William Rickett’s Sanctuary

Anyone who has used StumbleUpon has probably stumbled upon photographs of human figurines that look like they are carved into tree stumps. The carvings are actually clay sculptures that are made to look like they are carvings, and most of the statues represent Aboriginal Australians. They were carved by an Aussie named William Rickett, who spent many years with the indigenous Australians and gained a great deal of respect for them and their struggles.

Whenever I would stumble upon the photos of William Ricketts’ Sanctuary I never paid much attention other than browsing through the photos. However, while I was in Australia researching a hike that Catherine and I wanted to take, I realized that not only are the statues in Australia, they are in the same national park as the hike that Catherine and I were going to take.

The Sanctuary was great. Entrance is free, and it set up as a simple walk through the beautiful forest in the Dandenong Ranges. Scattered around the paths are the statues and information on William Rickett’s life and work. We even saw a kookaburra in the parking lot, which is a national symbol of Australia. Many of the statues are overtly political, symbolizing the struggle and treatment of the indigenous Australians.

Since there are so many high quality photos of the statues already on the internet I will only post a few of my own here:

The hike that we had originally wanted to do and did do right after the Sanctuary is also worth mentioning. It is known as the 1,000 Steps. It is actually about 750 steps to the top of a mountain in the Dandenong Ranges. However, the Park Service has set it up to memorialize and emulate the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, which was a prolonged battle between the Australians and Japanese during WWII. Every 100 steps or so there is a plaque with information on the battle and it shows what your equivalent progress on the grueling, 96 km track would have been if the 1,000 Steps were the same length.


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1 Response to William Rickett’s Sanctuary

  1. Pingback: Coffeelandía | Incidents of Travel

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