Inner City Parks For Picnics: The History Of Our Local Parks

Green Square in Sydney’s inner-city is spoiled for choice when it comes to play, exercise and picnicking outdoors.

We have it all: from pocket parks to big leafy parklands, playgrounds, picnic areas, skate parks, sporting fields, exercise stations and dog-friendly areas.

But did you know that the council will have established around 40 new parks in or near Green Square by the time it’s completed? Among them will be a new central park totalling 6200sqm and known as Drying Green, slated to open in 2022.

Take advantage of the outdoors this weekend with a picnic in one of our many parks. Here are just some of the big ones – and a little of their history.

ZETLAND

Gunyama Park

One of our area’s newest and most acclaimed parks, Zetland’s Gunyama Park takes its name from a local Aboriginal word meaning “wind from the southwest”. It is the perfect place for fitness fanatics, offering a sports field with synthetic pitch, and health and fitness spaces. It accommodates sports competitions as well as social sports. It also has exercise equipment, barbecues, public toilets and mobility parking within 300m. Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre is part of the complex with four pools and an aqua play area, and more amenities are being constructed, so watch this space!

Joynton Park

This park is named after Sir James John Joynton Smith, hotelier, newspaper proprietor and racecourse owner who made a fortune from his pursuits. Joynton Park provides the perfect green spot for barbecues or picnic gatherings and spaces to exercise or relax. It has public toilets and dog off-leash areas at all times.

Nuffield Park

In the 1800s, industries such as wool washing and tanning were attracted to this area by the clean water from the aquifer. Now the park is a great place to get fit and meet up with friends. It features a basketball court, rebound walls and grass lawns with interesting sculptural elements. It also has public toilets.

WATERLOO

Waterloo Park and Oval

Waterloo Park took its name from the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, where Allied and Prussian forces, under the leadership of the Duke of Wellington and Blücher, defeated Napoleon and the French. This large neighbourhood park has a partially enclosed playground, suitable for all ages, a half-court basketball practice area and outdoor fitness equipment. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy the oval and the extensive 920 sqm skate park, which attracts skaters from all over the inner city. There’s dog off-leash at all times and public toilets.

Crown and Crystal Parks

The Crown Crystal Glass Company, created from a merger of two glass companies in 1925, is responsible for the names of these two adjoining parks in Waterloo. Crowning Park with its playground is also just over the road.

Crown Park
Enjoy a picnic in the park where William Hutchinson, superintendent of convicts and public works, was granted land in 1823. Take a seat on the park benches. There’s dog off-leash, too.

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Crystal Park
Take a load off and sit on the park bench in the shade in this neat little landscaped park between Crystal and Broome streets.

ALEXANDRIA

Sydney Park

Iconic Sydney Park was first known as Bulanaming and the home of the Gadigal and Wangal first nations people. It’s also the site of the first brickworks in the area, reborn as the third largest park in the inner city. There are plenty of options here for all interests and all age groups. From walks through extensive parkland, wetlands, and birdlife to a partially enclosed playground, adventure playground, children’s cycle track, community garden, skate park, sports oval and outdoor fitness areas. The park also has barbecue facilities, public toilets and a café, plus dog off-leash areas. It’s also great for plane spotting and known for its green grassy hills.

Perry Park

Perry Park was named after Alderman Arthur Reginald Horatio Perry JP who was Mayor of Alexandria in the 1930s. This park is great for sports lovers with a grass sports field and adjacent recreation centre with basketball courts. There’s dog off-leash at all times, public toilets and parking.

BEACONSFIELD

Beaconsfield Park

This park, like the tiny suburb of Beaconsfield, is named after the British Conservative politician Benjamin Disraeli who was made the first Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876, and served as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1874 to 1880. And what more could you want from a park? As a multi-purpose park it has something for everyone with a barbecue and picnic area, children’s playground, a basketball court and two flood-lit tennis courts. There’s dog off-leash at all times, public toilets, cafes nearby and mobility parking within 300m.

MOORE PARK

Moore Park

Moore Park was founded as a public recreation ground in 1866 following pressure by locals wanting outdoor space for organised sport. It was named after Charles Moore, who was the Mayor of Sydney City Council from 1867-1869. By 1879 it was home to Sydney’s first Zoological gardens including an elephant house and bear pit, among other attractions. In the 1980s it offered grass skiing, but today, with 115 hectares of open space, this park offers an 18-hole public golf course (everyone’s favourite socially distant sport), natural turf and synthetic turf sports fields, tennis, basketball and netball courts, and a playground for the kids. There is plenty of choice for picnickers, too, with a café further afield at Centennial Park, public toilets and dog off-leash in designated areas.

ROSEBERY

Turruwul Park

Rosebery was subdivided as a model industrial suburb, and in 1926 Waterloo Council purchased some land that hadn’t yet been sold for housing to create a park. Three names were up for vote: Lang Park after Premier Jack Lang; Lynch Park after a local Alderman; and Turruwul Park, which was the winner. Turruwul is believed to be an alternative spelling of Dharawal, the name of the local Aboriginal people. This 2.5 hectare park has been a sports facility for local clubs ever since the 1920s. Today it has a grass sports field, tennis courts, basketball practice and handball area, and outdoor fitness equipment. There’s also a naturally shaded enclosed playground, suitable for toddlers and young children, a barbecue area and public toilets.

Want to know more about life in the Inner City? Contact my team today.

Article by Brendon Clark
‘The details matter - through every part of the process.’ With decades of runs on the board alongside a fresh outlook, Brendon is co-director of Clark - and one half of one of Sydney’s most dynamic and successful real estate duos. Having carved out a reputation for results in the… Read More
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