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Art in nature

The article and the photos by Paola Bianchi  

In Mount Dandenong, Victoria, there used to be a hidden tranquil place called the William Ricketts Sanctuary. Not anymore. During weekends tourist’s tours invade each corner, photographing every sculpture, every leaf. It’s hard to take a picture without someone walking in the background.

However, the sculpture park is a fantastic, unrealistic place to visit. It’s like living inside a NatGeo documentary or a science fiction movie. Some may call it magical. Some may say is a little on the terror side. Either way, I will let you take your own conclusions. Just make sure to go on a weekday and the park is all yours.

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I came across this place when my mom came to visit me in Melbourne. She is an artist, used to be ceramist to be specific, so I thought visiting this Sanctuary was going to be of interest to her. Certainly, it was.

William Ricketts was a sculptor born in Richmond, Melbourne in 1898. Through his artwork, he wanted to express respect for nature, and help embrace aboriginal’s cosmovision in the modern world. In the 30’s he started making his sculpture park until his death on 1993. That is more than half-century focused on this project. A video showcasing in the park’s hut explains in detail about his peculiar life, his philosophy and personality.

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Overall, Mount Dandenong is an amazing place to explore and a quick stop at the Sanctuary will enhance your trip. Should you complement it with bushwalking and birdwatching, you got a great day. Each season add its own beauty to the mountain. Autumn is the best, my mom said.


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