and Australiana Art

Tessellation Farm

Once I saw a sketch of Escher’s –
Sky and Water is its name –
It’s Ducks and Fishes, actually,
but precious, just the same –
Those beasties blew my brainbox –
I was never-so-impressed! –
So then I tried to tessellate –
Put Escher under pressure, Mate –
Well, excel them, at any rate –
To BETTER Escher’s BEST! . .

OZZIE the Magic Kangaroo
. . . I probably never should have tried,
and probably never would,
Had OZZIE Magic Kangaroo
not promised me he could!
He claimed his kin were clever,
but it’s tough to tessellate
A single single Kangaroo,
without a single mate!

OZZIE posed in many possies,
but I couldn’t get inspired;
He lay at last upon some grass,
because he’d got so tired –
BUT . . ! – the way he lay amazed me! –
. . . Like a blue-sky thunder-clap,
I saw what he’d wished me to see: –
A Tessellation Made-To-Be! –
– Ideal, iconographically!
– A Fine Australian MAP!

OZZIE the Magic Kangaroo

So then I knew: This Kangaroo
was smarter than you’d think!
My fervour grew: I drew and drew;
for years I wasted ink
But then we found his mirror-mate,
who goes the other way: –
They tessellate, (and escalate!),
those TwoRoos, to this day!

[“Glide-Reflection” Tessellation]

Now Kangaroos abound in mobs,
and who knows how they’ll jump?!
They somersault for special jobs,
(e.g., to clear a stump);
They rotate, yet they tessellate
as well as TwoRoos do;
They say “G’day!”
while Right-Way-Up-Side-Down
they say “OOROO!”

[“Rotational’ Tessellation]
Hop Inn

A casual observer
might see just a nice design,
But Kangaroos, as you can see,
are favourites of mine:
And when you look more closely,
you’ll find Joeys with their Mummies:
’Roo babies going to Hop Inn –
To the pouches on Mums’ tummies!

Okey the Australia-Shaped Koala
I’m Okey the Koala—
OZZIE Kangaroo’s best mate;
Together we just love to be,
because we tessellate!
So he’s O.K., and I’m O.K.,
but when we’re home alone,
Don’t worry Mate, we tessellate
quite O.K. on our own !
Cuddly Koalas
Cuddly Koalas
Hands Around Australia (“H.A.A.”)

In Hands Around Australia,
You make TWO OZ-Maps by hand:
A hollow image inside,
and the hands themselves as land.
Those hands can feature any creature
or scene you wish to show,
And OZ-maps themselves will tessellate,
As you may see below!

Hands Around Australia
Australia All Over
Australia All Over (A.A.O.)
Australia Each Way (A.E.W.)
Australia Each Way
Rodger the (Merino) Ram

Bold Rodger Ram’s a rover,
wild and free as feral goats: –
Turns Australia All Over,
for the love of wild oats;
But isolation desolates
a jumbuk gone astray: –
How fortunate he tessellates
Australia Each Way!

Rodger Ram and Okey Koala fit comfortably in any Australia-shaped space,
such as H.A.A., A.A.O., A.E.W., and OZZIE Magic Kangaroos’ Australia-Maps.

All You’s
The Bush holds hidden talent –
You’ve met OZZIE Kangaroo;
But Eva Emu’s gallantry
makes her an Icon too: –
At Uluru, Emu and ‘Roo -( ALL ‘You’s’- see?) –
staunchly stand:
They’re full of bliss
‘cos when they kiss
They frame the Wide Brown Land!
Australian Floral Emblems

(May be sung to the tune of Click Go The Shears )
The Wildflowers of
the Wide Brown Land
grow glorious and free;
In each State people chose just one,
their Emblem for-to-be,
So rich ! ~ So rare ! ~
But which go where ? –
Our picture illustrates:
If you rehearse our verse,
you’ll know which flowers,
with which States!

The Cooktown Pink Orchid’s from Queensland’s Gold Coast;
Taswegians love Blue~Gums’ fringed blossom gold the most;
Red-and-Green Kangaroo Paw is the Wonder of the West,
While New South Welsh folk think big crimson Waratahs the best…

Canberra’s right-Royal Bluebell is such a lovely sight;
Common Pink Heath’s Victorian—so common, yet so bright!
For North– and South Australians—One Surname, both of these-Sturt’s pink Desert Rose, and red-and-black Sturt Desert Peas!


Dusty old Acacia, dull deep-green:
Plainest of plants on the Bushland scene;
But in early Spring the Wattle is a splendour to behold:
Australia’s emblem, radiant, in emerald and gold!

When there’s only one of something,
there’s just one word too: “Unique!” –
But just you suss a Platypus,
that word is ’way too weak!
Plus, ornithorhyncus paradoxus
tessellates so well! –
With twin heads he’s the
Platypus from Hell!
Symbolic of all Fauna indigenous and rare,
The thought of losing Numbat . . ! . .
How much can Koala bear ?!
There’s many kinds of bats –
There’s Wombats, Fruit-Bats, bats for Cricket –
But please pitch in to save Numbats
For they’re on a sticky wicket!
There’s Corellas and Cockies,
Black and White,
Grey Gang-Gang – Pink Galah –
But Major Mitchell Cockatoo
is Polly Superstar :
A breast that glows in velvet rose –
Wings satin, silver-pearled –
With crest aflame, he shrieks his claim:
I’m Glory of the World!
Yabbies Galore
We’re ‘Freshwater Crayfishes’, yet we’re not fish,
So we’d rather you just call us Yabby:
We can nip you as hard as a Crab if we wish –
Both our nippers and tempers are crabby.
We’re not fancy-pants Marron, norLobsters;
By ourselves we’re the humblest crustaceans;
But when we’re in big mobs we’re mobsters,
Attacking in tight tessellations!
OZZIE and Friends
OZZIE the Magic Kangaroo has many Bushland friends:
All of them are precious, and every one depends
On how we Humans treat them: for Life’s sake, Aussies, care!
So many native species lost, so many very rare! . . .
If you would like to read some more of Brucie Bilby’s verse,
Some of it that children will find great fun to rehearse,
Check out our Rhyming Verse Page now, (but come back when you’ve done!)
Bilby Verse is educative, interesting, and fun!
Aussie Rules O.K?
The World regards Australians
as sports-mad bloody fools,
And the football game we’re mad on
is called Aussie Bloody Rules!
High marks, long kicks, hard tackling
are the order of the day,
And Australian Alpha Males will tell you,
Aussie Rules – O.K.?!
Big Game
We play the ancient Chasey game
of Predator and Prey:
Gazelle, Impala, Deer and suchlike
try to run away.
While Leopards leap, and Cheetahs charge,
and Bengal Tigers spring,
And the Lion, as the biggest,
is unchallenged Big Game King.
Elsewhere Animals
Cockerel and Chook
It may seem this is farmyard bliss,
but take a closer look: –
A Battle of the Sexes this,
’twixt Cockerel and Chook!
He is hen-pecked – She’s down-trodden –
but there’s no cause for alarm:
Though their attitudes aren’t modern,
they love Tessellation Farm!
Elsewhere Animals
We’re Tess, the First Cloned Elephants: Just do a “double take”:-
Six blind wise men touched us – then cried –
“Bus!”- “Rope!”- “Tree!”-“Fan!”-“Spear!”….
“NO ! – SNAKE !”
Men call themselves homo sapiens – in self-congratulation! –
But we Elephants are ho-ho-happy’uns, in a state ofTess-Elation!
Curly Elephants
A Vision of Huxley’s Brave New World’s
Cloning Tank for Boys and Girls.
[ But I don’t think this will ever be done:
Making them at home is too much fun! ]
Northern Swans are snowy white:
Australia’s are black as night.
The two are complementary
As ivory and ebony!
This tile exhibits counterchange: –
Background & Foreground keep
switching – ( forever!).
Black Dog
Most Dogs are Best Friends to their Masters,
But one Dog is a pain:
The Black Dog of Depression
When it’s Master of your Brain!
8 Birds Wheeling
Now for something
Quite absurd:
Birds can wheel
Wheels can’t bird!
The rare Red Goshawk’s fast and fierce:
Rare Freckled Duck’s his Prey:
His sharp curved talons grip and pierce,
for that’s his Nature’s Way;
But Ducks have many Ducklings,
so a fit few stay alive:
Thus tessellated Freckled Ducks
and Goshawks both survive!
Knights Move
Chess is the Game of Nobles,
Yet the King, and his warrior Queen,
His Castles strong, and his Bishops sly,
Fear the Knight’s-move unforeseen.
No Pawn-shielded forces
Daunt Knights’ subtle War-Horses’
Hurdling L-shaped flights: –
They’re Exhilarational –
And they go Tessellational!
– Knights!
SeaHorse Love
Sea-Horses are true marvels!
Did you know they mate for life?
Sea-Mare gives eggs to Sea-Stallion,
Then he becomes Sea-Wife!
And every day the pair link tails,
Each Sea-Horse Him and Her,
And promenade the sea-floor
In a stately pas de deux!
Sea Creatures
How many creatures can you find?
I’m sure you’ll find some Crabs,
Clams, Volute Shells, and Nautilus,
And blue Flat-Fish like Dabs;
But the loveliest creatures of them all
Are hiding from your eyes:
Sea-Horses, dressed as other life-forms –
What a neat disguise!
Magic Dragons
Being splotched so as not to get spotted 
That, of course, is camouflage;
If you’re small it is smart not to show any part –
That way you may stay at large!
Chameleon Lizards are cosmetic wizards,
in See-if-you-can-see-me skins,
But the smartest of camouflage artist’s
the Leafy Sea-Dragon, with tessellate fins!
This fantastic little creature is the Marine Faunal Emblem of South Australia, my home State. My design does it scant justice.
Escher Himself did twinned SeaHorses:
(They can only go Up and Down.)
I bet he’d love to watch these six
Spinning ’round’n’around’n’around!
Scorpion Dance
If you think Humans are the only ones
with trouble dating,
Just watch the scary meeting dance
we Scorpions do when mating!
You may very often find us
underneath a big flat stone,
But we’re frightened, more than deadly,
so please, just leave us alone!

in Black-&-White . . .

At Christmas Holly’s jolly,
but it’s very very prickly:
If you sit on a bit of it,
I bet you get up quickly!
But the Oak Leaf’s edge is scalloped,
and so these 2 leaves make love:
The prickles fit the scallops
just as fingers fit a glove!
Grape Vines
Round and ripe, cool, crisp and sweet
Fresh from off the vine –
Blue-black, juicy, what a treat!
– Later comes red wine!
Wall Flowers
Tessellations are “wallpaper patterns”,
So the wall-paperest pattern of all,
On papers and silks and on satins,
Must be Wall-Flowers, wall-to-wall!


Tessellation really just means tiling – (as in bathroom).
It is one of the oldest skills in the development of civilizations everywhere.
But a Dutch artist, Maurits C. Escher, (1899-1972) gave the term new heights of meaning
by creating tiles which are animal shapes. Nobody had ever done that before!
I was instantly enchanted in 1969 by his Sky and Water, in black-&-white . Outlines of ducks and fishes conspire with their neighbours’, defining both themselves and the other animal simultaneously.
Later I found that Escher had done many more tessellating designs: Bull-Dogs, Horsemen, Sea-Horses, and also many fanciful and even grotesque ones: Gargoyles, winged Unicorns, demons and suchlike.
(I’m not so keen on the latter: I like the ones that look “real”, and I’ve concentrated on them.)
For Copyright reasons I can’t show you Escher’s own designs, but on the Net you may find many of them just by searching for – escher!
Even though many people are fascinated by Escheresque tessellations nowadays, few manage to create very many good ones. Some have done a few decent ones, but there is a scarcity of real stunners.
They are so devilishly difficult to do, that perhaps there never will be many.
Anyway, since earliest childhood I have loved the depiction of a leaping Red Kangaroo on our old Penny coins. I used to doodle little mobs of stick-figure Penny ’roos jumping along. One day I “saw”
map of Australia in the gap between neighbouring kangaroos. So was created OZZIE the Magic Kangaroo, surely one of the most-remarkably-happy iconcatenations ever. For Australians, the map and the Kangaroo are the images most commonly understood as denoting Australianness. 
OZZIE was my first proper tessellation, and his strength has motivated and empowered me, – (goaded and bullied me, more like it!) – ever since, to do more.
At the time, though, I had no idea that tessellations were of interest to mathematicians, and in crystallography, virology, and some other sciences.
But OZZIE the Magic Kangaroo kept whispering ideas into my brain, and my Muse kept me doodling, until now I have managed to tessellate lots of animals, including many of OZZIE’s own Aussie friends: Okey Koala, Plato Platypus and Katie Cockatoo, for example – and many other creatures too,
as diverse and wonderful as Elephants and Leafy Sea-Dragons.
My Muse also badgers me into writing rhyming verse about my designs.
I’m not claiming that either the verse or the graphics are deep and meaningful:
but they are in the end for the eternal delight of You, my fellow Humans.
May You fall in love with OZZIE and his friends,
and spread their legend on wings of Eagles!