Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Unlocking the Botanical Journeys

Art exhibition on until 6 March

Media release
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Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Jean Henley

Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Jean Henley "Sweet Briar"

Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Susan Grahame
Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Jill Chuckowree
Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Annie Rushton
Port Arthur Exhibition: Exotic Garden - Carolyn Robinson


A sweet little stream runs through the garden, and with many trees of dear old England around you. It is easy to forget, wandering through this beautiful garden, that seven hundred fellow-creatures who have lost home and liberty through crime, are so near you… [Visitor to Port Arthur 1856]

The trees and flowers in the Port Arthur gardens are bright and tangible links to the past: to the convicts who prepared the soil and planted the seeds and the men and women who treasured them as they grew 150 years ago.

As many of our ancestors took the voyage to Van Diemen’s Land, so too did hundreds of plants from all over the world – Great Britain, Europe, the Americas and Africa.

As well as providing essential food and medicine, the plants represent a gentler aspect of life at Port Arthur, one that counterbalances the harshness and brutality of daily life in an isolated colonial prison. They reveal human stories with which we can all identify: tales of loneliness and homesickness, the desire to create a haven of beauty in an otherwise harsh and unfamiliar landscape and a driving passion to understand the natural world.

Students of Lauren Black, well known Australian botanical artist, portray the plants, their journeys and the human stories behind them in watercolour, mixed media and pencil.

Port Arthur: Exotic Garden – Unlocking the Botanical Journeys opens on Saturday 24 January 2015 at the Port Arthur Historic Site in the Asylum and will run until 6 March 2015.


  • Southern Tasmania (TAS)

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February 03rd, 2015
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