Royal Botanic Gardens – Wurrungwuri Sculpture unveiled

March 10th, 2011

* SYDNEY 9 March 2011

‘Wurrungwuri’ Sculpture by Chris Booth at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens

Sydney’s largest  landmark sculpture at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney was  launched today by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales.

The name of the sculpture, Wurrungwuri (pron: woorung-woóree), means ‘this side – on this side of the water,”

Chris Booth the New Zealand born sculptor of the piece, said he has used a pattern from a rare Aboriginal Shield, the ‘Sydney Shield’, after gaining permission from Allen Madden on behalf of the Cadigal people.

“This pattern, to me, is the heart of the sculpture – the flower,” Mr Booth said.  “In allowing the use of this extremely beautiful and important design, the sculpture becomes a bi-cultural statement, of great relevance to the site and place.  It was and is a place of significance to Cadigal/Eora from long before and following the first contact period with Europeans.  I’ve created the sculpture to reflect a holistic, genuine respect for nature; our atmosphere, ocean, earth, our society and all living things — more vital to our survival today than it ever was in past societies,” he said.

‘Wurrungwuri’ consists of two parts, one built from 16,000 threaded quartz pebbles, the other from local sandstone. The Johnson Estate Sculpture is a gift to Sydney by the late Ronald Johnson, Sydney finance executive and keen art lover.  Mr Johnson committed the bulk of his estate for a sculpture overlooking Sydney Harbour. 

Johnson Estate Trustee, Garry Boyce said Wurrungwuri was completed within the budget of approximately $4.5 million with funds left over in excess of $1.5 million going to the residuary, the St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation Trust.

The sculpture also marks the official opening of The Sydney Morning Herald Autumn of the Arts program, Sydney’s newest arts festival with nature as its inspiration. This Sunday, the Sounds of Sculpture all-day program of music and children’s activities in the Garden will include a traditional shield song at Wurrungwuri performed by Matthew Doyle and Clarence Slockee. This will be followed by a site talk and tour with Chris Booth. Visit for more info.

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