The land which is now Rudd Park was originally part of a 40 acre grant to Joseph Broadbent in 1831. It is not known if he ever occupied the land. It was later purchased by Charles Elliot who bought land up to Burwood and Punchbowl Roads. He transferred a portion of his land to Louis Samuel Varidel in 1869, a year after Louis had married Mary Elliott, Charles' daughter. The Varidel family ran a dairy farm and milk run in the vicinity of the park, which continued possibly until the 1930's. Sellers was another nearby dairy which continued until at least the 1930s. There is a Varidel family story that Rudd Park was their land which they forfeited to Council during the 1930s depression because they couldn't pay their rates on the land, but this has not been able to be verified.
A creek used to run along one boundary of the park into the Cooks River, and is now channelled into a stormwater drain. Residents remember that you couldn't cross the creek when it rained.
The Enfield Downs Estate was land on the Clarence Street boundary of the park, and was subdivided in 1920. The area was then known as Belmore, this being before the suburb was named Belfield (a combination of Belmore and Enfield).
Rudd Park had a park committee made up of volunteers who offered suggestions to Council for improvements to the park and kept an eye out for vandals. The committee was, during 1946, critical of Council's lack of action to fulfill promises to improve the park. As a result, Council sacked the Committee and called for nominations to form a new committee.
This park is named after Joseph Dalmorton Rudd, who was an Alderman on Canterbury Municipal Council from 1932-44. His second name was after the town where he was born, Dalmorton, near Griffith, in New South Wales. He was reputedly the first white child born there in 1873.
Joseph Rudd did many jobs in his working life, including driving a bullock team from the city to Parramatta, a journey which took all day. He also worked as a tailor and was shown as cereal miller in 1921.
Rudd Park was officially opened by Mrs Annie Rudd on Aug 23, 1941, during World War 11, and this gave the proceedings a strong military flavour. The opening featured a military procession from the corner of Beamish and Evaline Streets to the park, featuring tanks and military bands, and was followed by a recruiting rally. As part of the celebrations, a 'mile of pennies' was organised in Campsie to raise money for Canterbury Hospital, where people were encouraged to donate pennies which were lined up end to end along the footpath. The entrance gates at Clarence Street were opened at this time.
Mr. Rudd had purchased a block of land at 3 Marlowe Street Campsie in 1907 and built a house there. He continued to live in the home he built until he was admitted to the Belmore Nursing Home not long before his death on 26 September 1963 aged 90. His wife Annie predeceased him in 1955. His daughter Doreen sold 3 Marlowe Street in 1964 for 4,500 pounds. Their sons Dalmorton Joseph Rudd and Leonard T Rudd both served in World War 1. dalmorton was awarded the distinguied service cross.
The New South Wales Housing Commission purchased land on the edge of the park and subdivided it as the Rudd Park Subdivision at the end of World War 2 in 1945. At that time Canterbury Municipal Council was asked to suggest names for two new roads in the subdivision. The suggestions of Aldermen from North Ward of Varidel Avenue and Austin Crescent were accepted, Varidel being after the neighbouring family and dairy mentioned above.
References Canterbury's Boys: World War 1 and Sydney's Suburban Fringe, edited by Lesley Muir for the Canterbury and District Historical Society, Campsie, 2002.