Guy McIlrath – Manager, Everglades Gardens
You spend your young years in the bush of Sydney, trekking and road biking. As a young adult you hitched hiked across Europe to satisfy the travel bug in your soul and expanding your horizons. At some point, you want to claim some place as ‘home’.
Thus, was the life of Guy McIlrath, now manager of Everglades House & Gardens in Leura. Returning from European travels, Guy and his wife operated as florists in Sydney for five years and during those years, he turned his back on a career in industrial chemistry. He ventured into landscaping. In 1998 the young couple moved to the Mountains – they love the outdoors – they love nature -- they love their home -- the Blue Mountains.
For approximately 14 years Guy filled the role of head-gardener at Everglades – carer of fabulous gardens, beautiful and hand-built Sorenson-designed stone walls and trees of a height that leave one breathless. Everglades is an historic property maintained by staff & volunteers for the National Trust of Australia (NSW) which is dedicated to preservation and conservation of many historic properties in New South Wales.
In 2017, Guy’s role changed. Manager – now raising funds, motivating dedicated and hardworking volunteers, answering the constantly ringing phone and minding staff keep him running daily. His responsibility as manager also expanded to include the art gallery on the grounds. Not only have his responsibilities expanded, but also his views on art. “Yet,” he asserts, “I’m aware that my tastes in art are subjective.” So, he pushes his boundaries when choosing artists to exhibit. (*See the next Exhibition below.)
Everglades House, with Art Deco interiors was built in 1935 on 13 sloping acres by Renaissance man and Belgian-born businessman, Henri Van de Velde and is set in elaborate gardens designed by Danish -born Paul Sorenson. Throughout Leura’s many small and private gardens we often see replicas of the Sorenson stone walls.
Guy knows these gardens well. Over the years, he has seen visitors interact with Everglades – gardens viewed and enjoyed through different eyes. He leads the team who care for this Art Deco house and the gardens that surround it.
The upcoming exhibition at the Gallery: National Trust (NSW) and the Reconciliation Council (NSWRC) will again join forces to present a state-wide tour of award-winning artworks from this year’s Schools Reconciliation Challenge. Sixteen artworks, selected as the best of more than 700 entries to NSWRC’s annual art competition, will be displayed at Everglades Gallery from 3rd – 26th August 2018