Mindful that my time in Australia is running out, I went on a sightseeing trip to Geelong last week. It’s the second biggest city in Victoria and only an hour from Melbourne by train so, considering that I’ve been living here for well over a year, it’s surprising that I didn’t check it out sooner.
I went for a walk along the waterfront following the trail of Jan Mitchell’s bollards, carved and painted to look like people. This led me up to the Botanic Gardens, where I snapped a pair that I at first took to be a bride and groom. After reading the information plaque I discovered that the gentleman is in fact Daniel Bunce, the first curator of the gardens. He returned from an expedition across Australia with Sturt’s Desert Pea, which he planted in the gardens. The attractive wildflowers were highly sought after by the ladies of Geelong for their pressed flower collections and the guilty looking woman by Bunce’s side is concealing some of the desert peas and a flower press behind her back.
There is an entertaining post over at The Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens blog about how some of the sneaky local women even went so far as to try smuggling rare flowers out of the gardens under their hooped petticoats!