Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Sydney - Food, Gardens and Harbour views

On my second day in Sydney, my husband and I took the bus into the city, alighted at the Wynyard station stop and walked a block to the Portuguese Consulate where we had an appointment booked to take care of some documentation.
After the paperwork was sorted we caught the train from Wynyard station into Petersham station. 
Petersham is an inner west suburb of Sydney, considered the heart of Sydney's Portuguese community. Along Canterbury Road and Audley street are a few Portuguese businesses - mainly restaurants, a pastry shop, deli, butcher and bottle store.  

We settled for lunch at Gloria's restaurant, my husband ordered the Feijoada (meat and bean stew) and I ordered the Carne de Porco a Alentejana (cubed pork, cubed fried potatoes, clams and coriander). My dish is quite a popular dish in Portugal and even though the combination of clams and meat may sound strange it's really nice.

Portuguese businesses in Petersham, our lunch from Gloria's restaurant

We skipped dessert so that we could go to Belem Patisserie, for a pastry and an espresso coffee for my husband, but found it closed, just like another restaurant across the road (we were told the owners were on holidays). Luckily just a few shops down the road we came across a cafe/restaurant in an old movie house.
The Palacio enticed us with a small display of Pastel de Nata (Custard tarts) and a few other traditional cakes. They also sold Broa, a popular dark and crusty corn bread with a soft interior.
I don't usually eat bread but I can't resist a couple of slices of this one!

Palacio Cafe/Restaurant, Portuguese bread and sweets.
After a delicious bean tart for me (the ones to the left of top right photo) and a custard tart and coffee for my husband, we walked around looking at some of the shops before catching the train back into the city centre.
We even found a few stretches of cobbled pavement Portuguese style, how quaint!

Palacio sign at door, and cobbled pavement (the bottom one must have been ripped to insert a pipe, sadly they didn't replace the stones)

In the city my husband went home to work and I met up with my friend B at Wynyard station. We then caught another train to Milson's Point, just 3km from the CBD on the North shore.
We walked up the hill towards the Mary MacKillop Museum and Church (should have got off at North Sydney station rather as it was much closer!). 
Mary MacKillop was a nun who was born in Melbourne in 1842 and died in Sydney in 1909. She was a social reformer and educator mainly in South Australia, and was the first Australian saint of the Roman Catholic Church, canonized as Saint Mary of the Cross by Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican in 2010.

When we got there the Museum and Catholic Church were 20 minutes away from closing, so we peeped around the church and grounds and returned down to Lavender Bay to visit Wendy's Secret Garden.

Mary MacKillop Catholic Church and her statue in front of the church
Going down the road Sydney harbour and bridge come into view just before we reach Wendy's Secret Garden, which is always open and entry is free.

Views of Lavender Bay
Stairs going down to the garden, bridge views, the "head" sculpture, entry to Wendy's house
Wendy lives in family home, she and artist husband Brett Whiteley bought in the 1970's, located just above the garden. Even though they were divorced a few years before, when Brett died in 1992 at the age of 53, Wendy stricken with grief started to clear up the overgrown dump of unused railway land at the foot of their house. The land was owned by the New South Wales Rail corporation and they raised no objections to her beautifying the area, even helping with the removal of larger pieces of junk.
In 2001 her only child, daughter Arkie died at the age of 37, and she once again hurled herself into the daily garden work.
At the entrance by the Moreton fig tree is a bronze statue "Head" by Australian sculptor Joel Elenberg. Throughout the garden various other sculptures and quirky pieces like garden tools, wheel barrows, fountains, etc. There are also various tables and chairs in shady spots so you can sit down, relax, read a book, enjoy a bite to eat and just take in the beautiful surroundings.
Me sitting in one of the sitting areas, various nooks from the garden, Wendy's home (left bottom)

More views of the garden and bay, sculptures and Wendy's house (left bottom)
Garden ornaments and beautiful garden corners
Due to the size of the garden, Wendy who pays for the garden upkeep, has hired some help - Corrado, a Sicilian pizza chef who happened to be walking by, and Ruben, a Uruguayan house painter, and they have both became natural gardeners.
There are local volunteers coordinated via "" who gather in the garden on the first Saturday of each month.

As we exited the garden we spotted Wendy toiling away in the garden and we walked by to congratulate her on the amazing garden. At the age of 76 or 77 she is still a very active gardener. 
What was formerly a wasteland is now a living work of art!
Wendy Whiteley working in the garden
From the garden we walked to the Luna Park site close to the Harbour bridge.

Relocated from Glenelg in South Australia, the park opened in 1935 and run by experienced showmen. After 1970 the amusement park was run by businessmen and neglected. A fire in 1979 resulted in its closure. Since then it opened and closed a few times until the last reopening in 2004. Probably due to it being a week day afternoon there weren't that many people in the amusement park.

Inside Luna park 
Plenty of opportunity for close up photos of the Harbour bridge and surroundings, and I even got a cruise ship sailing by. A few days ago Andrew from High Riser mentioned in the linked post the controversy regarding the Sydney ferry named Ferry McFerryface after a public competition. I wasn't aware of this name but took a photo of the ferry because I thought the name was quite funny.

Sydney Harbour and bridge, cruise ship going under the bridge
Ferry McFerryface, Harbour bridge, the south side

Ferry McFerryface
Next to one of the harbour pillars stood a metal statue called "Australian Angel", by Bernard Luginbuhl from Switzerland. It was made in 2000 for the Sydney's Olympic and Paralympic games.

Made with discarded steel objects, the sculpture has an historic relationship with the location - Olympic rings are coils from an old locomotive, which rode in this area before the bridge was built. The anchors remind us about the important role of sea transport in the development of Australia, the six million rivets used in the construction of the harbour bridge are represented by the bent sheet metal with rivets from an old bridge in Switzerland. Spanners symbolise the trades and technical advancement and the cannon ball is testimony to the methods of imperial expansion. The flag indicates the Swiss original and the cross represents Christianity, and the national emblem of Switzerland since 1291.

Statue Australian Angel
Australian Angel, view from Milson's Point train station, View from bridge, Ibis at Wynyard station
It was getting late and my feet were tired so it was time to return to my husband's place with a train trip back from Milson's Point station to Wynyard station where I caught the bus to the Northern suburbs.  Around the station a lot of pigeons and Ibis were picking scraps from the grass.

Some old buildings in Sydney
Hope you enjoyed this tour with me. What did you think of Wendy's Secret Garden? What did you like most?


  1. Fantastic tour around Sydney!
    I am so very impressed by ALL of Wendy's gardens & the amount of love & care she pours into it!
    Great post!

    1. Thanks Christine, she's certainly very generous with her time and money.

  2. What a fascinating post, Sami! So many sights. Oh, Luna park looks fun but I'm really lusting after Wendy's gardens. That's true dedication. And now, if I could only jump into this post and grab some of that delicious looking food. It would be hard not to overindulge!

    Thanks for the tour! All new to me and quite wonderful.

    1. Thanks Jeanie, I enjoyed looking at Luna park but I'm not one to ride on any of those rides, I've always been scared even as a child. The gardens are wonderful.

  3. Sydney is one step ahead of Melbourne with a Portuguese area. Wendy's Garden is brilliant, and I like her too. I don't know why we've never been to see it. Terrific post, full of interesting photos.

    1. Thanks Andrew. I first heard of her garden on some tv program, and although I'd been to Sydney 4 times this was the first time I visited it and I'm glad I did as it's magnificent. Did you see the ferry mcferryface, lol.

    2. I did. Pity I did not publish my post on Australia Day as you were taking the photo.

  4. That luna park face is really creepy

  5. Fez-me recuar no tempo um ano e pouco.
    Adorámos os dias que aí passámos.

    1. Obrigada Pedro, bom reviver boas memórias.

  6. That was quite a day!!
    O jardim tem sido muito bem cuidado, sem duvida. A isso se chama paixao, dedicacao. Gostei imenso de ver. E tb de todos os outros lugares que visitou.
    Obrigada por partilhar connosco.

    1. Obrigada Catarina, realmente uma grande paixao, visto gastar tanto dinheiro com ele. Beijos

  7. A restaurant in an old movie house sounds romantic, kinda. Well done with the menue - and the sign :-)
    Never heard of Wendy´s secret garden - it looks beautiful and I love the cite! Oh, but what a sad fate.
    Still it´s my favorite.

    I think I really should give Sydney a second chance - sad thing we had no time in 1995 and never came back.

    1. You should visit Sydney on one of your Perth trips. Just buy tickets from Perth-Sydney well in advance so you can get a good price. I find some of Sydney's areas like the CBD, harbour, bridge, Opera House a must!

  8. Gostei bastante de ver estas belas fotografias e adorei o jardim é muito bonito e bem cuidado.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Obrigada Francisco, e realmente um belissimo jardim.

  9. What an impressive day you had. You certainly know how to pack a lot into a single day when on vacation. Wendy's secret garden is absolutely stunning and the art in it is magical. I was in awe of all the art you saw on that day out. It seems the bridge was never far away when you were down in that area. I was in total awe of the photos and the food, too!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Yes the bridge seems to be seen from a lot of areas in Sydney. Downtown Sydney is certainly very pretty.

  10. I enjoyed every single bit of this post Sami, fantastic! Loved all the glimpses of my very favourite bridge, Ferry McFerryFace made me laugh :) Loved Wendy's secret garden, what an amazing labour of love. She certainly had some tragic losses in her life. Gardens are definitely good healers.. but now I have such a craving for a Portuguese tart it's ridiculous :)

    1. Thanks Grace. Yes Wendy had a rough time with the loss of her husband and only daughter. Gardens are very good for the soul.
      Portuguese tarts would be good anytime...

  11. I loved reading and seeing Wendy's secret garden, I will make a point of visiting when I am next in Sydney. How wonderful that you got to meet her in person, I can imagine the hard work is worth it when she meets people like yourselves who are delighted by their visit!
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren, it's really worthwhile visiting the garden, very peaceful.


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