title_ Edge of the Trees

date_ 1995

materials_ sandstone, wood, steel, oxides, shells, honey, bones, zinc, glass, sound, 29 pillars

location_ Museum of Sydney on the site of first Government House, Sydney Australia

collaboration_ Fiona Foley

text_ A sculptural Installation curated by Peter Emmett

Both an exhibit of the museum and a public sculpture, on the site of first Government House

there is the memory of the site
the botanical memory
the Eora memory
the colonial memory
through a language of
materials
naming
mapping

SANDSTONE
Sydney’s historical building material
the substance on which Sydney is built
the ground for Eora camps…
engraved with:
names of people – Eora men and women in Sydney around 1788-1850
names of places – in the harbour from Dawes 18th century notebook

STEEL
links to the steel and glass
of the museum architecture
extending the building and site housing substances
oxides from nature
and cultural life of the people
shells and midden ash

WOOD
a grove of pines once stood here
these pillars were trees from around Sydney
ironbarks and tallowood
recycled back into the ground after their industrial history as posts in a Pyrmont foundry that became the McWilliams Building

their checks have opened as windows of substances symbolising, memorising
from earlier lives here
honey
pipe clay
bones
resin
shells
oxides
ash

ENGRAVED NAMING
species from pollen readings of the Governor’s garden
in latin and in aboriginal language

names of the First Fleeters
labels in zinc

CORTEN STEEL
rusting back into nature
symbolic red bleeding into the sandy ground
transformation of culture into nature and back again

THE SOUND
an aural map
naming places of occupation
Koori voices record a moment in time
within the 29 pillars

The Edge of the Trees
as a symbolic space –
a membrane where two cultures looked through to each other –
here they mingle and intertwine
a weaving towards the future

City of Sydney