Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden – A visit in Lockdown?

Here is a suggestion for an uplifting day in lockdown. Head over to Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay … long walk there and catch the train home.

Countless places to pick up some lunch … I’m sure the little local businesses would be grateful.

This is a repost from when the book was launched….

What a legacy, this is the most beautiful garden.

Now there is the book ” Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden” written by Janet Hawley and photographed by my old friend Jason Busch. Buy it for Christmas.
But by god go and visit this garden!

Wendy and her renowned artist husband, the late Brett Whiteley, set up their family home in Lavender Bay in 1970 and lived there together for two decades. Brett painted many of his iconic Sydney Harbour pictures in the house.

In the weeks that followed Brett’s death in 1992, Wendy’s grief-stricken need to regain some control in her life, to clean up a mess that she could clean up, found her obsessively attacking the piles of overgrown rubbish on the large land filled valley of unused railway land at the foot of her house. Wendy hurled herself into the forlorn site, hacking away at lantana, blackberry vines and privet, clearing up dumped bottles, rusty refrigerators, rotting mattresses, labouring till she was too exhausted to think or feel, then collapsing into sleep each night. Then doing the same, the next day and the next. Wendy never asked any authorities for permission, and no one told her to stop, so she kept going.

Also check out this wonderful link


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Comments 7

  1. Such a garden of delight created by Wendy. I included the garden as the end point in an audio tour I wrote and narrated as an accompaniment to walking from Milson’s Point via Luna Park and the boardwalk sculptures by Peter Kingston & co to this tranquil green space. It would be quite nice as a lockdown walk for those within the permitted 10k range. I recorded it a few years ago, when the pool was open and it and Luna Park were lively with excited voices. I’ve long loved the history of those iconic places – the Harbour Bridge, the pool and Luna Park. Now, all very serene and contemplative. VoiceMap is a free phone app but the walk guide has a fee.

  2. It’s a beautiful oasis!
    Be good to revisit.

    Your photos are stunning. Thank you!

  3. A most favourite place… I have drawn there so many times – a wonderful place to hide away for a lockdown walk

  4. An amazing oasis of tranquility. Such a beautiful space to take in the harbour, read a book, have a snooze and above all absorb the calm and beauty.

    We should all be very grateful to Wendy W for creating it. A glorious legacy.

  5. Thanks for the mention Lorrie. I loved writing this book, and Jason was a delight to work with. Best wishes, Janet

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