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14 Aug 2012

Still loving Centennial Park after 50 years

Today’s guest blog post by Paul Atroshenko.

I discovered the joys of Centennial Park way back in the 1950s, not long after I had arrived in Sydney from my birthplace, Hong Kong. I was a student then at the National Arts Schoolin the old Gaol in Darlinghurst.

The first time I saw the park it was not in pristine condition. Most of the park was covered in grass which seemed to be 6 foot tall. There were rumours that a wild man was dwelling in one of the islands, and living off the ducks he had caught and cooked!

At that time, most of our Anglo-Celtic Aussie friends enjoyed their barbecues in their own backyards, and Centennial Park had relatively few visitors. I think it was the migrants who first began coming to the park regularly, perhaps because they didn’t have backyards of their own yet. Or perhaps it was the Italian and Greek habit of meeting and strolling in public places.

Bit by bit, Centennial Park was cleaned up and it gradually took on the glorious condition which we enjoy so much today.

My Aussie father-in-law once told me that he had taken part in a campaign to preserve the park from official destruction. Apparently, after the War, there had been a serious proposal to get rid of Centennial Park entirely and to build homes on the site for war veterans.

Thankfully, the veterans did get their new homes, built elsewhere, and WE still have our magnificent park today.

Paul recently put together a great self-produced video guide to walking in Centennial Park.


And here is a few more of Paul’s photos in Centennial Park:

Pond island - by Paul Atroshenko

Pond island – by Paul Atroshenko

Swamp Trees - by Paul Atroshenko

Swamp Trees – by Paul Atroshenko

Bird In Tree - by Paul Atroshenko

Bird In Tree – by Paul Atroshenko

Paul Atroshenko is an artist who lives and works in Sydney. His website provides all of his latest and best works, while his biography and family history can be found in detail here.

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