WORK is complete on a new viewing platform over the picturesque grounds of Mrs York's Garden.
NSW Governor Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC joined Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams and Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson in officially opening the new space.
The viewing platform on the headland at the top of Clarence Street overlooking Mrs York's beautiful garden offers one of the best views in town.
The work was commissioned by the Friends of Mrs York's Garden thanks to a Stronger Country Communities grant of $95,000 in March 2020.
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Mrs Williams turned the first sod on the project in November last year. The completed project is another feather in the cap of volunteers who have worked tirelessly for years to restore the original gardens of Amy Bertha York.
The platform includes a disability access and will be a space to host functions and school visits.
It continues the timber work features seen on infrastructure throughout the garden with guidance from Ron Window and volunteers at the Hibbard boatshed.
Reclaimed timber courtesy of Forestry NSW and Boral were used on the deck while a stunning hand-crafted timber seat by Jim Tredinnick is a centrepiece.
Works were completed by Pacific Coast Carpentry.
"What the Aboriginal people of our nation have taught us are many things about our land ... they have brought back this sense of land," the Governor said.
"If you give yourself time to stand, you feel the land and in many ways that's what this (project) is about."
The Governor described Mrs York as a "doer" and in a time when it was difficult for women to achieve anything professionally.
She started a childcare centre, a real estate agency, small bank and was part of the first United Nations delegation for women.
"To bring this to fruition for you community is something that will last for generations," she said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the viewing platform at Mrs York's Garden would allow visitors to better take in the view of the garden, and the magnificent surrounding landscape.
"The viewing platform at Mrs York's Garden is exactly the kind of project the Stronger Country Communities Fund was designed to deliver and the great news is the NSW Government will be delivering more community infrastructure with a fourth round this year."
Who is Amy Bertha York?
In 1959 Amy Bertha York and her husband moved to Port Macquarie and lived at the corner of Stewart and Grant Streets.
She thought the mass of weeds across the road was an ugly blight on such a beautiful piece of coastline, so set about, at great personal effort and expense, transforming the area from Allman Hill to Gaol Point, into a beautiful floral reserve admired by people from all over Australia.
In May 1968, five years after making a start, her labour of love was recognised when Archdeacon Warr, from St Thomas' Anglican Church, dedicated Mrs York's Garden and in October of that year, the Australian Women's Weekly published a two page article featuring the garden.
In late 1970, due to declining health, the garden came under the care of the then, Municipal Council. However, over time the garden fell in to disrepair and remained that way until October 2014 when the Friends of Mrs York's Garden formed.
The group began restoring the area in February 2015, replanting it with littoral rainforest plants, the endemic plant species for the east coast of Australia.
The Friends of Mrs York's Garden is a volunteer, non- profit group that originally formed under the Port Macquarie Hastings Council Shaping Our Place program. It has 30 members, including Glenys Pearson a granddaughter of Mrs York and experienced horticulturalist, who is the site supervisor.
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