Media Release: Australian Garden History April Issue

The April issue of Australian Garden History carries a story about a remarkable Anzac Garden on top of the Rockefeller Center in New York. The idea of New Zealand actress, Nola Luxford, who saw it come to fruition in 1942, this simple garden offers a place of reflection about the human sacrifice of war. Another part of Luxford’s war effort was, once a week, to record the messages from servicemen to their families in Australia and New Zealand. For some, this was the last time they heard their son, father or husband’s voice.

In her essay in this issue, Emma Sheppard Simms, an up-and-coming landscape architect, warns of what we lose when bulldozers move into the suburbs, moonscaping gardens that have been reduced to rubble. Not just the lawns and hill hoist disappear but also places to play and chat with neighbours, the places where people really stay connected.

We do well also not to forget the origins of the trees and plants that surround us, for this knowledge can help us to better manage the landscape. In Western Australia, many species came from South Africa, as ships visited on their last stop before Perth. Western Australia’s links with Africa and India are the theme of this year’s national AGHS conference, to be held in Bunbury in October. The title ‘Hesperia’, as John Viska explains, was the name Captain James Stirling contemplated for the new colony; it draws on the Greek god of the west wind, Hesperus. The full conference combines talks and garden visits. The lecture program will also be available via online conferencing. Go to https://www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au/events/2024-annual-national-conference/ for details. Registrations open on 8 April.

This issue’s cover comes from the extensive collection of postcards held at the National Museum of Australia. Oh for troubles as light as bubbles! The museum’s Luke Keogh discusses the role of museums in bringing history to new audiences. The artifacts held in many a collection, like this postcard, have much to tell us about the endurance of gardening in our popular culture.

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Australian Garden History is the quarterly journal of the Australian Garden History Society (AGHS). It is available at https://www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au/shop/ To arrange an interview with any of the journal’s authors, contact Francesca Beddie, editor@gardenhistorysociety.org.au or 0418 645 181.

The mission of the Australian Garden History Society is to promote awareness and conservation of significant gardens and cultural landscapes.

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