Saturday, 24 July 2010

Blue Mountains World Heritage Turns Ten - One Year for Every Ten Eucalypt Species



The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Exhibition Centre at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden opens today, celebrating ten years since the Greater Blue Mountains made the World Heritage listing. Two ozzie icons, Jack Thompson and Bob Debus, will join us for the opening this afternoon.

This is the media release we sent out during the week:

New Aussie icon - World Heritage Exhibition Centre

The World Heritage Exhibition Centre will be launched today at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden featuring sweeping panoramic views of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and surrounded by a world class collection of plants.

Iconic Australian actor and passionate environmentalist Jack Thompson AM, and retiring Member for Macquarie Bob Debus MP [and iconic politician and environmentalist in New South Wales] will officially open the magnificent centre.

“I encourage people to visit this spectacular Centre at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden,” Mr Debus said.

“This Exhibition Centre is a superb showcase of the Greater Blue Mountains Area and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Area’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 for its outstanding universal values. Importantly, it will also be used to deliver curriculum based lessons to school children relating to National Parks and conservation,” he said.

Jack Thompson said the spell-binding views as well as an intellectual and artistic experience help deliver a strong conservation message.

“The first seed of conservation was planted by Aboriginals who took great care of this natural wonderland. Later European settlers made their mark when Australia’s first conservation action group was established in the Greater Blue Mountains,” Jack Thompson said.

“The Blue Gum Forest Committee saved the Blue Gum Forest in the Grose Valley from being developed by a leaseholder into a walnut farm. Despite the depression they raised enough money to buy the lease and then gave the forest back to the public. Their success became a symbol for future community environmental campaigns,” he said.

Botanic Gardens Trust Executive Director, Dr Tim Entwisle said like Jack Thompson, the World Heritage Exhibition Centre will become an Australian icon.

“The awe inspiring vista from the Centre will transport visitors into another realm, where the area’s history, culture, geography, animals and of course its flora rule,” Dr Entwisle said.

Mount Tomah Director Rob Smith added “this beautiful and sustainable new building provides a space where kids from 4 to 94 can play in a virtual world of canyons, touch diverse forms of gum trees, wander through a slot canyon without getting their feet wet, and in a full surround sound theatre experience a journey through the gigantic cliffs of the 1,000,000 hectares of wilderness and National Park landscapes that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.”

They can also get close to Silurian fossils from Jenolan caves or see fantastic ceramic gumnuts from Blue Mountains Artist Heather Jones. Mr Smith said “The Centre gives the botanic garden visitor a 21st Century journey through these ancient landscapes as the world class Mount Tomah Botanic Garden becomes a gateway for the surrounding seven National Parks and the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.”

Image: Botanic Gardens staff planting the roof garden of the new Exhibition Centre a few weeks ago. For a little more background see my June posting.

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