The Glass House Mountains artist residency proposal reflecting on the ecology, geology and deep time history of the region

by artists Ben Beeton and Natasha Wills

This page is an account of each artists background and the project that they are proposing.

Ben Beeton – I have completed over 35 artist residency projects around Australia and abroad looking at the ecology, geology and deep time history of natural systems and promoting ecotourism. Former residencies include Voyages Resorts Uluru, El Nido Resorts, Alice Springs Desert Park, The Valley of the Giants, Broome Bird Observatory, Naracoorte Caves, Brisbane Eco-Sciences Precinct and many others. I am interested in doing a short term artist residency at an ecotourism business to create an interactive artwork on the ecology, geology and deep time history of the Glass House Mountains in collaboration with artist Natasha Wills. I believe it is extremely important to use new technology with art to educate people about natural systems and conservation. To view a listing of all of my former artist residency project please refer to the “Projects by Ben Beeton” tab in the SciArt menu. I work on a barter principle. In return for accommodation during the agreed duration of the residency I create a page on the SciArt website which features the artwork as well as short films which promote the accommodation and inform on the local ecology and geology.

My interactive website SciArt has been used in conjunction with National Parks, ecotourism businesses and schools.

The sciart interactive can be access via any touch screen as a way of learning about natural environments through art.

I have presented many public talks where I discuss the different artist residency projects which I have completed. The talk below was given during National Science Week in Melbourne.

Background – Following a presentation on an artwork about Toowoomba’s vocanic history at the Australian Cultural Library I saw Natasha Will’s work for the first time which was on display at the library. I felt that her work was extremely unique and conveyed a strong sense of ecology and life unfolding. Soon after Natasha and I met we began to discuss a collaborative project which would explore the history of East Coast Volcanics at specific locations. The Glass House Mountains is an import story in the history of East coast volcanics that we want to tell through an artist residency project.

NATASHA WILLS – Artist Statement / Bio

Natasha Wills is a Toowoomba based artist who has lived and practised art for nearly two decades in many different places along the East Coast of Australia, from Melbourne to Townsville. Natasha studied at Newcastle Art School and Sydney College of The Arts and has exhibited extensively in group and solo exhibitions nationally. Natasha’s practice spans drawing, painting, sculpture, assemblage, textiles and artist books. In Natasha’s work, physical and mental structures exist simultaneously and inseparably. Bold lines weave through the objects, planes, and gestural markings, as a scaffold that both contains the restrained palette and emphasises the character of movement and energy in each work. The play of gestural immediacy and pictorial depth provides a rich field for both graphical exploration and spatial experimentation.

Natasha and I are interested in combining our styles through this residency to create topographical images of the extinct Glass House Mountains volcanoes. We are interested in doing an artist residency for 1 week in January or early February at the Glass House Mountains. Following the project I will create a page on SciArt which promotes the residency location through art and science.

Natasha’s and my objective is to hold an exhibition which will tell the story of East Coast volcanisim and promote the different locations where we undertook artist residencies.


Each of the peaks is protected within the Glass House Mountains National Park. Some of the peaks display vertical columns, particularly Mount Coonowrin, Mount Ngungun and Mount Beerwah at the Organ Pipes.[5] These columns are the result of lava contraction. Scattered throughout the hills are shallow caves which have been formed by wind erosion on rocks that were softened by groundwater.[5] The peaks are culturally significant to the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people. Under a native title claim, access to the peaks could be restricted as they are considered spiritual places.[3] To the south east of the Glass House Mountains township is an Aboriginal bora ring.[5] The names of each mountain in the range are:

Mount Beerburrum, 278 mMount Beerwah, 556 mMount Coochin or The Coochin Hills, 235 m and 230 mMount Coonowrin or Crookneck or Fakebig, 377 mMount Elimbah or The Saddleback, 109 mMount Ngungun, 253 mMount Tibberoowuccum, 220 mMount Tibrogargan and Cooee, 364 m and 177 mMount Tunbubudla or the Twins, 338 m and 294 mWild Horse Mountain, 123 mMount Miketeebumulgrai: 199 m


The range was formed as molten lava cooled to form hard rock in the cores of volcanoes 26-27  million years ago[1]. The source of the lava was from the East Australia hotspot. The cores of the hills contain columns of comendite from lava which cools quickly into a hard rock.[7] The surrounding softer rocks have been eroded in the subsequent time, forming the spectacular volcanic plugs that remain today.[3] The peaks’ location relative to each other exhibits an alignment that is believed to have occurred due to fracturing.[5] Mt Ngungun consists of sub-volcanic rock, also known as a hypabyssal rock, an intrusive rock emplaced at medium-to-shallow depths within the crust and has intermediate grain size, and often porphyritic texture between that of volcanic and plutonic rocks.