It’s a crisp autumn morning and Sydney’s Lavender Bay foreshore is a study in painterly colours and crystalline light. Through the branches of a Moreton Bay fig tree, the water glitters mosaic-like, fragments of blue flecked with the white of bobbing sailboats.
At Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, a subtropical oasis planted in the mid-nineties by the former wife of Australian artist Brett Whiteley, ferns and bangalow palms draw rainbow-bright rosella birds and wide-eyed picnickers, all awed by the dazzling expanse of Sydney Harbour. To the left, the clown-like face that adorns the entrance of Luna Park grins at onlookers, as if daring them to question the visual splendour. Meanwhile, the iconic Opera House shimmers in the distance.
“Now, an effort is underway to turn Sydney into a more inclusive and eco-conscious metropolis via the regeneration of the area’s natural landscape and the creation of urban parks.”
Lavender Bay – once a hub for the shipbuilding industry, and then the centre of the city’s bohemian artistic community – has always been a site of transformation. These days, it’s the subject of Sydney’s newest shift.
Despite its overwhelming natural beauty, the Harbour City has historically lacked purpose-built and easily accessible green spaces for its sprawling population. Now, an effort is underway to turn Sydney into a more inclusive and eco-conscious metropolis via the regeneration of the area’s natural landscape and the creation of urban parks.