About the Esperance Wildflower Festival
History of the Festival
The Esperance Wildflower Festival is a fascinating celebration of the region’s flora.
This Festival, originally the Esperance Anglican Wildflower Festival, started in 1990, as a display of wildflowers in the Old Anglican Rectory, in conjunction with the annual Church Fete. Devonshire teas and craft sales helped raise money for building a new Parish Centre. This became an annual event in the Rectory, until the new Parish Centre opened in 1996. In this year, the Wildflower Festival was held in this new large hall, with a demonstration of corn-dolly making as an added attraction.
In the early years of the Festival, wildflowers were gathered from farms, by representatives of the parish out-centres. Indoor gardens and large arrangements were set up in the Parish Centre. The Wildflower Society identified species and placed them in labelled jars. Wildflower Festival Saturdays became family days with brass band music, street parades, decorated wheelbarrows of wildflowers, pantomime, fancy dress (as a flower) decorated bicycles and a poetry competition adding to the atmosphere. From 1998 a theme for the year was introduced and ideas evolved with the changing theme. The number of different species identified has also increased, to exceed 500 each year.
From 2007 the Festival became compliant with the Department of Environment & Conservation (now DBCA) and the Shire, allowing the collection of specimens to be extended to road reserves under license. The Esperance Wildflower Society, Photographers Club, Bird Observers, and South Coast Natural Resource Management have all been regular contributors.
Schools have always been encouraged to participate in a Festival art competition, with a different theme each year. Art entries have been displayed in the church. Students visiting the Festival were also given activity sheets to help them focus on interesting items hidden in the display.
Light lunches and morning and afternoon teas have traditionally been provided by the Anglican Parish volunteers. Members of the Esperance Wildflower Society (EWS) and the Esperance Photographers Club (EPC) have prepared slide shows of wildflower and bird photos. EWS members have also been available to assist visitors with species identification. The event has also included Artists in Residence along with a range of arts, crafts and other items for sale from a Parish Stall and a mini-market outside the hall. Local music groups have also performed at the event.
Acknowledgement: This edited history of the Esperance Anglican Wildflower Festival was originally prepared by Jenny Scott in 2018.
The Festival in 2019
After 28 years of coordinating the Wildflower Festival the Anglican Parish Council decided in October 2018 to enter into a new partnership with Esperance Wildflower Society and Esperance Community Arts. This new model will help to ensure that the Festival will continue into the future by sharing the coordination role across three core organisations.
The Festival was renamed in 2018 to reflect this change, with 'Esperance Wildflower Festival' replacing 'Anglican Wildflower Festival' . The 2019 Festival will involve a wide range of local community groups and events in the lead-up to the event and over the five days of the wildflower display (24th – 28th September 2019).
The Anglican Parish of Esperance will continue to support the Festival by providing the venues and managing the catering. The student's art display and competition will continue to be displayed in the Church.
Esperance Wildflower Society (EWS) members will continue to manage the wildflower display at the core of the Festival and will provide leadership on the educational aspects of the event.
Esperance Community Arts (ECA) will assist with marketing and promotion and with co-ordination of the arts-related components, which have been a significant feature of the Festival over many years. ECA will also assist with funding applications and will take on an auspicing role for the Festival.
The Esperance Wildflower Festival is a well-loved community event that attracts many locals and tourists, and involves close to 100 volunteers in a variety of roles. We look forward to expanding this engagement in 2019 with a range of creative new initiatives building on the long established traditions of the Festival.
The Festival entry for adults is a gold coin donation. Children visit free.
Development of the Esperance Wildflower Festival Logo
After much consideration, Lambertia inermis (Chittick) was selected to represent the 2019 Esperance Wildflower Festival.
It is a common shrub of the Esperance district, where it grows on a wide range of soil types. Its large, showy orange flowers are produced throughout the year, providing a source of nectar for many birds and insects, making it an important component of the local ecosystem.
The photo above was taken by Mary Hoggart.
Esperance-based botanical artist, Colette Annice was commissioned to paint an original image of the Chittick flower to be incorporated into the logo.Colette has been an artist-in-resident at the Esperance Wildflower Festival for a number of years and is well-known for her sensitive depictions of local flora.
The final logo was transformed into a digital design by Kim Maslin.