Australia

Brett Whiteley’s Sydney Harbour View at Lavender Bay Added to NSW Heritage Register

Sydney Harbour was captured famously in many of Brett Whiteley’s paintings, and now the outlook he painted will be added to the NSW State Heritage Register.

It will be the only listing in the state which includes parts of Sydney Harbour, and it recognises and protects what can be seen in Whiteley’s paintings.

His house of 20 years at Lavender Bay, before his death in 1992, has also been included on the register after a campaign from his wife, Wendy Whiteley, who has lived there for almost 50 years.

Wendy too has created a work of art there, spending the more than the past two decades turning the state-owned unofficial dump into a green sanctuary known as “Wendy’s secret garden”.

View of Sydney Harbour from Wendy Whiteley's garden

The 77-year-old had been pushing for the house and garden to be protected by heritage laws.

“You can’t control from the grave, not completely. You can make a few rules and regulations how you want your assets spent,” she said.

“But after that it’s up to other people to love things.”

The garden has also been added to the register.

“It was a rubbish dump,” Wendy Whiteley said. “So everything you see is a transformation.”

View of Sydney Harbour Bridge from Wendy Whiteley's garden.

Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton insists that Brett and Wendy Whiteley’s legacy will be protected.

“It dedicates it most importantly for the community, for the future and to his memory of artistic creation,” Ms Upton said.

Chair of the NSW Heritage Council, Stephen Davies, described the listing as “very unusual”.

“It represents not only a beautiful place and an important building but the story and the life of the people who lived in that house,” he said.

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