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Art Barton Park

Home > Sydney > Parks | Outdoor | Free | Art
by Pauline (subscribe)
Published April 5th 2013
Find the hidden treasures in the park
What comes to mind at the mention of Sydney's Luna Park? Yes, it's the big and welcoming smiley face at the entrance of the amusement park, 'swallowing' visitors one by one as they walk in.
Art Barton, Luna Park,
The famous Happy Face entrance

Arthur Barton or Art Barton was the artist who created this iconic face with exuberant colours. It's hard not to feel happy at the sight of it especially children. Barton stayed in his beloved Luna Park for 35 years and retired in 1970 due to fading eyesight. He died in 1974 at the age of 85 years old.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
The park sign being vandalised

In memory of Barton, the Art Barton Park located just west of Luna Park along Lavender Bay foreshore, was completed and opened to the public in 2007. Though it's a narrow park with only a couple of benches overlooking the harbour view and Ferris wheel, it's filled with surprises! Miniature sculptures of popular comic characters such as Blinky Bill, Splodge, and the Magic Pudding are placed along the foreshore walk to be discovered by visitors. Due to overgrown branches and leaves, some sculptures are partially hidden.

Just a short walk from Luna Park, get off from Milsons Point train station and walk towards Luna Park Boardwalk. I passed through the amusement park and it was indeed a joy to see so many happy faces. Looking at those colourful buildings and clowns got me excited as well and certainly felt like unleashing the child in me.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Colorful life-size clowns

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Fantasy land

At the end of the boardwalk, there is a little picnic area with fencing. Entry is via Luna Park back gate and it seems to be accessible by public as there are no entry ticket checking mechanism but I am not too sure.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Luna Park picnic area by the harbour

Continue to walk along Lavender Bay Walk and you'll see the Art Barton Park signage on the right.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Lavender Bay Walk

From here on, let the sculpture treasure hunt begins! I found Ken, the Dugong designed by Chris O'Doherty as a symbol of protest to save Hinchinbrook Island.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Ken Dugong sculpture

A few other famous comic characters were also found here such as May Gibbs's Bib and Bub, Dorothy Wall's Blinky Bill, Norman Lindsay's Magic Pudding, R.B.Clark's Boofhead and Pat Sullivan's Felix the cat.

Art Barton, Luna Park, bib and bub,
Bib and Bub, Source: La Diva Cucina Blog

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Miniature Sculptures, Source: therinofandor, Flickr

Apart from the miniature sculpture, the view around the area was beautiful. As I walked down to Lavender Wharf and turned over, I saw the magnificent Harbour bridge and flashing lights from Luna Park.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Lavender Bay Wharf

The wharf is right opposite an arch of a bridge. Just walk through the arch and you will find a flight of stairs. If you have not visited Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden, then take the stairs up and be amazed by the serenity and tranquility of the garden.

Art Barton, Luna Park,
Grafitti on the arch of the bridge

Once you're at the top, turn around and look at the graffiti on the bridge. Nothing fancy but I just thought it was rather cute. Not sure if it's vandalism or not?

If you are too tired from the walk and the climb, just take seat under the big fig tree and enjoy a breathtaking view of the harbour.
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Why? Interesting miniature cartoon sculptures
When: Anytime
Where: Luna Park, Lavender Bay
Cost: Free
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