Tuesday, October 5, 2010

King’s Park & Botanical garden

Overlooking the city of Perth and the Swan River, King’s Park and Botanical Garden is Perth’s number one tourist attraction and a focal point of any visit to the state of Western Australia. It is set on a huge 400 hectares (just under 1000 acres) of land, of which two-thirds is pristine native bush.

Imagine the Nyoongar (Aboriginal) people gathered on the hill Kaarta Gar-up (Mount Eliza on which King’s Park is located) overlooking the water … watching … curious … as boats of the early European explorers and settlers arrived, starting in 1829. The Swan River Colony grew slowly until the gold rushes in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie in the 1890’s. From the park’s beginning in 1895 until 1901 it was known as Perth Park. Then in 1901 the name was changed to King’s Park when King Edward VII rose to the throne at the death of Queen Victoria.

King’s Park was created as a showplace for all the unique flora native to Western Australia. This was a huge undertaking to establish one location for all the varieties to be shown in separate gardens along the walkways, appearing as they would in their natural habitat. For instance, the huge Boab Tree was moved to the park in 2008. The still-living tree only looks dead, because it looses its leaves during the dry season. It lives to a great age, storing large amounts of water.
Another tree which fascinated us, as missionaries in the Australia Perth Mission, was the Tuart Tree. The original Mission Office was located on Tuart Hill, in the suburb of Tuart Hill, both named after the tuart tree.

It is impossible to capture in a brief description, all the unique and fascinating trees and wildflowers. One of our favorites was the state flower of Western Australia, the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw.
A few other favorites were the Bacon & Egg Plant,

the Princess Gum Tree with its honky nuts,

the Gualop Bell,

the Peppermint Tree,

the Everlasting Daisy,

and others, too numerous to count. One which really fascinated us, though, was the Balga Tree which resembles a bad hair day and when in bloom has one tall “turkey tail” sticking up. It has a hollow center, and is said to grow only one centimeter each year.

We really enjoyed the bridge under the towering gum trees. It gave us a beautiful view from above.
Once again our tour guide was Helen Cope from Doubleview Ward. This time we were joined by all the Office Senior Missionaries. Pictured left to right are Elder and Sister Nielsen; Helen Cope; Sister and Elder Crawford from Escalante, Utah; Sister Matuauto, an American Samoan from SLC; and Sister Kruger, from near Birmingham, England.

Another feature of the park that we enjoyed was the water fountain.
The King’s Park Festival occurs each September, with its spectacular display of over 3000 different plant species gathered from across the State, from the South-west region up into the Kimberley. The mass displays of wildflowers in bloom is expected to last for three months or more.

The highlight of the day was a Wildflowers Wonderland Theatre Show entitled “The Adorable Florables. Live actors, performing as various wildflowers, performed a hilarious comedy, which included numerous “plays on words.” Mom even had her picture taken with the actor portraying the state flower, the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw. The show was a “hoot” according to dad. A perfect ending to “another grand adventure Down Under.”

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