Friday 1 October 2010 – Floriade

OK, this is not a weekend walk. In fact, as I fell over the night before and had to hire a scooter to see Floriade in, it wasn’t a walk for me at all. Nevertheless it was an outing and it featured zebras.

It was school holidays and Fiona, Amy and Daniel drove down on Thursday 30 September. Ricky was to join us the next night, and drive us all to Melbourne via Bright (Mount Beauty in my case) on the Saturday. We decided to go early to Floriade and avoid the crowds.

Daniel in front of an expanse of tulips at Floriade

Daniel at Floriade

Daniel didn’t venture an opinion on the flowers this time. He was very keen to have a go of my scooter, so a certain amount of bribery and corruption was brought to bear: if he would stop carrying on about it, he could ride it briefly when we returned it.

Meanwhile, I handed my camera over to Amy and asked her to take pictures for me. She did a fantastic job. My Flickr set, Amy’s Floriade photos, is well worth a look, and I’ve combined some of her work in a gallery on a separate page.

We headed straight for the rides. Daniel enjoyed the slide, then Amy, Fiona and Daniel hopped onto the Ferris wheel. Fiona had bought me a ticket, not realising what an abject coward I am about being off the ground. I couldn’t bring myself to go, so Daniel had an extra turn.

Ferris wheel

Ferris wheel

My sibling and niblings were in one of those little cages. I took the photo above with my phone; meanwhile, Amy took amazing aerial shots with my camera.

A long view from the ferris wheel

A long view from the ferris wheel

It’s now clear to me that I’ve been missing the point of Floriade. The only way to see what the flower beds represent is to view them from above.

Also visible in the distance above: Lake Burley Griffin, the National Library (rightmost), preceded by Red Hill and the Questacon.

View from the ferris wheel

View from the ferris wheel

There I am, earthbound, just above the word “View” in the caption. Soon afterwards, another woman on a scooter came up beside me to ask if I’d tipped over yet. Evidently she’d overheard me telling Fiona about my two near-misses in Europe.

Another view from the ferris wheel

Another view from the ferris wheel

After the rides, I dragged everyone off in search of zebras. We were deflected on the way by a magician, who attracted a large audience, did good tricks, made smutty jokes, and guilt-tripped everyone into paying him. I could see the zebras in the distance.

Lake George Zebras in the distance at Floriade

Lake George Zebras in the distance at Floriade

The sign said:

Our names are Stopper, Reviver, Surviver [sic] and Dasher.
We are African plains zebras (Equus quagga).
We were created in fibreglass by Canberra sculptor Alan Aston and painted from actual photographs of our brothers and sisters by artist Julie Aston.
We have migrated from Lake George to be with you at Floriade and had a foal during the migration.
Are we white with black stripes or black with white stripes?
Our skin is black.

Thankyou for stopping and please ENJOY.


Lake George Zebras

Lake George Zebras

These photos were taken by me, I’m pretty sure. More in my Zebras at Floriade set on Flickr. Even though (mercifully) the Floriade was relatively deserted at an early hour on a weekday, there was a crowd around the zebras.

Small children standing with their heads inside the zebra statues

Another use for the Lake George Zebras

I don’t know where they’ve gone now that Floriade is over, but I hope they’ll be safe.

Meandering back from the zebras to find my family, I took a photo of a permanent sculpture I like in Commonwealth Park:

Brass kangaroo drinking at a pond while a family in the background is mobbed by magpies

Kangaroo sculpture; magpies

It wasn’t till I looked at the photos afterwards that I noticed the people being mobbed by magpies in the background! (In the background to the background, glimpse the carnival stage where community performances – including clogging, and concomitant tripping – took place.)

Crowds were beginning to arrive, so we started to make our way back to the scooter hire place.

Val on scooter with Fiona and Daniel - photo taken by Amy

Val, Fiona and Daniel

And here’s Amy, my heroic photographer:

Amy at Floriade, with some flower towers

Amy at Floriade

Daniel leapt aboard the scooter and drove it straight up a narrow ramp leading to the Floriade ATMs. He then had to back it back down. This was accomplished without too much auntly screaming. Someone was waiting to hire the scooter, so his ride was quite short.

I like Floriade, but only if there’s hardly anyone there.

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5 Responses to Friday 1 October 2010 – Floriade

  1. albertine says:

    delightful material. Alwasy impressed by your photos. I’m very confused about the zebras though. Are there any real ones at Lake George? or are they fabricated as well?

    • Marc Ellis says:

      There is actually a wild herd of zebra at Lake George. They are descended from a circus train which became stranded in floods en route to Sydney in 1916 and are rarely seen, but are said to be quite tame on the occasions on which they have bee encountered.

  2. albertine says:

    that Hungarian word – actually I meant always.

  3. valkyrie1 says:

    I wrote the sad story of the zebra statues at Lake George in this blog entry. It mentions the d-word…

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