With Chinese New Year celebrations just around the corner learn more about the cultural elements showcased within the region’s Chinese Gardens.
Located in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, it was established in 2008 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the region’s sister city relationship with Nanning.
Local resident Enya Xu has been visiting the Chinese Gardens since its beginning and highlights the elements of cultural significance.
Enya said a love of gardens came from the representation of harmony and balance between nature and culture. The aim is to create a beautiful garden highlighting the wonders of nature with a human touch.
The lotus flower
The lotus flower is important to Chinese culture as it represents a lady’s pure character.
“This is because lotus seeds will fall into the bottom of the river and go into the mud and although it’s very dirty in the mud, when the lotus flowers, they’re just so pure and beautiful,” Enya said.
The traditional gentleman
Carvings can be seen on each side of the bridge when entering the Chinese Gardens.
“These carvings represent four types of plants that traditionally resemble traits of a typical gentleman, which include honesty, being pure and not showing off,” Enya said.
“The plants featured include the chrysanthemum, bamboo, orchid and peach blossom.”
We are united
The large rock originates from Nanning and was split in two so that each side could feature the same inscription in both languages.
“It’s meaning is that we came from two continents, different cultures, but basically we are the same,” she said.
“We are united.”
The dragon and phoenix
The top of the gate at the entry of the Chinese Gardens represents the dance of the dragon and the phoenix.
“Looking closely, you can see the dragon and phoenix facing each other doing a dance because they are so symbolic in the Chinese culture, it’s like a totem for us,” Enya said.
The river of Nanning
“As you go through the gate, there's a really big red Chinese character on the floor,” she said.
“It says Yong, which is the name of the main river that goes through the city of Nanning.”
Lady of the garden
“There's a really, really big rock at the end of the bridge and it was selected by one of the officials for Bundaberg,” Enya said.
“It is one big piece of rock, and it resembles a beautiful lady looking over the whole Chinese Gardens.”
The sounds of hope
During Chinese New Year Enya said people would go to the temple and ring the bells 100 times to make the sound of hope.
“I think the resonance of the bell is kind of like the history and the past and as the sound goes further away it also carries the meaning of future and hope,” she said.