The beginning

early morning light over the back fence.

One time, when I lived in a windswept salt drenched Bondi flat, I bought some cheap flower punnets to liven up the weed filled dirt patch out the front. Despite my ignorance, some small flowers grew & I realized how much I enjoyed messing around in the dirt. I started to want to know more about gardening & found a book by the British film director Derek Jarman. In the 80s he had bought a black tarred fisherman’s cottage on a bleak stretch of coastline in Dungeness, Kent. He started planting in a random way- sea kale, dog roses in between structures of salvaged driftwood and twisted pieces of metal. Slowly, his garden became a poem, a living sculpture- a valiant attempt at beauty in defiance of the nuclear power plant on the horizon & the ravages of his illness. His book inspired me to a different way of thinking. Gardening had seemed a mysterious complex process that involved knowing a lot about soil – now it held the potential for creativity.

Derek Jarman's garden

Photos by Howard Sooley

Many years later I stand outside a house on a neglected one acre block deep in the Australian countryside- the old school masters residence in a 19th century gold rush town… it’s for sale . The owner, an artist & stonecarver, is keen to sell & the price is low. Propelled by some strange instinct -I scrape together my savings, and take the plunge.

on the far side of the world. my closest neighbours. sometimes up to 40 of them over the back fence.

A city girl in a remote country town- like being on a ship at sea, sailing high up in the Australian bush. The town, once cosmopolitan, with pubs, businesses, an oyster bar & an opium den, feels enigmatic, out of time. Appearing at the end of the road through an avenue of trees, like Brigadoon. But what it does have is that rare thing- authenticity. No tourist prettification, no advertising signs. Barely 200 residents, many of them artists. The house itself run down, kind of unloved, sitting primly upright on a large bare block . Not romantic like the other miners shacks that seem as though they have grown out of the landscape. A solid double brick home ordered up by the education board and dropped in a country town a hundred years ago. The house is a blank canvas- a challenge. Like Jarman did, so far away & so long ago, I want to create my own world of beauty and simplicity.

This is the chronicle of the transformation of the old schoolmaster’s house & a rediscovery of the Australian countryside.

the main street - like an abandoned movie set, a western. the road into town.

the old schoolmaster's house, photo from over a year ago - much has changed.

following a bush trail

among the weeds and piles of stone were some beautiful heritage roses.


9 Responses to “The beginning”

  1. deidre says:

    Hi Ingrid
    I love how you have styled your bathroom. Also, your photography is stunning. I’ll be showing my daughter later as she is a budding photographer. Have just discovered your blog and I’ll be a regular viewer now just to admire your beautiful photos.

    • Ingridweir says:

      Thank you Deidre. I am taking some night classes in Sydney at the moment- at ACP. I feel like I am learning so much- and loving it!

  2. amy says:

    this is such a magnificent journey you are embarking on…
    and i feel like looking in on it is such a gift . thank you for sharing it with the rest of us . p.s. your photos are beautiful .

  3. Victor says:

    I became your fan on Instagram! Wich camera do you use? And what is your favorite Instagram filter?

    • Ingridweir says:

      Hello Victor,

      I use a few different cameras, a Canon 60d, a film camera, my iphone, the new Samsung Galaxy. My favourite filters are Amaro and Valencia. I sometimes use editing apps Snapseed and VSco Cam. All the best, Ingrid

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  5. kristen says:

    I found you on Pinterest a while ago but had to message you the more i looked through your pins. You are my favourite “pinner”. Then i found this website! Looooving everything you are doing!! Everything is so beautiful. Thank you for collecting and sharing. Im a regular fan now.

    • Ingridweir says:

      Thank you so much Kristen, what a lovely comment. The kind of feed back that inspires me to go forward…