Centennial Park

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Australian Studies History Assignment

Centennial Park was created in 1888 to mark the centenary of colonisation of the British Empire, and it is Sydney's only example of an English-style suburban park. The character of the park's statues and traditional buildings is predominantly Victorian, the era in which it was designed.

The significance of Centennial Park is three-fold: firstly, as a landmark of the times of the mid-late 19th century, secondly as a ˜park for the people' and thirdly as the site of federation.

Early Centennial Park: A Water supply?

The site on which Centennial Park now exists was originally called Lachlan Swamp, an extensive swamp 3.6 kilometres in length, was set aside in 1811 to prevent people grazing their animals on the land. By 1827, Lachlan Swamp was being used as a site for the drawing of Sydney's water but its ability to supply water was overestimated, and its inadequacy was shown during a drought in 1838. Other problems included mismanagement by the City of Sydney Council, overgrazing by cattle and horses, dumping of pollutants and removal of loam and stone. In 1852 Lachlan waters was downgraded from servicing the 38,358 Sydneysiders in favour of the Botany site, but continued to provide water for the people of Woolloomooloo.

After torrential rains in 1874, many dams burst, and seven new dams were made in Lachlan swamps, which later became lakes in Centennial Park. The Nepean system was not fully functional until 1888 and Botany and Lachlan provided the denizens with water of questionable integrity. There were concerns that the water was causing typhoid fever and John Norton wrote to Henry Parkes saying ˜few persons will drink [it] unless forced to do so of dire necessity', and calling the water ˜a diluted poison'. Finally in 1887 Sydney politicians halted he use of the site as a water supply.

Social Reform through creation of parks

In June 1887, a Bill was

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