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 2020
The Esperance Wildflower Festival celebrates the diversity of native flora in our region. Variations over millennia, in climate, soil composition, and competition with other plants and animals have shaped the evolution of the species we see today.
Plants have not been alone on this evolutionary journey. Birds have evolved alongside them, interacting in a variety of ways. Some of these work to the mutual advantage of both groups - honeyeaters receive nectar from flowers and in return act as pollinators, moving pollen between plants. Others are more neutral - plants provide birds with places to shelter and to nest. Finally, there are interactions that operate to the disadvantage of plants - cockatoos eat large numbers of Banksia and Hakea seeds. These different interactions are reflected in this year’s Festival theme:
Flowers & Feathers: Friends or Foes.
The 2020 Festival builds on and extends the partnerships developed in 2019. This year we are pleased to also be partnering with the Shire of Esperance who have provided access to the Esperance Civic Centre, increasing the space available for displays. The Shire has also supported the production of a set of street banners.
An organising committee consisting of representatives from the Esperance Wildflower Society, Esperance Community Arts and the Anglican Parish has taken responsibility for planning and coordinating the Festival. The Parish has continued to provide catering services and a venue, the Wildflower Society has managed botanical aspects including the collection, identification and display of plant specimens, and Esperance Community Arts has extended the scope of the Festival by sourcing funding for a range of arts projects and marketing initiatives.
Welcome to the Esperance Wildflower Festival 2020. We hope that you will find much to enjoy, and that you will share in our wonder and enthusiasm for the floral diversity that surrounds us.
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 - Digital Technologies Educator