Centennial Park’s new visitor hub has been officially launched, and the name of the precinct unveiled as Fearnley Grounds – in recognition of three-time Paralympic Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley OAM.
What’s in a name?
In early 2015 a public naming competition was launched to solicit ideas for a name the new visitor services precinct. A selection panel considered the 76 entries, however were unanimously in support of one recognition submission – that of Kurt Fearnley OAM.
Kurt’s achievements, advocacy work and connection to Centennial Park, as well as his obvious connection with cycling saw him as a worthy recipient of this honour. The committee believed that his inspiring story should be shared to a new audience and future generations.
“Many elite athletes have trained and competed here over the years but it was Kurt’s passion and the inspiration he embodies as a disability advocate for so many Australians that saw his name proposed through our public naming competition.” – Kim Ellis, Executive Director, Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands.
Fearnley Grounds, honours world-champion and Paralympic Gold Medallist, Kurt Fearnley OAM, for his efforts both in and out of his wheelchair. His first competitive road race was in Centennial Park in 1995 at the age of 14. Not only has Kurt won marathons all around the world, including the prestigious New York, London and Chicago marathons multiple times, he is also a passionate disability advocate, charity ambassador, high-school teacher and the 2009 NSW Young Australian of the Year.
As a 14 year old in 1995 Kurt competed in his first competitive road race in Centennial Park. He still competes and trains in the Park every year.
About the project…
Already a popular area for families using its picnics areas, playground and barbecue, Fearnley Grounds was identified in the Centennial Park Master Plan 2040 – following many years of visitor surveys and consultation – as an area in need of improvement and upgraded visitor services.
The project, unveiled on 18 January 2016, has so far delivered and/or upgraded:
- a new café, The Greenhouse Centennial Park (website)
- the relocated bike hire business, Centennial Park Cycles
- accessible amenities with baby-change facilities
- new pathways and picnic tables
- a new covered picnic shelter
- multi-purpose water bubbler (for people, dogs and accessible to wheelchairs)
- a free gas barbecue.
Further upgrades will be undertaken in 2016 to improve:
- the children’s Learners Cycleway
- a playground
The design concept was inspired by a small combined kiosk and cyclist pavilion (the site of today’s Centennial Parklands Dining) that existed and operated in Centennial Park from 1908 to 1946 before it was destroyed by fire.
For more information about Fearnley Grounds and visiting Parklands, visit the Centennial Parklands website.