Victoria Park, Sydney
Victoria Park is a large park in Sydney, situated on the corner of Parramatta Road and City Road, Camperdown, adjacent to the grounds of University of Sydney and across Parramatta Road from Broadway Shopping Centre.
Victoria Park was originally part of Grose Farm, which in 1853 was designated as the site for the University of Sydney. In 1865 an area at the intersection of City Road and Parramatta Road was granted to the university for the building of a formal entrance to the university. A grand entrance avenue, aligned with the central tower of the university's main quadrangle building, was built connecting this entrance area with the university. The remainder of the former farm between the entrance area and the university proper was proclaimed Victoria Park in 1870.
In the late 1880s, two lodges (one of which survives while the other was demolished in 1940) and a set of ornate gates, designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet, were built at the start of the entrance avenue on the corner of City Road and Parramatta Road.
By the end of the 19th century, the main point of access to the university switched to the entrance further west on Parramatta Road, opposite Derwent Road. Between then and the late 20th century landscaping changes in the park and at the eastern edge of the university gradually severed the historical vista along the entrance avenue, and the entrance avenue itself disappeared. The bridge that carried the avenue over the lake was demolished in 1955. The eastern gates were moved to the university's main City Road entrance via Eastern Avenue.
The historical vista was restored after a series of initiatives around the turn of the 21st century. In the 1990s South Sydney Council rebuilt a pedestrian path along the old entrance avenue, with a bridge rebuilt over the lake (Lake Northam). In 2002 the University undertook works to extend the vista along that path, including the construction of a set of steps leading from Victoria Park into the University. In 2007, at the same time as reconfiguring Eastern Avenue, the original entrance gates were restored to the City Road end of the entrance avenue.
A totem pole near the southern corner of the park was "presented to the people of Sydney in the name of the government and people of Canada on the occasion of National Timber Week, 1964". The pole was carved by Simon Charlie, a Quamichan man from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The Gardener's Lodge adjacent to City Road was used as a toilet block for a long time, but eventually was restored and turned into a café. The Lodge and the sandstone gates nearby originally guarded the eastern edge of the University grounds. They are heritage-listed along with the University and its grounds.
- The City of Sydney, History of Victoria Park
- History of Victoria Park
- "5. Kwakwaka'wakw Totem Pole, Victoria Park, Sydney, 1964". Government of Canada.
- Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/116
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