Centennial Park in Sydney
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.
Centennial Park is also a small residential suburb, on the western fringe of the parkland, which is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney.
Centennial Park is constructed on lands that were traditionally in the custody of the Gadigal clan.
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."
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 3.8km 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.
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 Greater 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.
A fine example of the international design 'Arts and Crafts Movement style' is the Crossways, a house of historical significance that 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.
Other distinctive homes in the area are Devon in Martin Road, The Bungalow in Robertson Road, Shaldon, an imposing Edwardian residence located on Darley Road, and the Boom-style Italianate home in Lang Road. The latter was built circa 1890 and features the kind of polychrome brickwork that was fashionable at the time. It is listed on the Register of the National Estate.<ref name="MacMillian-1981"/>