The first Common in Sydney, for communal uses including the grazing of stock, was set aside in 1804. This area later became Hyde Park.
As colonial Sydney continued to develop, more common grazing land was required. The low-lying poor sandy soil of the Parklands supported only scrubby flora and was punctuated with areas of swampland and sandstone ridges, making it unsuitable for cultivation and ideal for common land.
On 5 December 1811 Governor Lachlan Macquarie proclaimed 490 acres (198 hectares) to the south of South Head Road as the Sydney Common. The commons were based on the English model with local management by a Board of Trustees.
Fencing was constructed around Macquarie’s Sydney Common. In 1811 the boundaries of the common were marked by four posts, with suitable labels, and erected on the most conspicuous parts of the ground. Roads were soon built to establish links with the surrounding areas. These roads were mostly constructed along the line of Aboriginal paths and tracks. The building of roads would define the edges of the common and later cause subdivisions within the Parklands.
Learn more about Governor Lachlan Macquarie.