Libby Maskey’s great great great grandfather was Frederick Garling Jr, a renowned Sydney-based maritime artist.
He arrived in Sydney in 1815 at age 10, with his parents and four siblings. They were free passengers who travelled aboard the convict transport ship Francis and Eliza.
His father, Frederick Garling, was the first crown solicitor of NSW.
When he grew up, Frederick Garling Jr lived in George Street. He had an orchard.
“He used to supply fruit and vegetables to the ships,” said Libby, of Newcastle.
Captains became aware of his art and commissioned him to paint their vessels.
He was a prolific artist, painting many ships that arrived in Sydney across 40 years.
“We’re not quite sure how many paintings are out there,” Libby said.
Some of his paintings are in the State Library of NSW and the Art Gallery of NSW.
A few members of Libby’s family have bought his paintings.
Libby, too, was keen to own one. She heard one of his paintings was for sale from a private dealer in Sydney.
“I didn’t think I would ever own one. This came up and I jumped on it,” she said.
“I made an offer and it was accepted, so I drove to Sydney to pick it up. I didn’t ask the dealer too many questions because I just wanted to get out of there with it.
“I put it in the boot of the car, so I wouldn’t look at it on the way home.”
She knows her painting features a French ship. She’s researching the ship’s name, which is believed to have docked at Cockatoo Island in 1873.
“We think it could have been one of his last paintings because he passed away that year at age 68,” she said.
One of his paintings, which was sold last year to another member of the Garling family, shows the steamship Cawarra off Nobbys in “the gale of July 12, 1866”.
Mount View’s Eleanor Lennard was chuffed to spot a pair of lyrebirds on her farm.
“They were scratching in the damp leaf litter for food,” she said.
It’s the first pair of lyrebirds that I’ve seen in over 50 years.
“I’ve seen a single one a few times run across the road, but those sightings were a long time in between.”
She said they were shy birds and usually difficult to spot, especially going about their daily routine.
“I guess the conditions were perfect and I was in the right place at the right time. They were acting like domestic chickens just scratching around for food in the leaf litter. It would be interesting to know if anyone else has seen a pair doing this.”
The bird gets its name due to its “spectacular tail of fanned feathers”, the NSW environment office says.
When spread out in display, its feathers look like a lyre – which is a musical instrument from ancient Greece.