I love where I live.
If you drive up (north) the Pacific Highway from the Sydney CBD, the road and the railway run almost in parallel, sticking to the ridge. It reminds me, on a somewhat smaller scale, that the first settlers took twenty-five years to find their way over the Blue Mountains. They expressed the view that by sticking to the ridges they would find a route!
On the Upper North Shore past Gordon, you come to a major intersection where the thru’ traffic on Ryde Road goes underneath the Highway and Ryde Road changes its name to Mona Vale Road. You then drive past the Pymble shops,cross the railway line (overpass) and up Pymble Hill past the Pub and come to a road on your right called Telegraph Road.
Telegraph Road climbs a little more, goes past our family church, St. Swithun’s, where I am a parishioner and was christened; continues on to connect with Mona Vale Road.
If you continue on the Highway after Telegraph Road the elevation drops slightly where Bannockburn Road begins on your right and a little further on Bobbin Head Road also starts on your right as the elevation climbs again. At this point the highway is running north-west.
Some 200 metres further on, on the peak of the little hill (the highest point in the area) on the right is a sandstone and concrete block of units. These units are built around a generous central courtyard and run north-south on an angle from the Highway. My home is the penthouse on the north-eastern corner of the block.
The living area looks due north over a spacious terrace with panoramic views and the bedrooms, the tiny library and the study all have windows facing east. At this time of the year (July) the living area enjoys the warming sun for most of the day. Looking north east on a clear day you can see the white dome of the Bahai Temple beyond Terrey Hills and on a clear night you can see the Palm Beach Barrenjoey Lighthouse flashing on the northern end of what Sydneysiders call “the Peninsular”. This is the entrance to Broken Bay,Pittwater,Brisbane Water and the Hawkesbury River.
My unit is full of memories including my collection of paintings, mostly rural landscapes and photographs. The living area resembles a somewhat crowded art gallery.Three paintings by my favourites Melvin Duffy and six by Colin Parker;and more.
As you proceed down the hall there is a cluster of family photos and a prominent lovely one, taken by my sister Helen, of my sadly departed wife, Gail.In the tiny Library is a large family heirloom chair and a painting of said chair harbouring a cat, painted by Gail.
In my study amongst the sporting memorabilia is a large painting by Julia Griffin of my much loved St. Leonards Creek at Walcha. This was a gift from the Young family in return for much of our furniture which went to them at St Leonards Creek as it wouldn’t fit and was unsuitable for my scaled down home. Most of it was built for us by the Young patriarch and our great friend the late Bob Young and went to his newly married granddaughter Rosie, in the newly acquired neighbouring Cloverdale homestead.
The desktop photo on my computer is a wonderfully clear photo of the same St. Leonards Creek area looking in the opposite direction (north), taken by my son Michael.
In the spare bedroom is a masterpiece painting by Kenneth Jack, a retirement gift from Swires that was part of a collection I bought for Swires from Dalgety. Later I bought more of the Dalgety/Swire collection that are also in the PP (Pymble Penthouse).
Above the bed in the master bedroom is a large Kevin Best painting reminiscent of my school holidays in the Snowy Mountains (Adaminaby). From my bed I view a print of the famous “Flood in the Darling” by Piguenit, the original being in the NSW Art Gallery. It is so like the Darling/Warrego flood-out country on Toorale Station. Accompanying the Pigenuit is a recent painting of the Murrumbidgee River upstream of Gundagai by Geoff Buckle, whose work appeals and another by Colin Parker-a print of racehorses coming ‘around the bend’.