Grandad's Magical Wonderland – Broadmeadow, Australia - Atlas Obscura

There once was a patch of public land in a Newcastle suburb that lay neglected and forgotten. Where others saw overgrown grass and untamed brambles, a man named Merv Moyle saw a wild jungle of exotic flowering trees and mythical creatures hiding in the foliage. A lifelong gardener, Moyle began to transform the neglected patch, planting palms and azaleas and ferns, stringing up garlands of roses, and laying winding stone pathways through his little oasis.

As the garden grew and blossomed, the once dreary space filled with bright colors and extraordinary magic as beautiful fairies and wondrous beasts arrived in droves, making their new homes in the knots of the trees, in the shade of the palm fronds, and under the caps of giant toadstools.

Only a child at heart could summon such fantastical beings, and that is exactly what the late Merv Moyle was. Begun in 1970 as a play area for his daughters, the fairy garden quickly grew into something larger. It became a beloved destination for both the children and adults of Newcastle, a peaceful place to escape from city life and discover all manner of creatures— from gorillas to dragons and, of course, fairies—along its leafy pathways. Over the years, the garden grew to include a pet cemetery, a barbecue pit, several seating areas for tea parties, and a special mailbox for the Fairy Queen herself. 

Moyle continued to maintain the garden until his passing in 2018 at the age of 94. Today, Moyle’s daughters and local volunteers continue his work, ensuring that everyone, from the young to the young at heart, can enjoy the garden and its magical inhabitants for many years to come.

Know Before You Go

Grandad's Magical Wonderland is free to visit and open to the public. Within the garden is the Fairy Queen's mailbox, where visitors can leave the Fairy Queen letters. If you would like to receive a response from the Fairy Queen, please leave a self-addressed stamped envelope in the mailbox. 

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