The Bundanon region is the site of our environmental portrait because of its distinctive natural and cultural character. The 1100 hectares comprise a number of adjoining properties, including Bundanon, Riversdale, Earie Park and Beeweeree. This combined property has been overseen by the Bundanon Trust since 1993, when Arthur and Yvonne Boyd made a gift of Bundanon to the Australian people. The Boyds’ gift to the Commonwealth included neighbouring properties Riversdale and Beeweeree, as well as a huge collection of artworks and archive material. Bundanon is today an artists’ colony and education centre: every year, 300 artists take advantage of the artist residency program, living in rustic isolation at Bundanon while working on art projects in all forms and media.
The 1100 hectares, including a winding section of the Shoalhaven River, incorporate eleven different vegetation communities, an abundance of flora as well as native wildlife. The property has 91% healthy natural bushland with 9% cleared agricultural land. The Beeweeree and Eearie Park properties were previously agricultural ones dating back to the mid 19th century. There are 40 hectares of cattle grazing pasture, and 11 hectares of built areas.
Bundanon is situated on the northern banks of the Shoalhaven River. The landscape includes coastal floodplains, visible on the interactive map. The topography also features escarpments, plateaus and slopes. The underlying rock formation dates to the Permian Age (270 million years before the present), encompassing sandstone and siltstone. Erosion of sandstone escarpments has resulted in large and spectacular rock formations, including Pulpit Rock, a feature of the landscape painted frequently by Arthur Boyd.
Some of the artworks completed by artists in residence at Bundanon have been based on, and within, the landscape. Janet Laurence’s Treelines Track (2014 – ongoing), for instance, is a walk that traces the history of plants and plantings at Bundanon. In The Lantana Project (2009), Gary Warner left an impression on the landscape by removing the weed lantana over a three-week period; he has revisited the project every year during the Siteworks festival weekend at Bundanon. The ‘terrible scourge’ of lantana, choking the Shoalhaven riverbank, had been noted with dismay by Arthur Boyd in 1982.