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Blue Mountains Tourist : Autumn 2011
www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au autumn 2011 32 Australia in the round by Jennifer Puckeridge Australia is a big country. As visitors discover, it's virtually impossible to see it all unless you have all the time in the world. In the lower Blue Mountains village of Glenbrook a local entrepreneur has come up with a solution to this common travellers' woe. It's called Aitken's Australia in the Round and is the brainchild of Jim Aitken, former mayor of nearby Penrith and local real estate identity. Having had the idea for some 25 years, Jim is proud of the result. A feast for the eyes and ears awaits you as you step into this wonderful exhibition, captured within 213 square metres of panoramic wall space. Visitors are treated to many of the famous images of Australia in one room which would normally take weeks to travel around the country visiting. The almost photo-like paintings are the work of German-born Australian artist Falk Kautzner who spent 19 months transforming original sketches done by Jim Aitken himself. The panorama starts, on your left as you enter the gallery, with the world famous Sydney Harbour. As your eyes move right, the image changes seamlessly into our local wonder, the Three Sisters overlooking the spectacular Jamison Valley. Moving further along, visitors gaze over the beautiful Mitchell Falls in Western Australia, then onto Kings Canyon, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in the Northern Territory (keep an eye out for the incoming storm). You are then transported into a completely different landscape through Mount Warning in northern New South Wales (see if you can spot Jim on his horse). Completing the panorama are the wonderful colours of the Great Barrier Reef with the high rise holiday playground of the Gold Coast in the distance. Complementing the painting is a static floor display of flora and fauna. Giving you a feels-like- you-are-there experience, the display features natural elements from the Australian bush, as well as Namatjira red iron stone soil and hollow logs and rocks from Jim's family farm at Bogan Gate in the central west of NSW. Stand and view this masterpiece of Australian sights and sounds for as long as you can, as the longer you look the more you will see. A cheeky Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo isn't hard to spot, but keep your eyes peeled for the Funnel-Web spider! So many examples of our unique wildlife and plant life are on display, enhancing any visitor's view of Australia, whether you are from here or from another land. Aitken's Australia in the Round is located at 5 Wascoe St, Glenbrook and can be viewed seven days a week at a cost of $10 per adult, $5 per child or senior. For further information phone (02) 4739 3833 or visit www.aitkenspanorama.com.au