Lightscape to fund our flora’s future

Vital Kings Park conservation efforts have a bright future thanks to overwhelming Lightscape support from the Perth community.

More than 180,000 people chanced winter weather to experience the international spectacle of light and sound installations through the Western Australian Botanic Garden.

Kings Park’s share of funds generated from ticket sales will go towards essential work to develop the Western Australian Botanic Garden and to conserve endangered and rare flora of our State.

Executive Director Alan Barrett said it was a wonderful result for Perth’s number one tourist destination.

'Many visitors don’t realise that 40% of our operating expenses are self-funded through commercial activities,' he said.

'Ticket sales were necessary to bring this immensely complex event to Perth, to power nearly half a million lights, employ a 100-person specialist lighting, production team and site crew and to commission unique custom installations by local and international artists.

'Assistance from the City of Perth, and the amazing response from the Western Australian community now enables us to inject more resources into the Western Australian Botanic Garden and expand our work conserving our flora in the face of climate change and biosecurity threats of the future.'

Director of the WA Botanic Garden Sue McDougall said while projects were yet to be scoped, urgent areas of need could now be addressed.

'The Western Australian Botanic Garden belongs to everyone in our state,' she said.

'Lightscape has given us the opportunity to improve its accessibility to make it a place that everyone can enjoy equally.'

A critical part of Kings Park’s mission is to protect Western Australia’s flora through the process of ‘ex situ’ conservation in its gardens.

With climate change and the rise of new biosecurity threats in the state, including the invasive pest Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer, Phytophthora dieback and the destructive fungal disease Myrtle Rust, many of our state’s flora species are now under threat.

'The Western Australian Botanic Garden displays flora from around the State, including many that are rare and endangered – or face the prospect of becoming so,' Sue said.

'Funds from Lightscape will enable us to review and improve our collections and conserve more of our iconic plants for future generations.'

City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the City was thrilled to have played a part in lighting up Kings Park during winter and attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the City.

'Lightscape – powered by the City of Perth – has been an overwhelming success and far exceeded anyone’s expectations.

'It has been incredible to see this iconic park activated at night, in the middle of winter and bringing some many families out in droves.

'We can’t wait to see what is delivered by the team in 2024.'

Lightscape was a collaboration between Kings Park and Sony, with support from the City of Perth, and will return in 2024 with new installations to transform the gardens once more.