Posted by: Julie Duell | March 2, 2008


Hello all!  Julie here.

I just want to share with you a little of what Bouddi National Park means to locals and visitors to the Gosford/Central Coast area of N.S.W. Less than an hour & a half’s drive north from Sydney, Bouddi is a very special place to visit, explore, photograph, paint, picnic or meditate.

I was lucky enough to live 20 years at MacMasters Beach just at the northern extremity of the Park and  still live just a 10 minute drive away, so the bush there with its wildlife and flora is like an old friend, as it is and has been for many people.

Here is a little overview of just some of the artwork it has inspired me personally to produce over the years….you can click on them for an enlargement if you wish.

bouddi-afterburn-mixed-media-april.jpg      grand-deep-450-w.jpg faces-in-red-gum-small.jpg           faces-in-the-red-gum.jpg brush-tailed-possum-pastels-on-heavy-wc-paper-image-45-x-60-cm.jpg              detail-2-from-lnodding-greenhood-sprites.jpg

Below – detail from “Rhythms of Bouddi” above…

Countless artists and photographers have been captivated by the charm of “beautiful Bouddi”…. here are just a few, with an example of their work: Ursula Old lived adjoining Bouddi National Park at Killcare Heights for many years, her Studio overlooking Maitland Bay.  A prolific and very original artist, Ursula specialised in wonderful limited edition lithographs.  Here she is at work with her silk screen printing setup and a lovely example of an “Old Man Banksia” print  she produced.  Vale: Ursula passed away after a long period of incapacitaton on 5/6/2009.  Fondly remembered by all who knew her, Ursula held a wonderful retrospective exhibition at the Gosford City Art Gallery in her declining years, combining it with a magnificent dinner for all her artist friends and family.  She also provided a Young Sculptors Incentive Award. Her family have published a beautiful book featuring some of her work over the years.

ursula-old.jpg ursulas-pntg.jpg

Vale: Ursula passed away after a long period of incapacitaton on 4/6/2009 aged 93.  Fondly remembered by all who knew her, Ursula held a wonderful retrospective exhibition at the Gosford City Art Gallery in her declining years, combining it with a magnificent dinner for all her artist friends and family.  She also provided a Young Sculptors Incentive Award. Her family have published a beautiful book featuring her work over the years.  Please leave a comment if you are interesting in acquiring a copy and I may be able to put you in touch. One of the earliest members of the Central Coast Art Society was Cliff Ross (B: 30.6.1904 in Durban, South Africa to an artisic musical family).  Living in Green Point, Cliff was captivated by the flannel flowers and burrawongs of Bouddi not far away.  Here he is pictured  back in the 1970s  along with one of his detailed oils of a fruiting burrawong.  Cliff, having studied at Sydney’s Julian Ashton Art School in his youth, enjoyed oil painting very much in his retirement after running his own commercial art business for many years. He used to mix many of  his own paints & make his own frames, working from scratch – something not too many artists do today. Cliff passed away in 1994 aged 90.

cliff-ross.jpg cliff-ross-burrawong-fruiting-c.jpg

Judy Cowell was another Central Coast Artist who rendered very stirring and beautiful paintings based on Bouddi National Park and surrounds.  Here is one of her works acquired by Gosford City Council as an award winning painting back in the 1980s…

Another talented local Artist living next to Bouddi National Park was Sue Catt, who worked in copper. Here is my portrait of Sue and examples of her work…

Sue’s copperwork can be seen displayed on the wall behind Jack Hamilton, Potter with his wares below.

These two artists joined me in my first major sole paintng Exhibition (of 100 paintings) at Terrigal in 1982.

More recently, my partner Tony La Spina and I did some painting together within Bouddi.   Here is Tony with one of his acrylic impressions of an afterburn area:

tony.jpg bouddi-tonys-ptng.jpg

Maybe others will visit this site and contribute impressions the Park has made on them.

As well as more traditional artwork, I was also inspired by the flora and fauna of  Bouddi to create some  Children’s books: “Bush Sprites  of Australia”, “Forest Sprites of Australia” and “Joy and the Bush Sprites” are in print form (email  to order copies). 


All through the Park there are Sydney Red Gums (Agnophera costata) . They would have to be one of the most unusual individualistic trees in the world! If you have ever seen them you will know that they wind their branches all over the place, sometimes joining with another branch to form a hole or hugging a rock! In summer, when the cicadas sing,  they shed their bark in the most beautiful colours!  Here’s a peek via a photo…


Here is my painting of them after a burn out….

In fact, I became so enchanted with them I created “Ann Goffra”, the Red Gum Sprite. Here she is, inviting you to find as many faces in the artwork as you can. Some of the local school children found an incredible number of faces like 15 or more!  How many can you see? ann-goffra-430.jpg   Sometimes I like to hide faces in other paintings too.  How many can you spot in this one?  Like a clue?  There may be some in the space shapes as well as in the tree shape.


The fallen bark often forms wonderful sculptural shapes and that’s what inspired this semi-abstract painting…


My daughter & family had it on their wall and liked it hung horizontally.  Even though it wasn’t intended, I like it that way too.  Looks like a surreal landscape don’t you think?

shedding-bark-horiz-email.jpg Most people who have seen them, love the furry white Flannel Flowers that grow in Bouddi and surrounding bushland. Here is a pic of some and  the Sprite I created to represent them…just click to enlarge…

flannel-flowers-mte-550-w.jpg     velvet-1-email.jpg

When it is time for the Waratahs to bloom, they stand out in the bush like tall red torches – proud and magnificent!  Here’s a pic plus Tara, the Waratah Sprite I created for them….

waratah-photo-550-w.jpg   tara-550-wide.jpg Click to enlarge. To see more Sprites, you may visit and look under “Spriteland”.

There is nothing like tuning into Nature to soothe the soul!  Have you a favourite place you go to relax and daydream? Garden, bush, beach, wilderness?  Tell us about it.


         Our painting setup in Bouddi National Park 2006. Tony & I enjoy it immensely! All for now, Julie  

P.S.  The following is a beautiful poem written for me by Ben Fleming  back in 1992 during a very prolific painting time for me at MacMasters Beach.  Ben couldn’t believe I was so happy to be in my converted garage studio under the house, spending endless days creating.  He likened my beachfront studio to a “cellar” & saw me locked away from the world in there – but I had created my own free world through windows of imagination and blank canvasses waiting…

HIDDEN DEPTHS     by Ben Fleming

1.   The awkward toes of reality are left dangling in the breeze

Distractedly washed by the waves of the open tide.

You are left in the cellar shaping existence

Intoxicated in a jolly flow of freedom

For in each canvas you have finished yet another dream;

Released part of your life to an easel on your loungeroom wall.

And the dawn is another new day to freshen your inspiration and revitalise your love of living.

2.   Like a timid bird, hidden in forest green, you are waiting for ideas

Viewing the world somewhat differently to others

Nature calls to you.

‘Pon ash-blond winter beaches and discarded wild bush trails

The layers of life appear, let you paint their very soul.

3.  The scent of bush woodlands, remnants of childhood dreams

The damp earth, its freshness is like coming home.

Sounds a bower bird and dasyura that echo through the eucalypt green

Dazed angophoras on their knees, their elbows frozen in a muscleless pose, sleeping slowly an hour into the day

Smooth bark on your sunburnt face.

4.  The soft fog crawls in off the horizon

Its moist hand caressing my cheeks in the evening breeze.

Creeping so delicately across the blue carpet sea.

Snoozes and lays its head in a pillow of white on the rocks,

Where evening grey clouds cluster like cushions…

You smile and remember, I smile and remember you.


 Thank you Ben. I treasure your poem and send my very best wishes.  If you should see this please get in touch again. Julie


  1. Thank you Martha. I am glad you now wish to visit Bouddi…it is so beautiful! There are some lovely walks – a seaside boardwalk south from Putty Beach, a steep one to Maitland Bay and my favourite, a not so taxing one to Bullimah Point of the Maitland track overlooking the bay. Keep a watch out for Bush Sprites and listen for lyrebirds this time of year. Cheers, Julie

  2. You really capture your muse perfectly. I’ve never been to Bouddi National Park, but I want to (or at least I want to now) — you make it leap off the page. It reminds me fondly of the Flower Fairies that I used to read to my little girl so many years ago. Thank you. Martha

  3. Hi Julie,
    What a fabulous site. Love all your paintings and stories. You are truly amazing. Your bush sprites deserve world acclaim! Education Dept. should definitely take you on board with your talent for presenting Australian bush flora and fauna in such an appealing way for children. Best Wishes for continued success. Jan

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