John Perks or Parks was a convict sentenced for life and transported from England. He arrived on the ship Indefatigible in 1811 and got his Ticket of Leave in 1829.
Parkes was given a grant of land in 1831 which was bounded by Woolcott, Spark and William Streets and stretched almost to Earlwood Avenue. He and his sons were sawyers and the grant was known as "Parkes Camp", meaning headquarters of a group of sawyers. The area became known as "Parkestown", later Earlwood. His land contained the site of Earlwood Park. It is believed the original Parkes homestead stood on the western side of Earlwood Park fronting William St.
When he died John Parkes' fifty acres of land was divided into five acre lots between his sons.
Earlwood Park is now bounded by streets with names associated with early landholders and local identities. "Sparks" is a variant of "Parkes", named after the Parkes family. Woolcott Street is named after William Woolcott, whose 68 acre property "Cup and Saucer" ran from the present day Woolcott Street down to what is now Cup and Saucer Creek. Woolcott and other nearby streets were named when William Redman subdivided as part of his Richmond Grove subdivision in 1856 (one of the early Canterbury subdivisions down to less than one acre), although it did not sell well. Doris Avenue was originally named Parry Avenue after the longest serving mayor of Canterbury, Stan Parry. It was re-named in 1945 after Stan Parry's daughter Doris.
Earlwood Park was one of a number of parks created by Canterbury Municipal Council in the early 1920s. It was gazetted on 13.3.1921. Adjoining subdivisions include Dawsons to the east, Pembroke Estate and the Gem of Earlwood Estate to the south, Richmond Grove to the north, and Westfield Estate and Tasma to the west.
It appears that the parkland was acquired by the then Canterbury Municipal Council in two halves, with the Woolcott Street half resumed first in 1921, and the second half acquired a couple of years later.
Earlwood Park, as with most parks until the 1950s, had a park committee made up of local residents. Usually only men were members of park committees, but during the 1950s three women were members of the Earlwood Park Committee.
As the Earlwood Progress Association, who nominated members to the Committee, wrote in 1954, the role of the committee members was "to patrol and protect and report on the park". They also stated "we would like Council to issue the Gentlemen ... with cards of authority" to show they were members of the Committee. It is unclear if the women members were given authority cards.
Canterbury & District Historical Society Journal, vol. 2 no. 2, pp.15-29.
Madden, Brian J and Lesley Muir (1989), Earlwood's past: a history of Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, NSW, Earlwood: CMC, 1989.