Centennial Park, New South Wales
Sydney, New South Wales
|Area||2.2 km2 (0.8 sq mi)|
|Location||4 km (2 mi) south-east of Sydney CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Sydney, City of Randwick|
Centennial Park is a large public, urban park that occupies 220 hectares in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Centennial Park is located 4 kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district, in the City of Randwick. The Park forms part of the larger Centennial Parklands.
The government began plans for a celebratory park in 1886 and passed an Act of Parliament in the following year. Some of the grandiose plans for the area, such as a museum and a national convention building, never eventuated. Centennial Park was dedicated by Sir Henry Parkes in January 1888 to celebrate the first 100 years of European settlement in Australia and described by him as 'emphatically the people's park'. The Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun dedicated the park 'to the people of New South Wales forever'.
The land was originally set aside by Governor Lachlan Macquarie for grazing and watering stock. The ponds to the south, known as Lachlan Swamps, were named in his honour and were the chief water supply for Sydney from 1830 to 1880. Water was carried to Hyde Park along a tunnel called Busby's Bore, after its designer John Busby (1765–1857). The tunnel served the needs of Sydney until the Nepean scheme made it redundant in the 1880s.
In more recent times, the park has had its share of bad news and publicity. On 7 February 1986, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp was found drowned in the Busby Pond. It was thought that she had been murdered by a well-known Sydney criminal, Neddy Smith, but he was not convicted. The Sydney Morning Herald described her as a "32-year-old gangster's moll, heroin addict and prostitute who mingled with Sydney's most notorious criminals and blew the whistle on crooked cops."
|Climate data for Centennial Park Round House|
|Average high °C (°F)||26.1
|Average low °C (°F)||17.4
Centennial Park is the largest of the three parks that make up Centennial Parklands. The Park is 2.20 square kilometres in area, originally swampland, known as Lachlan Swamps and is located adjacent to another two large public spaces, Moore Park and Queens Park. The Parklands are administered by The Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, a NSW Government agency whose responsibilities cover low-lying wetlands, ornamental lakes, pine and native forests, expanses of grass, to playing fields, a golf course, tennis and netball courts and the Entertainment Quarter at nearby Moore Park. Centennial Park is one of Australia's most famous parks and is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
The Federation Pavilion, which encloses the Commonwealth Stone (1901), is significant as the site of the official ceremony to mark the Federation of Australia and the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901.
The Federation Pavilion, designed by Alexander Tzannes, was erected around the 'Commonwealth Stone' as a permanent monument to Federation, in the Bicentennial Year of European Settlement in 1988. An inscription around the pavilion is from a poem by Bernard O'Dowd, and reads: "Mammon or millenial Eden". The building was renovated and plaques were added to celebrate the Centenary of the Federation of Australia on 1 January 2001.
The Commonwealth Stone is made of sandstone, and it is almost the only remnant of the original pavilion used by Lord Hopetoun. Most of the structure rotted, being made of plaster of Paris; the base survived and is now located in Cabarita Park.
Grand Drive is the circular main road through the park. It runs for 3.8 km and was part of the marathons course used in the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. The drive is separated into five concentric circles, with the outer track used for cycling or rollerblading, fourth largest for car driving, third for car parking and many trees, the second is a paved pathway for walking, also used for running, the smallest being a dirt track for horseriding.
In March 2012, Centennial Parklands management issued a proposal for traffic calming measures at one of four identified blackspots on Grand Drive. The proposal caused the ire of cyclist groups who staged a mass protest, claiming that the proposed measures would make the park more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Public submissions into the proposal were invited and Centennial Parklands management, together with community consultative representatives, are currently reviewing.
Located in the most western area of the park, it is used as the home ground of Sydney Boys High School for Rugby Union, Soccer and Cricket matches, in the Great Public Schools Competition. The main oval is currently surrounded by small white fence, which is also the boundary for cricket games, though spectators for the winter sports are allowed inside this boundary and are allowed to sit very close to the field, around 5 metres.
Built adjacent is the Fairland Pavilion, the hosting area for various lunches and afternoon teas, also the location of the canteen, changerooms, scoreboard, first aid, and storerooms for the bulk of the sporting equipment.
The suburb of Centennial Park sits on the western fringe of the parkland and features quality houses on large blocks as well as large multi-unit buildings developed in the 1960s to 1980s on Robertson Road. The suburb developed as a result of a decision to sell off land adjacent to the park to raise money for the park development. One hundred and one acres of land were subdivided in 1904. To ensure high standards of residential development, certain requirements were imposed. No wooden buildings or terrace homes were allowed; brick or stone were mandated, with tile or slate roofs. Between 1905 and 1925, a wide range of substantial, quality homes were built, featuring a mixture of Federation, Arts and Crafts, Victorian and Old English styles. Homes are centred mainly on Martin Road, Robertson Road, Lang Road and Cook Road.
Notable houses include:
- Patrick White house, in Martin Road (also known as Highbury), was the home of writer Patrick White for many years, until his death. It is heritage-listed.
- The Crossways, Martin Road, is an example of the international Arts and Crafts style. It was designed by Waterhouse and Lake and built in 1908. The Crossways was built as part of the subdivision of 1904 that created the suburb, and was the home of physician/surgeon Dr Craig Gordon. It is heritage-listed.
- Devon, in Martin Road, is a distinctive example of the Arts and Crafts style, with very strong lines. It is heritage-listed.
- Murrulla, in Martin Road, is a two-storey home in the Federation Anglo-Dutch style, which is rare in residential architecture. The first known occupant was Solomon Cohen in 1908. The house has a state heritage listing.
- The Bungalow, in Robertson Road, is a heritage-listed home in a Bungalow style. It has a distinctive skillion roof that sets it apart from more conventional Federation Bungalows like the ranger's cottage in the park.
- Devoncliff, Lang Road, is an imposing two-storey mansion designed in a mixture of Federation styles and made of sandstone. It was built c.1910 and is heritage-listed.
- The Italianate home, in Lang Road, was built c.1890 and features polychrome brickwork that was popular at the time. It is an example of the architecture of the Boom Era, when people were building elaborate homes to display their wealth. It is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
Highbury, former home of Patrick White
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- Federation Monument, Centennial Park, NSW Profile
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- "Grand Drive Safety Improvement Project". Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Gardiner, Stephanie (29 March 2012). "Cyclists ride for right to no bumps in Centennial Park". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
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- The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/66
Media related to Centennial Park, Sydney at Wikimedia Commons