Bimblebox 153 Birds at Webb Gallery, Griffith University, 2019, photo Steve Mardon

Bimblebox Art Project, 2012 – Ongoing

Land Court of Queensland case is underway, triggered by objections to Waratah Coal’s application for the final Mining Lease and Environmental Authority to begin mining thermal coal

Waratah Coal Pty. Ltd. v Youth Verdict Ltd., The Bimblebox Alliance Inc. and others

The Land Court of Queensland hearing began on the 19 April 2022, with the first week being a site visit to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. The Land Court then convened in Brisbane on 26 April. During the week starting the 16 May the court will travel to Far North Qld to hear on country evidence from First Nations communities.

I am a Lay Witness because of my development of and ongoing work with the Bimblebox Art Project.

Bimblebox Art Project:
I began the Bimblebox Art Project in April 2012 and have worked across the project throughout this past decade. The project continues, with the touring exhibition Bimblebox 153 Birds, and the reintroduction of artist camps.  The Bimblebox Art Project is now a ten year story of fossil fuel, a nature refuge and a planet in climate emergency.

The projects purpose is to creatively engage with and document the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a protected environment that is NOT protected from and is subsequently threatened by coal mining. The first step was to develop artist camps on the nature refuge bringing artists, writers, photographers and other creatives into a direct, on site experience of place. From the earliest, exhibitions were envisaged and began to be developed.

The Bimblebox Art Project aims to engage, educate and engender people’s connection with Bimblebox; to take the Bimblebox Nature Refuge beyond the fence-line and bring an experience of it to people throughout Australia; to build an understanding of the value of natural environments like Bimblebox; to engage in conversations around climate change, coal mining, biodiversity and what value we place on water, land and the environment.

Art, science, nature camps, touring exhibitions, writing, music, various events, artist books, education kits, creative activities for children, panel discussions, a printed exhibition catalogue, media exposure, a digital catalogue app and academic research have been some of the outcomes.

Through the Bimblebox Art Project a large body of cultural material, creative responses and artworks that have extended beyond the fence-line of the Nature Refuge have been facilitated and produced. The Bimblebox Art Project has brought a remote vibrant wildlife refuge alive for audiences. It has touched the lives of people across Australia and, via participation and digital media, the world.

The exhibition installation Bimblebox 153 Birds is currently touring and available to galleries.

Christene Drewe (Stat Library of Qld) and Jill Sampson with Bimblebox Art Project items that have been collected by the State Library of Qld, 2017.

State Library of Queensland collection:

Ephemera from the Bimblebox Art Project has been collected by the State Library of Queensland, while this website has been included in the Pandora archive.
The State Library has also collected two artist books relating to the Bimblebox Art Project, including:
Poems for Bimblebox, September 2013, Beth Jackson; Louis Lim binder
Bimblebox Art Project: what’s yours is my coal mine/edited by Cain & Todd Hunter, Gerald Soworka; Townsville, Qld.: Hunter Bros Press; 2013

Photos above, L – R: Resource, 2013, Donna Davis, Document://Bimblebox, 2013, photo Mel de Ruyter; Alpha Mail, 2013, Gerald Soworka, Document://Bimblebox, photo Mel de Ruyter; Meanwhile at Bimblebox… 2013, Samara McIlroy and Bimblebox NR community/supporters, Document://Bimblebox, photo Mel de Ruyter; Bimblebox: art – science – nature at Redland Art Gallery, photo Carl Warner; Resource, 2013, Donna Davis and Reconfigured Landscape 1, 2, 3, 2013, Shayna Wells, Bimblebox: art – science – nature, photo Jill Sampson; Coalface performance, Manly Art Gallery, 2016, Alison Clouston and Boyd, Bimblebox: art – science – nature, photo Tangible Media; Bimblebox 153 Birds, Impress Gallery, 2015, photo Alana Brekelmans; Bimblebox 153 Birds, Mary Cairncross, Maleny, 2018, photo Jennifer Eurell; Jill Sampson talking at the Bimblebox 153 Birds exhibition, Gympie Regional Art Gallery, 2016, photo Jill Sampson.

Exhibitions developed by the Bimblebox Art Project:

Other Exhibitions:

Participants at the art, science, nature camps have also developed their own exhibitions of artwork from their experiences of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Bimblebox MMXIV, 2015, group exhibition organised by Greg and Emma Harm, at Ipswich Community Gallery.
Bimblebox to Gum Creek, 2017, Graydon Gallery, Jennifer Stuerzl, solo exhibition, Graydon Gallery.
Ripple Effects, 2018, artists Jennifer Stuerzl, Rosie Lloyd-Giblett, Beth Jackson at Gympie Regional Gallery.
Michael Foley: The Long View, 2018, Michael Foley, Caloundra Regional Gallery. A posthumous exhibition of watercolours by Michael Foley, curated by Beth Jackson. Included seven watercolours Foley produced at the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

Artist Judith Sinnamon travelled independently to Bimblebox Nature Refuge, resulting in the following exhibition:
Bimblebox, 2018, Judith Sinnamon, solo exhibition at Edwina Corlette Gallery.

The Bimblebox Art Project has also inspired other projects:

Artist from the Bunbury region developed the exhibition Transplanting Disobedience to coincide with the exhibiting of Bimblebox: art – science – nature at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery. After viewing the exhibitions local artists developed the exhibition, Artists at the Helm.
Transplanting Disobedience, 2014, an art exhibition that focused on the local coal mining impacts around Bunbury, Western Australia.
Artists at the Helm, 2014/2015 advocating protection for a local native forest block, Bunbury, Western Australia.

Bimblebox Art Project has participated in two research projects.

Scroll down further for an overview of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and the art, science, nature camps.

Links on the Bimblebox Art Project Website:

fb: Bimblebox 153 Birds

Bimblebox Nature Refuge from the air, photo Nikolas Hamm

Bimblebox Nature Refuge, L – R: Bull Oak, Eric Anderson: Seedpod, Jill Sampson: Wallaroos in Kangaroo Grass, Sonya Duus; Starflower, Alison Clouston, Double-barred Finches, Eric Anderson: Bimblebox tree, Jill Sampson: Dragon, Tangible Media; Heathland, Tangible Media; Brolgas, Sonya Duus; Bimblebox woodland, Tangible Media; Grevillea, Jill Sampson, Ironbark trees, Jill Sampson; Rainbow Bee-eater, Tangible Media.

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge:

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge is an 8000 hectare area of diverse woodland in the desert uplands region of central western Queensland. Bimblebox is protected in perpetuity by a Nature Refuge Agreement with the Queensland State Government. Shockingly nature refuges are not protected from mining.  Waratah Coal plan to develop the Galilee Coal project, a thermal coal mine that would have a devastating impact on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

“The proposed mine would produce 40 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal over a life of 25-30 years, generating around 2.9 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, inconsistent with the aims of the Paris Agreement to constrain climate change.” Environmental Defenders Office (article here)

Understanding the proposed mining developments for the Galilee Basin has brought a realisation of the greater threat to life on Earth from generated carbon emissions if the Galilee Basin is developed for thermal coal export.  As well as an understanding of the extensive and irreversible impact of large scale coal mining on groundwater reserves, ecosystems and agriculture.

At Present the Carmichael Coal Mine, Bravus (Adani Group), is the one thermal coal mine to develop to production in the Galilee Basin. But Waratah Coal have applied for their final mining approvals for the Galilee Coal Project, the mine that would impact the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. The Bimblebox Alliance, Youth Verdict and others lodged objections generating a Land Court of Queensland case that began on 19 April, 2022. EDO press release here.

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge combines thriving vibrant ecosystems with sustainable beef production.  On Bimblebox both conservation and agriculture work together generating research projects in biodiversity and sustainable land management practices.

For more information on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, go here.
For the Bimblebox Nature Refuge website go here.

photos above, L – R: Bimblebox camp site, 2012, photo Jill Sampson; in augural artist camp artists and volunteers, 2012; Alan Tulloch, 2016, photo Tangible Media; Ecology walk, 2016, photo Tangible Media; Jude Roberts, 2012, photo Jill Sampson; Camp kitchen, 2013, photo Jill Sampson; Gerald Soworka, 2012, photo Jill Sampson; Artist’s at work, 2016, photo Tangible Media; Howard and Sarah Butler, 2012, photo Jill Sampson; Liz Mahood, 2013, photo Jill Sampson.

The camps on Bimblebox:

Bimblebox Art, Science, Nature Camps:
Bringing artists onto the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and then developing the work from the first two camps into a touring exhibition were the initial aims for the Bimblebox Art Project.

Diverse groups gathered annually at the Bimblebox Nature Refuge each September from 2012 – 2017.  The 2018 camp was cancelled due to deepening drought conditions at that time, however the Bimblebox art, science, nature camp resumed in 2022. At each camp the artists, writers, creatives would explore, make and develop work that in its own way distils and documents the Bimblebox NR environment. The work creatively explores this place, is an archive of this threatened environment and makes comment on issues such as biodiversity loss, food security, water use and climate change while celebrating the vibrancy of life that thrives on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

Through their artworks the artists have explored the material, visual, historical, scientific and physical existence of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge while asking our community and our society as a whole what the future holds for this nature refuge and what human and societal value we place on it.