Go Travel Leura: Where In The World Did We Find These?
- Created on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 12:59
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Quidditas Creative Art Gallery
Address:88 Railway Parade
Hours: Open Thu-Mon 10am-5pm
Phone: 02 4784 3625
Quidditas is a well turned-out collection of exhibition space, art gallery and shop of exquisite gifts - all rolled into the heritage-listed house and garden on Leura's prestigious Railway Parade. At the turn of the 19th century, Railway Parade was the impressive neighbourhood in Leura. The land was first purchased in late November 1879 and we are uncertain of construction date. However, we do know the elegant Waitangi, as it was named, was built for and used both as a doctor's surgery and the doctor's residence. Today, the owner of Quidditas, with a recent renovation has returned this old home and garden to its original polish and elegant state.
In the Quidditas exhibition room, the focus is upon past and present textiles and cultural artefacts from around the world. With items collected by the owner, a clothing and textile designer, exhibition themes change with some frequency.
The gallery shop is an extension of the exhibitions - clothing, jewellery, and tableware are sourced from around the world and you won't find these and other items outside the doors of Quidditas. Unusual French tableware, with an amusing and functional design, was such a temptation for us. Jewellery or the more common term "bling" are all the rage, but the baubles at Quidditas are beyond extraordinary. Gorgeous crocheted Turkish jewellery exceeds even our jaded expectation.
Elegant handmade scarves by French designer Sophie Digard are hand dyed and in lovely colours: merino, mohair and velvets with unrepeatable patterns and designs. Linens and pillows, painted lampshades, gifts for children, striking wrapping paper and cards. Browsing and shopping requires time.
Finally, Quidditas Gallery is home to the art of Colin Parker, best known for his figurative oils of outback Australia - he captures the red dust harshness and the singular isolation indicative of middle Australia. He is also recognised for his most successful series: Paris In The Snow.
Go Travel Leura: Leura Remains 'The Jewel' of the Blue Mountains
- Created on Monday, 06 June 2016 14:03
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The weather was absolutely stunning for several months April and May – gorgeous temperate days but with sufficient rain to fill our waterfalls to overflowing. We had an unending supply of visiting tourists: the Mall was crowded with shoppers; cafes were busy preparing lunch; day-trekkers walk the trails along the escarpment and we came across excited grinning rock climbers practicing early morning rappelling at Sublime Point.
We live in the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains where a thick misty layer appears at dawn, but within minutes the sun dispenses with it – the grandeur of the escarpment now apparent. Assuming the role of ‘tour guide’ to an American guest this week gets us out exploring the natural world surrounding Leura.
Along Cliff Drive, the sandstone walls constantly shift colours. With each imperceptible movement of the early morning sun, surprises unfold. Rust coloured crevices appear where yellow flat sandstone walls had been only moments before.
The eucalypt valley below seems to ripple with a slow incoming green tide. The eerie silence over the smooth rock of Sublime Point Lookout takes our breath away – civilization is removed. Well, civilization is at least remote.
Everglades House & Garden
Everglades House & Gardens is in its autumnal beauty – a thin mist veils the Grotto pool and the waterfall high above plummets with mesmerizing resonance to the lush greenery below. Busy gardeners cut and clear for winter, plant for and anticipate spring. The natural milieu surrounding Leura is our backdrop – a scenic background upon which we carry out our lives, century after century after century.
An Edwardian Village Begins
By eight, morning life in Leura stirs – the smell of strong coffee and baking croissants wafts over The Mall. A few visitors are out, but the quiet of a cathedral is present – soundless steps, voices low. Only excited birds seem indifferent to our slow-waking, somewhat sacred rituals. Leura is our respite – the holiday getaway of many as it has been since land speculators recognized the possibilities of the area in 1881.
VIEW FROM THE ALEX ABOVE LEURA'S TRAIN STATION
Leura, with its wide streets, its proximity to the bush and its frequently changing weather was a draw to Sydney-siders then as it is now. In 1905, The Alexandra Guesthouse and Hotel looking out to Jamison Valley and overlooking the train tracks was built. Weatherboard buildings were dual purposed: retail shops on the ground level and family housing on the first. The structures weathered, faded and fell into disarray as the years passed. By 1921, The Mall was dusty or muddy, depending upon the season. By the 1950s Leura was asleep, forgotten by its neighbors in Medlow Bath, Katoomba and Wentworth Falls. Two decades passed and Leura awoke. Instigated by residents and proprietors, veranda posts were replaced and store fronts painted once again in muted colours. Its Edwardian charm and its Sydney-sider visitors returned.
Today the Edwardian look, much like the colours of that day, is muted and you may overlook that era’s influence. But the charm is only a step away: inside Leura Cellars, Wayzgoose Café, Gifts–n-Things, Max & Me, and Silks Brasserie with its 15 foot ceilings and recessed doorway you are carried back to Leura’s early days.
On the corner of The Mall and Megalong Streets, Bon-Ton Bistro began life as a 1917 butcher shop and a 1920’s petrol station is now home to Bakehouse on Wentworth. At the corner of Grose and Megalong Streets, a large brick bungalow began life as a residence in 1913. Today, with its impressive verandah, By Gone Beautys Museum and Tea Room serve up elegant high tea.
And up on Railway Parade, Quidditas Gallery is housed in one of the elegant buildings occupying that street at the turn of the century. Granted, building fronts have been modernized, additions have been completed but the interiors are a lovely reminder of those early residents and businesses who brought Leura to its feet once again.