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Sydney, a Secret Garden, Brett Whiteley

Saturday, 23 January 2016

IMG_2844 - New Year's Eve fireworks - 540▲ I was in Sydney for New Year’s Eve, here are the midnight fireworks on the Harbour Bridge.

Secret Garden - 270◄ The next day with a bunch of friends I took the ferry from Circular Quay across to McMahon’s Point and we walk back alongside Lavender Bay to Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. Lavender Bay is a little bay from Sydney Harbour, just to the west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. One of Australia’s best loved artists, Brett Whiteley, featured Lavender Bay extensively in his paintings for many years until his death in 1992, from a heroin overdose, an artistic way to go. Wendy Whiteley & the Secret Garden is a nicely lavish coffee table book about the garden. Text Publishing (I’m a part owner) will be publishing a Brett Whiteley biography by Ashleigh Wilson later this year.
Luna Park - 270


Wendy Whiteley – wife, model, muse – continues to live in the house above the bay and has turned the waste land stretching from below the house down to the bayside into a ‘secret garden.’ Well down to the disused railway line beside the bay, the waste land belonged to the railway. It’s not quite a public park, but very much open to the public and a wonderful little hidden escape. A stone at the top of the garden is carved with Van Morrison lyrics from his song Sweet Thing, about ‘gardens wet with rain’ although it’s a song which also features ferry-boats.

From the garden we walked on around Lavender Bay passing a Sydney icon on the way, the entrance to Luna Park. From there we walked back across the Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay. ►

IMG_2944 - On the Beach, MPRAG - 540▲ I can’t get away from Brett Whiteley at the moment. I went to the launch of the Secret Garden book at the National Gallery Victoria last year, and soon after to ‘Australian Artists In Bali 1930s to Now’ at an art gallery in Frankston, a Melbourne suburb. The exhibit featured a number of Whiteley works. This week I caught ‘On the Beach,’ at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery outside Melbourne.. The exhibit on Australian beach culture included one of Whiteley’s Lavender Bay works. The exhibit poster features a painting by another much loved Australian artist, Jeffrey Smart. It runs until 28 February 2016

Secret Garden - 270

Sydney, a Secret Garden, Brett Whiteley

23 January 2016 | Media

▲ I was in Sydney for New Year’s Eve, here are the midnight fireworks on the Harbour Bridge. ◄ The next day with a bunch of friends I took the ferry from Circular Quay across to McMahon’s Point and we walk back alongside Lavender Bay to Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Gard...

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1989 - city skyline - 270

High Rise, High Fires

6 January 2016 | Living

◄ Last year ended with The Address Hotel in Dubai if not exactly going up in flames certainly having a rather interesting fire. On my last visit to Dubai I nearly stayed in The Address, but instead ended up in the Dubai Creek Hilton. The interesting thing about thi...

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Between Flights

4 January 2016 | Living

In yesterday’s blog I raised the ‘what does it take to say you’ve visited a country’ question. And like Ask the Pilot Patrick Smith I agree that you can’t say you’ve been there if you’ve only been to the airport. But could you ‘visit a country’ between flights? I r...

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How Many Countries & Have I Been There?

3 January 2016 | Living

I’ve bumped into assorted people who have made ‘I’ve been everywhere’ into a major challenge. Well I haven’t been everywhere and I’m not working on it. On the other hand I’d be disappointed if I didn’t get to at least one or two ‘new’ (for me) countries every year. In...

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Chennai – aka Madras

31 December 2015 | Places

The name may have changed , but otherwise India’s southern centre, the capital of Tamil Nadu, seemed scarcely changed even though I haven’t been there for a long spell. ◄ Top of my plans for my return visit was to check out Anstruther’s Cage at Fort St George. In 1...

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Soviet Bus Stop - Gagra, Abkhazia 540

Soviet Bus Stops

30 December 2015 | Living

In a country where central planning tried to run everything and Socialist Realism aimed for the grand, the majestic, the over-decorated, somehow bus stops escaped the net. Christopher Herwig spent more than a decade and travelled over 30,000 km around the countries of...

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Tehran Taxi, Darwin Taxi

29 December 2015 | Media

◄ What is it about taxis and movies? Film directors just love to squeeze inside those four wheeled confines. Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth – which visits Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rome and Helsinki all in one night is a favourite, but yesterday I saw two taxi...

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Mumbai (or Bombay?)

28 December 2015 | Places

Mumbai or Bombay it’s always good to revisit the business (and Bollywood) capital of India. A wander around central Mumbai took me past plenty of interesting architecture, like the art-deco Eros Cinema. ► St Thomas Cathedral has an extensive collection of British m...

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Hotels in 2015

27 December 2015 | Living

Fifty of them through the year – well some of them rented houses, a villa in Bali, an old mansion house in Transylvania. Lots of them just for a night, but a number for a week. Plus two boats (Sea Cloud II in the Mediterranean, Katharina around the Komodo Islands). No...

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Filthy Rich

Filthy Rich, Country Girls

26 December 2015 | Media

Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a clever project. From the cover it’s yet another self-help manual, although with a racy title. Inside the chapters are arranged just like a self-help book should be, running through from ‘Move to the City,’ via ...

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