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Wednesday 17 February 2016
Since first coming to Western Australia 35 years ago, I have been bewitched by its crystal sharp light, the sense of space, and the endless horizons that unfurled as we drove across the Nullarbor in our battered $400 HR Holden. As strange as this bewitching country was, to see so much that reminded me of my upbringing in suburban Kent, green lawns, roses and camellias, and an urban landscape that often seemed to have parachuted in from space.
Returning to work on this project, it has been a total thrill to get to work with the Noongar community and so many of the remarkable musicians, artists, writers, film makers and performers that the state has produced, an astonishing array of talent with the landscape of their home so deeply embedded in their work. I have also been amazed at eloquence exhibited by the 5,000 local children who have made lantern models representing their homes and what they hold as precious. So often this has been the unique flora and fauna which they grown up with - the beauty of the Western Australian bush.
Much has changed in 35 years, when going to a nursery to buy some seeds of native plants, nothing was available but European plants. One senses a growing awareness of the lands indigenous culture and the fact that we live in a magnificent but very fragile landscape, that there is a real danger that future generations will not have the chance to experience the wonder of the native flora and fauna that is our inheritance, with endemic species loss. It is clear that we now need to find new and more appropriate ways of caring for the land, drawing on the country’s indigenous heritage and seeing ourselves as part of nature and guardians to its wonders. We hope the evening we have created together will be a historic celebration and a small contribution to the way we live together in this most precious of Homes.