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Bayside City Council

The trees of Billilla, a community art project by Carmel Wallace

What is Refuge

Refuge will be created during March/April 2018 at Billilla Mansion in Brighton, under the iconic Canary Island Pine/Pinus canariensis. Aged 130+ years, and recorded on the National Trust (Victoria) Register of Significant Trees as important for its ‘curious growth form’. This pine not only symbolises the nineteenth century gardens and mansions of Bayside, but also the resilience and contribution of survivors. Its distinctive shape is the result of a severe lightning strike in the cyclone of 1918. The resulting thick broad canopy provides dense shade for humans at ground level and safe shelter for birds and possums in its generous upper limbs. Appreciation of its unusual form could also be seen as a celebration of difference. Refuge will highlight these qualities. It will be a large woven form created largely with pine-needles that fall prolifically from the tree.

4 March - Introduction to the project at the Gallery. The artist will introduce the project at The Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, with a visual presentation of her practice and related works followed by a demonstration of weaving techniques, attendees are encouraged to be involved in this process. Event is free, refer to the website to register your interest.

Workshops - In the gardens of Billilla Mansion work will continue on this project through to the end of April and community members are welcome to be a part of these wonderful workshops. Weather permitting Carmel will be found under the tree most days in March and April. Please register your interest as a single or group visit Billilla workshops. These workshops are free.

5 May, celebration eventRefuge will be taken from Billilla and installed at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre to provide a final opportunity to hear the stories, view the final creative interpretation and reflect on the importance of open space and what our gardens mean to us. 

A conclusion to the project will be delivered which will include:

  • A concluding statement by the artist;
  • A photographic documentation of the progressive work;
  • A panel of story tellers and invited experts from a variety of fields who will lead discussions with the larger audience, topics will include:
    • Stories about the Canary Island pine and other trees in the gardens;
    • The effect of the Brighton Cyclone to the area;
    • Creative interpretations and stories by the workshop attendees;
    • An informal afternoon tea.

This event is free, refer to the website to register your interest.

Image: Photography Carmel Wallace (Tayler studio, Billilla Mansion Studios), 2017 (detail), Billilla Mansion and Canary Island pine tree.


Event starts
Sunday 4 March, 2018
Event Ends
Saturday 5 May, 2018
The Gallery at Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre
Venue Address
Cnr Wilson & Carpenter Streets, Brighton

Victoria, Melbourne

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