Saturday, February 19, 2011

A stroll in the Royal Botanic Garden , Sydney

Saturday was such a lovely day that I decided to take a walk from the Sydney Opera House and out to Mrs Macquarie Chair in the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) and then around to the NSW Art Gallery. The Sydney Royal Botanic Garden is in a spectacular setting on the shores of Sydney Harbour, next the Sydney Opera House and the City.

The Gardens are a bit of nature in the heart of the city of Sydney.

The Garden covers 30 hectares and everywhere there are reminders of Sydney’s beginnings. The Garden is situated on the land of the Indigenous Cadigal people. This was where Australia’s first penal colony was established in 1788 when 11 ships, the First Fleet, carrying over 700 convicts, landed here.. In 1816 the Botanic Gardens of Sydney was founded on this site by Governor Macquarie as part of the Governor’s Domain. Charles Fraser was appointed as the first Colonial Botanist in 1817, establishing the Botanic Gardens as the oldest scientific institution in Australia. (Source:


The Oldest pre-settlement remnant trees in the Royal Botanic Garden: Sydney Red Gum Angophora costata, and three Forest Red Gums Eucalyptus tereticornis

Oldest planted trees in the Royal Botanic Garden: Hoop Pine, Giant Watergum, both planted c. 1820-28 in the Palm Grove

Oldest plant specimens: collected at Botany Bay in 1770 by Joseph Banks

Wildlife: includes Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, White Ibis, Brush-tailed Possum, Flying Fox

Number of visitors: about 3 million (Royal Botanic Gardens) and 4 million (Domain) per year

And why am I sketching in the Gardens ???

I am involved in the Royal Botanic Gardens Great Garden Sketchabout, which is being held in March and April. They are calling on all artists aged two to 100 to join the Great Garden Sketchabout on Saturday afternoons or whenever you fancy a wander in the Gardens with pencil and sketchbook. Meet other sketchers to share your drawings and adventures.3.30 pm ‘show & tell’ at Garden Kiosk Follow the blog at


It took me two hours to do my walk and that's because I was drawing along the way. My first stop was the Queensland Bottle tree and then a Moreton Bay Fig. The bottle tree is named because is stores water in its trunk . They are not always as swollen as this one, and usually upright. This must be quite old , as its limbs have need to be supported by blocks put in by Garden staff.

Bottle Tree

Moreton Bay Fig

The Moreton Bay Fig is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of 60 m (200 ft).[The trunk can be massive, with thick, prominent buttressing, and reach a diameter of 2.4 m (8 ft). The characteristic "melting" appearance of the Moreton Bay fig is due to its habit of dropping aerial roots from its branches, which upon reaching the ground, thicken into supplementary trunks which help to support the weight of its crown.

I then stopped in the shade of the rock wall to take in the stunning view (and wishing that I had bought a picnic lunch- and sunscreen) The beautiful rock is a sandstone I believe.

and then finally out to Mrs Macquaries Chair . Named because 1816 Governor Macquaroes wife supposedly liked to sit here . It is a fantastic view of Sydney Harbour, city and out to the headlands.


  1. Wonderful sketches. I love your combination of pen and watercolor.

  2. lovely loose sketches.I wish I could draw like that with a pen.I agree with Elva!

  3. Love love love these sketches especially the bottle tree - so interesting and just the right amount of ink with wash!

  4. Wonderful post, and congratulations, Alissa! I love the freshness here...


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