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Published August 5th 2013
Need some inspiration? Come to the Bible Garden
Gerald Hercules Robinson had a knack of doing a great deal with very little. When he was fifteen, he immigrated to Australia with only 25 pounds. In the years that followed, he worked his way from jackaroo to decorated WWI war hero to entrepreneur. When war broke out again, Robinson put the expansion of his budding empire on hold to re-enlist. Upon his return home, Robinson built a successful business as one of Australia's largest auto importers.
However, it would be a small garden created in his golden years that would become his legacy. In his late 60's Robinson met the acclaimed botanist, Tatham Whitehead. Whitehead had created an intriguing all-inclusive list of the 148 plants mentioned in the Bible. Then, Whitehead planted them in chronological order on the grounds of Bangor Cathedral thereby creating the first "Bible Garden". Robinson was astounded by Whitehead's achievement and was determined to bring the idea back to Australia.
In 1962, Robinson broke ground on a bit of property overlooking Palm Beach. The view from which he believed was "a perfect example of the glory of God's creation". After doing most of the bed creation and terracing, Robinson travelled to Israel and Palestine to obtain the seeds for his garden, ultimately propagated 143 of the 148 Biblical plants. In 1966, at the age of 73, Robinson officially opened his gardens to the public. A mere six years later he passed in his sleep in those same gardens.
In the years to follow, Beatrice Robinson, Gerald Robinson's eldest child, and a Deaconess in the Anglican Church would curate the gardens into the next generation. She took up residence in the small cottage at the base of the gardens and cared tirelessly for them until her own death in 1994. Since then, the gardens have been have passed into the hands of the Pittwater Council and The Friends of Bible Garden.
The gardens remain a small manicured gem providing the ideal spot for quiet contemplation. It also provides the only publicly owned spot where one can drink in the stunning northern view of the full crescent of Palm Beach. There is plenty of parking on the street and a large table with benches should you like to bring a picnic. If you'd rather spread a blanket on the lawn under a shade tree, there is ample room. But mostly, it's all about the view. Even in a city like Sydney, where splendid vistas abound, this one still has the 'wow' factor. And a word of advice, bring a camera. This is a shutterbug's delight.
If you are perchance planning a wedding in the near future, The Bible Garden's beauty has likewise made it a favourite wedding and christening spot. The garden is ideal for small simple weddings. It can accommodate up to 60 guests and bookings are now being handled through the Pittwater Council Reserves and Recreation Officer.