Famous for the bushwalks and the nearby home of
Australian artist, Norman Lindsay
Located 77 km from Sydney and 447 metres above sea level,
Faulconbridge is justifiably famous as the home of Norman
Lindsay and the burial site of the 'Father of Federation',
Sir Henry Parkes.
The area around Faulconbridge was first explored by
Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson in May 1813 while they were
camped at Springwood and looking for the ridge which would
take them over the mountains. It was settled in the 1870s
after the railway line had opened up the whole of the
One of the earliest residents was Sir Henry Parkes who
moved to the area in 1877 and purchased 600 acres. It is
said that the original railway platform at Faulconbridge was
specifically built to serve his residence which was known as
Faulconbridge House. The town was named after Parkes' home.
Faulconbridge was the maiden name of Sir Henry Parkes'
mother. For logophiles it may be worth observing that
Faulconbridge uses half of the alphabet, including all five
vowels, and does not use any individual letter twice.
Things to see:
Exploring for Sir Henry Parkes
In Faulconbridge Cemetery, which is located in Sir Henry
Parkes Drive just opposite the railway station on the
southern side, is the grave of Sir Henry Parkes.
On the railing surrounding his grave is a plaque which
describes his role 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.'
Prime Ministers' Corridor of Oaks
On Sir Henry's Parade (which runs between Springwood and
Faulconbridge on the southern side of both the railway line
and the highway) is Jackson Park, which is home to the Prime
Ministers' Corridor of Oaks. Joseph Jackson, a NSW Member of
Parliament, gave the park to the local council in 1933 with
the explicit intention of having every Australian Prime
Minister, or a nearest surviving relative, plant an oak
tree. Jackson was a huge admirer of Henry Parkes and
believed that his Corridor of Oaks was a suitable monument
to the man most responsible for the federation of Australian
|A satyr chases a naked
girl in the grounds of Norman Lindsay's home
Norman Lindsay's House
Between Springwood and Faulconbridge (clearly signposted on
the northern side of the Great Western Road) is one of the
most famous attractions in the mountains - Norman Lindsay's
house which has been converted into a gallery and museum.
Lindsay moved to the mountains in 1911. In 1912, after
seeing it while riding down a woodcutters' track, he bought
17 hectares of land and the already-standing stone house at
what is now 14 Norman Lindsay Crescent for £500. Over the
years Lindsay made the house a centre for artists and
writers and it became a popular retreat.
The house and gardens are now owned by the National Trust
who have preserved the gardens. Especially beautiful when
the wisteria is in full bloom, they were used for the
filming of the movie Sirens in the 1990s.
By any measure, local or international, Lindsay was a
prodigious and highly original talent. His artistic skills
ranged from cartoons through oil paintings and watercolours
to statuary, model ship building, etchings, drawings in pen
and pencil, novel writing, children's fiction, book
illustration, furniture and pottery decoration. The house
preserves examples of Lindsay's paintings, etchings,
sculpture, illustrations, model ships and other memorabilia.
He was born in Creswick on the Victorian goldfields on 22
February 1879 and lived there until he was seventeen when he
moved to Melbourne to work as a freelance black-and-white
illustrator. Lindsay moved to Sydney in 1901 and, as a
result of a fear of possible tuberculosis, moved to Leura in
1911. Apart from short periods in Sydney he spent the rest
of his life in Faulconbridge.
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When Lindsay died in 1969 (having spent nearly sixty
years in the Blue Mountains) he left 16 watercolours, 17 oil
paintings, 9 pen drawings and a good sample of his pen
drawings, ship models and sculptures to the National Trust
on the understanding that they would purchase the house at
Faulconbridge and display the bequest.
The history of the house is one of constant evolution and
change. When Lindsay bought it in 1912 it was falling in to
disrepair. Lindsay repaired and changed it, purchased more
land, built his art studio, constructed terraces and paths
and placed statues in his large gardens. The beautifully
presented Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, published by
the National Trust, provides specific details regarding all
The gallery is a delight. Lindsay's fleshy nudes and
leering satyrs, his acerbic commentaries on the foibles and
inhibitions of the bourgeoisie, his superb use of light, his
delightful sense of 'naughty' humour, give all his paintings
and pen sketches a continuing relevance. In style they don't
belong to the twentieth century but in subject matter they
are truly timeless.
Of course for most Australians there major contact with
the work of Norman Lindsay is through The Magic Pudding
which he wrote in 1917 and which has become a classic of
children's literature. The gallery features illustrations
from the book and puppets from the story.