With recent research suggesting that a green and leafy environment has a significant positive impact on our mental health, we can all give thanks for the town planners who left so much room in the heart of Sydney’s CBD for Hyde Park.
A welcome oasis surrounded by shopping, galleries and restaurants, this vast park is a beautiful green space. It provides a peaceful and necessary contrast to the excitement and buzz of the inner city. As you would expect, it’s popular with locals for morning exercise, city workers on their lunch break and tourists passing through.
The history of Hyde Park
As Australia’s oldest public parkland, Hyde Park has seen many changes over the decades. From early drawings, historians believe that the area was originally planted with white gum, blackbutt, bloodwood, Port Jackson figs and tea trees, wattles and acacias. Now, it has around 580 mature trees. These include conifers and palms, as well as the park’s famed central avenue lined with fig trees.
Officially established in 1810 as a Common, the park has a long history as a public space. Early settlers used it as an unofficial gathering place, for recreation, cricket matches, cart racing and cockfights. It was also a spot to gather firewood and graze animals.
The site’s history as a gathering place predates European settlement. With its swampy wetlands, it was a source of food. Indigenous groups also used the area as a public meeting place. Groups travelled from other places to meet here, settle disputes and punish wrongdoers.
Designed on the principles of a Victorian parkland, and named after London’s Hyde Park, it reflects English design sensibilities of the time. As such, it features the traditional pathways, statues and buildings typical of English public parks.
Like many public parks, the design of this valuable green space evolved gradually. Engineer Norman Weekes established its current layout in 1927, soon after the building of the city’s circle rail line.
Memorials and landmarks
Monuments and memorials are another reason to visit, you can take a walking tour to learn more about each one. The first monument, an obelisk, is actually a cleverly designed sewage ventilation shaft. Built in 1857, it is based on an Egyptian antiquity, and was informally known as George Thornton’s Scent Bottle after the mayor who unveiled it.
The park is also the site of the 1934 ANZAC memorial, which was once a working clinic for returning soldiers needing health care. Other significant monuments include the Archibald Fountain, a giant chess board, and a sculpture by Indigenous artist Tony Albert. A wander through the park is a glimpse of Australian history, culture and wildlife in one stunning setting.
Hyde Park today
These days, the park is a much-loved recreation space for those who live and work in the city. With 16 hectares of open space, this heritage-listed park is one of the things that makes living in Sydney so special.
From here, you can walk through parkland all the way through the Botanic Gardens to the Harbour. Hyde Park is also close to Sydney’s best known attractions, including the Queen Victoria Buildings, the Australian Museum and St Mary’s Cathedral.
Every October, as the nights turn balmy, Hyde Park is home to the Night Noodle Market, and at any time of year it is large and peaceful enough to listen to the native birdlife, take in the scenery, and relax.
Talk to us
Are you thinking of buying or selling in the Hyde Park precinct? As a boutique real estate agency with our office next to Hyde Park, we are the people to talk to. Please contact us today if you have any questions regarding your property and investment plans.