Standing 18 metres tall the statue of Guan Yin, the Buddha Goddess of Mercy, is an unmissable attraction along the Fleurieu Peninsula coast at Sellicks Hill in South Australia. She has been standing serenely atop her lotus flower since 2015 and she is the only one in the southern hemisphere. This statue is just the start of what is planned to be a retreat including a pagoda, a temple and Chinese gardens.
When the project was first brought to the public’s attention the thought of a Buddha sitting atop this high point of the region naturally raised concerns but this goddess is quite different to the usual ample Buddha statue that most people would imagine. As the head of the Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple of Australia put it, ‘Her face is full of peace and tranquility’, and having visited I can vouch for that but you should know that her eyes follow you too!
The development application was first lodged in 2009 and was meant to take five to seven years to complete so more than ten years have gone by and structures still seem to be slowly rising so hopefully it will come to fruition in the near future. In this stunning setting it would be a beautiful place to visit. The proposal is for the temple to be for worship, workshops, special events and ceremonies, and open for public visitation daily and for social and educational purposes.
The temple is still in the process of being built and it looks to be a massive structure when completed. For now though, visitors can see the imposing goddess statue close up by walking into the site on Cactus Canyon Road, Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 3pm or Sundays from 9am to 4pm. Up close the statue is a beautiful piece of work, made from 96 pieces of granite and the combined craftsmanship of Chinese and Australian engineers and construction workers is quite a feat.
The goddess Guan Yin is meant to bring peace, harmony, prosperity and wealth and it is said that those who see her think of kindness and helping others. That’s got to be good at any time. She certainly has a peaceful view where she stands and one befitting of a goddess, looking out to sea and along the Fleurieu coast. The Nan Hai Pu Tuo Temple Of Australia Inc. and this striking statue are located around 50km from Adelaide atop 137 acres and incorporating about 3km of coastline. Here’s hoping one day we can see and appreciate more of this Buddhist development, garden and retreat.