Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Description – The first stage of Nerima Gardens was opened on 17 May 2001 by former Ipswich Mayor John Nugent and Mayor Saburo Iwanami of Nerima to commemorate the Sister City Relationship between Ipswich City and Nerima City, Japan.
Nerima Gardens has been designed in consultation with Ipswich City’s sister city Nerima, Japan. The philosophy of the garden is to create a place of peace and tranquillity, a place to meet nature and calm the spirit. The garden is designed to take advantage of the existing vegetation and landform of Queens Park in such a way that the visitor is taken on a journey of discovery, where the perspective of the garden changes and lightens the heart. Nerima Gardens seeks to capture the elements of a Japanese style garden whilst retaining a distinctly Ipswich identity through the use of local plants including rare and endangered species.
The garden is a picture of the local environment and how Ipswich fits within South East Queensland. The first stage of the garden portrays the ocean with latter stages to be added that will portray more closely the character of the Ipswich region, its rivers, mountainous peaks and vegetation.
Design Elements –
- Walled Entry Gates – these traditional gates symbolise protection from outside forces and passage to oneness with the earth, a connection to nature.
- The Peace Bridge – links two bodies of water symbolising unity, the coming together of peoples divided by seas.
- The Life Bridge – provides a moment to pause, to reflect on one’s place in the world and the many changes that shape that journey.
- The Boat – appears to set sail from the island in the lake and symbolises self discovery, venturing towards life’s unknown horizons.
- The Raked Garden’s – carefully tended gravel mirrors the effect of water rippling around an island’s shore.
- The Path – represents a journey of discovery through changing landscapes and seasons, a philosophical distancing from the busy world behind.
- The Forest Walk – inspires ‘Seijaku’, stillness and seclusion.
- The Fish Scaled Beach – pebbles imitate the pattern of fish scales, linking land to water, the source of life.
- Waterfalls – symbolise the journeys of the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers to the sea, and time itself as flowing and ephemeral.
- The Yukimi Stone Lantern – a gift from Nerima City, is designed to capture snow in its cap and so reflect the beauty of the simple lines created.
- The Misaki Stone Lantern – also a gift from Nerima City, is crafted with a simplicity of form so integral to Japanese gardens, to cast its light across the lake.
- The Orb Stone Lantern – an ancient style of Japanese garden lanterns first produced in the Momoyama Period, is a gift from the Tokyo Nerima West Rotary Club.
- The Tsukubai Stone Water Basin and Kekehi (bamboo) – also known as a ‘crouching bowl’, is designed to develop a humble state of mind in guests preparing to join the tea ceremony.
- The Garden Entry Sign – was graciously designed and gifted by Mayor Saburo Iwanami of Nerima.
- The Black Pine Tree – considered the epitome of bonsai, was planted by Mayor Saburo Iwanami.
- The Secret Garden – entices the visitor through a hedgerow-framed intricate gate structure and along a stone path to the hidden garden overlooking a fish pond.
- The Eucalypt Forest – entwines Ipswich’s floral emblem, Eucalyptus curtisii, and native groundcover species with the tranquillity and structure of Japanese garden design.
- The Rest Garden – is nestled between Camellia and Azalea plantings that frame a stepping stone path leading to a rest garden, elegantly framed with colourful shade trees and interesting plant species.
- The Flinders Peak Feature – incorporates a carpet of groundcovers over rocky outcrops positioned to create a symbolic representation of Flinders Peak.
- The Tea House – is a special building designed for holding Japanese tea ceremonies. It is built using simple rustic materials and is usually surrounded by a small garden called a roji. The garden has an important function in preparing the guests for the Japanese tea ceremony.
Construction of the Gardens
The first stage of the garden has been constructed over a 12 month period utilising Ipswich City Council staff and a variety of employment initiatives. The first element to be constructed was the Sea, its island and rockwork. The Entry Gate, Bridges and pathways were then added before finally the planting. No significant vegetation was removed during the construction of the garden and it has been designed to allow access by wheel chairs.
The garden will be a dynamic landscape and will change with the seasons. As a garden of this nature is considered young at 500 years we do not presume that it will reach its full potential for many years to come, however as the two cities of Ipswich and Nerima grow so to will this garden.
Significance of the Ipswich and Nerima Sister City Relationship
In October 1988 a delegation led by the then Nerima Deputy Mayor Mitsuishi visited Australia seeking a Sister City. After visiting three Australian cities, Ipswich was selected as the most suitable owing to the similarities between the two cities. Like Ipswich, Nerima is located adjacent to a capital City, namely Tokyo. Nerima is 48.17 square kilometres and one of twenty-three Wards of Tokyo. Other similarities are the proximity to an international airport and both Ipswich and Nerima are in the same time zone.
After agreement by both parties, the Sister City relationship was formalised on 15 October 1994. The relationship involves cultural activities such as student exchanges, book exchanges and children’s art exchange programs. Business exchange is also an outcome of the relationship with local products such as clay pavers and emu meat now being exported to Nerima and resulting in economic benefits to Ipswich.
Tourism is another main beneficiary of the relationship as numerous Nerima residents have visited Ipswich to see their sister City. The Ipswich Rotary Club has a Sister Club relationship with Tokyo Nerima West Rotary Club which was formalised in February 1992 prior to the Sister City relationship. The Sister City relationship aims to forge goodwill between Cities of different countries, cultures and experiences. Nerima Gardens celebrates this relationship and helps to share cultural knowledge for the benefit of all.
About Ipswich – http://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/