SYDNEY HARBOUR WALK DAY 10 – the artists’ trail

The city viewed from the leafy North Shore.

I’m back on the track again, picking up my epic journey around the water. I went to the zoo, walking the 11.7km of coastline between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Taronga. Along the way, I met some famous artists.

The leafy lower North Shore gazes smugly across the harbour at the city skyline. Most of the shore is lined with apartment blocks, and with a few exceptions the houses are not particularly grand. But the exceptions – Admiralty House, residence of the Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce, and the neighbouring Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister’s Sydney pied-a-terre – outgrand the lot.

We common folk normally only get to see Admiralty House from the deck of a ferry.

This was my view of the Admiralty House garden as I passed it on my walk. Security prevented my getting any closer.

I pushed on into Neutral Bay, where I was made to feel more welcome. Nutcote, the former home of Australian artist and children’s author May Gibbs, is open to the public. In the late 1980s a number of us children’s authors were involved in a campaign to save the house and convert it into a centre for children’s literature.

I’m pleased to see that it’s still a successful shrine, run by a dedicated band of volunteers, where a steady stream of visitors comes to pay homage to Ms Gibbs and her work.

The harbour from Nutcote's garden.

What child wouldn't be afraid of a banksia man?

The stories in her best known book, The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, seem cloyingly twee by modern children’s literary standards.

However, her cute gumnut babies have become instantly recognisable Australian icons and big bad Banksia Men have terrified several generations of Aussie kids, including me.

For most of my early life I was too scared to open the book.

We walkers should express our gratitude to Mosman Council for keeping a lovely walking path around Cremorne Point open to the public. It’s well-maintained and surfaced, with gardens tended with care by the locals.

The path around Cremorne Point.

Near the Mosman ferry wharf a sign told me I was at the start of the ‘Curlew Camp Artists Walk’. Australian artists including Arthur Streeton, Julian Ashton and Tom Roberts used the foreshore here as a temporary home from the late 1880s until 1912. You can still see what inspired them.

The foreshore at Curlew Camp.

Early Sydney vandals carved the word CURLEW into this rock. Despite Mosman council's anti-graffiti campaigns, it's still there.

The route from the Harbour Bridge to Taronga Zoo.

Distance this stage – 11.7km
Distance travelled so far – 147.2km
Distance still to go (officially, though I have my doubts now that I’ve failed to go all the way up the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers) – 169.8km.

Coming up next – Taronga to Balmoral Beach.


Filed under Art, Hiking

7 responses to “SYDNEY HARBOUR WALK DAY 10 – the artists’ trail

  1. Am really enjoying this series of the Sydney harbour walk. I love the unexpected things you encounter en route! 🙂

  2. I agree with Reggie, the photos are very good too. What programme do you use to get them in sequence down the page? Or is it the theme you are using is photo friendly?

  3. I am enjoying coming along with you.

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