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  • Self-guided Walks

    Staying fit and healthy is just a walk in the Park! Download our free Centennial Park walking apps - available for Apple and Android smartphones. More info and download links here.

  • Swamp Closures

    Lachlan Swamp will close on days above 36C to minimise disturbance to the Flying Foxes. There will be no access to visitors.

  • Centennial Park History Book

    Our great new book on the history of Centennial Park is now on sale, and can be ordered online. Great gift idea. More info.

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The autumnal colours can change the nature of a number of our ponds in Centennial Park.

Centennial Parklands ponds form the upper catchment of the Botany Wetlands, which lie six kilometres downstream and are the largest freshwater wetland system in inner-metropolitan Sydney.

These water bodies, covering an area of approximately 26 ha, provide important habitat for water birds and aquatic life and are a significant feature of the formal design of Centennial Park.

The ponds also play an important role in flood mitigation, acting as a detention basin. Ten of the eleven interconnected ponds in Centennial Park, and single pond in Moore Park, are fed by stormwater runoff from the surrounding catchment area. This includes the suburbs of Paddington, Woollahra, Bondi, Waverley and Randwick. Only one pond, Lily Pond, is fed by a natural artesian spring.

How the ponds were formed

Prior to its establishment in 1888, the area now known as Centennial Park was known as the Lachlan Swamp. Water from this natural freshwater drainage area was channelled via Busby’s Bore to the settlement of Sydney. This water was Sydney’s main source of drinking water between 1837 and 1859, until mismanagement and poor maintenance of the bore compromised the water supply.

Industry and the use of the Lachlan Swamp for livestock grazing gradually polluted the water supply.

Seven new dams, constructed to replace existing ones that were destroyed by large scale flooding in 1874, further worsened pollution.

When Centennial Park was established these most recently constructed dams were remodelled into the ornamental ponds seen today. They are an integral part of the park’s Victorian design. Each pond has unique features and provides habitat for an array of aquatic wildlife.

The Ponds

Learn more about:

Pond restoration program

Ducks on pond in Centennial ParkCentennial Parklands Pond restoration program is almost complete after 6 years of remedial works. The restoration program aimed to minimise the impact of stormwater pollution, upgrade several of the ponds and improve water quality.

GPTs were installed at stormwater entry points to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the system.

Such pollutants can cause blue green algae blooms and contribute to unsightly litter.

Macrophytes (aquatic plants) have been planted to provide improved habitat and to filter dissolved pollutants such as phosphorus in the water. Plantings and improvement works around the ponds’ edges have been carried out to assist with bank stabilisation. European carp has been removed and a native fish called Australian bass has been introduced.

Islands and underwater berms have been constructed to ensure that water movement around the pond is maximised to prevent areas from becoming stagnant. Adjustable weirs allow better control of water levels within and between the ponds in the system.

Preventing pond pollution

A number of measures have been introduced to prevent pond pollution. Gutters and streets are swept regularly to minimise the amount of leaf litter and sediment being washed into the ponds. Many of the drains in the Parklands have been painted with yellow messages to warn people that rubbish in the streets contribute to pond pollution.

Everybody living in the Centennial Parklands catchments can assist in reducing pond pollution, and can make sure that our waterways are kept clean and healthy by doing the following:

  • Always sweep your gutters and driveways with a broom rather than hosing rubbish down the drain.
  • Always wash your car on the grass. Putting soapy water down the drain encourages the growth of algae and can sometimes poison our aquatic wildlife. Always pick up your dog’s poo.