Home of Australian artist and writer Norman Lindsay.
Many of the towns which run like a daisy chain up the ridge of the Blue Mountains have little to distinguish them. They are quiet, mountain villages. In the case of Faulconbridge it has three legitimate claims to the traveller's attention. The home of one of Australia's most loved and controversial artists, Norman Lindsay, is open to the public and offers an interesting art exhibition and impressive statues in the gardens. The grave of the Father of Australian Federation, Sir Henry Parkes, stands prominently in the local cemetery. And there is an ever-expanding Prime Minister's Corridor of Oaks with trees for every Australian Prime Minister.
Faulconbridge is 447 metres above sea level and 74 km from Sydney via the Great Western Highway.^ TOP
Origin of Name
It was Henry Parkes, later Sir Henry Parkes, who named the area. Having purchased 600 acres he moved to the area in 1877. The home he built he named Faulconbridge House. Martha Faulconbridge was his mother's maiden name.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Norman Lindsay's Gallery and Museum
On the northern side of the Great Western Highway, between Springwood and Faulconbridge, lies the house and gardens of the artist Norman Lindsay. Now owned by the National Trust the entire complex has been converted into a gallery, restaurant, cafe and museum. It is particularly impressive in spring when the gardens, with their distinctive erotic statues, are dense with foliage and the house is covered in blooming wisteria.
Lindsay is a controversial figure. Few art critics today admire his rather old fashioned erotic paintings of very buxom, fleshy women surrounded by satyrs and libidinous, mythical creatures. Most people have fond memories of his marvellous, and distinctly Australian, children's book - The Magic Pudding. And few now know about his voluminous output as a cartoonist and black-and-white illustrator.
Lindsay was born in Creswick on the Victorian goldfields on 22 February 1879. He lived there until he was seventeen when he moved to Melbourne to work as a cartoonist and illustrator. By 1901 he had moved to Sydney but, suffering from pleurisy and fearing tuberculosis, moved to the cooler, fresher air of Leura in 1911. In 1912, after seeing it while riding down a woodcutters' track, he bought 17 ha of land and a stone house just off Chapman Parade for £500. The house quickly gained a reputation for wild parties and easy living as writers and artists from Sydney travelled to the mountains to stay and enjoy Lindsay's company.
Lindsay's artistic skills were prodigious ranging from cartoons through oil paintings and watercolours to sculptures, model ship building, etchings, drawings in both pen and pencil, novel writing, children's fiction, book illustration, furniture and pottery decoration. The galleries in the house preserve examples of his paintings, etchings, sculpture, model ships and other memorabilia.
Having lived in Faulconbridge for fifty-seven years, Lindsay died on 21 November, 1969. In his will he left 16 watercolours, 17 oil paintings, 9 pen drawings and ship models and sculptures to the National Trust if they would purchase the house and display his bequest. The result is one of the most impressive houses operated by the National Trust. Lindsay's fleshy nudes and libidinous satyrs, his sharp satiric commentaries on the prudish middle class, his tongue-in-cheek sense of 'naughty' humour, are vital elements of his art. The gallery also features illustrations from the much-loved The Magic Pudding and superb examples of Lindsay's ship models. It owns eight from a known production of only 14. The Gallery and Museum is open daily from 10.00am - 4.00pm, tel: (02) 4751 1067. Check out http://www.normanlindsay.com.au/
Prime Ministers' Corridor of Oaks
A local MP, Joseph Jackson, was a great admirer of Sir Henry Parkes. He was Parkes and the father of modern Australia. In 1933 he gave the local council land in Jackson Park (On Sir Henry's Parade which runs between Springwood and Faulconbridge on the southern side of the railway line) which was specifically and explicitly to create a Prime Ministers' Corridor of Oaks. The plan was to get every Prime Minister, and in the case of deceased Prime Ministers to ask their closest living relative, to plant an oak tree. Kevin Rudd planted his oak in 2012. It is a pleasant piece of parkland and unusual celebration of Australian prime ministers.
Remembering Sir Henry Parkes
There is little point in visiting Faulconbridge House (it has been changed beyond recognition) but the grave of Sir Henry Parkes lies in a small cemetery just west of the Prime Minister's Corridor of Oaks on Sir Henry's Parade. It is the largest monument in the graveyard and includes a plaque which, with great simplicity, sums up his importance in Australian history. 'Sir Henry Parkes, Father of Australian Federation, five times Prime Minister of New South Wales, arrived in Australia July 25, 1839, worked as station-hand, Customs Officer, bone and ivory turner. In 1850 became proprietor of Empire Newspaper. Member of New South Wales Parliament from 1854-1894, Sir Henry Parkes is especially remembered for his efforts to develop New South Wales Education and Railways and his work for Federation earned him his title Father of Federation.' A suitable homage to a remarkable politician.
Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout
This is a quality Aboriginal experience which lasts six hours (approximately 11.00am - 5.00pm), is led by Evan Yana Muru (a local member of the Dharug group) and offers a 3.5 km walking experience throught the bush around Faulconbridge which includes: "Experience our ancient and sacred art, ceremonial sites and artefacts. Hear our Dreamtime stories, enjoy our bush tucker,our bush medicines, participate in creative ochre bark and body painting ... See wildlife and spectacular sandstone caves. Paddle in a clear water rock pool by a waterfall." For more details check out http://www.bluemountainswalkabout.com/.
* the area had been occupied by the Dharug Aboriginal people for an estimated 40,000 years before Europeans arrived.
* In May, 1813 while attempting to cross the Blue Mountains, the explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson camped nearby at what is now Springwood and noted several Aboriginal huts in the area.
* the railway came through the district in 1867 and Faulconbridge station was opened in 1877.
* 1877 was also the year that Sir Henry Parkes moved to the area and purchased 600 acres. There is a suggestion that the first railway platform at Faulconbridge was built to serve his residence, Faulconbridge House.
* In 1902 the current railway station was built.
* 1912 saw Norman Lindsay settle in Faulconbridge. He remained until his death in 1969.^ TOP
Blue Mountains Visitor Information Centre, Hamment Place, Great Western Highway, Glenbrook, tel: 1300 653 408 is open from 8.30am-4.00pm (3.00pm on Sundays) seven days a week.^ TOP
There is no specific, dedicated website for Faulconbridge.^ TOP