Volunteers discussing flower creation methods.

Reclaim Kosci volunteers have been working behind the scenes to create replicas of Kosciuszko flowers that are threatened by feral horses. Some of the replicas will be presented to politicians and other influential people, and some will be used for fundraising. The project has extended interest in the Reclaim Kosci campaign to embroidery groups and other craftspeople.

Starting in August 2019, a small group of volunteers held a series of workshops to refine prototypes. We focused on two species – Max Muellers Burr Daisy (Calotis pubescens) and the Anemone buttercup (Ranunculus anemoneus).  We had to solve a number of problems, including the life-size question, the limp-petal issue and the beading versus embroidery dilemma.

The life-size question was whether to make the replicas life-size or larger. We decided to go for two to three times life-size – a compromise between realism and the fact that human fingers cannot accurately re-create the intricacies of these flowers at actual size. The limp-petal issue was solved with starch and glue. The beading versus embroidery dilemma concerned the better way to represent the tiny florets and stamens in the centres of daisies. We resolved this by leaving the choice up to sewing volunteers.

Margo Pickworth making her burr daisy, Eyre Bird Observatory, WA.

In late 2019 we mailed out sewing kits, with pre-cut petals and other materials, to volunteers. In February 2020 the first results started arriving, and what a delight they were: each replica hand-crafted with dedication and each replica a little different to the others. Since there is natural variety even within a species, it seems fitting that there should be some variety in the replicas.

Three burr daisies, one buttercup, by Sharyn March.

The flowers will send a strong message. They are not just a reminder of the beauty that will be lost if the feral horses remain in Kosciusko National Park. They also show that people care enough about saving Kosciuszko’s threatened species to spend hours of their time creating the replicas.

In March 2020, we extended the project, calling for volunteers to represent Kosciuszko’s threatened species in their choice of craft, based on photographs that we provide. There has been a wonderful response. Watercolours, mosaics and sewn collages are now in the pipeline. Many of their creators are at home, following government requests to stay there during the coronavirus pandemic. They are helping to reclaim Kosciuszko for Australia’s native species – one stitch or piece or brushstroke, at a time.

Max Bourke, President on Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, working on a watercolour of the Monaro Golden Daisy.

If you would like to be part of this project, contact Linda Groom [email protected]

Linda Groom volunteers for Reclaim Kosci and is a member of Canberra Bushwalkers. Linda coordinated the Save Kosci 560km protest walk from Sydney to Mount Kosciuszko in November and December 2018

>> Read more about Max Mueller’s burr daisy 
>> Read more about the anemone buttercup
>> Read more about the Monaro golden daisy