Let your imagination guide and your heart connect...

Every place (no matter how small) has 'understories' - secrets, songs, dreams - that help us connect with the 'spirit of place'. This connection enriches our sense of self and our sense of belonging. The spirit of place is much more than the facts and figures of a location, it includes all that lies beneath the surface of things. Our imagination is an important guide in navigating beyond the surface, the rational, the 'known'. It helps us make sense of the world, giving meaning to our experiences.


All Understory artists, writers and musicians spend time in Northcliffe developing artworks that are 'site-specific'. Sources of inspiration and methods of creation are as diverse as the artists themselves.

Themes they are asked to consider include:

  • SPIRITUALITY - sacredness, sanctuary, forest as cathedral, meditation, mystery...
  • CREATIVITY - fertility, energy, life cycles, renewal, beauty, inspiration...
  • HISTORY - geological, ecological and human (from early Indigenous to contemporary)...
  • DICHOTOMY - contrasts of nature (light and drak, growth and decay) diversity, paradox...
  • SENSORY - the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch of the forest...

The potential for inspiration from each and every place is infinite.


Click on thumbnails below to view larger images and details of sculptures...

Local Artists:

Peter Hill (Northcliffe) Pathways (2006)
Competitive Ground (2008)
Warwick Backhouse (Northcliffe)

Regional Artists:

Kati Thamo (Albany) Forest Stones (2006)
Alex and Nic Mickle (Australind) Bound (2006)
Cecile Williams (Denmark) Banksia Line (2006) since decommissioned
Women Meeting (2006) since decommissioned
Log Life (2010)
Cecile Williams (Denmark) Treecycled (2019)
Catherine Higham (Williams) Roadside Re-claim (2007)
Tania Spencer (Lake Grace) Fallen Ghost (2009)
Thomas Heidt (Leschenault WA) The Golden Tree (2012)
Peter Keelan (Denmark WA) Wishing Wheels (2015)
images coming soon Kim Perrier (Bridgetown WA) Rising From the Ashes (2016)
Ian Dowling (WA) Untitled (2017)

WA Metro Artists:

Lorenna Grant (Perth) Whole, You Were Meant to be Here (2006)
Richie Kuhaupt (Perth) Layers and Then There's Layers - Forest Folk (2006)
Natalie Williamson (Perth) Sundew (2006)
Nalda Searles (Perth) Love Conquers All (2006)
Tony Pankiw (Perth) Cascading Shelter (2006)
Norma Mcdonald (Perth) Written in the Wind (2006)
Olga Cironis (Perth) Gold Leaves (2006)
Susan Flavell (Perth) Cat (2006)
Bird (2006)
Gemma Dodd (Perth) Bower (2007)
Graham Hay (Perth) Nurture II (2008)

National Artists:

Duke Albada (NSW) Shades of Grey (2006)

International Artists:

Francois Davin (France & Australia) Feeding (2006)
Cornelia Konrads (Germany) Australia House (2008)


Written material for Understory has been published in books and audio format.

Books are available for sale online or through the Northcliffe Visitor Centre.

Regional Writers

Dianne Wolfer (Albany) Voices From the Forest (2006)
Louise Schofield (Gidgegannup) Forest Music (2006)
Anna Jacobs (Mandurah) The Group Settler's Wife (2006)

WA Metro Writers:

Kevin Gillam (Perth) Curlings (2006)
Lucy Dougan (Perth) various poems (2006)
Andrew Taylor (Perth) various poems (2006)
Kim Scott (Perth) Lost (2006)


The following twelve tracks all appear on the CD 'Canopy - Songs for the Southern Forests'.

The CD is available for sale online, through the Northcliffe Visitor Centre and several other outlets.

Local Musician:

Anne Rice (Windy Harbour) My Place

WA Metro Musicians:

Libby Hammer (Perth) The Glade
Pete Jeavons & Lo Key-Fu (Perth) Sanctuary
Mel Robinson (Perth) Shelter
Djiva (Perth) Ngank Boodjak
Cathie Travers (Perth) Lament
Bernard Carney (Perth) The Destiny Waltz
Tomas Ford (Perth) White Haze
David Pye (Fremantle) Cicadan Rhythms
Brendon Humphries & Kevin Smith (Perth) When the Wind First Blew
Joel Barker (Bridgetown) Something for Everyone
David Hyams (Fremantle) Awakening/ Shaking the Tree/ When the Light Comes