• Centennial Park - Federation History and Heritage

    Do you know the birthplace of modern Australia?


When you think of the most historically significant sites in Australia since European settlement, does Centennial Park come to mind? It should. Here’s why.

Let’s start with the name.


The ‘Centennial’ Park

The original name for Centennial Park was in fact ‘The Centennial Park’. The name comes from the reason for its creation – the celebrate the 100th anniversary of European settlement in the colony of New South Wales.

Opened in 1888, the NSW Premier Sir Henry Parkes gave a stirring speech:

“It is emphatically the people’s park and you must always take as much interest in it as if by your own hands you had planted the flowers; and if you take this interest in it, and if you thus rise to the full appreciation of its great beauty, and your great privileges, the park will be one of the grandest adornments of this beautiful country.”

OK, significant enough but what makes it truly significant to the nation is what came next.


Birthplace of modern Australia

On 1 January 1901 Centennial Park hosted the inauguration of the Federation of Australia.

What does that mean exactly? Centennial Park became the birthplace of modern Australia!

It was in the Park that the documents were signed, and the first Government of the newly created nation of Australia was sworn in.

What is fascinating about this is not only do images from the day provide an insight, but actual film footage of the day exists. You can see this footage on our free Centennial Park History Walk App.

The swearing-in ceremony, 1 January 1901. The Primate reads the Prayer for the Commonwealth of Australia (composed by Lord Tennyson, Governor of South Australia)

The swearing-in ceremony, 1 January 1901. The Primate reads the Prayer for the Commonwealth of Australia (composed by Lord Tennyson, Governor of South Australia)


Four ways to learn more about the history of Centennial Park

There are more than 125 years of tales, scandals and intrigue from Centennial Park, and there are four simple ways to learn more:

  1. Centennial Park History Walk App
    Download our great free app for Apple or Android. Details here.
  2. Centennial Park Heritage and Wildlife Self-Guided Walking Tour
    Pick up our newly released walking guide brochure from the Parklands and take a fascinating hour-long walk. Learn, see, experience.
  3. The People’s Park: Centennial Park A History book
    Buy the authoritative history of Centennial Park. This 192-page stunningly designed book is sure to entertain, inform and surprise. Details here.
  4. Join a history walking tour
    During the year we have an active tour schedule, one of which covers the history of Centennial Park. The next tour is Saturday 18 April 2015. Details here.


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