As the main park of Sydney, Centennial Park is to this city as Central Park is to New York. Its history began on January 26, 1888 when Charles Moore, then director of the Botanical Gardens, enlisted hundreds of unemployed men to shape the land, which was then made up of swamp, scrub and rock, into a beautiful Victorian landscape. Charles Moore dedicated the park to the people of NSW, and it was in Centennial Park that the official inauguration of the Commonwealth took place on January 1, 1901. Centennial Park’s main circular road, Grand Drive, was Sydney’s first public suburban drive.
Centennial Park is located near Oxford Street in Paddington, which boasts hundreds of specialty shops, including fashion, homewares, bookstores, antique shops, art galleries, delicatessens, and hairdressers. And the Paddington Markets held each Saturday shouldn’t be missed. The suburb is also near the Sydney CBD and Bondi Junction, which boast extensive shopping areas.
Centennial Park provides for a very diverse range of recreational, cultural and educational opportunities. Major activities include picnics, walking, jogging, cycling, cricket, soccer, football, hockey, musicals, theatre and art exhibitions. The Park is a hive of activity year round – there are separate tracks for roller bladders/cyclists and walkers/joggers, horse stables for equestrian lovers, movies under the stars at the Moonlight Cinema during the summer months, childrens’ playgrounds and a café in the park. And the first Sunday of each month, the Park is closed to car access. It’s little wonder Centennial Park receives more than 3.5 million visits each year!
Also nearby are Fox Studios at Moore Park, the Sydney Football Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground, many A-grade golf courses and Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Centennial Park is strategically located between Sydney’s central business district and its popular eastern beaches. The Park is situated less than 5km, or seven minutes by car, south east of the CBD. It adjoins the Queens Park and Moore Park areas and surrounding suburbs such as Randwick, Paddington and Woollahra.
A number of eastern suburbs bus routes go via the Park. These include the L82, the express bus from Circular Quay which goes up Oxford St to Bondi Beach; the 380, which travels up Oxford Street to Bondi Beach via Bondi Junction; and the 389, which goes via the back of Paddington/Woollahra to Bondi Junction and then on to Bondi Beach. The nearest railway station is Bondi Junction.
Centennial Park is renowned for its stately Victorian homes and terraces with park views, many with stunning gardens and beautiful original period features. There is also a range of older style and contemporary apartments, duplexes and terraces – again many with views of the park.
There are many fantastic cafes, restaurants and bars in the surrounding area. These include The Centennial, Bistro Lulu, Centennial Parklands Restaurant, Lucios, The Royal Hotel Paddington, Verona Café Bar, Four in Hand Hotel and Bistro Moncur.
There are a large number of public and private schools in the area surrounding Centennial Park. These include Sacred Heart School and St Margaret Mary’s School in Randwick, Paddington Public School, The Rudolf Steiner School in Randwick, Emanuel School, Sydney Boy’s High, Randwick Boys’ High, Randwick Girls’ High, Brigidine College, Ascham at Edgecliff and Sydney Grammar in Darlinghurst. Childcare facilities include Till I’m Five Childcare Centre and Paddington Children’s Centre. The suburb is also close to the University of NSW in Kensington.