Sydney Harbour on a blue dazzle day is always a winner! There it is in all its glamour – wowing the crowds and leaving everyone open mouthed in wonder. I have gazed at the theatre of this harbour countless times and I am always struck by its majestic beauty.
And so we stroll through the streets of Kirribilli and around Lavender Bay marvelling at gorgeous views of shimmering water patterned with craft of every shape and size – from dinky row boats to enormous ferries. Before us is the Opera House – its pristine sails glinting in the sunlight – and arching over us is the steely hugeness of the Harbour Bridge. We walk on past the picturesque frescoed wall of North Sydney Olympic Pool and towards the gigantic bizarre clown face which announces Luna Park. Everything is on a glorious scale.
Then unexpectedly, we come across odd small moments of whimsy – hidden slyly amongst leaves and blossoms. A tiny dugong named Ken, cheekily decorated with a sprig of wattle, and a cheery little penguin, brandishing a flipper in greeting, just happen upon us. They make us laugh out loud like children. They are the first in a series of fairytale moments that turn our walk around this spectacular harbour into something magical and wonderful.
There is delightful quirkiness about these pocket sized sculptures – some painted brightly and some cast in metal – each sitting on a mini sandstone plinth. We recognise a few old favourites: Blinky Bill, the Gumnut Babies and the Magic Pudding among the cast of playful characters tucked away in scrubby bushland.
Each little discovery is strangely enchanting and transports us back to a time when anything was possible – a bit like finding a ring of spotted toadstools or hearing sleigh bells on Christmas Eve. Against the splendid backdrop of Sydney Harbour, ornamented with all its massive breath-taking icons, are these diminutive funny works of art. They remind us that grandness is only part of the story – we may gasp in awe at the dramatic views around us but our hearts skip and hop with childish joy at the sight of a very small dugong called Ken and his curious band of miniature friends.
© Anita Patel, 2015