Commonwealth Park is in Canberra, Australia, on the north side of Lake Burley Griffin. The annual spring Floriade festival is held in the park. The gardens were designed by the eminent British landscape designer, Dame Sylvia Crowe in 1964 at the time the Lake was filled.
The park has an area of 34.25 hectares.
The park has many small ponds and water features, walking trails, bike paths, sculptures and is popular with tourists and Canberrans. Located at the park is the outdoor Stage 88, which often holds concerts. The park includes Regatta Point and has a view of the National Gallery, High Court, and National Library on the other side of the lake. Kings Park is located adjacent to Commonwealth Park, along the lake to the east.
History of the location
In 1874, Ebenezer Booth built himself a house on the glebe of St John the Baptist Church, within the present boundaries of the park, to the east of what is now Nerang Pool. Murray's store, considered the area's first retail store, operated from the house. It burnt down in 1923. A number of stunted pines and English elms remain on the spot.
In his original plan for the city, Walter Burley Griffin, included a recreation area to the north of the man-made lake. His final plan of 1918 included an "aquarium pond", now Nerang Pool. Modifications from Griffin's plan of 1911 came about following his actual visit to the site and in order to reduce the amount of earthworks needed. The recreation area in the earlier plan was more formal and included many public buildings.
Works of Art in the Park
|Title||Artist||Date of installation||Description|
|Play sculpture||David Tolley||1970|
|Buried sculpture||Bert Flugelman||1975||Six polished aluminium tetrahedrons, similar to his work in the National Gallery of Australia but buried permanently in March 1975 in a trench for reasons not explained by the artist.|
|Two figures||Dame Barbara Hepworth||1976|
|Underpass mural||Sue Birch-Marston||1977|
|Amphitheatre mural||Ann Morris||1977||Replaced in 1982 and 1987|
|Dance of the Secateurs||Bruce Radke||1988|
|Untitled||Alan Gauir||1991||A metal flock of birds which was one of the prize winning entries in the 1991 Floriade Sculpture competition.|
|Walter Burley Griffin Terrazzo||David Humphries||2000||The Walter Burley Griffin Terrazzo is set in the pavement outside the entrance of the National Capital Exhibition and is a mosaic of Walter Burley Griffin's 1912 prize-winning design, set out as a page torn from a book.|
Memorials in the Park
|Memorial name||Date of official opening or presentation||Description|
|The Canadian flagpole||20 November 1957.||The flagpole was a gift to Australia from the Canadian Government and the Canadian timber industry. It is a single spar of Douglas Fir, 39 metres tall with three metres in the ground|
|Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet and Globe||25 April 1970||The water jet and terrestrial globe were constructed to commemorate the bicentenary of Captain James Cook’s landing on the east coast of Australia in 1770. Queen Elizabeth II opened the Memorial.
The Captain Cook Memorial Globe is an open-cage globe formed by the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude, with land depicted in beaten bas-relief copper. Traced on the globe are the routes of Cook’s three voyages of exploration, with explanations of his ports of call inscribed on the surrounding handrail.
The jet can operate at a height of 147 metres.
The Memorial Globe and Jet were both designed by the architectural firm Bunning and Madden, which also designed the National Library and Parkes Place, located across the lake.
|Memorial to pioneer women||2 September 1972||A large seat with views across the lake close to the site of the demolished bakery and store. It was designed by Margaret Hendry, a National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) landscape architect, in response to approaches in 1971 to the NCDC by the National Council of Women. The memorial was unveiled by Lady Hasluck, wife of the then Governor-General.|
- Australian Heritage Database listing for the Lake Burley Griffin Conservation Area
- National Library of Australia: picture of Sylvia Crowe and Richard Clough viewing the construction of Nerang Pool, Commonwealth Gardens in 1977
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects: Obituary Dame Sylvia Crowe (1901-1997)
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects: Award for Floriade in Commonwealth Park
- Sylvia Crowe - Influence and Work in Australia by Richard Clough and Margaret Hendry