A Folly for Mrs Macquarie
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,
|A Folly For Mrs Macquarie
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