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30 Jul 2019

Our amazing equine history

Most Sydneysiders know that you will spot horses in Centennial Park – but did you know that equestrian sports have been a part of our history for over 100 years? From the first know polo game in Australia to the iconic Showgrounds, take a gallop down memory lane with us.

Early Days

The first horses to set hoof on what we now call Centennial Parklands would have been those belonging to stock grazers of the early 1800s who utilised the Sydney Common.

1866 brought the creation of Moore Park, formalising its use for sports and active recreation. 

Horse and cart in Centennial Park circa. 1930

The original home of the Royal Easter Show

Generations of Sydney locals made the trip to Moore Park each year for the fairy floss, showbags, and prize-winning livestock of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW took ownership of the “unpromising, sandy scrub” at Moore Park in 1881, building the iconic Agricultural Society Showgrounds that became the home to the Sydney Easter Show for 115 years.

Aerial view of the Royal Easter Show, Moore Park, Sydney, ca. 1935, 2 by E. W. Searle.
Image from the National Library of Australia nla.obj-142062940

In 1997 the Easter Show relocated to Homebush Bay, and the Eastern Suburbs site transferred to the ownership of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, becoming part of the wider Centennial Parklands.

A new lease for urban horse-riding

With Centennial Parklands came a brand-new lease of life for the historic Showground stables and Sydney’s equestrian community.

The former showgrounds site was reshaped into three distinct precincts. The old stables were refurbished and opened as the Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre, while the southern and northern portions of the site were converted into the Entertainment Quarter and Fox Studios Australia.
The Centennial Park Equestrian Centre was officially opened to the public in June 1998, with more than $10 million invested in upgrades, new stables and heritage restoration. It is now one of the world’s great urban equestrian assets and home to five resident riding schools and private stabling.

The Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre as it looks today

More information 

Today, the Centre allows the people of Sydney and their visitors to enjoy an equestrian experience like no other. Open from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm seven days a week, 365 days a year - visitors can stop by and walk through the Centre on their next trip to Sydney.
Find out more about learning to ride or stabling your horse with Centennial Parklands here.

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