Norman Lindsay Gallery: Sirens in the Blue Mountains

Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum

Visiting the Norman Lindsay Gallery in the Blue Mountains became a dream of mine after seeing the classic movie Sirens.

The enchanting Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is now forever linked as the central filming location for Sirens (1994).

I’m a massive fan of the film, so for me, the film turned Norman Lindsay’s place into a top Greek myth pilgrimage site.

The peaceful destination is a bit like Delphi in Greece, where Apollo, the Greek God of poetry and art, was worshipped. But a much better-kept secret.

The beautiful estate is where you’ll find the former home of the legendary Australian artist Norman Lindsay (1879-1969), who had a profound interest in Greek mythology.

Watching Sirens will give you a good insight into a brief snapshot showing the extraordinary life of Norman Lindsay. It may even arouse a bit of envy.

Elle Macpherson is one of the main stars in Sirens. To me, that makes the place even more special.

So I had to visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery one day.

Norman Lindsay Gallery

Satyr pursuing a Nymph is an incredible sculpture in the garden.

It has to be one of the most fantastic attractions at the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum. You can see it in the feature image above.

The fantastic seahorse fountain is another magical sight in the beautiful garden.

Bronze copy Sea Horse Fountain Norman Lindsay Gallery Faulconbridg

Inside the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum, you’ll see beautiful Amazon-style female nude paintings.

What’s more, Norman Lindsay’s entire estate has plenty of unique artworks, many of them in the form of paintings and sculptures.

Norman Lindsay, the artist, left a great legacy when you think about monuments and sculptures of Greek mythology in Australia.

Norman Lindsay and Ulysses (Odysseus)

Interestingly, the movie Sirens offers a few references to the hero Odysseus (Ulysses) from Greek mythology.

The Greek hero from the ancient past had himself strapped to the mast of his sailing ship to stop him from attempting to jump overboard if he ever felt compelled to meet up with the alluring sirens.

In my case, there was no way I would have allowed myself to miss out on seeing any beauties at the Norman Lindsay Gallery during my day trip to the Blue Mountains.

Unfortunately, I didn’t meet up with a brunette bombshell like Elle Macpherson, but I did talk to an attractive blonde lady who purchased a print of Venus.

I’ll tell you about the meeting a bit later on because our meeting did seem symbolic.

The Best Attraction in the Blue Mountains

Most tourists probably consider the biggest attraction in the Blue Mountains to be the Three Sisters — a famous rock formation with three peaks near Katoomba.

In my opinion, the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, where the three sirens once appeared is easily one of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains.

I couldn’t resist the siren call to visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery when I found myself in Sydney.

The Norman Lindsay Gallery became my top reason to visit the Blue Mountains region.

Plus, the Blue Mountains had some other desirable attractions like the Three Sisters, so I thought going on a day trip to the Blue Mountains by train would be a magical experience. Pleased to say it was.

Elle Macpherson is an Australian Goddess, a seductive siren, and one of the most beautiful supermodels ever.

Visiting the Norman Lindsay Gallery would probably be as close as I would ever get to a beauty like Elle, another reason I desperately wanted to see the place.

Norman Lindsay Gallery – The Seahorse Fountain

Observing Norman Lindsay’s former home from the street doesn’t give you much of an idea of the beauty that awaits.

Only when you approach the house does the beauty of the garden start to reveal itself.

The first thing to strike your curiosity will probably be the memorable satyr pursuing a nymph sculpture. Or the incredible seahorse fountain.

I think the seahorse fountain is the most beautiful artwork at the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum. It is super hard to beat within the buildings or in the garden.

Seeing the fountain made me feel like finding a comfy chair so I could sit down all day next to it sipping a cool drink.

Norman Lindsay Gallery Garden

Here are some cute ducks walking past the impressive seahorse fountain.

If I could ever come back into this world as some form of an animal, I think I’d choose to come back as a duck.

Maybe even request to be born in this exact spot. It seems like a pretty good life to me.

The seahorse fountain is next to the main house where Norman Lindsay lived.

It has a magnificent long verandah running along two sides of the building, supported by thin white Greek-style columns.

Norman Lindsay – The Artist and Writer

Norman Lindsay was a writer, painter, and illustrator who lived from 1879 to 1969.

He caused a stir during his lifetime, mainly for creating nude artwork. The other issue involved some of his writings, which churchy people found objectionable.

J. F. Archibald employed Norman as an illustrator of cartoons at The Bulletin, an Australian magazine.

Yep, I’m talking about the guy who bequeathed funds to have a wonderful fountain in Sydney built dedicated to Greek mythology.

The water fountain has Apollo, Artemis, Theseus, and Minotaur statues.

Most people know it now as the Archibald Fountain. The fountain is truly fantastic!

The relationship continued until Norman Lindsay’s final cartoon in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympic Games.

In 1930, for some unholy reason, his second novel Redheap, based on small-town life and social restrictions in Victoria, was immediately banned in Australia.

Unbelievably, the novel Redheap remained on the prohibited list in Australia until 1958. However, it was readily available in other countries, so it seemed pretty unjust.

The Crucified Venus

The Crucified Venus would have to be Norman Lindsay’s most controversial artwork.

It was severely frowned upon by the Church and other Wowsers, as he called them.

The Crucified Venus by Norman Lindsay

Wowsers is a slang term for people whose sense of morality drives them to deprive others of their sinful pleasures.

I only became aware of the expression after watching the Norman Lindsay documentary on my Sirens movie DVD. He used the word Wowsers numerous times.

Sirens used the Crucified Venus as a central storyline theme.

The illustration of a Crucified Venus stemmed from Norman Lindsay’s belief that Christianity was a repressive force. Have to agree.

Wowsers hoped Norman Lindsay would voluntarily remove the drawing from a Society of Artists’ exhibition in Melbourne, but that was never going to happen.

A Melbourne committee removed it, but about a week later, they allowed it back only after the president of the Society of Artists threatened to remove other artworks from the exhibit unless Norman Lindsay’s artwork reappeared.

I wonder what Norman Lindsay would think of this: 12 Greek Myths that Prove the Bible is Fake.

The Magic Pudding and other works

Many kids can thank Norman Lindsay for creating the much-loved Australian children’s book The Magic Pudding, first published in 1918.

It is still a popular children’s book and hasn’t been out of print since 1918.

Other books include A Homage to Sappho (1928), Mr. Gresham and Olympus (1932), and Pan in the Parlour (1933).

Nude artworks, which Norman Lindsay is well known for, hit you for six when you walk into a red room within the main house gallery.

The slightest show of any nudity during Norman Lindsay’s lifetime was considered highly offensive to many people, so he was a great Australian rebel for his time.

You will also see a variety of other Norman Lindsay artwork, from sculptures to model ships.

Inside the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum 

The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, now owned by the National Trust, showcases a small number of female nude paintings.

What surprised me most was that many artworks possessed an Amazonian classical feel.

Norman Lindsay Gallery Room with Nude Female Paintings

He had female models come over to his place so he could paint them, which is probably similar to what you saw in the film.

His wife Rose also modeled for him. She is the inspiration behind quite a few of the paintings.

There is also a high-quality model ship on display with incredible detail and craftsmanship.

If you’re a fan of The Magic Pudding, you’ll also see some cheeky characters inside and outside the building.

Small sculptures can also be seen throughout the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum.

When leaving the house, you’ll exit through a nice-looking gift shop. You can buy many interesting things inside the gift shop, including large prints of various artworks by Norman Lindsay and his family members.

I bought myself a thin blue book about the Norman Lindsay Gallery, Springwood, by Helen Glad, a National Trust house series.

When purchasing the book, I asked about Helen Glad, and the person behind the counter told me that she was Norman Lindsay’s granddaughter. The book is excellent!

Norman Lindsay Gallery – The Garden and Sculptures

In my opinion, walking around the beautiful garden is the best experience at the Norman Lindsay Gallery.

There are a few standout sculptures around the serene garden to look at.

You can find this female nude sculpture situated next to one side of the house. The statue is said to be modeled on his second wife, Rose.

Sculpture modelled on Rose by Norman Lindsay next to House

Here’s a nymph standing between a satyr and a sphinx, which has Greek myth connotations.

Nymph beside a Satyr and Sphinx Norman Lindsay Sculpture

Another beautiful fountain that sadly wasn’t operational when I visited.

In the movie Sirens, it also wasn’t shown flowing with water. However, I have seen it working like a fountain in other pictures.

Nymph in Water Pond Norman Lindsay Grounds

You can see a few ducks enjoying this pond. The place is like a duck paradise.

The voluptuous nymph below is positioned next to a seat with a hedge surrounding her.

Chains have probably roped the seat off due to ground staff not wanting visitors to sit on it.Seat with Nymph statue Norman Lindsay Gallery Grounds

The Sphinx and the Pool

Passing by a Sphinx leads down to a swimming pool, which Norman Lindsay built himself.

I wondered whether a vision from Sirens where the three beauties enjoyed themselves in  a rock pool of water complete with water lilies would enter my vision as I explored the property.

One thing that disappointed me big time was learning that the movie’s memorable water bathing scenes wasn’t filmed at the property.

Instead, the scenes were filmed somewhere in Glenbrook, in another Blue Mountains location.

I didn’t end up going down to the old pool mainly because it was cordoned off then.

There was a sign warning of unstable cliffs, so I didn’t bother to go for a walk into unknown territory, but I should have gone.

The Sphinx statue Norman Lindsay

I wasn’t aware of any pool on the property when I visited, but on reflection, the pool must have been the inspiration behind the water scenes in Sirens.

Norman Lindsay’s pool must have been a magical swimming spot in its day, though from what I have seen in pictures, the pool appears hugely rundown.

The best thing about the pool to me seems to be a few statues surrounding the pool.

There’s even a sculpture of a Siren from Greek mythology on one side of the pool’s edge, complete with wings! So maybe I somehow did resist the Siren call.

Movies inspired by Norman Lindsay

I wanted to see a heavenly scene like this one from the movie Sirens.

I include Sirens in 20 Romantic Movies for Greek Mythology Fans. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. It is worth watching to see Elle alone.

Of course, I was never going to be lucky enough to see something like this during my trip to the Blue Mountains. But you can always dream big.

Sirens in Pool Movie Scene

The stunning supermodel Elle made her first movie appearance at the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum and surrounding places in the Blue Mountains like this place.

Movie Tip: The beauty of watching Sirens on DVD is that you can watch an added documentary showing an interview with Norman Lindsay. I found it very fascinating.

I never knew Norman Lindsay also wrote a book called Age of Consent, which became a movie.

Age of Consent starred Helen Mirren in 1969, the same year as Norman Lindsay’s death.

The film is about a frustrated painter seeking inspiration on a remote island on the Great Barrier Reef. Things change for him after he meets a long-awaited muse.

Age of Consent 1969 Film

Best Sculpture in Norman Lindsay’s Garden

The nymph fleeing from a satyr would have to be the most memorable sculpture I saw in the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum gardens.

Satyr pursuing a Nymph statue Norman Lindsay Gallery

I like how the tree in the background also seems to be repelled similarly, bending away as if trying to flee.

Two of the best artworks at the Norman Lindsay Gallery must be this masterpiece, and the other has to be the Sea Horse Fountain.

Both of them are fantastic sights to behold.

If you’re fortunate, you may even be there when the wisteria bloom. For this reason, I may have to revisit Norman Lindsay’s place because I wasn’t so lucky.

Meeting Alex at the Norman Lindsay Gallery

One interesting conversation at the Norman Lindsay Gallery occurred when I met a blonde-haired lady close to the spot shown in the picture below.

Norman Lindsay House and Garden

We started talking, and she told me she liked The Magic Pudding as a child.

I even found out that one of the female sculptures had a tail. It was the kind of thing Norman Lindsay did, among other things.

The lady’s name was Alex.

You can see Alex in the photo below, which I took a little while before meeting her.

Alex is a girl’s name of Greek origin, meaning “defending men” or “Protector of Mankind.”

Norman Lindsay Gallery House at the back

Only a few people were around the place on the day I went.

A slightly surreal thing occurred after our initial meeting. We met again at the road’s front entrance a bit later as I walked in again as Alex was leaving.

I had just been on a tour of the painting and etching studios. After a one-on-one tour, I went to the Norman Lindsay cafe for a quick look around since it was nearby.

Because I didn’t know how to return to the house after losing my sense of direction, and because I wanted to take a few more photos, I wandered around, almost lost.

As I walked around, I found myself again at the Norman Lindsay Gallery’s entranceway to the property. It is where I first entered the property through the stone fence.

A Sign from Venus, the Goddess of love

Alex was at the gate, leaving the place while holding a large print. When I got closer to her, I asked her about it, and she told me it was a print of Venus.

I have received a clear sign from Venus in Adelaide, but I never anticipated receiving a divine sign from Venus while in the Blue Mountains, close to Sydney.

I felt like asking Alex if I could take a photo of her holding Venus, but I felt awkward about it.

It would have made a great photo for this post, so I wish I did on reflection.

Ah, well, it probably wasn’t meant to be. But, at least I have a tiny pic of the woman.

How to get to the Norman Lindsay Gallery in Faulconbridge

Catching the train from Sydney’s Central railway station to the Blue Mountains is an excellent way to reach the place.

The train takes about 90 minutes to get to the Blue Mountains, stopping at several towns along the way.

It stops at Glenbrook, Springwood, Faulconbridge, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, and more.

I advise stopping at the Faulconbridge railway station to get to the Norman Lindsay Gallery if you want to walk there.

But if you want to catch a taxi, I suggest getting off at Springwood because Faulconbridge seemed a bit quiet.

Walking to the Norman Lindsay Gallery

From Faulconbridge railway station, you can walk to the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum.

Cross the footbridge over the main road, so you cross over to the other side. Then turn right and walk along the main road on the footpath.

Walking from the train station is quite long, at about 6.5 km.

Eventually, you will need to turn left onto another road.

Walking to the Norman Lindsay Gallery seemed to go slightly downhill once you started walking down the road off the main highway, so it was easy enough.

Getting there was quite enjoyable, but getting back would be much more difficult without transportation.

There is a bus you can catch to get back, but the last one seemed to leave the Norman Lindsay Gallery quite early in the afternoon (around 2 pm).

So be prepared for a long walk back if you don’t get there early enough. Not sure how hard it would be to get a taxi or Uber to take you back to the train station.

You can head back to Faulconbrige or Springwood train station since it doesn’t matter much.

The Norman Lindsay Gallery seems to be about halfway between the two train stations.

A Free Ride

I was fortunate. One of the ladies who had finished working at the Norman Lindsay Gallery saw me walking back up one of the quiet streets and stopped her car.

She offered me a lift to the train station after telling me I didn’t look like an ax murderer.

That was great to know, so I happily accepted the free ride. But, seriously, it would have been tiring walking back to the train station.

If you walk from the Faulconbridge train station to the Norman Lindsay Gallery, I strongly recommend organizing how you’ll get back before you go.

You want to make the most of your time in the Blue Mountains, especially if you have more things to do in the Blue Mountains during a planned day trip.

Quick Guide to the Norman Lindsay Gallery

All you need is a couple of hours at the Norman Lindsay Gallery to appreciate the wonders of this beautiful Australian attraction.

I recommend anyone wanting to escape Sydney for a day to go on a day trip to the Blue Mountains. And don’t forget to enjoy the Norman Lindsay Gallery and the beautiful garden.

It’s a great day out. But, please don’t leave it too late in the day, because the last entry can be at 3 pm. Remember, the close time of 4 pm.

The cost to enter the house for me was $17, but if you wanted to, you could spend time in the garden for free, and it’s worth visiting Norman Lindsay’s estate for the beautiful garden alone.

If you want to know more, check out a great Blue Mountains itinerary (day trip or 2 days). It will help you plan the perfect trip to the Blue Mountains.

Seeing the satyr pursuing a nymph will stay with you forever.

Official Website: Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum

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Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum Blue Mountains