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Evolution of the Parklands

The three parks – Centennial Park, Moore Park and Queens Park – continued to evolve as an increasingly important and much envied part of a growing city.

Gatherings were organised in the Parklands to mark the death of both Queen Victoria in 1901 and King Edward VII in 1910. There was a thanksgiving service held in the Parklands in 1918.

A garbage destructor was built in Moore Park at the corner of Dowling Street and Dacey Avenue in 1901 and was in use by 1902. The building consisted of an incinerator and a sorting depot. All incombustible waste was piled up in a huge tip to the east of the incinerator. The unit was to have been replaced by an incinerator designed by Walter Burley Griffin, however the scheme was re-sited in Pyrmont in 1935.

The sale of the proposed residential subdivision adjacent to Centennial Park and Moore Park was finally ratified in November 1904, the Centenary Park Sale Bill was passed without amendment, and the land was sold at auction in the early months of 1905.

A protective covenant was placed on the land to exclude the building of terrace housing, wooden buildings or any commercial buildings. These covenants were less restrictive for the land at the eastern side of Cook Road permitting semi-detached houses. The Covenants were implemented to provide a suitable environment and appropriate vistas for the new Park. Houses were soon developed on the land along Lang and Martin roads.

The nature of the roads was transformed in 1905 with the introduction of the motorcar. The growing use by motor vehicles required roads with rounded and deeply set stone kerbs.

Joseph Maiden made designs for these new additions, which were implemented throughout New South Wales. All the major roads in the Parklands were kerbed and guttered with Maiden's sandstone kerb detail and pedestrian pathways built on either side of the roads.

The E.S. Marks Athletic Field opened in Moore Park in 1906.

In 1908 the Department of Agriculture took charge of the administration for much of what is today the Parklands, and continued in this role for over 70 years.

By 1912 the nursery at Centennial Park was producing 150,000 plants per year. They were used in flowerbeds and shrubberies, with ornamental plantings placed around the northern shores of the main lakes and along the central roadways. The plantings became a focus for the Park and were popular with recreational visitors.

Public toilets were introduced to the Parklands in 1915, and later in 1939 and 1955, with several additions since the 1960s, and again in 2005.

In July 1916 Moore Park Zoo ceased to exist when the Trustees of Taronga Park took over responsibility for all the employees and animals. Moore Park Zoo was identified as being too small about six years earlier. Following the transfer of Moore Park Zoo to Taronga Park, the gardens at Moore Park were opened to the public for a few years until the land was given to the Department of Education in 1920.

Site of the former Moore Park Zoo, circa 1880s

In 1917 Randwick Road was widened and the original Moore Park gates were relocated. The Monterey Pines were failing due to competition from the Figs, and Joseph Maiden directed their replacement with Port Jackson Figs. At the same time Randwick Road was changed to Anzac Parade and an obelisk erected, the entrance gates moved and a centre planting bed installed. Pedestrian paths were created on either side of the road and the entire length between Moore Park Road and what is now Alison Road was edged with sandstone kerb and gutter detail designed by Maiden. Tennis used to be played on top of the reservoirs until the courts were closed in 1917.

Two more tennis court areas have been set aside since then in Moore Park.

Thanksgiving services and peace celebrations were held to mark the end of the Great War during 1918-9.

By the 1920s Centennial Park had its formal features laid out, plantings were established and management objectives were defined. It remained for administrators to nurture and maintain the Park to its full maturity.

Joseph Maiden retired in 1924.

From the 1920s Hills Figs were used as avenue trees in Moore Park. The distinct character of these trees, combined with Norfolk Island Pines, distinguishes Moore from Centennial Park.

Two schools were built on the site of the former Zoological Gardens in Moore Park. The Girl's School was built in 1920 occupying a tight corner of land between Anzac Parade and Cleveland Street, and pupils began to be transferred from the city in 1921. The Boy's School was opened in 1928 and was designed with an imposing facade overlooking the grassed playing fields of the Park. Some of the plantings and old structures of the Zoological Gardens have been integrated into the landscape of the schools.

The King Edward Dogs home was built in 1922 just to the north of the garbage destructor in the south-west corner of Moore Park. It was abandoned in 1971 when it was relocated to Yagoona.

Moore Park Golf Course was established in 1926.

A third reservoir was constructed in Centennial Park in 1927, Centennial Park Reservoir No. 2.

150,000 people celebrating the sesquicentenary celebrations on 31 January 1938 attended a naval and military review in the Parklands.

The sesquicentenary celebrations in Centennial Park, 1938

The impact of World War II meant that from 1940-1942 the military occupied the area of Centennial Parklands. In the south section of Centennial Park and Moore Park the military constructed a series of buildings. These included air-raid shelters, which were removed in 1947, and housing for personnel, which was removed in 1951.

Centennial Parklands was used by the military for drilling exercises, military reviews, parades and engineering exercises during both World Wars. The Military engineers used the lakes to test the construction of temporary bridges and the army practiced their drills around Grand Drive.

Nearly 3000 people attended the Jubilee of Federation celebrations in 1951. A celebration was held in 1954 when Queen Elizabeth visited Centennial Park.

From the late 1960s a renewed concern for protecting and promoting native flora influenced several plantings in Moore Park, including groves of eucalypts in the Bat and Ball Field, and Kippax Field, and the mixed plantings of grevillea and eucalypt in Roberston Field. Much of the planting on the Moore Park Golf Course has occurred since the 1960s, and consists of belts tracing sand ridges and defining fairways.

In 1967 a competition was established by the Council to design a fountain or sculpture ‘to give recognition to the achievements of Australian Sportswomen over the years’. The entries were judged by a group of five male sculptors and architects and they gave the cash prize to Stephen Walker, however the Council overruled the decision and chose a piece designed by Diana Hunt. The statue was added to Kippax Lake in Moore Park.