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10 June, 2021

Cooktown flora comes to life

Visitors to the Cooktown and Cape York Expo this year will experience the beauty of Australia as seen through the eyes of botanist Joseph Banks.

By Peter McCullagh

The 3D animation called Beauty Rich and Rare was created by AGB Events and showcases the botanical illustrations Banks and his naturalists made 250 years ago, including the drawings completed while the Endeavour was being repaired in Cooktown.

Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 Creative Director Vanessa Gillen said the 20-minute digital artwork had just returned from successful screenings at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

“The digital show and narration helps the audience experience the wonder that the Endeavour’s passengers and crew felt on their historic journey in search of the Great Southern Land,” she said.

“It will be presented at Nature’s Powerhouse in Cooktown’s Botanic Gardens from 11 June to 6 July.

“The setting is especially significant as Nature’s Powerhouse was built to house the Vera Scarth-Johnson collection of 160 paintings of local flora inspired by the work of Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander when they visited Cooktown in 1770.

“Vera’s paintings hang alongside a collection of Banks’ Florilegium prints documenting some of the 325 local plant species he and his team collected during their 48 days in Cooktown.

“It is an honour for Cooktown to host such a nationally significant exhibition as part of Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021.”

AGB Creative Director and CEO Anthony Bastic is pleased to be supporting regional communities through touring exhibitions.

“Beauty Rich and Rare has such a natural affinity with Cooktown, and we’re excited to bring the exhibition to the place where many of the species were originally collected,” he said.

“It will be really lovely for the community of Cooktown to be able to experience the story of Sir Joseph Banks and the role their town played in his legacy.”

Running from 11 to 20 June, Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 will kick off with the free Reconciliation Rocks Music Festival on 11-13 June featuring Busby Marou and Troy Cassar-Daley, followed by the Cape York Business Expo on 14-16 June and finishing with the popular Cooktown Discovery Festival weekend on 18-20 June.

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