Parks and Reserves

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Parks and open space in Canterbury City range from sporting fields to some of the last remnants of bushland in the region. The percentage of land in Canterbury devoted to open space/parks is approximately 9.3%.


Origins of Parks

Picken Oval, Croydon Park, 1980
Parkland in Canterbury has come from a number of sources, including donations, acquisition by Council or the State Government. It has often been unused land, which was not suitable for building. One park, Picken Oval, was a private sporting area before being acquired by the State government.





List of Parks and Reserves in the Canterbury LGA

Anzac Park
Beaman Park
Belmore-Campsie Park
Bennett Park
Blick Oval
Canterbury Park
Clemton Park
Croydon Park
Dennis Street Reserve
Earlwood Park
Eccles Reserve
Ewen Park
Girrahween Park
Gough Whitlam Park
John Mountford Reserve
Lees Park
McLaughlin Oval
Mary MacKillop Reserve
Mildura Reserve
Parry Park
Peace Park
Picken Oval
Punchbowl Park
Rosedale Park
Rotary Park
Rudd Park
Tasker Park
Waterworth Park
Wagener Oval
Wiley Park
Windarra Reserve

Donations

Pond in Wiley Park Park, ca 1980s
Two of our earliest parks, Croydon Park and Wiley Park, and one of our most recent parks, Rotary Park, were donated or bequeathed by their owners to the people of Canterbury. Real estate developers have sometimes included land reserved for parks within their subdivision developments, as at Anzac Park and Rosedale Park and Dennis Street Reserve. Croydon Park was the first park dedicated in Canterbury, in 1887. The newest park in Canterbury is Wolli Creek Regional Park, incorporating Girrahween Park, which has been formed from land acquired by the State government.


Parks acquired by Canterbury Council

Canterbury Council recognised the importance of parkland as a public amenity as early as 1880, when it began moves to acquire land for parks. Campsie-Belmore Park, Hurlstone (now Ewen Park), Earlwood Park and Punchbowl Park were all acquired by Council in the 1920s, and many more parks have been acquired since.

Low lying land

Waterworth Park Garbage Tip, Earlwood, 1958. Converted now into a park.
The main source of land for parks in Canterbury was low lying, flood prone land near Cooks River or with creeks running through, which was not suitable for development. Some of this land was classified as 'unhealthy', where building was forbidden. Early maps show streams running through many parks, the only evidence now may be a stormwater drain. This was especially the case along Cooks River. Many parks were used as rubbish tips even after they were declared parks, the tipping being used to build up the level to prevent flooding, or to make level an area which sloped down to a creek.

Former brick pits

Reuse of land that was formerly brick pits has occurred at Peace Park and Wagener Oval.

State government land Parkland has come from land reserved in the past for government services, such as an electricity substation at Hughes Park, and sewerage or water supply land along Wolli Creek and Cooks River. Roadway proposals caused land along the Canterbury side of Cooks River and Wolli Creek to be reserved from other development and later to become parkland.

State government land was donated or acquired for open space for a number of parks such as Canterbury Park, John Mountford Reserve and Peace Park. Since the 1970s Council has contributed to
Ashbury Brick Pit, Ashbury, 1985. Now Peace Park.
the Sydney Regional Development Fund, administered by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. It acquires land of regional significance for open space, and this has happened particularly along Cooks River and Wolli Creek, including about 30 hectares at Salt Pan Creek in the 1970s.

Park committees

Park committees were a feature of most parks in Canterbury until about the 1950s. A park committee was usually established soon after a park was proclaimed, to protect the park from vandalism, and used volunteer labour to plant trees and provide amenities when Council did not have the resources to do so. The committees also advised Council on the need for facilities. Committees were made up of local residents, members of local sporting groups and of residents associations. One park, Rotary Park, was donated after the Riverwood Rotary Club planted the park and built facilities.


Changes in parks over the twentieth century

Early parks were very much oriented to providing sporting facilities and children's play equipment. In more recent times, Council has recognised the need to cater for a wider variety of activities in our parks, including skateboarding and BMX tracks, walking and cycle tracks and passive recreation facilities such as barbeques. A number of 'pocket parks' were acquired between the wars, when Council purchased single houses or blocks of land and converted them to small parks. Some small parks have been added to Canterbury's open space in recent years by road closures being converted into parkland.

Simpson Reserve (now Mary McKillop Reserve), Canterbury (suburb), ca 1980s.
Planting schemes have changed in parks, from formal beds and exotic trees planted in rows, to informal plantings of natives shrubs and trees. Additionally, with the help of the community our Community Tree Planting Initiative and Volunteer Bushcare Programs have been designed to help beautify our parklands.

Heritage Parks

Some parks have been recognised as heritage items and are listed on Council's heritage list. Anzac Park, Dennis Street Reserve, Girrahween Parkand Mary McKillop Reserve.


Sources

Open space in the Sydney region : 1982 open space survey Sydney : Dept. of Environment and Planning, 1985