Gracelands Reminisce

Remember Gracelands on Violet Town Road, Belmont North?

For many years it was one of our region’s outstanding Christmas displays. Here’s a few memories for you. Maybe you were there that night, around 8pm on the 20th of December, 2004.

Gracelands was a magic place. Children lucky enough to see it will carry those memories forever.

Below, yes, that’s a traffic jam in Violet Town Road. Our vehicle is parked a kilometre back along the road.

Margaret and Allan Spence spent months planning and two weeks crafting each year's display, which began with about 50,000 individual lights and, finally, included more than 60,000.

The house interior was lit with scenery and displays, and the garage's snow vista had animated decorations and trains.

When the light show ended in 2006 with Mrs Spencer's ailing health, Hunter Valley Gardens bought the display, adding it to the Rose Garden and Sunken Garden creating a half-million light extravaganza.

Even failed pictures can be... ‘art’?
The surreal arcade at "Gracelands”

Below ~ What was in that window? Snow vista with animated decorations and trains that, sadly, I was unable to capture due to the press of admirers. At right, kids have spotted something.

Down Camberwarra Drive

Of patient neighbours, some decided if you can't beat them..

Thank you, Margaret and Allan, for those wonderful years that will live forever in our memories. Us lucky ones, who experienced your generosity and enjoyed that inspired wonderland. You enriched the lives of so many.

And farewell, Gracelands ..

Click here to view the image above as an interactive panorama.

Editor's note: Photographs, taken in 2004, were hand-held, low-resolution for a quick shutter, and the digital equivalent of forced exposure with an early model digital camera. Some images are enhanced and artefacts (noise) brushed out.

Hunter Valley Gardens supplied these images in 2008 in response to this article. These are the former Gracelands lights.

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