Sykes Sanctuary

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Sykes Sanctuary

Sykes Sanctuary consists of 40 acres of bushland with abundant birdlife, walking tracks and memorials to Norman Sykes. Norman Sykes was an eccentric conservationist who gave up city life to live close to nature at Railton. He lived in a small shack on 40 acres travelling around only by foot or bicycle. Norman Sykes bequeathed his property to the Railton community with the instruction that it be conserved as a bird and fauna sanctuary. Access to Syke's Sanctuary is off the B14 at Railton.

Sykes Sanctuary is a 15 hectare bushland retreat where you can listen to birdsong, wander the short flat meandering trails, sit and be one with nature and, while you are there, look at the giant stone monuments with extraordinary mathematical equations, which are said to explain some of the answers to how the universe was made, spirituality, and other matters.

Norman Sykes, born in 1890 in England, a Leeds University graduate and World War 1 engineer, migrated to Australia in 1947. Eventually, he bought 15 hectares of land near Railton to get away from people and because he felt nature was good for the soul. While he was an eccentric hermit, he was famous in Railton as he was often seen riding his bicycle to town for supplies. Suddenly, in 1977, he loaded all his belongings into a pram, bequeathed his land to the Kentish Council to keep in trust for all the people of Railton and visitors to enjoy, then moved to Melbourne, never to be seen by Railton residents again.

Mr Sykes left his property for nature conservation, and so people could enjoy the peace, tranquillity and serenity it brings. On the site, his son, Ian, constructed two bizarre monuments with mathematical equations said to explain the origins of the universe and spirituality, using ancient theories from Pythagoras, Confucius, the Sumerian Oannes, the Indian Kapila, the Egyptian Imhotep, the Chinese Fu Shi, and spiritual leader Buddha.
Today Sykes Sanctuary is a spiritual and intriguing site where visitors can quietly sit and listen to birdsong, see wildlife in their natural environs, and reflect.