Queenslanders' long connection with plants on show in new exhibit

State Library display to inspire and educate visitors.

Queenslanders’ obsession with plants is explored in a new exhibition at the State Library of Queensland.

Entwined: plants and people examines our relationship with the botanical world through immersive projections, photography, historic illustrations, and stories that provide insights into the state’s unique plant life.

Interest in gardening has never been stronger, so the State Library has dug into its enormous collection of botanical illustrations and stories to captivate and inspire plant lovers of all ages.

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said Queenslanders had a love affair with plants.

“A walk in the botanical garden or a spot of weeding in a veggie patch can enliven our senses and connect us to the natural world,” Ms McDonald said.

“Entwined: people and plants provides a chance to reflect on that relationship and how important it is to our very survival.”

Visitors can learn the story behind Joseph Banks’ Florilegium, illustrations of plants collected on Cook's voyage on the HMS Endeavour

Botanist Joseph Banks had engravers create 738 copper plates of the drawings but they were not printed until more than 200 years after his death, in one of the biggest publishing projects in history.

Only 100 hundred copies were created and one edition is held by the State Library.

“Like so much of history, this exhibition highlights a collision of narratives,” Ms McDonald said.

Banks’ Florilegium was an impressive achievement of Enlightenment Europe but Captain Cook’s voyage set off a chain of events which led to the dispossession of Australia’s traditional owners.

“I encourage visitors to pause, breathe and reflect on the complexity and beauty of plants in our latest life-affirming exhibition.”

The exhibition is open daily from 10am-5pm until 14 November and entry is free.

Other highlights include:

  • Man&Wah’s Quantum Metamorphosis: a visual and sonic meditation intertwining water, air, fire,
    earth, and the ether. A re-imagining of botanical illustrations from the 15th-18th centuries.
  • Traditional weaving, fibre art and contemporary fashion including bush fascinators made from spinifex, and bicornual baskets.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fishing tools and rainforest shields made from plants.
  • Rare photos and items from environmental protests like the Daintree blockade.
  • Untold stories of female botanical illustrators.

Photo: School excursion at Mount Tamborine in 1935.