Saturday lunch in Stanwell Park

Persian Danny suggested last week that we drive up to Wollongong’s north as Chris T had never crossed the famous Sea Cliff Bridge!


So we met at Steelers yesterday – more on the changes there in another post—and Persian D drove us north. We decided Stanwell Park was the place to lunch. In April 2014 I had been there on a family history quest, you may recall: To Stanwell Park: 1; To Stanwell Park: 2; To Stanwell Park: 3 – and amazing events in NSW! – and that last one begins: “Bussing it over the Sea Cliff Bridge. Wonderful!…” Go there for more pictures and an account of this rather amazing structure.

We settled on this place to eat:


The Palms.

Ian and Jo Draper own The Palms Cafe. Ian is an international chef whose signature dishes use only the best local produce. The menu features daily specials, hearty dishes as well as light meals, and all day breakfast. Dine indoors or al fresco in the sunny courtyard against the magnificent Illawarra escarpment. Drop in for devonshire tea and cake baked fresh on the premises.

Our choices included slow cooked lamb shoulder and meat loaf. Chris T, a chef himself, soon picked up on the fact this was no ordinary chef’s place. He took away two jars of Ian’s special tomato jam, which had been used to garnish his meat loaf dish.

Afterwards we visited John and Frances Vander’s “Articles” gallery in the same buildings as the cafe.

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There were truly beautiful things in there: some Robert Dickerson, some marvellous glasswork and pottery, andsome evocative seascapes by Cronulla artist Nicole Southworth. Frances Vander was most welcoming to us mere lookers, one a pensioner who can only look! But Chris T plans to go back to buy a framed print or two by John Vander – very affordable. His original works are really rather beautiful, and also interesting as he is a very careful realist painter with a strong sense of history. As his site says:

When John Vander paints a town he paints it as a portrait painter would paint his subject.

Every building is accurate. He sketches every building in the street before he starts his final work.

John says, ‘My paintings are sparked by my feeling for the subject. I want others to view my work and catch the same impression of light, colour and form that inspired my original impulse!’

Here is an example, a place both Chris T and I have visited. In fact Chris T worked in Sofala at one time.

Storm Approaching Sofala oil 33x48.5cm $3000

Storm Approaching Sofala

John Vander was born in Belgium. It’s an interesting story.