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Tatsuo Miyajimar

Exploring William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenong Ranges

Driving through and exploring the Dandenong Ranges is beautiful at any time of year. In summer the hills offer a welcome escape from the heat. The autumn showcases an amazing array of colours. Winter breathes in fresh crisp air. And spring bursts with amazing new blooms and sunshine.

Just an hour from Melbourne, there are many places and adventures to be found in the area. One of our favourites is visiting the William Ricketts Sanctuary.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in this area, across its leafy grounds are 92 amazing sculptures made from clay and wood that encourage and invite discussions about our Indigenous history and culture. It never feels busy, though, as it is so spread out and the natural setting lends for such calm and beauty. I love seeing people from across the globe enjoying this place as much as we do.

William Ricketts started creating his masterpieces in 1934 and lived at the Sanctuary until 1993. He would spend his time visiting remote Indigenous communities. From listening to their stories, he brought them to life through his artworks. In the 1960s the Victorian Government and Parks Victoria bought the Sanctuary from Ricketts and made it a public park.

The onsite house enables learning to be extended by watching a short movie about William Ricketts’ amazing life and his interactions with the Indigenous communities.

Around each corner is a new piece of art to enjoy with the sounds of cockatoos in the trees that seem to reach into the clouds above. Green ferns and moss cover the gardens as you walk along the paths while you enjoy an audio tour to learn more about the sculptor and Australiaís history. Itís the perfect place for the whole family to wander and explore together.

Tip: Wheelchair access is great in most parts, but a bit tricky with the car park across the road down a steep hill. However Parks Victoria are accommodating and itís possible to do a drop off at the main gate.

Fast Facts: Open daily from 10:00am to 4:30pm daily (except Christmas Day). 1402 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Mt Dandenong (Melways Ref: 66 G1). Entry is free

Bron Leeks leads the adventurous team at where she shares her families adventures with a focus on wheelchair access and inclusion. Based in Melbourne, Australia and exploring far and wide

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