Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lavender Bay

Lavender Bay is a residential suburb with expansive views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Throughout my years here in Sydney as an undergrad, I was unaware of its existence. It was only this year that friends introduced me to this secluded recreational spot, which I quickly fell in love with.


If you look closely, you could see Luna Park in the left corner.


Okay, a little hard to identify the park but it is there.

For me, the best part of this little bay is the garden - Wendy's Secret Garden.


Wendy Whiteley OAM is an Australian artist and cultural icon. She is sometimes described as the "grande dame of the Sydney art scene". She is best known as the "goddess muse" and one-time wife of the artist Brett Whiteley. Her daughter is the actress Arkie Whiteley (1964-2001).

The garden is landscaped from a large patch of derelict land adjacent to Wendy's home at her own personal expense. Owned by the NSW Rail Corporation, it was choked by weeds, overgrown with lantanas, strewn with old train carriages, abandoned refrigerators, rotting mattresses and broken bottles, with the occasional homeless sleeping there. As the Rail Corporation had no interest in doing anything with the piece of land, they raised no objections to her beautifying the area. They even helped by removing the large pieces of junk.

Wendy treated the garden like a giant painting, structuring, planting, pruning, moving things around, and letting nature work its own magic. Descending the steps into the garden is like Alice venturing into Wonderland...



I think I take after my parents in the part whereby I smile to myself when I see tall, old trees and flowers in bloom - very aunty, I know...







There are also statues and sculptures playing hide-and-seek with you, as well as garden tables and benches available for picnics or just for a warm cuppa catching up with friends...




Both Brett and Arkie Whiteley’s ashes are buried in the garden, but in a location Wendy has not disclosed. Wonder if you could feel the 'love'... I know I feel it...

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