Sunday, 21 August 2011

William Ricketts Sanctuary

The William Ricketts Sanctuary is in the Dandenong Ranges National Park just under an hour's drive from Melbourne's CBD.

Amongst the beautiful bushland are clay sculptures of aboriginal people and native wildlife. The sculptures are the creation of William Ricketts who was born in Richmond Victoria in 1898. When he was a child his mother took him and his siblings regularly to the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne where he began his facination with nature.

Later moving to the Dandenongs his love of nature and fascination with aboriginal people grew. He travelled a number of times into the Northern Territory where he lived with the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people. Their traditions and culture inspired his sculpture.  He was particulalry fascinated with their connection to country and love of the land.

Whilst he was not an Aboriginal himself he believed he was from the lyrebird totem and he considered himself adopted by the Pitjantjatjara nation.

The sanctuary has a number of winding paths that allow you to meander through the bushland and view the range of scultures. William's cottage and kiln are still on the property and form an intregal part of a visit.  There is also a cafe located next to the car park where you enjoy morning, afternoon tea or lunch.

If you like William Ricketts scultures many of his central Australian works can be found at Pitchi Ritchi Bird Sanctuary near Alice Springs.

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