|Along the Molonglo Art Exhibition and
Capturing the Spirit of the
Four major waterways of the Molonglo catchment, the
Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers and Burra and Jerrabomberra Creeks,
combine to provide the lakeside setting for our national capital.
Perhaps less well-known is that their valleys also support vulnerable
and endangered ecosystems such as box-gum woodlands and natural
temperate grassland. Such ecosystems harbour endangered plants and
animals and a fascinating range of more common native plants and
animals. The Molonglo has been significant in aboriginal culture for
tens of thousands of years, and European heritage for almost two hundred
Each year, the Molonglo Catchment Group through the
Queanbeyan Art Society and the Artists Society of Canberra challenges
artists to capture The Spirit of the Molonglo, revealed not
just in the waters of the catchment, but in the richness of its plant-
and animal-life, and the vibrancy of its cultural heritage.
Maybe the Spirit of the Molonglo is expressed
in the vibrant red bark of Eucalyptus rubida in autumn, the dew
on a rare and delicate orchid on Black Mountain in spring or a
wedge-tailed eagle riding thermals over the lower Molonglo in summer.
Perhaps it's in stories told by the gnarled yellow box that sprouted
from a seed well before Europeans first saw the Limestone Plains, and by
the aboriginal scarred trees that still exist within a suburban setting.
The Spirit of the Molonglo might be reflected
in the still early morning waters of Lake Burley Griffin or in the
incredible view from Dairy Farmers Hill in the National Arboretum.
Perhaps it's there in a sunset panorama of the Molonglo Valley from Mt
Ainslie. ... Or around the rusted old mine equipment at Captains Flat.
The Spirit of the Molonglo might reveal itself
in the platypus rising in the Queanbeyan River on a misty morning, or
the balloons rising from beside Lake Burley Griffin; the observatory on
Mt Stromlo or the radio telescope at Hoskinstown looking to the stars,
maybe those same stars on the Australian flag flying from Parliament
House; the turf grown at Pialligo for children to play on in Canberra
backyards, or vineyards producing wines to enjoy with a picnic in
It might be the memory of shepherd, James Ainslie,
tending the Campbells' sheep near where cadets from RMC Duntroon only
recently marched in their graduation parade. Or is it standing
solemnly beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Australian War
Memorial or General Bridges' tomb on Mt Pleasant?
Perhaps it's at the Royal Australian Mint, where coins
are struck, or the Carillon on Aspen Island where the bells strike the
mid-day hour. Could the Spirit of the Molonglo be in waters
of the Queanbeyan River entering Googong Dam to supply Canberra and
Queanbeyan, or the waters of the Molonglo River as they join those of
the Murrumbidgee on a journey downstream to Gundagai, Wagga Wagga,
Adelaide and the Southern Ocean? Maybe it's in the forests on the
Great Dividing Range near the headwaters of the Molonglo or perhaps the
awesome boulder-fields in the Tinderry Ranges where tributaries rise to
feed the Queanbeyan River.
Maybe it's in all of these, and more.
Along the Molonglo Art Exhibition and Competition is
held in conjunction with Queanbeyan Art Society each year in June, and
in conjunction with the Artists Society of Canberra in September.
It is through the generosity and continued support of
sponsors for the prizes at the Art Exhibition and Competition that we
are able to foster interest in the Molonglo and promote an understanding
of its environmental assets through art.
Along the Molonglo
Placestory about the 2009 ASOC Competition and some images from
previous exhibitions on our
Flickr web pages.