Build a 'Blackstar Garden' (David Bowie) at Macleay Reserve, Elizabeth Bay, Sydney

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Astronomy and architecture have been closely connected for thousands of years.

As a Landscape Architect and a lifelong fan of David Bowie, I have an idea that draws together some of the elements of archeoastronomy in time for Sydney’s only total solar eclipse for the next EIGHT HUNDRED years.


March 26, 1981 ... New York City Council adopts legislation which designates a knoll in Central Park as 'Strawberry Fields'. The location is near the Dakota Building which was the residence of English rock star John Lennon for a period of 7 years. 3 years later in 1984, Landscape architect Bruce Kelly is commissioned to expand upon the concept and this leads to the IMAGINE memorial - a circular black and white mosaic emblem into the pavement that becomes a popular pilgrimage site for fans from all around the world.  


Macleay Reserve is an area of public open space located in the middle of a cul-de-sac (or large road loop) at the termination of Elizabeth Bay Road in Sydney.

For a period of about 10 years (1983-1992), David Bowie owned and lived in an apartment complex that entered on to Macleay Reserve. In 2018, there is an opportunity to make a dedication to David Bowie's Australian legacy as well as the coming event of July 2028…


Since David Bowie's passing on January 10, 2016, several gardens have appeared around the world in the form of a BLACK STAR - the emblem of Bowie's final album. 

To our knowledge, this has only been achieved on private property with the private funds of dedicated David Bowie fans. Macleay Reserve, however, is public land - and it has a direct David Bowie connection. 

The shape of the open space could accomodate the form of a BLACK STAR of dramatic size - up to 30 x 30 metres - and have road access from almost every angle. 



On July 22, 2028, Sydney will experience a very rare 'blackstar event' as portrayed in David Bowie's song and video.

At 4:01 PM, the maximum point of a total eclipse of the Sun eclipse will be reached over Central Sydney. As for Sydney, the duration of 3m 49s is unprecedented at any point in time in at least the last two millenia. The next Sydney one won't occur for another 830 years - the year 2858. 

A Blackstar Garden could be partially interpretive and educational of this event. 


David Bowie had an enormous impact on the music, culture and politics of Australia. His local presence was immortalised in the music videos 'Let's Dance' and 'China Girl' which he filmed in Sydney and rural NSW. In the process, Bowie brought Indigenous Australian issues to an audience who may not have ever been exposed to them before - and he brought them to the world stage.

Shortly after making the videos, Bowie purchased an apartment at 93 Elizabeth Road opposite Macleay Reserve. Elizabeth Bay became his relatively secret part time home, Bowie explaining in 2004:

"It was a great place and I used to love being there. I was there a lot more than you'd imagine."

At the end of the 1980s, Bowie recorded an album in Sydney, however, to this day, Macleay Reserve remains a fairly nondescript park (apart from containing some large trees) whilst Bowie's former home remains locked away inside a gated complex.


The Sebel Town House - Sydney's celebrity hotel - was located further along the road in the direction of King's Cross.

Conceptually, stage two could involve a 'Blackstar walk of fame' in dedication to the stars that have made Sydney their home - or alternatively it could represent more generally the passing of great artists since January 2016. 

Consequently, this landscape idea would be building upon David Bowie's concept of a 'Black Star' - an idea he formed for his final masterpiece album (released in 2016). Other artists could be represented in different ways - one thought is by having a series of 'Hollywood sized' stars that lead back in the direction of Kings Cross /  Sydney. This would allow the large star at Macleay Reserve to be the finale located at the road’s end. 


It is time for Sydney to recognise its connection to the great English singer and songwriter -  David Bowie - as well as create something incredibly awesome in time for the forthcoming eclipse.  

~ Adam Dean, 2018.






Created by a David Bowie fan on private land...



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