Wombarra Sculpture Garden officially opens

Gaby Porter with her nearly finished Rainbow Snake sculpture in the garden. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Gaby Porter with her nearly finished Rainbow Snake sculpture in the garden. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A hidden jewel of the Illawarra's artistic community is safe for the foreseeable future after receiving official backing from council.

The Wombarra Sculpture Garden, hidden high in the lush Illawarra rainforest, finally received approval this week to continue showing the work of local sculptors.

The garden, which has operated for 13 years, is the baby of artist Gaby Porter and her husband John Haymes.

"I just wanted a bit of bush," Ms Porter said of their decision to take up residence in Wombarra's Morrison Avenue.

More than 60 sculptures dot the one hectare garden, from lifelike stone hands to animal sculptures, arrangements of branches into bowerbird dens and a clutch of "bunyip eggs" hidden away in a far corner.

Other artists have contributed the odd piece or two, but the garden and its attractions are the labours of Ms Porter's love.

She created the popular wallaby sculptures now residing on lawns at the University of Wollongong, and her latest piece is a 13-metre python inspired by a dead snake found on her property.

The garden has opened unofficially once a month since it began, hosting weddings, school groups, art classes and explorers.

After being asked to submit a development application, the Wombarra Sculpture Garden has been officially approved and will open to the public the first weekend of each month, and by appointment.

The garden is open this weekend, May 3-4, at 57 Morrison Avenue, Wombarra.

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