Windarra is an Aboriginal word meaning "where" or "west winds". There are no records indicating that Windarra was a word used by local Aboriginal people or that it had local associations.
One hundred acres around this area was granted to Richard Podmore in 1809, and the whole grant, bounded by Karne Street, Shorter Avenue, Penshurst Road and Broad Arrow Road, was subdivided as the Graham Park Farm Blocks estate in 1912. Windarra Street seems to have been formed around 1950, probably when the larger farm blocks were subdivided into house blocks. The land adjoining Windarra Street was reserved for park or recreational purposes at this time, but was not officially dedicated as a reserve until 1972. An adjoining block of land in Windarra Street, towards Penshurst Road, was resumed for State Planning Authority purposes in 1965.
The name Windarra Reserve was first suggested as a name for the park by the Housing Commission in 1970. It is unclear when the name Windarra Avenua Reserve or Windarra Reserve became used. Council records until 1979 mention "vacant land" and "paddocks" as well as "reserve land" in Windarra Street, rather than using the name Windarra Avenue Reserve or Windara Reserve, but this may be because there were a number of portions of vacant land in the street. The reserve was not gazetted as Windarra Reserve until 1998. This occurred after Council responded to a request to change the name of the reserve, but then reversed this decision after community opposition that favoured keeping the Aboriginal name.
Council records mention swamp opposite Nanowie Street and a creek that was in flood at late as 1961, and this swampiness was probably the reason the land was set aside for parkland. Windarra Street originally terminated at Nanowie Street. The creek is now a drainage canal.
- Endacott, Sydney J Australian Aboriginal words and place names and their meanings 10th ed. Blackburn, Victoria: Acacia Press, 1973