• John Olsen’s Optimism for Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens

    John Olsen, Mayor Ken Halstead, Charlotte Webb

    John Olsen, Mayor Ken Halstead, Charlotte Webb. Photo: Ken Redpath

    On Tuesday morning, 5th September, John Olsen AO, OBE, Australian artist of international repute; the Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire Council, Ken Halstead and friends and guests of the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens, gathered for the unveiling of the Leaping Frog bronze cast sculpture.

    The Leaping Frog sculpture, generously gifted by its creator and beloved local resident John Olsen, marks another step forward in the development of the gardens.

    Mayor of Wingecarribee, Ken Halstead described how the Council had identified a shortage of large venues in the shire to hold arts and cultural events and would be supporting the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens’ quest for funding to build a Visitors centre.  The Visitors centre would become a venue for the local and regional arts and culture community and beyond.

    John Olsen said It was a pleasure to be able to hand the sculpture over to the community and hoped it would be appreciated for centuries to come, even predicting that “it will really come into its own in 300 years!”

    Landscape plans for the Gardens were inspired by John Olsen’s paintings and the artist was consulted when designing the Parterre which will be the permanent home for the Leaping Frog sculpture, once the gardens are fully completed.

    Charlotte Webb, Chairman of the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens said, “A Garden is art itself and to have someone as eminent as John Olsen helping us has really set our artistic trajectory”.

    Leaping Frog Unveiling

    For now, the frog is happily nestled among the Eucalypts and is a wonderful symbol of optimism for the future of the Gardens.

    For further details on how you or your organisation can help support the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens or to make a donation please email our Partnerships Manager Louise James at partnerships.manager@shbg.com.au or call her on 0419 613 729 (Monday–Wednesday).

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