Moore Park Rotunda
Moore Park, grid ref: B2 on Centennial Parklands Map
About the Rotunda
Planned by the NSW Government Architect and built by W.J. Henley, this building was originally constructed as a bandstand, similar to those that are found across Sydney (including Observatory Hill, Hyde Park). It was refurbished and restored by the Trust in 2004.
A little bit of history...
Rotundas, bandstands and kiosks are varieties of garden pavilions that were popular in the 19th and 20th centuries. They served a practical purpose providing shelter and a focal point within a landscaped space.
They are derived from the picturesque tradition that located small buildings or objects within the landscape to create views. Generally garden pavilions and rotundas draw on oriental traditions in their built form; the word ‘kiosk’ itself is Turkish. The hexagonal roof form that characterises these structures derives from the pagoda, a temple form which spread with Buddhism throughout India, China and Japan.
In the west, images of Chinese gardens led to the installation of an extravagant Chinese pagoda in Kew Gardens in London. This marked the beginning of their popularity during the 17th and 18th centuries. The increase of leisure time in the Victorian period led to a growth in the use of public parks and the tradition of these buildings within public spaces became firmly entrenched.
In the early 1900s, Sydney’s city parks were important and highly valued spaces. Between 1904 and 1911 the City Council erected a number of rotundas in city parks.
In 1907, the City Council decided to erect a bandstand in Moore Park. The plans were prepared by the Government Architect in 1908 with an estimated cost of 355 pounds. The lowest tender of 338 pounds by W. J. Henley was accepted.
The Rotunda was completed in 1909 and is a close contemporary of similar structures in other Sydney parks, such as Observatory Hill, Belmore Park, Hyde Park and the Wynyard Reserve.
By 1929 the building had fallen into a state of disrepair. It was enclosed and expanded in 1936 to serve functions related to the adjacent sports field added to Moore Park West.