English World War 1 engineer Norman Sykesbought 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, tranquility and serenity. 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.
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