Residential development on the southern part of Palm Beach and the headland separating it from Whale Beach means that there are very few places to get an elevated view of the beach, and beyond, from the south, unless you befriend a resident.
One, not terribly well known, exception to this is the Bible Garden on Mitchell Road. It is well worth making the effort to visit if only just for the view of Palm Beach, Pittwater and Barrenjoey, though that is not the sole purpose of the Garden.
In 1957 Gerald Hercules Robinson, a devoted Christian, bought some land overlooking Palm Beach to build a house but soon decided that ‘this glorious view of creation was too lovely for a house’. While he did build a house, the block was split in two and on one part Robinson established a beautifully landscaped Bible Garden, across three manicured lawn terraces.
He opened his garden to the public in 1966. The garden was modelled on one in the grounds of Bangor Cathedral in North Wales. Prior to Robinson’s death, in 1972, it is believed that he had, over the years, planted 143 of the 148 (a much disputed figure – due to definitions) plants mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. Most of the plants failed as the coastal climatic conditions in North Sydney differ somewhat from the Mediterranean. Today the garden contains only about 25 different Bible plants.
Also in the Garden is a Bible, a wooden cross and some Christian plaques, including the Ten Commandants one depicted below.
The garden it is a tranquil contemplative place for those wishing to offer up a prayer or otherwise reflect on things, in a gorgeous setting.
In establishing the garden Robinson believed that it and the view would provide ‘a perfect example of the glory of God’s creation’. Few believers could argue with that assessment.
A small plaque in the garden reads:
‘The Heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork’. Psalm 19:1.
Since 2006 the Garden has been owned by Pittwater Council and maintained by the Friends of the Bible Garden Memorial.
Getting to the Bible Garden
Drive to 6a Mitchell Road, Palm Beach. There are a few dedicated parking spots by the Garden but otherwise you are asked not to park on the narrow Mitchell Road. Park on the nearby Pacific Road, being careful not to block driveways, and walk up to the Garden.
On Foot from Palm Beach
This is how I got to the Garden – en route from Palm Beach to Whale Beach as I partook of the first section of the 100km plus Sydney Coastal Walk.
Locate Horden Park at the southern end of Palm Beach and walk up through the park to Florida Road, cross Florida Road, take the marked walking track ( steep steps) up to the junction of Mitchell, Pacific and Ebor Roads. The Bible Garden is 100 metres along Mitchell Road. The total walk is about 1 kilometre, each way.
To get to Palm Beach from the city centre by public transport, take the L90 bus from outside Wynyard Station. The trip takes 90 minutes.
Address: 6a Mitchell Road, Palm Beach, Sydney