Wombarra Sculpture Garden is on the market.
Managing the property has got the better of sculptor and owner Gaby Porter and her husband, engineer John Haymes.
“I love it to bits,” says Gaby,”and I am overwhelmed by the response from the community. I feel like I am letting everyone down, but I am over 70 now and have a few health issues so feel we would be better off without three hectares of garden.”
Gaby is one of the region’s most prominent sculptors, having created the miner that stands outside Helensburgh Post Office, and the wallabies, which are so popular at UOW.
And while it’s the property itself that’s up for sale, all is not lost for the Sculpture Garden.
“We have made submissions to Wollongong Council through Councillor Ann Martin in the hope they will take control of the property and the art so it can continue to run as a sculpture garden,” says John. “Over the years, thousands of people have passed through here. It would be a shame to see it close. “
The option also exists for new owners to purchase the 60 sculptures and continue to run the business.
“We currently open the first weekend of the month,” Gaby says, “but the option is there to expand those hours.
“Around 50 of the works we have on display are mine,” she says. “The remainder are from some of Australia’s leading sculptors including Walter Aver, Alex Forbes, Roger Apte and Antony Buselli.
“We have been here for 19 years and I have loved turning the rainforest into a beautiful garden. We live among the lyrebirds, wallabies and gorgeous birds, but it’s time to move on. I am most passionate about making art and I just don’t have time to do that now.”
The property is being sold by Ray White Thirroul, with agent Tony Dribbus saying he actually sold the home to Gaby and John.
“The property has a special history,” he says. “The previous owner was successful crime writer Peter Corris!”
Wombarra Sculpture Garden will be open as per usual the first weekend of March (March 5 and 6).
The property will be open for inspection on Saturday February 13 at 1pm.