In Lakes Entrance I had the unique experience of walking a labyrinth in an alpaca paddock. These gentle, long lashed creatures stood around listening to the words of the John O’Donohue poem read by Norma Rees at the conclusion of our walk (or they were attracted to the shade that we were all hogging as it was a stinking hot day). I could make a pun about the wisdom of the Llamas but I won’t.
In San Remo and in Melbourne I have been the guest of Lorraine and Geoff Rodda: pioneers in labyrinth building in Australia for decades. In addition, they have been instrumental over the years in organising workshops and facilitator training, networks and newsletters. In recent times they have been key players in the formation of the Australian Labyrinth Network. Geoff is currently in the process of developing a labyrinth locator for Australia. It will consist of an interactive map which will enable people to look up labyrinths in locations they are travelling to as well as devise labyrinth trails to follow.
The work they have both done has been of inestimable value in orchestrating my time in Victoria. (For those who don’t live in Australia, the labyrinth society also has a labyrinth locator on its website.)
Coromandel Arboretum and Rosie’s Retreat and Labyrinth
I was warmly welcomed by the community in Warragul and enjoyed the hospitality of Jan Miller whose property, Coromandel Arboretum, was planted by her parents in the 1980s and has gone from relatively bare block of land to a haven of food bearing trees of innumerable varieties. In addition to walking her beautiful labyrinth we travelled together to Carrajung to Rosie’s Retreat and Labyrinth to walk the newly installed labyrinth that is surrounded by towering gums and overlooks a gully of ferns. The ringing of bell birds accompanied our walk. In viewing a video on Rosie’s Facebook page I can see I am doing the great Aussie salute (swatting flies) at regular intervals.
We visited St Luke’s in Morwell where they originally planted out a three circuit labyrinth in sunflowers. Unfortunately it hasn’t been replanted so there were only a few brave self seeded plants there at present but it’s a novel idea and would be worth a visit when it gets resurrected.
Labyrinth at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital
One labyrinth that I rejoiced in is in the grounds of Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. It was funded by the war widows guild and designed by Simon Normand. Seven mosaic seats are built in to the surrounding wall and represent the seasons observed by the Wurundjeri people. Artist Lisa Foley created a mural in the walkway leading to the labyrinth and it is ringed by local trees, flowering plants and grasses. I would love the opportunity to walk it accompanied by a didgeridoo.