“Oh look, there’s Wendy, doing the washing up…”, my friend Sue commented, as she pointed towards the upstairs window of the house Wendy Whiteley has lived in for almost fifty years. Downstairs, at the entrance to the house, a number of women had gathered to read the sign declaring the NSW Government had promised to keep the garden open to the public. “I still wouldn’t trust a NSW politician to keep that promise, when there’s always the possibility of “developer money”, I said to Sue.
The story of “Wendy’s Secret Garden” is a terrific one. In the weeks and months after the death of her husband, the artist Brett Whiteley, she began cleaning up the unused railway land in front of their house. The land was almost like a rubbish tip, in some respects. Now, the garden is the kind of place where we saw today: a couple having their wedding photographs taken; a couple of women opening a bottle of champagne to enjoy a picnic; a place where we saw an older woman napping on a park-bench; and where we saw a broad range of ages enjoying some beautiful parkland close to Sydney Harbour.
Located only a few minutes walk from Luna Park, it was a lovely spot for an afternoon wander. And it’s free and open to the public.