Edna Walling manuscript
Edna Walling's personal account of her experiences building East Point on the Great Ocean Road near Lorne, Victoria, is fittingly called The happiest days of my life.
One of Australia's most influential garden designers, Edna Walling (1895–1973) designed and constructed many well-known private gardens in Australia from the 1920s to the 1950s.
In 1948, Walling purchased a property on steeply sloping land overlooking the sea near Lorne. As she couldn’t find a builder who was willing to take on the somewhat daunting task of building on the land, she decided to do it herself. When the house was subsequently destroyed by bushfire she donated the property to the Bird Observers' Club.
The happiest days of my life is a lively account of the creation of this house, together with her records and discussion of the native plants growing on the property. This manuscript provides a unique insight into Walling's forceful character and dry, self-deprecating humour. It takes the form of a conversation between Walling and Twid, her ‘youthful offsider’.
A prolific writer and talented photographer, she wrote several books, contributed hundreds of articles to The Australian Home Beautiful, and left several unpublished manuscripts. Walling approached a number of publishers with The happiest days of my life and its accompanying photographs without success. In 2001, the State Library of Victoria published the complete manuscript online.