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Lovers of Leisure

Jenny Kee

Photography by Anna Pihan

We meet with Jenny Kee in the Blue Mountains over a cup of Japanese genmaicha tea and a slice of pear and ginger cake from the local bakery, at her Blackheath abode which was lovingly made by her late partner Danton Hughes. She joins us as a part of the Blue Mountains Travel Guide. We chat with Jenny Kee, the legendary fashion icon and artist making waves since the 70’s with her Koala sweaters worn by Princess Diana, about the magic of the Blue Mountains, what inspires her and her favourite native flower.

That show had revolved around these three places we'd been to, Crete, India and Uluru in 1980 –– it was a visually exciting night!

“Its a passionate flower. Passion for love, for life, so many things... and my work.

When I look out onto the Grose Valley I feel a sense of timelessness.

What does the Blue Mountains mean to you?

It's my spiritual home––when I look out onto the Grose Valley I feel a sense of timelessness, a dot in the world, in the wild. Grose Valley is still intact and I look out onto from my place, it is where my spirit can sit free, in contemplation. It's a privilege to be able to sit with this ancient beauty everyday, the earth spirits are alive. Being able to see and live in something world heritage National Park –– I never take it for granted. 

How has the Blue Mountains shaped your work and influenced your creativity?

It has completely. Nature is my inspiration, the bush where I live is my inspiration. I paint the Waratahs, the flannel flowers. The purple mauve flowers that come with the Waratah, it's around you in the bush and the rich blue sky. There's something that responds to me when I look at a Waratah. We get the feelings that you are at one with nature. My complete passion is for the Waratah, its a passionate flower. Passion for love, for life, so many things and my work. She stands out like a beacon in the bush. She comes shooting up so high, over 3-4m after fires, the energy of the flowers shooting up after the fire. It's unbelievable!

Loved the vintage feel of Katoomba coming from London.

Dream of visiting and why?

Kusatsu Onsen in Japan, 3 hours out of Tokyo. Dreaming of going on an onsen tour throughout Japan, go from one onsen to the next.

And more national parks at home, Cradle Mountain. I still haven’t done many walks in Tasmania.

And all the Blue Zones in the world.

Best mental escape to the Blue Mountains...

Van Morrison song 'Into The Mystic' transports me always.


Discover the more from Jenny and the region she calls home, in the Blue Mountains Travel Guide.


See more from Jenny Kee

@jennykeeoz |

A Big Life Autobiography Book

Stepping Into Paradise Documentary

Featured archival image: Sunday Times 1970 –– Courtesy of Jenny Kee

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