Week 49 ~ W is for Wendy Whiteley’s Garden

Posted: December 6, 2015 in Sydney Harbour
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IMG_5059After the death of her husband (artist Brett Whitely) Wendy Whiteley started to clean up and landscape a large patch of derelict land adjacent to her home in Lavender Bay, owned by the NSW Rail Corporation. It was choked by weeds, overgrown and strewn with old train carriages, abandoned refrigerators, rotting mattresses and broken bottles, and some homeless people sometimes slept there.



Screenshot (110)

The Rail Corporation had no interest in doing anything with it, and they raised no objections to her beautifying the area.

Over 15 years, it has become a coveted spot for those who have heard about or chanced upon it, with random benches in quiet spots, secluded paths, and a spectacular view to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


IMG_5065It’s affectionately known by locals as “Wendy’s Secret Garden”, although the public have always had free access.

In October 2015, the New South Wales Government, which owns the land, agreed to give the North Sydney Council a 30-year renewable lease on it. [so says wikipedia]

So on a beautiful Sydney early summer Saturday evening we headed over to the garden with champagne and nibbles to see it for ourselves. We weren’t disappointed.



The first person we came across, working just below her house, was Wendy Whiteley herself.

Sydney Royalty.

Sydney Royalty

This was definitely one of the best things we have done this year.
We’ll be back with interstate and overseas visitors for sure 🙂
The gardens have hidden spots with tables and chairs, views, steps and stairs that just draw you to climbing and exploring.

Lovely statues are dotted around the place. Winner winner.






Beautiful Moreton Bay or Port Jackson Fig, with Whiteley’s house behind




Whiteley’s house



  1. […] Week 49 ~ W is for Wendy Whiteley’s Garden […]


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