wendy whiteley garden how to get there

wendy whiteley garden how to get there

A real creator sees what isn’t there, then makes it seem. And so it was with Wendy Whiteley, already a longtime Australian artist, when she regarded over the mess of invasive weeds and tangled lantana filling the uncared for escarpment close to her door.

In her thoughts’s eye she might see it. A sanctuary to flee the busy metropolis, to breathe once more, to take a seat in a fantastically pure refuge. It might be a backyard. Wendy’s secret backyard.

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wendy whiteley garden sydney
In Wendy’s Secret Backyard, wanting up in the direction of Wendy Whiteley’s home.

There was only one tiny drawback. It was not Wendy Whiteley’s land. It was authorities property, butting laborious up towards a railway line.

Wendy’s Secret Backyard has been actually rising because the mid-Nineteen Nineties, and is now some of the lovely public gardens in Sydney. It lastly grew to become official in 2015, together with safety of tenure from the brand new house owners, the native council.

secret garden sydney
Twenty years on, it is laborious to think about this was once a large number of invasive weeds and garbage.

In between had been many years of making a ardour mission, one which locals got here to passionately respect. It’s now, as Wendy herself says, a not-so-Secret Backyard.

The backyard was envisioned and financed by Wendy Whiteley, with two full-time gardeners placing in hours of labour, plus a workforce of volunteers.

One of many gardeners – I don’t know if it was Corrado or Ruben – patiently solutions a customer’s query in regards to the backyard’s native lilies that shortly segues into questions on her personal roses at house. This backyard is cherished, and it attracts those that respect what it takes to make one thing out of nothing.

Flowers in Wendy’s Secret Backyard, Sydney.

On the day of my go to, it’s hair-whippingly windy on the quick stroll from Milsons Level practice station to Lavender Bay. However the backyard is a sanctuary in additional methods than one. Solely a mild breeze flows by way of the extra open sections of the tiered gardens. The enormous Moreton Bay fig is as strong as ever, the Bangalore palms unfazed, and the comb turkey doesn’t even pause in its pecking.

The Moreton Bay fig in Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Backyard

It’s a widespread vacation spot even on a weekday. I’m within the Secret Backyard for the stroll and for the reference to nature. Others are right here for a soul-refreshing lunch break, or a enterprise assembly on the picnic tables. Some have come for views of Sydney Harbour and the bridge, or for the artwork (sculptures, together with one by the famed Margaret Olley are scattered about) and a few merely for the backyard itself.

A cherub by artist Margaret Olley in Wendy’s Secret Backyard
A tricycle creates a characteristic house throughout the Secret Backyard.

As a Sydney native, it was my first time at Wendy’s Secret Backyard – not my specific yard, you see, too far north, east, no matter – nevertheless it gained’t be my final. It is a secret price sharing.

Close to Wendy Whiteley’s home, this reads, “And we will stroll and speak in gardens all misty and moist with rain, and we will by no means, by no means develop so outdated once more”. It is a tune lyric from Candy Factor, by Van Morrison.

How lengthy does it take to stroll round Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Backyard?

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Not lengthy, maybe 5-10 minutes from one finish to the opposite, up, down and up once more.

However you most likely gained’t stroll; you’ll meander, selecting one winding path then doubling again to discover one other path missed earlier. The place might it go? This backyard invitations you to be curious.

Gnarled timber railings in Wendy’s Secret Backyard, Sydney.
Hidden treasures amongst the bushes.
Extra surprises round every bend of the backyard.

Are there different walks close by?

Completely. The wonder is in exploring this a part of Sydney Harbour on foot.

A satisfying day trip can be to begin from The Rocks within the metropolis, stroll over Sydney Harbour Bridge to Milsons Level, then proceed one other six minutes or so to get to Lavender Bay, house to Wendy’s Secret Backyard.

One for the want listing is the Sydney Harbour Excessive Line. Taking the lead from Paris and New York, as soon as the rail line subsequent to Wendy’s Secret Backyard turns into redundant (it’s at the moment solely used for shunting and storage), all ranges of presidency have agreed they’ll flip it right into a stroll from Lavender Bay to Waverton station.

Wendy’s Secret Backyard is subsequent to a not often used rail line.

Not because the latest announcement that the Manly to Bondi Stroll goes to be a “factor” have governments agreed on one thing! However maintain tight; timelines haven’t been introduced.

How do I get to the backyard by public transport?

Too simple. Prepare or ferry to Milsons Level, then a 5-10 minute stroll to Lavender Bay.

From Milsons Level ferry wharf (solely 5 minutes throughout the harbour from Round Quay), flip left after alighting to comply with the general public pathway hugging the harbour shoreline. Stroll previous Luna Park, with pretty views of Lavender Bay. Undergo the tunnel passing beneath the rail line and up the steps to get to Wendy’s Secret Backyard.

Milsons Level is serviced by each public ferries on the Opal Card, in addition to the Hop On, Hop Off Harbour Explorer (a 24 hour sightseeing ticket).

From the practice station, it’s faster to show proper onto Alfred Road, left onto Lavender Road and stroll by way of to the western fringe of Clark Park to entry the highest of Wendy’s Secret Backyard from close to Wendy Whiteley’s home.

wendy whiteleys garden
The trail alongside the western fringe of Clark Park main right down to Wendy’s Secret Backyard.

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The road means can also be greatest if you wish to seize espresso or meals from a neighborhood cafe. Alternatively, flip left onto Alfred Road out of Milsons Level station, head downhill to stroll alongside the foreshore, close to the ferry wharf.

Is there parking close by?

There may be two hour metered parking in close by streets, and a few unmetered avenue parking. Might the Parking Gods Be With You to discover a spot.

There may be additionally a paid parking station at close by Luna Park.

How a lot does it value?

Free! Open all day, day by day.

Can I picnic within the gardens?

Sure. There are numerous preparations of tables and chairs inside Wendy’s Secret Backyard, seating two – six individuals in a single spot. You probably have a big group, strive Clark Park as a substitute, overlooking the Wendy Whiteley backyard.

Clark Park at Lavender Bay conjures up a brand new technology of artists.

There are not any barbecue amenities, and nowhere to purchase meals or drink. And no rubbish bins. So deliver your personal meals, and be ready to take your garbage again out with you.

The place can I eat close to Wendy’s Secret Backyard?

  • Sidana Cafe has an intensive all day breakfast menu and a wall of second-hand books. Attempt the truffled oil eggs.
  • Kirribilli Membership overlooking the backyard. There’s a fancy restaurant and a extra informal cafe throughout the membership.

Are there public bogs at Wendy’s Secret Backyard?

There are not any bogs within the Secret Backyard. The closest are both reverse Lavender Bay jetty in Quibaree Park, or again at Milsons Level practice station, each 5 – 10 minutes stroll away.

Learn the ebook Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Backyard

Go to Wendy’s Secret Backyard nearly with the attractive photographs and extraordinary historical past of the backyard, Wendy Whiteley, Brett Whiteley and the Sydney artist scene, on this ebook by journalist Janet Hawley.

Discover out extra about Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Backyard [affiliate link]

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