Bush Babies (aka child climbing into giant gumnut)

February 11th, 2015, 11am

Hi. It appears the Australian gumnut has still got it.

A well known children’s series (authored by Mae Gibbs) tells of the antics of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie__ naked bush babies, adorned only in gum leaves and “nut hats”. The stories are more than 100 years old, but evidently enduring— my nieces (seven and under) are in a phase of collecting “nut babies” — acorns and gumnuts, which soon form whole little civilizations (even if unicorns and Monster High and Shopkins compete in the same room).

And they feature in gigantic proportions at a new playground in Canberra.

Atop a hill which went ablaze in a bushfire (wildfire) 12 years ago, the new arboretum now fills the formerly barren hills with a Himalayan cedar forest (in the making), a panoramic pavilion and Pod Playground, a series of musical stations, swings and spider web style tubes joining the big nuts, leading into a tubular slide. Not the most comfortable for a 5’7” adult, but all in the name of being a GREAT aunt.

While eucalypts are found the world over (even Trsteno arboretum, outside of Dubrovnik where I had a three-week rite of passage traveler’s experience at 19) … there is something about these wonders, so aromatic after the rain, so Australian… something I will miss in my 3-days-to-go countdown.

Dorothea McKellar, in her infamous ode to Australia, delivers a line which is always with me:

A stark white ring-barked forest, All tragic to the moon … The wide brown land for me. (Incidentally, also a sculpture on the arboretum hills).

David Wade said thanks.

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Tanja P

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