Restoration of the historic Woollahra Gates in Centennial Park has now been completed and the gates officially re-opened to the public.
Works on restoring and repairing the 126 year old sandstone gates began in April 2014 and involved the repointing of joints, stone repairs, reconditioning and repair of the steel gates, removal and treatment of rust, and repainting of the heritage gates and bollards. The work was part-funded by the Minister’s Stonework Program, and the community through the generous support of the Centennial Parklands Foundation.
Similar to the recent restoration of the Paddington Gates, the restoration works were undertaken by specialists from NSW Public Works and the Government Architect’s Office.
Woollahra Gates are an iconic part of Centennial Park
A little history on Woollahra Gates…
As part of the Centenary Celebrations of European settlement in Australia, the NSW Parliament approved the creation of Centennial Park (read more here). One of the earliest elements of the Park was the perimeter fencing around the entirety of the Park’s boundaries, with a series of ornate and imposing sandstone gates.
Woollahra Gates, being one of the most impressive and beautiful of these gates, is located in the north-eastern corner of the Park along Oxford Street. Finished in 1888, these entrance gates were designed by Louis Robertson of the Colonial Architect’s Office and comprises five sandstone columns with cast iron gates, allowing both vehicular and pedestrian access. They were constructed by renowned stonemasons, Loveridge & Hudson.
Woollahra Gates – photo dates from the early 1900s
The historic photo of the Woollahra Gates above has a number of interesting aspects to it, most notably the original statuary that accompanied the gates can be clearly seen in the background, and the tram tracks down Oxford Street in the foreground.
Also, what appears as quite a lush, green backdrop from the early years of the Park had made way for a sparser look by 1935, as can be seen in the following photo:
Woollahra Gates in 1935 – looking east along Oxford Street
(Also of note is the relative traffic-free Oxford Street!).
Woollahra Gates continue to be one of the most iconic sandstone structures in Centennial Park and is a major entrance for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians coming to the Park. We are grateful to the NSW Government and the Centennial Parklands Foundation for their generous support of this project, and would like to thank those in the community who attended and/or contributed to the various fundraising events that made this project possible.
Rebekah Giles, Chair of the Centennial Parklands Foundation, addresses the gathering at the official reopening of the Gates in July 2014
Interested in knowing how you can support Centennial Parklands? Here are a few ideas: