create a new rhythm. Walking, exploring, creating and sharing connections…” Brenda Orlowski
Artwork in the field, L to R: Dianne Brown’s termite mound ephemeral artwork of cow poo and charcoal, photo courtesy of the artist; Insecure Housing, (detail) Dianne Brown; Brenda Orlowski drawing; detail of artwork made by Syann Williams and Rowena Lloyd Jones; Singer and songwriter Jenny Fitzgibbon; Jenny’s campsite; Syann Williams, and Rowena Lloyd Jones working on site.
“I was devastated by the stark comparison between Bimblebox and the neighbouring property, which had clear felled grasslands. What struck me was the lack of habitat next door. This inspired me to make my nest-like weaving, which I have called “Insecure Housing” Dianne Brown
“Days started with a walk or cycle through the bush recording and gathering plants and scenes to work on later in a shady workshop space with my friend. The rustic but fully equipped camp was luxurious under the huge skies and as a working mother and wife, I enjoyed having someone else think about the meals so I could focus on absorbing the beauty of Bimblebox.” Emma Scragg
The cool wet weather provided opportunities for camp fire nights within the bora ground made for ceremony by Elders and Cultural Representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou people – the traditional custodians of the Desert Uplands/Galilee Basin. This bora ground was a wonderful night time place for songs and stories.
In April 2022 Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Custodians prepared this Bora Ring to welcome the Land Court of Queensland to their country and explained that connection to country obliges them to protect it. Read about and support the Wangan and Jagalingou people standing their ground against Coal Mining here.
“Bimblebox may not be called an endangered landscape, because the language invented for these categories has no art but deceit. This biodiverse wonderland becomes ‘uniquer and uniquer’ as all beyond it is cleared and cleared again. Huge sky, yellow jackets, bird music, insect architects, curly grasses, flowered heath, friendly fires in a bora ring. This connecting place for making art felt inspiring, joyful, subtle and generous. Worth protecting. Worth enlarging in a playful, intentional dance of renewal.” Jenny Fitzgibbon
Artwork in the field, L to R: Eco-dyed work by Sally North and Peta Lloyd; Carol Khan cutting lino; Artmaking conversations; Inking the lino block, Emma Scragg inking up a lino plate, with Peta Lloyd; Eco-dyed fabric; Dianne Brown and her lino-block prints; Sally North working with the plants of Bimblebox on paper.
“Bimblebox (Nature Refuge), has an unpretentious magnificence, it didn’t shout out ‘look at me, look at my grandness’, instead it slowly unfolded, softly taking a hold of my head, heart and hand, showing me it’s quiet beauty, in a way that I could appreciate and savour it’s small worlds within it’s bigger world.
The more I looked the more I discovered, from the tiniest wildflower, almost unseen until I stooped down to ground level, impressions in the sand from wildlife roaming free and safe to live their lives, the sound of birdsong, and rain on the roof of the tent in the morning.” Peta Lloyd
“The Bimblebox ethos appealed to me as I love to explore wild places. I have an en plein air practice and Bimblebox was a good fit, as I am always looking for new inspiration. I always try to use an implement i.e. a stick from the place that I have drawn from, It seems to create a connection to place...” Lyn Laver-Ahmat
Photos above are of the beautiful Bimblebox Nature Refuge, including one of John Brinnand birdwatching.
The 2023 Bimblebox art, science, nature camp is scheduled to start on Sunday 27th August and go to Monday 4th September. These days coincide with the Spirit of the Outback train that travels through Alpha on its journey between Brisbane and Longreach.
To hear about the call outs click ‘follow’ on this Bimblebox Art Project website and
follow on instagram @bimblebox153 @bimblebox_nature_refuge @jill_sampson_artist
and Facebook: Bimblebox 153 Birds
Thank you to all those who attended the 2022 Bimblebox, art, science, nature camp, for providing these quotes and for your permission to use these images of you and your work. Thank you to Dianne Brown for providing the photo of your ephemeral work and thank you to Malcolm Paterson for your beautiful photos and your work on the Bimblebox calendar. Purchase 2023 calendar here.
A special mention to Paola Cassoni and Susan Brinnand for feeding everyone. Thank you to our camp volunteers: John, Greg, Carol and Jesse. Thank you to Paola, Ian, The Bimblebox Alliance and volunteers for their work to upgrade and maintain the campsite and their tremendous work in the fight to protect the Bimblebox Nature Refuge against coal mining. Thank you to all the owners and caretakers of Bimblebox whose foresight and commitment has created this nature refuge and a huge thank you to caretaker Ian Hoch who works so incredibly hard to maintain BNR’s ecological integrity.
Interested in volunteering throughout the year to help care for the Bimblebox Nature Refuge!? Go here for more information.
You can support the Bimblebox Nature Refuge through volunteering, becoming a member of the TBA, through purchases and donations. Go to The Bimblebox Alliance website for more information.