The new lookout offers a birds-eye view of the Rhododendron gardens

Photo: Dick Harris, with fellow garden guru Graham Ross, at the plaque commemorating the new Dick Harris Lookout.
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Council approval & construction

A new lookout was proposed by a Monday Volunteer, Tracey Longdon, in 2012. It took a very patient Geoff Cannings over 12 months to have Council approve the plans drawn up by C.G. Hilder Pty Ltd., Structural Engineers, Katoomba. FrankMoon of Mountaincraft Constructions Pty Ltd., Shipley, fabricated the steelwork and constructed the lookout early in 2014. Ross McLaren and his son built the stone pillars and the Central Foundry from mascot made the plaques. We are grateful to them for the roles they played. Our thanks go to Geoff who, after a very frustrating time, managed to bring the project to completion.

plaques unveiled

On 27th September 2014, the two plaques on the new lookout were unveiled. One of these commemorates Ib Sorensen for initiating the idea for the Gardens and the Blue Mountains Nurseryman’s Association who supported him in finding the best site and in the initial planning.

graham ross

The other plaque celebrates the role Dick Harris has played since the initial meeting in 1968 until today. Graham Ross officiated and over 80 people attended.   

The weather was warm and sunny and the ambience of the Gardens exerted itself to complete a perfect atmosphere. The Lodge hummed during a light lunch for those attending. A big thanks to the “Quota ladies” who ensured that the food was delicious and plentiful. Graham mixed with all and was very generous with his time.

A short general meeting was completed in record time and Graham spoke to the meeting. Joan Hailstone has written a synopsis of his talk at another place in this newsletter.  

Our many visitors during our “Open Days” have told us of their appreciation of the new lookout. It stands at a point in the Gardens from where it appears to watch over the land surrounding it. 

opening ceremony

Following the ceremony to open the new Lookout, and an abbreviated formal meeting, our special guest, Graham Ross, gave us a talk about his career in radio, Television and the Travel industry. Graham described his first foray into Radio when the ABC invited him to record a short segment for one of Alan Seale’s gardening programmes. At the time Graham was the Principal of West Ryde TAFE.  

He was surprised to be asked to do a regular item for the show, which then led to other radio and TV offers with the ABC, 2GB and Channel 7.  

Well known now for his Better Homes and Gardens show on Channel 7, and his weekly broadcasts on 2GB, he and his family subsequently branched out into the business of horticultural tours around Australia, and then all around the World. His family’s commitment to horticulture was highlighted by the fact that his daughter is named Kirin, after the Azalea, and he has a Granddaughter named Melaleuca. 

We would like to thank Graham for his continuing promotion of our Gardens, encouraging tourism to the Blue Mountains, particularly during our Open Days.

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