My daughters and I recently met up with some new friends at the William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenongs. I remember going there as a child, wandering through the trees and gazing with wonder at all the sculptures on display. I even had the opportunity to meet William Ricketts himself as he lived and worked on the property.
The sanctuary is managed by Parks Victoria and entry is free. You walk along a path beneath towering mountain ash and fern trees. It's cool and peaceful beneath the canopy. Peeping out at you are incredible sculptures, wedded to rock and covered in moss. They were sculpted from clay and fired to 1200 C onsite in the electric kiln. The sculptures were then attached with steel rods to rock and cemented in place. As you walk along, it's easy to imagine you've stepped into a mystical wonderland.
He was a beautiful man, passionate about the natural world and protecting the environment. He had a great connection with indigenous people and believed we should all be following their philosophies. William believed 'life is love' and you can see his reverence for the natural world in his sculptures.
The lyrebird was William's totem and we were lucky enough to see one in the carpark where we had a picnic after visiting the Forest of Love.
I had no idea we now lived so close to this unique and beautiful place and I am so grateful to Leonie for suggesting we meet here. It was as magical as I remembered and it was lovely to share the joy of this place with my girls.