Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards

Published 9:00am 4 January 2023

Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards
Words by Jodie Powell

Take a trip down memory lane and learn how to create the perfect environment for nurturing Australian wildlife at an exhibition on at the Redcliffe Museum until March 5.

Curator Carly Hughes says The Great Aussie Backyard exhibition takes visitors through the evolution of backyards, from outhouses in the 1920s to the outdoor rooms of today.

“In the 1920s it was about growing food and having a sustainable, practical garden,” Carly says.

“In the ’40s they were home to air-raid shelters and in the 1990s they were heavily influenced by gardening shows.

“Now, there’s a return to people growing vegetables and having native plants and we have smaller land sizes and bigger houses - people tend to go to the park instead of using their backyard.”

The exhibition looks at the impact of smaller backyards, a reduction in tree cover and the loss of biodiversity, as well as at the importance of outdoor play for children and adults.

Encouraging wildlife

Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards

Developed in-house by the museum team and Moreton Bay Region environmental centres, The Great Aussie Backyard unearths simple ideas to encourage wildlife such as planting dense, spiky shrubs and plants of differing heights to provide food and shelter for birds.

Much of the exhibition is made from recycled materials and visitors can learn how to build a frog hotel and explore specimens on loan from the Queensland Museum and local environmental centres including CREEC, Osprey House and Kumbartcho Sanctuary.

Get rid of weeds

Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards

Carly says one way people can help is to remove Dutchman’s Pipe from their yards.

It’s native to South America and the West Indies but classified as a restrictive invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act and poisonous to native butterfly larvae, including the rare Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.

“We hope people come here and take some of the different ideas home to their backyards,” Carly says.

Try your hand at bean-bag tossing or croquet and discover the contents of a typical garden shed – some of the tools have changed vastly over the years, but many remain the same.

There’s a creation station, a nature discovery guide to take home and a nocturnal section, as well as a secret garden.

Explore The Patch

Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards

Museum leader Melissa Burrows says a visit to The Patch is the perfect way to end a tour of The Great Aussie Backyard exhibition, introducing children to the concept of sustainability and what they can do in their own backyards.

Visitors can collect “eggs” from resident chooks Henrietta and Hennifer, “plant” and “pick” vegetables, make a flower to add to the wildflower wall and learn about the difference between native bees and their European counterparts.

There’s also a cubby house with activities and books to enjoy and a worm farm and compost bin to explore.

Worm workshop

Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards

Discover how the hard-working recyclers of the soil world can help with a free worm farming workshop at Redcliffe Museum on Saturday, January 14 from 10.30-11.30am.

During the workshop, aimed at ages eight and up, participants will learn how to establish and maintain a worm farm and find out about the different types of worm farming systems available, as well as how to use the worm liquid and castings on gardens.

A worm farm with composting worms will be raffled as a lucky door prize. Make a booking here.

Composting fun

Exhibition celebrates Aussie backyards

Find out how to cut waste in half with backyard composting systems in another free workshop on Saturday, February 11 from 10.30-11.30am.

Whether you’re an active or a casual composter, the workshop will show you how to set up and maintain composting systems.

The experts can also solve problems with existing compost.

A compost bin will be raffled as a lucky door prize. Make a booking here.

Family day

Continuing the focus on backyards, there’s a free family fun day at the museum on February 18 from 11am-2pm, with a barbecue lunch provided by the Redcliffe Central Lions Club.

Pack a picnic blanket, sunscreen and hat, and enjoy food and games in the museum’s own backyard.

Activities include a free native plant - while stock lasts; plant and seed swap; a talk from Friends of Lagoon Creek about how to incorporate native species into a backyard; fauna from Wildlife Unleashed including live snakes and lizards; bobbing for donuts from a clothesline and Professor Steve Turton presenting Can Southeast Queensland Survive the Climate Crisis?.

Find out more here.

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