BENDLES COTTAGES – AN EDNA WALLING STORY
In 1992 Brenda & Dave Grey purchased the property now known as Bendles Cottages. They had a love for Enda Walling’s style and turned their passion into a business. They obtained the trading name from Edna’s family and so this story began.
We will take a step back – who was Edna Walling; She was Australia’s first lady landscape gardener and this was back in the 1920’s – 30’s. Her work was mostly in Melbourne and Sydney, but she also designed gardens in Hobart and as far north as Rockhampton and a lot of places in between. Edna’s influence was English as that was where she spent her early childhood before her parents moved to New Zealand and finally settled in Australia. She attended the Burnley School of Horticulture and Agriculture in Melbourne. While Edna was a ‘Girl Gardner’ she started to teach herself about landscape design. She then contributed articles to journals and newspapers. It was not the normal practice for a woman back then; Edna was a ground breaker for all women.
Edna buys a 2 acre plot at Mooroolbark, an hour’s train ride east of Melbourne. This is where I become extremely impressed with this very independent woman! She did sell plots of land to others but they had to be female, single and prepared to build their own cottage themselves. These women were known as the trouser brigade by neighbours, I am guessing the term wasn’t meant as an endearment either. In 1923 Edna designs and builds for own cottage here and calls it Sonning.
I will continue the story in the following blogs …..