A Folly for Mrs Macquarie

A Folly for Mrs Macquarie, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia

Public Art : A Folly for Mrs Macquarie

Sculptor : © Fiona Hall

Date : Unveiled 2000

Description : Wrought iron gothic style folly. A "folly" you ask ? Well a folly, in architectural terms, is is an extravagant, frivolous or fanciful building, designed more for artistic expression than for practicality. You often find follies in theme parks and gardens. This particular folly is built from wrought iron and sandstone, featuring some rather interesting objects within the wrought iron design. If you look closely you will find an axe, barbed wire and bones.

Location : Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia. 

Inscription :

A Folly For Mrs Macquarie
Fiona Hall

Lachlan Macquarie and his wife governed in Sydney from 1810 to 1821. They arrived with a pattern book for building in the Neo Classsical style and a desire to transform the colony. This part of the harbour foreshore was landscaped in the Picturesque manner fashionable in Britain at the time. A sketch from the period indicates that Mrs Macquarie had a folly constructed.

The design elements of the folly echo those early aspirations for the colony, but are also mindful that there was much folly in the way in which Britain chose to colonise Australia. The doomed roof of Norfolk Island pine fronds for example refers to the colonists regard for this tree Mrs Macquarie presided over the planting of one near here in 1816 which became known as the 'Wishing Tree". However the pine's brittle timber dashed hopes that it would make excellent ship's masts. The bone ceiling refers to animals which once lived in this area and the Gothic windows represent the barbed wire used to claim and divide up the land.
The finial is from the Macquarie family crest, while the folly floor indicates the direction of Britain from this site.

Installed October 2000

Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney

A Folly for Mrs Macquarie, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia  A Folly for Mrs Macquarie, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia


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