Didgeridoo Music, Walk-A-Bout Tours
Australia Day Saturday January 26
• 10amBTA's Australian Plants Tour with Outback Horticulturist Paul Chambers and Arboretum Tourguides
• 12 noon Dine on Lamb and Foods of Australia for $25-a-plate and prepared by Chef Lucy Wing during our annual Outback Lunch; reservations an d pre-payment are required - have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723
• 130pm Didgeridoo Jam and Australian stories beneath the eucalyptus and gum trees (Gold Canyon didge player Bernie Haley is shown in the photo at right and is our Emcee for the didge jam)
Experience a taste of The Land Down Under -- the plants and culture of Australia are closer than you might expect, particularly on a special Saturday in late January when Boyce Thompson Arboretum celebrates Australia Day January 26. At 10:00 join a walk-a-bout through our Australian plant collections, and from 1:30-3:00 the eucalyptus forest will echo with stories of life in the Outback, and the growling, howling, haunting sounds of didgeridoos played during a two-hour storytelling session and didge jam concert with Bernie Haley and friends. Want to play on stage with Bernie? We have a "Bring Your Didge, Get In Free" admission special for didge players willing to share some music on stage. Email BTAinfo@cals.arizona.edu for details, or call 520-689-2723.
Want a sneak preview? Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe filmed Australia Day Highlights
one recent year, check out this clip:
Australia In AZ. Want to hear a real, live Australian truly talk the talk? Be here at 10:00 am when Paul Chambers guides a tour of our extensive collections of plants from that massive continent -- many of them purchased as seedlings or saplings from Paul's own Australian Outback Plantation in Tonopah.
Paul Chambers joins us to share his knowledge and expertise with Australian plants on a guided tour through the Eucalyptus Forest and Walkabout trail. Paul's Australian accent is genuine -- and his talk will be peppered with Dingo Lingo phrases.
Chambers founded this unique nursery in 1980 after moving to the Valley from Indianapolis following his former career as an Indy 500 mechanic. After designing landscapes for Indy 500 winners Gordon Johncock and Tom Sneva he earned a degree in horticulture from Canberra Technical College in the Australian Capitol Territory, and began sowing seeds collected in the Australian Outback in his own backyard in Phoenix. "Local landscapers purchased our unique varietals to plant along the freeways around Phoenix, now you see the stately Ghost Gum trees well established and providing Arizonans quick shade and shelter," recalls Chambers. "We've grown, and now have a sanctuary of more than 100,000 trees at our 240-acre Downunderontop Ranch in the West Valley, near Tonopah; its open to the public." One of Arizona's success stories, Australian outback plants are now distributed through Lowes garden centers in Arizona, Nevada and California. Chambers is also famous for growing a special type of eucalyptus with leaves harvested to feed koalas, gorillas and giraffes in zoos across the U.S. Learn more about Chambers, a colorful AZ/OZ character with certified Outback roots, on his 10am tour.
Bring Your Didge -- Get In Free
Afternoon Didge Jam from 1:30 - 3:00 pm. Saturday afternoon starting at 1:30 p.m. we'll have live didgeridoo music -- where blocks of powerful sound from this ancient aboriginal instrument will be punctuated by quieter times for Australian expats to share the 'mic, telling their own stories of life and culture from the Land Down Under.
Learn more about life in Australia from local author Marilyn Stewart, an Arboretum annual member who lives in Mesaand is the author of Child Of The Outback, and also Footprints And Fragrance In The Outback? Read more about the author and her experiences growing up in Australia at www.childoftheoutback.com
Another visitor to watch for is Paul Chambers of Australian Outback Nursery <www.downunderontop.com> .
Frequent Arboretum visitors will tell you they particularly enjoy a stroll past the giant eucalyptus tree which we call "Mr. Big." They may also tell you that this property is home to one of North America's largest collections of Australian plants-- at least 449 species in the arboretum collection that have Australian roots.
Australia Day gives our staff a chance to showcase the walkabout trail, the Drover's Shed and trees such as "Mr. Big," which is more than 140-feet tall and has an eight-foot girth. This River Red Gum tree was planted in 1926 when the Arboretum's first opened to the public.
'AUSTRALIA 101- Everything you need to know to go Downunder! Matt Welch, director of the Australian Tourism Centre, based in Tucson, has been here in years past to present workshops on everything you need to know about going to Australia. With handouts, videos, and hands-on experiences, you can learn many new things and feel ready to travel downunder. Learn more with an email to Matt Welch [Australia4U@aol.com], or call his office at 520-296-3788.