• Sport and Recreation

    Centennial Parklands continues to support community sport

Sports fields in Centennial Park

Do you know that Centennial Parklands is one of – if not the – largest single-site sports venue in NSW? With more than 550,000 people coming to enjoy more than 20 different sports, it’s no wonder we are in high demand.

Here’s a few facts and figures to consider!

  • Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the Parklands

    Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the Parklands

    Nine out of top ten men’s participation sports and recreation activities in Australia can be enjoyed in Centennial Parklands, and eight of the top ten women’s participation sports and recreation activities (what are we missing? Swimming for men, and swimming and bushwalking for women).

  • Centennial Parklands manages over 120 sports fields, courts, ovals, tracks and arenas.
  • Centennial Parklands provides sports fields and facilities from junior sport to elite teams (the NSW Waratahs, Sydney Swans, Sydney Roosters all train on our fields).
  • The number of sports fields provided by Centennial Parklands is approximately twice that of the four surrounding local councils.
  • We spend around $1.5 million a year managing and maintaining turf sports fields, and only recoup just over half of that in sports hire fees.
  • Our golf course – Moore Park Golf – is the closest public access golf course to the Sydney CBD, and over one million golf balls are hit off our driving range every month!
  • Moore Park Golf is also the home of the Sydney Golf Academy – a great community training facility benefitting amateurs through to wannabe professionals.
  • Sydney is one of the only major cities in the world to retain a full equestrian centre and horse riding track in the middle of the city (ie. Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre).
  • Centennial Parklands features a new accredited international-standard athletics track.
  • Centennial Parklands features the only permanent public orienteering course in the Sydney metropolitan region.

We invest in community sport.

Centennial Parklands is a self-funded public parklands, however despite this we are fortunate to have some of the best quality facilities in Sydney. Over the last five years we have invested around $3 million in upgrades and improvements at Moore Park Golf, more than $2 million at the Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre, and over $1 million in improving drainage and irrigation of our turf sports fields. There is more investment on the way over coming years.

These improvements have led to upgrades to the quality of our offerings, and allowed increases in capacity of our facilities to cope with increased demand and usage.

A particular challenge – turf sports fields.

Turf sports fields are particularly a challenge for the Parklands. Some of the key reasons why, include:

  • demand: enormous increases in demand experienced due to a growing population;
  • changing needs: the needs of the community and diversity of opportunities are rapidly evolving;
  • geography: much of the Parklands is constructed on former swampland, and the natural flow of stormwater is into the Parklands from the surrounding suburbs. This not only brings a lot of surface water into the Parklands, but means (at times) a high underground water table.

You can read more here about the challenge of managing sports fields.

Queens Park alone has 16 turf sports fields with bookings at absolute capacity

Queens Park alone has 16 turf sports fields with bookings at absolute capacity

Let’s talk dollars…

We are often asked how much it costs to manage and maintain these sports fields. Last year alone we spent over $1.5 million undertaking this.

While the sports hire fees we raise contribute somewhat towards this fee, we significantly subsidise community use of sports fields by around 45% (that is, around 45% more is spent on managing and maintaining the sports fields than we recoup in sport field hire fees).

Aiming for sustainability, but still supporting the community.

Surely a 45% subsidy of sports field use doesn’t contribute to sustainability?

Well, our goal for Centennial Parklands is to become an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable public parklands. This is a good outcome for the community and the economy as a whole. Achieving this, however, does not mean we leave behind our social obligations and contributions to (particularly) the next generation.

One example is school sports. We are big supporters of school sports, and work closely with schools to identify what opportunities we have to support their needs. In terms of dollars, last year while primary schools (for example) accounted for over 13% of sports field usage, they were only charged around 3% of total fees to access those fields.

Creating sustainable sports fields is a task that all sports hirers contribute to. In order for us to maintain the fields to the standard demanded by the community (safe, accessible and available as much as possible), then through user-pays charges we all contribute for the greater good.

The balance between subsidy and charging is our challenge. If we truly charged to cover our costs, then we would price most of the community out of using our fields. That doesn’t make sense, and is not equitable and fair.

That is why we continue to make the decision to provide a significant subsidy. That is the way to achieve sustainability in the broader sense. That is the way to ensure we continue to have this wonderful community asset available for generations to come.

Junior and schools sport is an area with critical needs in terms of fields and opportunity

Junior and schools sport is an area with critical needs in terms of fields and opportunity

Further improvements are coming soon…

In the recent NSW State Budget, the NSW Government identified the importance of the Parklands’ assets and facilities and committed to a number of key upgrades and improvements across our sporting and recreational facilities.

Over coming months and years we will be upgrading drainage and irrigation on turf sports fields, investigating the feasibility of introducing artificial sports fields, upgrading existing fitness equipment and building new fitness facilities, building a new shared cycle/pedestrian pathway along Oxford Street, and investigating further improvements to E.S. Marks Athletics Field and the Moore Park Golf precinct.

You can see much of this ‘vision’ of the future outlined in our Strategic Vision video presentation.

Centennial Parklands – helping make NSW no. 1 for sport!

This is not just a slogan, but a goal. A goal we are serious about.

Sport and recreational opportunities are critical to the health and wellbeing of the community. We are located in some of the highest density populations of the largest city in Australia. Over the next 20 years, around 40,000 new residents will be moving into residential developments on our borders. We cannot, as it currently stands, accommodate current demand for many of our sports fields and facilities. However we must look to make improvements now in order to accommodate an even greater demand in the future.

– post by Craig Easdown

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Did you know our iPhone app has an in-built sports field status update feature? Want to know where your sports field is, or whether it is open on a particular day? Then download our iPhone app now and have this information in your pocket!

Click image to download our iPhone app now.

Click image to download our iPhone app now.



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