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Mrs. York's Garden

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Standing Together for a Better View

There is a new sight to behold, or rather, there is a new place from which to admire the beautiful sights of Port Macquarie.

Mrs. York's Garden is a well-loved place in Port Macquarie. Locals and visitors know it affectionately as a little garden where you can stroll into, sit on a bench and just soak in the greenery amidst the gurgling sounds of a little man-made waterfall. A gem of a natural haven so near the centre of town.

President Di Davison said "We always knew that we had to do something very special here and we certainly have. I am sure the NSW Government will be very proud that they have funded this viewing platform with its combination of stunning local timbers, amazing craftsmanship and with that view of the river, ocean and the Garden”.

A New View

A new viewing platform has been built recently that overlooks the picturesque grounds of Mrs. York's Garden. Where before you could experience the garden from the inside, now, visitors can have a completely different view of the garden, right from the very top. This viewing platform on the headland at the top of Clarence Street overlooks the garden. For one of the best views of the town, head up to this new area.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the viewing platform at Mrs York's Garden would allow visitors to better take in the view of the garden, and the magnificent surrounding landscape.

"The NSW Government is investing record amounts to deliver the big picture infrastructure needed to stimulate economies and boost drought resilience, but we're also backing community projects that make a big positive difference to everyday life,", Mr Barilaro said.
"The viewing platform at Mrs York's Garden is exactly the kind of project the Stronger Country Communities Fund was designed to deliver and the great news is the NSW Government will be delivering more community infrastructure with a fourth round this year.”

The Governor of NSW Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beasley QC AC officiating

the opening of the viewing platform at Mrs. York's Garden with Leslie Williams MP

The official opening of the new viewing platform was led by NSW Governor Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, together with Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams.

The Governor of NSW Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beasley QC AC officiating

the opening of the viewing platform at Mrs. York's Garden with Leslie Williams MP

The new viewing platform was commissioned by the Friends of Mrs. York's Garden. A Stronger Country Communities grant of $90,000 was awarded to them in March 2020 and it helped make this new vision turn into a reality for the community. Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams led the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2020.

The Friends of Mrs York’s Garden are pleased to be commencing the project & acknowledging the funding by the State Government through the SCCF Grant, feature story by Brilliant-Online

The Friends of Mrs. York’s Garden are pleased to be commencing the project & acknowledging the funding by the State Government through the SCCF Grant

The Lady Behind the Garden

So who exactly is Mrs. York? Amy Bertha York was born in Hay in 1894 and her birthday falls right on 26th January, i.e. Australia Day. Coincidence? Or a sign of greater things to come? She certainly lived up to that special twist of fate being born on that day as she has done much for her country.

She received the Queen’s Commendation Medal for her work in childcare and representing Australia as a delegate at the first United Nations First Meeting on the Rights of Women.

During her retirement years, she did not stop and chose to spend her time creating her beautiful headland garden across the road from her house on Stewart Street. Now, her granddaughter Glenys is site supervisor for the FMYG volunteers.

A Platform By and For the Community

A community grows well when there is communal effort and communal thought to include everyone to share in the delights of the area.

What many may not be aware of is the bevy of volunteers who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes for six years to restore and maintain the original gardens of Amy Bertha York.

Dianne Davison is the President of Friends of Mrs. York's Garden. The Friends have done a lot of work to restore and maintain this iconic headland, making it a beautiful place for everyone to enjoy. Check out the stages they went through building this viewing platform.

Mrs. York's Garden, Construction of Viewing Platform

The new viewing platform overlooking Mrs. York's Garden includes a disability access and it is set to be a space to host functions and school visits.

The viewing platform has been designed and created to feel like a continuation of the garden.replicates the boat themed timber structures found throughout the Garden. The 8 m curved timber rail was crafted by Ron Window, Glenys and the volunteers at the Hibbard slipways.

For many who are conscious of respecting the environment, they will be pleased to know that reclaimed timber was used used courtesy of Forestry NSW and Boral industries, in the construction of the deck. Jim Tredinnick also contributed a stunning hand-crafted timber seat. When he first decided to put in his work, he called in to see the setting and area where he could place his work. There is something about every single person putting in their heart and dedication to creating something together that makes the final viewing platform such a delight to enjoy and be proud of.

Pacific Coast Carpentry, local contractors, on behalf of Wagners CFT, whose composite fibre substructure was chosen for its long life in coastal conditions and low maintenance. They all brought the components together, with support from PMHC in planning and delivery of the project.

Ultimately, this viewing platform was the result of a beautiful communal effort from everyone. It is for everyone to get on, take a breather and enjoy the peaceful views.

Fun Info: The new viewing platform is located across from where the Soldiers Garrison was; with the original Tombstone Cemetery at Allman Hill and the Gaol at the far end of the Garden at Gaol Point.

Heritage for the Future

"What the Aboriginal people of our nation have taught us are many things about our land ... they have brought back this sense of land…If you give yourself time to stand, you feel the land and in many ways that's what this (project) is about." - NSW Governor Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC.

In a lovely surprise Her Excellency calls all children under 14 to come forward to receive a medallion to remind them that they are the future generations to carry on our work.

We are creating the future right in this very present, just as our ancestors in the past built and established a heritage then that we can appreciate now. The new viewing platform where Mrs. York's Garden is is a key location where the aboriginals used to live. Now from where we stand, we see the beautiful town beach.

The heritage of a place is not just the buildings and concrete things around us. It is also in the people and their choices how to lead their lives that we inherit and continue into the future.

Peta Pinson, Mayor for Port Macquarie-Hastings region giving her speech during the opening of the viewing platform at Mrs. York's Garden

Mrs. York stood out with what she did in her time. When it was more accepted and safer for women then to conform to certain roles and responsibilities, Mrs. York was very much a doer and go-getter. She did not let society's definitions about her gender stand in her way. And she was a trailblazing true professional who made many amazing achievements.

Mrs. York started a childcare centre, a real estate agency, a small bank and she was even part of the first United Nations delegation for women. Even for a woman of today in 2021 with many more opportunities than she had, to be able to have done all of that would still be a feat and highly admirable.

As the Governor noted, for Mrs. York to have brought this to fruition for her community is something that will last for generations. That is a proud heritage the community of Port Macquarie has and it will still be here for our grandchildren and beyond.


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