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History of the Parklands

The story of Centennial Parklands is – in part – the story of Sydney, indeed Australia.

From a swampy uninviting beginning, the Park we know today was borne of a vision to create a grand park. This vision, once realised, then led to the daily struggle to survive through drought, environmental degradation, and the strains of surviving a modern urban environment.

The story involves extraordinary characters, bold and challenging thinking, leaders who pushed through adversity to succeed or despaired as a result of drought and failure.

Once referred to as one of the most 'highly politicised patches of grass in the country', Centennial Parklands is a much-loved and vibrant part of Sydney – having provided generations of Australians with a space to play, relax or be entertained.

Further reading

Above is just a brief snapshot of the Parklands' history - a condensed version of over 120 years work and toil. For more information on the Parklands, contact the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust on (02) 9339 6699 or

For the serious researcher, the book Centennial Park - A History (1988) by Paul Ashton and Kate Blackmore (UNSW Press) provides detailed information on the historical context and creation of the Parklands.