Swain Gardens
Experience | garden | Lindfield | Picnic | Sydney North | New South Wales

Swain Gardens

English gardens in a bushland setting

by Susie Baber  |  18 September 2021

Driving along Stanhope Road, you wouldn’t know there is a little hidden wonderland tucked away behind the trees. Even the sign at the entrance and the steep path belies the gem you are about to discover.

Swain Gardens was created by a local resident, Mr Arthur Newling Swain. In the early 1960s, he purchased the bushland next to his home to save it from being developed. Over the next 10 years, instead of being filled with houses the land was filled with large, exotic trees and shrubs. Stonemasons constructed sandstone bridges and paths and Arthur Swain’s garden came to life.

When Mr Swain died in 1973, he gifted the gardens to the National Trust and they fell into some disrepair. In 1980 the gardens were passed over to Ku-ring-gai council and with the help of an enthusiastic band of volunteers they have been restored to their former glory.

Spanning over three hectares, this beautiful landscape reflects the character of English gardens in a bushland setting. Entering down the long curving drive, on your left is Shot Machine Creek lined with giant bamboo, and on your right is a vintage bungalow now used as a meeting room and available for hire. Further down the hill an old tennis court has been repurposed as an area for outdoor functions complete with a table, BBQ, and synthetic grass lawn.

Winding paths crisscross through the gully, you never know what will greet you around each bend, a shady bench to rest on or a beautiful carved birdbath.

The grounds are beautifully cared for and never without colour. Camellias in winter, Azaleas in spring and Roses and Crepe Myrtles in summer. All underplanted with mix of lush foliage and annual blooms. The stonework, terraces and manicured lawns create a peaceful retreat from our hectic lives. Abundant native wildlife can be found amongst the greenery. Look out for King parrots, eastern rosellas, pygmy possums and of course bush turkeys as you wander the secret pathways.

On the southern boundary there is a path leading through the bush to Seven Little Australians Park and to the north another path leads into Wombin Reserve both offering lovely short bush walks.

Further up the hill is the upper lawn which is often used for outdoor weddings and celebrations, and a large gazebo with two tables inside for your picnicking pleasure. Many areas of the gardens are available for hire, more information can be found here (https://www.krg.nsw.gov.au/Things-to-do/Parks-playgrounds-and-sportsfields/Swain-Gardens)

The gardens are a perfect picnic location. There are barbecue facilities, multiple lawn areas and toilets all on site. Dogs are permitted to enter the gardens as long as they remain on leash. Swain Gardens is open from sunrise to sunset every day and entrance is free. You’ll find the entry at 77 Stanhope Road Killara.

Just park on Stanhope Road and walk down the driveway to explore!

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