John Hunter Hospital Main Entrance Artwork

The objective of the project was to create through art, an engaging, non institutional and welcoming ambience with a more cohesive scheme for the main foyer of the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, NSW.

kookaburras melaleuca  kookaburra2 DSCF4314 DSCF4300

The kookaburra has been a traditional and iconic symbol for the bushland based hospital and so, it’s inclusion to the project was a natural choice. The main entrance doors acknowledge the original inhabitants of the land, the Awabakal people and the melaleuca, a local plant species, known for it’s medicinal properties features on the safety strips for the glass doors.

jhh original interiorOriginal interior. The top row was a continuous wall of non cohesive elements. The floor is a busy mosaic, elevating the chaos and in addition, the Emergency Department entrance doors are along the corridor. Note the original triangular safety strip pattern and the amount of glass within the entrance.

aerial view-horzLocation of the JHH-John Hunter Hospital. Australian Laughing Kookaburra  including palette development. Main entrance of JHH, including updated safety strip.

Dacelo novaeguineae, Kookaburra

The Laughing Kookaburra is instantly recognisable in both plumage and voice. It is generally off-white below, faintly barred with dark brown, and brown on the back and wings. The tail is more rufous, broadly barred with black. There is a conspicuous dark brown eye-stripe through the face. It is one of the larger members of the kingfisher family. Found throughout eastern Australia, they have been introduced to Tasmania, the extreme south-west of Western Australia, and New Zealand. Replaced by the Blue-winged Kookaburra in central northern and north-western Australia, with some overlap in Queensland, although this species is more coastal.

Melaleuca quinquinervia, Broad-leaved paperbark

Melaleuca…from Greek melas; black and leukos; white, referring to black marks on the white trunks of some species due to fire.
quinquenervia…from Latin quinque, 5 and nervus, a nerve, referring to the pattern of veins on the leaves.

Probably the most familiar of the “paperbarks” in eastern Australia. It is a very common species along coastal streams and swamps and is widely cultivated. It is a small to medium-sized tree which can reach 25 metres but is usually up to 12 metres in cultivation. The bark is persistent and develops a multi-layered papery habit. The bark can be easily peeled off in sheets and this has been used as lining for hanging baskets. It is not a practice that should be encouraged.The leaves are flat and leathery, about 70 mm x 20 mm with 5 distinctive longitudinal veins. Flowers appear as short bottlebrush spikes, creamy white in colour and 50 mm long. Main flowering is in autumn. A red-flowered form has been reported to be in cultivation. The fine seeds are enclosed in woody capsules arranged cylindrically around the stems.

melaleuca horizMelaleuca quinquinervia illustrations and plant image

Sugarloaf_range_from_boolarooThe Sugarloaf mountain range silhouette was scaled for the long hospital entrance corridor. The range is colourblocked on the wall with the uneven terrain dividing an otherwise plain wall.

Resources and further reading