on May 31, 2009
Kings Park & Botanic Garden is an area of 400 hectares of which 270 hectares is natural bush land. The Garden displays about 2000 of the State's 13000 plant species. The park is a place for recreation and celebration of the State's rich flora. Its position gives it an spectacular elevated view over Perth.The Lotterywest Federation Walkway is one of Kings Park newest additions. A 52-metre steel and glass arched bridge spanning the Water Garden Valley is the central feature of the Walkway. At its peak it is 16 metres above the ground. Stretching over 620 meters and taking about 40 minutes return, the walk takes you along the Swan River through many of the parks newly added gardens, Swan River lookouts, and finally though the treetops of the Mari Woodland forest. A thoughtful touch is the tree-lined Honour Avenue. Each tree has a plaque dedication to individual soldiers who fought in the wars. There are also the War Memorial and Flame of Remembrance to see.A favourite spot for families is the Western Power Parkland. With its mixture of water, playground areas for children of all ages, shady lawns, discovery trails and - on summer evening – outdoor-cinema it provides enjoyment for all the family. If you want to make a day of it, you can bring a picnic, make use of one of the free barbecues or choose to eat at the Zamia Cafe that overlooks the Parkland. There are many interesting plants, especially when fitted into the Aboriginal context.Of note is the Gija Jumulu (Boab Tree). After travelling 3200km from Telegraph Creek, northern Western Australia, the Gija Jumula arrived here on July 2008. The Aboriginal Gija people of East Kimberley gifted the tree to the people of Western Australia.The Balgas supplied the most resources of all plants used by the Aboriginal Nyoogar people. Flowering stems provided both edible nectar and supports for shelters. Dry stems made useful fire sticks. The trunk exuded a resin, which they made into glue by combining it with charcoal and kangaroo dung. Leaf fronds provided thatch for shelters and bedding The leaf base could be eaten.Marri trees played a significant role in Nyoogar culture. The red gum oozing from the tree contains tannin, which had antiseptic properties. They powdered it and sprinkled it on to open wounds to prevent bleeding or added to water it made a mouthwash. When mixed with clay and water it made a traditional medicinal drink for dysentery.The stately tuart in the park is an example of the largest tree on the Swan Coastal Plain growing up to 40 metres in height. The tough timber made strong wagon wheels and tool handles. Its flower buds are distinctive having swollen bud caps and look like small ice cream cones.The park also describes some of the beliefs held by the Aboriginal peoples. In the Aboriginal Dreamtime, the Waugal serpent meanders through the landscape, creating rivers, waterways and lakes on its journey from the hills to the ocean. The rainbow serpent is an ancestral 'deity' of the Nyoogar community.The garden also celebrates Women in Western Australia. A limestone wall features a sculptured bas-relief mural depicting women in various stages from infancy to maturity. The mural symbolises the part women played in developing Western Australia. Throughout the garden the theme of celebrating women appears.The park and gardens not only a place for recreation and celebration of the State's rich flora it is also a place of education.
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