Glenbrook, New South Wales
The Harbour-dominated beauty of Australia’s Emerald City; the rugged mystery of the Blue Mountains; toughness and brilliant colours of Australia’s outback; and natural beauty of beaches scattered along endless stretches of coastline …
Add the fertile riches of Australia’s rural heartland and the character and excitement of Queensland’s fabulous Gold Coast and you have a fascinating collage of life in modern Australia – all captured within the 213 square metres of wall space at Aitken’s Australia In The Round Panorama at Glenbrook, NSW.
Destined to become one of Australia’s great tourist attractions, the Panorama is strategically placed in Wascoe Street, Glenbrook – just 74 kilometres along the Great Western Highway from Sydney.
Some 300 metres west of the Blue Mountains Information Centre on the Great Western Highway and a leisurely 10 minute walk (four blocks) from Glenbrook Railway Station, the Panorama is conveniently located for tourists and residents alike.
Development of the project over the past two years has been a ‘labour of love’ and the realisation of a 25 year dream for former Penrith Mayor Jim Aitken.
A long-time ‘closet artist’, the Panorama is Jim’s concept and a tribute to his business acumen and tenacity. He did all the original sketches and concept designs before commissioning German-born artist Falk Kautzner of the NSW Central Coast to bring his vision ‘to life’. The final work produces an amazing, lifelike depth of feel.
Jim Aitken’s faith in the creative genius of Falk Kautzner has been totally justified. He believes the public’s appreciation of Australia’s natural beauty will be enhanced as never before by the Kautzner masterpiece.
The Panorama building is at the rear of the Mountain Blue Restaurant building and, once the construction of the ‘shell’ was complete, the artist completed the mammoth work of art in 19 months.
The purpose-built double-brick structure (20 metre diameter) features climate control through a natural thermal process in the wall cavities. The building has a hexagonal-shaped exterior with a perfect round, steel-framed villaboard interior.
Walls measuring 6.5 metres high with 6.5 metres of available natural landscape area from the wall to the visitors platform ensures a clear view for all.
Some 213sqm of fine art canvas by Claessens of Waregem, Belgium, and hundreds of litres of paint were essential resources. The two layers of first-grade canvas with paint-soaking penetration of 30% will ensure the artistic masterpiece will last for centuries.
Victor Claessens founded the Claessens company in 1906 and it is now world famous for producing the best-quality canvas from flax, in accordance with traditional methods.
The enormity of the physical painting task is best explained by the fact that every shade of colour had to be mixed to an exact recipe. Some 271 jars of acrylic paint were used to complete the masterpiece.
There are over 150 examples of natural Australian flora and fauna – along with 10 tonnes of rock and timber, and four tonnes of outback red soil. Other components in the impressive display include Namatjira red iron stone soil (only found in central Australia) and rich, red soil and timber pieces collected from the area of Jim Aitken’s family farm at Bogan Gate in the central west of NSW.
Jim Aitken, Bill Reeves, Guido Rossetto, Graeme Hawken and Tony Adamski (the original Tullamore Kid) drove many hundreds of kilometres to collect the required genuine resources for the Panorama.
The static displays have been carefully planned to complement the artwork – and are the result of hundreds of hours of careful labour by Jim Aitken and Graham Hawken. The floor exhibits merge seamlessly with the larger-than-life art.
Visitors to Aitken’s Australia In The Round Panorama are invited to enjoy the breathtaking beauty and ruggedness of this great continent at their leisure. This unique Panorama provides a ‘one stop’ experience that most people take a lifetime to see.