A reed-fringed shore, tiny beaches and large nesting islands make Busbys Pond one of the most beautiful in the Parklands. Many waterfowl live on the pond’s islands and large numbers of little pied cormorants can be seen nesting on the northern most island in the early evenings.
Paperbarks cover the other small island and provide excellent breeding and nesting habitat for coots, dusky moorhens and purple swamphens.
The largest pond in the system, this expansive, sometimes lily-covered pond was named after John Busby, Chief Surveyor, who in 1824 was responsible for finding an alternative water supply for Sydney after the Tank Stream had become too polluted to supply the fast-growing population.
Busby suggested a tunnel running from the Lachlan Swamps in Centennial Park to Hyde Park. The scheme was adopted and the starting point of the tunnel, which became known as Busbys Bore, was near the present Robertson Road entrance to Centennial Park.
It took convict labour 10 years to complete Busbys Bore, which was hand dug, mainly through rock. It was 3.6 kilometres long, 1.2 metres high and up to 25 metres deep. The bore supplied nearly two million litres of water per day, sufficient for Sydney’s then population of 20,000. It was the town’s main water supply from 1837 to 1859.
Water drains into Busbys Pond from Lily Pond and Randwick Pond in the south; and via a large culvert from Fox Studios and the Equestrian Centre in the Moore Park area. Historic sandstone drains transport water from Lang Road through to Busbys Pond.