History of Beaconsfield Park
Beaconsfield Park is between William and Queen Streets, Beaconsfield. This area between Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay became a major interface between Aboriginal people and Europeans. It was the land of the Eora coastal people who lived on fish and shellfish in the sand dunes and wetlands which became known as the Botany Swamps, Lachlan Swamp, Shea’s Creek and Waterloo Swamp.
Beaconsfield was part of the 1823 land grant to William Hutchinson which covered 1400 acres. Two years later he sold the land to Daniel Cooper and Solomon Levey and it became known as the Waterloo Estate. Beaconsfield was subdivided in 1884 as ‘the working man’s model township’. It was named after the British Conservative politician Benjamin Disraeli who was Prime Minister from 1874 to 1880 and was created first Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876.
Few of the Beaconsfield blocks were built on for the first twenty years, and the park site was bought by council for a park in 1937. The boundaries were defined by an ornamental stone fence and entrance. Part of the area was devoted to a children’s playground equipped with swings and ‘other pleasing devices’. A tennis court was constructed and the design completed by the planting of shade trees and the installation of garden seats and toilets.
The naming and opening ceremony was performed by the Hon E S Spooner, Minister for Works and Local Government, on 10 December 1938. Redfern MP William McKell unveiled a bubble fountain erected in memory of the late John Shirley, a former alderman on Alexandria Council with 34 years’ service.
Main image: Beaconsfield Park, 1955. (City of Sydney Archives, CRS 47/681)
“Alexandria 1868-1943: ‘The Birmingham of Australia’”, Sydney, c 1943
Last updated: Thursday, 27 October 2016