More visitors than ever flocked to Kings Park and Bold Park this year – visiting for all kinds of reasons - from a concert, a memorial service or a community event to a bushwalk, a jog or a stroll through the Western Australian Botanic Garden. Here are our top ten hits of 2017.
1. Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak
In February, Kings Park hosted the opening event of the Perth International Arts Festival – 'Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak'. More than 100,000 people enjoyed the lighting and sound extravaganza which followed the story of the six seasons of Nyoongar culture. The event was a feast for the senses with projections of birds flying overhead, geckos running up trees and an underwater wonderland brought to life along the majestic Fraser Avenue tree canopy.
2. WA flora blooming at Eden
In April, visitors to the world-renowned Eden Project in Cornwall, England were wowed by a new display of Western Australia's unique flora. Grady Brand, Kings Park and Botanic Garden's Senior Curator, travelled to the UK in the months prior to assist with the establishment of the garden and oversee the project. In addition to the more than 1,000 plant varieties in the new garden, the exhibit also includes drawings by Western Australian Nyoongar statesman Dr Richard Walley OA.
3. Summer Events Season
From Cyndi Lauper to Paul Kelly, a packed year of events has attracted thousands of people to concerts, movies or theatre shows in Kings Park in some of Perth’s most beautiful outdoor venues. Moonlight Cinema continues to be a must-do activity over Perth’s balmy summer evenings with thousands of people picnicking while enjoying a flick under the stars at May Drive Parkland.
4. ANZAC Day Dawn Service
In April, the ANZAC Day Dawn Service attracted 40,000 people who paid their respects in solemn silence at the State War Memorial. The event planned in conjunction with the Returned and Services League of Western Australia (RSLWA) is a poignant event in Kings Park's annual events calendar as people stop to honour the men and women who gave their lives in combat.
5. Dignitary visits
Kings Park is the jewel in Western Australia's crown and we welcomed a number of dignitaries in 2017 who enjoyed exploring the stunning park. A highlight visit was that of Dr Jane Goodall, the world’s leading chimpanzee expert and environmental patron who made a special visit to plant a tree at Saw Avenue Picnic Area in June. Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Ireland's President Michael Higgins also enjoyed guided tours around the Western Australian Botanic Garden with Kings Park staff during spring.
6. 2017 Kings Park Festival
The horticulture team spent winter busily preparing for the bumper wildflower season in Kings Park and Bold Park. When spring arrived, nearly half a million people delighted in seeing thousands of wildflowers in full bloom in September. The 2017 Kings Park Festival saw Kings Park work with several talented Western Australian artists to produce a series of ephemeral artworks and as well as some fabulous, educational exhibitions about the role of science and social history in Kings Park.
7. Kings Park Volunteer Master Gardeners celebrate 20 years
Also in October, Kings Park's Volunteer Master Gardeners celebrated their 20-year anniversary. The Volunteer Master Gardeners provide a valuable service to the community and Kings Park through their understanding and promotion of WA flora. The group has given almost 50,000 hours of service since they began in 1997!
8. Friends of Bold Park celebrate 30 years
In October, the Bold Park Open Day welcomed visitors with free activities and guided walks to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the much-loved Friends of Bold Park Bushland volunteer group. The Friends of Bold Park played a pivotal role in Bold Park becoming an A-Class Reserve in the 1980s and now members focus their efforts on environmental restoration and engagement with the community. Congratulations to the Friends on 30 fabulous years.
9. Kings Park Science win three awards in one month
Kings Park Science, in collaboration with Hanson Construction Materials, were awarded a Golden Gecko Award for Environmental Excellence for their comprehensive restoration guide 'Banksia woodlands: A restoration guide for the Swan Coastal Plain'. The Banksia woodlands located in the Swan Coastal Plain were listed as an endangered ecological community in 2016. Kings Park Science also won the Innovation Excellence and Green Business categories in the 2017 Pinnacle Awards; again for research and communication in Banksia Woodland Restoration and an Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) award which recognised the enduring relationship between Kings Park Science and Sinosteel.
10. Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park returns
After a $3 million upgrade, Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park reopened to the public in mid-December, just in time for school holiday fun. With loads more to explore, including two new aerial walkways 'The Python' and 'The Bungarra', a new extended waterhole for wading, expanded cubby building areas and a web of climbing ropes, Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park truly is one of the world’s leading nature spaces for children.
We’re looking forward to a jam-packed 2018 and we hope to see you in Kings Park or Bold Park then. Keep up to date by following our social stream or the Kings Park and Botanic Garden Facebook page, or subscribe to our newsletter.