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Sydney’s Centennial Park picks up heritage listing

Michael McLaren
Article image for Sydney’s Centennial Park picks up heritage listing

The 115th location to be placed on the National Heritage Register has been named, with Sydney’s Centennial Park now part of the coveted group.

Its significance to Australia’s federation motivated the selection. The park was the chosen site for 1901’s inauguration of the Australian nation, where  six independent states unified under one centralised constitution. A proclamation of this federalisation transpired, amid tens of thousands of spectators, who streamed unabated into the park to bear witness.

“There was an amazing celebration,” says Christine Yeats, President of the Royal Australian Historical Society.

“There was probably around 60,000 people at the park itself. Lining the streets there was probably a quarter of a million people.”

“It was glorious.”

Since, the park has become known as the “people’s park”, consistent with Henry Parkes’ vision. He wanted to create both an open space for recreation and cultivate a grand setting for the celebration of the inauguration.

It would appear he’s succeeded in both of these bids.

“Henry Parkes was really inspired and keen to provide this park that was a public area for everyone.”

“It’s been a great legacy.”

Ultimately, it’s hoped the heritage listing will protect and safeguard the park from future development.

“The listing means protection for the park. Once something is on the register, people start to take note and want to protect it more.”

“But to have that recognition will be a reminder of the battle to get to federation and the achievement. It is very much a high point in the history of Australia.”


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Michael McLaren