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Creating the Labyrinth

Centennial Park's Labyrinth is the result of a true partnership between Centennial Parklands and its community.

Planning Centennial Park's Labyrinth

Centennial Parklands approved the design, location and installation of Sydney's first public sandstone labyrinth in Centennial Park in December 2013. The Labyrinth was made possible by the project's founding benefactor, Emily Simpson, who worked tirelessly and actively, in cooperation with the Centennial Parklands Foundation, to raise over $500,000 to fund this unique structure.

To support the project, Centennial Parklands committed funding and in-kind support to the project management and delivery of the labyrinth.

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The Labyrinth's design

The Labyrinth's design and setting is sympathetic to the landscape and character of the Parklands. It creates a tranquil, contemplative location for park visitors while holding a non-denominational and cross-cultural space for visitors to learn and enjoy.

The labyrinth's design references the labyrinth in France's Chartres Cathedral, which was built in the early 13th century.

The Labyrinth is approximately 18 metres in diameter, with a 2.5 metre wide border to provide hard-surface standing space around the labyrinth walk area. The border also provides an aesthetic element to the design. To maximise its safety and durability, the Labyrinth has been built with the highest quality materials including two contrasting coloured Australian stones.

Constructing the Labyrinth 

Centennial Parklands oversaw the project team which included highly qualified architects and builders to ensure it is of the highest aesthetic and structural quality.

The initial phase of the project included the construction of a prototype to test the tolerances of the computerised system used for cutting each of the stone paving elements. The prototype was a two metre x three metre section of the paving that was proposed to be used in the Labyrinth.

This process entailed the pouring of a concrete bed onto samples of each of the stone pavers, which were intricately cut by computer to shape. Once they were laid, the adequacy of the proposed three millimetre joints (between the pavers) were tested to ensure the assembly of the overall pattern comes together as intended.

A 'sod turning' ceremony was celebrated in February 2014 to mark the start of works, with the construction site established shortly after. Construction took five months of patient work with over 1,500 individual pieces of stone required for perfect alignment.

Works were completed in mid-August 2014.

The construction work site is adjacent to Lachlan Swamp in Centennial Park

The concrete base being poured (March 2014).

The concrete slab completed (April 2014).

ABC Compass followed and documented this fascinating project.

The intricately pieced together centre stones in place (April 2014).

The piecing together of more than 1,500 pieces of individually cut stone progressed quickly with good weather (May 2014).

70% of stone had been laid by June 2014.

Aerial image of the labyrinth (August 2014).

While works had been completed, the fences stayed up for four weeks to allow the grass around the labyrinth to seed (August 2014).

The opening of the Centennial Park Labyrinth

The Labyrinth was officially opened on Monday 15 September 2014, by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW. Check out our Facebook Album to view photos of the day.

Further information about the Labyrinth

If you'd like to know more about the Labyrinth, please call the Parklands Office on (02) 9339 6699 or email us.

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