Henson Park | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Henson Park

Item details

Name of item: Henson Park
Other name/s: Daley's Brickworks, The Blue Hole, Daley's Waterhole
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Urban Park
Primary address: Centennial Street, Marrickville, NSW 2204
Local govt. area: Marrickville
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Centennial StreetMarrickvilleMarrickville  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

This is the only one of the many parks formed on the sites of former brickpits which has retained evidence of its former use in its shape. The shallow hollow is an attractive and historically significant feature of the site.
Date significance updated: 12 Jan 12
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Physical description: The oval is set within a hollow formed by the upper edges of the former brickpit and forms an attractive, sheltered sporting area. It covers an area of 15 acres. The 1937 grandstand is typical of the period in which the park was established.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The land containing the Sportsground and Park is in good condition. The land containing the car parking area is in fair condition.

There are 8 buildings on the land containing the Sportsground and Park:
- The grandstand/pavilion, with enclosed associated facilities under, is in fair condition.
- The broadcasters grandstand is in fair condition.
- The "Charlie Meader Memorial Gates" providing entry from Centennial Street are in good condition.
- The entry gates from Woodland Street are in poor condition.
- The male and female toilet blocks near the southern boundary are in fair condition.
- The male and female toilet block near the eastern boundary is in poor condition.
- The scoreboard building is in fair condition.

There are 6 established Lophostemon confertus trees in good condition. There is 1 established Grevillea robusta tree in fair condition. There are 8 established Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’ trees in good condition.

The turf in the Sportsground is in good/fair condition. The turf in the Park is in good condition.

The 2 banks of timber slatted bench row seating, on a metal frame, adjacent to the oval is in good/fair condition.

The low wall and concrete pathway around part of the oval is in good condition. The low wire mesh fence surrounding the oval is in good condition. The 4 flood lighting towers for the oval are in good condition. The bituminous concrete surface in the car parking area is in fair condition.

The various types of rear boundary fencing surrounding the Park are in fair/very poor condition.

Tennis Courts and Car Park
The land containing the tennis centre is currently in generally good condition. It is subject to minor subsidence through the centre of the site, resulting from gradual deterioration of the original fill material. Courts 3 & 4 are affected.

The land containing the car parking area is currently in good condition.

There are six (6) existing buildings, for the tennis centre’s activities. The clubhouse (brick walls with steel roofing) is in good condition. The toilets/store (brick walls with steel roofing) is in good condition. The two (2) shelters (brick walls with steel roofing) are in good condition. The two (2) gazebos (timber walls with steel roofing) are in good condition.

There are seven (7 ) existing tennis courts covered with artificial grass, which are in poor condition. Courts 3 & 4 are affected by subsidence. These courts are each surrounded by 5 metre high wire mesh fencing, in good condition, with attached flood lights (12 lights/court), which are in poor condition.
Date condition updated:26 May 05
Modifications and dates: Recently lights have been installed for night time use and there are several out-buildings located around the site. There are also tennis courts and a clubhouse. Both the oval, surrounds and tennis grounds are surrounded by chainwire and barbed-wire fencing.
Current use: Recreation - Cricket grounds and Tennis club
Former use: Brickpit

History

Historical notes: Henson Park is located on the site of Thomas Daley's Standsure Brick Company (1886-1917). It was one of the largest brickworks in Sydney, employed about 60 people and occupied 3.6 hectares. After the brickworks closed in 1917, the pits filled with stormwater and ground water (up to 24 metres deep in parts) and became known as 'The Blue Hole'. The site became a favourite swimming spot and an illegal dumping ground. It was dangerous as a swimming hole and there were at least four known drownings.

1930 - Filling operations commence to convert the former Daley’s brick pit into Henson Park

In 1932 a grant of 5000 pounds through the Unemployed Relief Works Program was received to level the ground and fill in the water holes. Council matched that funding with 5000 pounds of its own, and the oval and bicycle track were constructed.

1933 - Official opening of Henson Park was marked by a cricket match between a representative Marrickville Eleven team and the North Sydney District team, which included Don Bradman. The Mayor of Marrickville, Alderman Frederick Rushton, bowled the first ball.

When the Henson Park was opened in 1933 it consisted of an oval surrounded by an illuminated cycling track sourrounded by a natural amphitheatre for 40,000 spectators.

March 1933 - A Gypsy Moth aeroplane made a forced landing.. Both pilot and passenger escape injury. The pilot, Sidney Cheesewright, proprietor of the Stanmore Garage, Stanmore Road, commented that the Gypsy Moth had stalled at 1500 feet above Newington College and he chose Henson Park for an emergency landing. Mr Cheesewright, who was accompanied by John Makinen of Holmesdale Street, said that he circled around into the wind. The park looked small and I decided to make a stall landing. The airplane was severely damaged

1935 - Embarkment completed

1936 - Woodland Street gates completed

1936 - Newtown Rugby League Club transfers their games to Henson Park.

1937 - Grandstand completed. Plaque on grandstand commemorates its opening.

1938 - British Empire Games held in Sydney. The cycling events and the closing ceremony of the Games are held at Henson Park Marrickville Council purchased the disused brickpit in 1923. Draingage and filling operations began in 1926.

Henson Park was named in recognition of the Municipal service of two members of the Henson family: William Henson and William Thomas Henson.

Henson Park is named after William Henson and his son, William Thomas Henson. William Henson was a local and state politician (MLA for Canterbury from 1880-2 and 1885-9). His son was a local politician and a man of independent means.

William Henson, senior (1826 - 1903) was born in Sydney on 1 August 1826. He was educated at St Phillips School, Church Hill and later managed an extensive sheep station at Obley. He married on 9 January 1855 at Sydney and had 4 daughters and 2 sons. He was successful on the goldfields at Ophir and Bendigo and settled at Ashfield. He was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly on 22 November 1880 and he served as Member for Canterbury between 1880-1882, and 1885-1889. He was also a prominent Wesleyan Methodist and member of the Sons of Temperance, the Local Option League, the Orange Lodge, and Honorary Secretary of Benevolent Society. He died in his home at Ashfield on 19 March 1903.

William Thomas Henson was an alderman on Marrickville Municipal Council from 1897-1917 and was elected Mayor on four occasions (1902, 1906, 1907 and 1908). He died in 1926 at his residence at 152 Livingstone Road, Marrickville. His son, Alfred Arthur Henson was also an alderman of Marrickville Council. Alfred Arthur Henson served from 1922 to 1931. William F C Henson, also a son of William Thomas Henson, was the captain of the Marrickville Cricket Club in the 1920s

Historic photographs held in the Council's Local History Collection show the site when it was Daley's Brickpit, when it was a waterhole, and during the construction and formation of Henson Park. The brick wall along the northern boundary, backing onto the row of properties in Horton Street was constructed between 1933 and 1936. One photo dated 1936 shows the original brick entrance gates at Woodland Street, built at the same time as the brick wall. The current entrance gates at Woodland Street were re-built sometime shortly after, in c1936. There is a possibility that the bricks used to construct the wall and entrance gates at Woodland Street were supplied by the Daley family.

The King George V Memorial Grandstand was an expression of Imperial sentiment that was rife when it was built. It was opened on 19 August 1937.

October 1944 - Speedway held, using the cycling track. It was a benefit for Marrickville Hospital. In the last race Dinny Pattison was nearly killed when his car went into a slide on a bend and turned over. The speed car careered down the track for 5 metres with Dinny hanging upside down in the cockpit. His injuries put him in Marrickville Hospital for six weeks.

1945 - The words Henson Park are painted on the brick wall at the instigation of Alderman Richardson.

1974 - Newtown Rugby League Club and Marrickville Council agree to erect new lighting towers, equipped with high powered flood lights.

The size of the oval was reduced in 1975 when a fence was built around the inside of the cycling track. Part of the sandstone retaining wall around the oval was constructed in c1976 as part of the Federal Government's Red Scheme.

June 1976 - Marrickville Council received $198,000 from the Federal Government under the RED scheme (employment project) to upgrade Henson Park. As part of the work the boundary fence was moved 12 metres inward placing it inside of the cycling track, which was removed. This increased spectator seating capacity. The scoreboard was replaced. A new press block and toilet block built. The playing service of the ground was raised by 45 centimetres. Concrete seating installed around the ground. Lighting towers erected but it was to be another four years until funds obtained for them to be operative.

October 1976 - Rock concert held with guest stars including Bo Diddley, the Silver Studs and Jeff St John. The concert was staged by Newtown Rugby League Club to raise funds to turn on the lights at Henson Park. It was estimated that over $200,000 was required to install suitable lighting for colour television coverage of events. The concert generated 5,000 noise complaints to Marrickville Council Newtown Rugby League Club only managed to cover their costs with the rock concert.

October 1979 - NSW Government granted $30,000 through the Department of Sport & Recreation for floodlighting. Marrickville Council provided an additional $39,000.

23 February 1980 - The lights are officially turned on by the Deputy Mayor of Marrickville, Alderman John Gander.

1988 - Plaque placed on Centennial Street entrance gates to record the site of Daley’s brickpit.

1996 - Telstra tower built

6 December 2001- Charlie Meader Memorial Gates and plaque in Centennial Street unveiled by Mayor of Marrickville, Councillor Barry Cotter.

Tennis Courts
Competitive tennis has been played in Marrickville since 1935, initially as part of the large Sydenham-Bankstown Tennis Association. From the early 1950’s the autonomous Marrickville & District Hardcourt Tennis Association became the local controlling body.

In 1953, Council granted approval for the use of the subject land (part of Henson Park) as a tennis centre and carpark. Debentures were issued to local tennis players and the members laid down four loam tennis courts in 1954, and constructed temporary clubhouse facilities in 1955. The current clubhouse was completed in 1961. This enabled two more courts to be built on the site of the temporary clubhouse. The final court was built in 1979. Substantial court renovations were completed in 1986 and 1990.

The Newtown Jets Football Club
The oval is the home of the Newtown Jets Football Club. The inaugural meeting of the club was held in the Newtown Town Hall on 8 January 1908. It originally consisted of three grades: first, reserve and third. The First Grade won the Premiership in 1910, 1933 and 1943. It was runner-up 9 times in 1913, 1914, 1929, 1944, 1954, 1955 and 1981. The club has produced many notable interstate and international players. In 1910-1911 when the Australian team toured England, seven members of the team were from the Newtown Jets Football Club. The headquarters of the club were originally in Marrickville and shortly after the completion of Henson Park in 1936, the club moved its headquarters to the park.

The Marrickville District Bicycle Clubs
The Marrickville District Bicycle Clubs (comprising Dulwich Hill and Marrickville Clubs) were originally based at Henson Park from 1933 when the bicycle track was completed along with the football oval. The clubs had to vacate Henson Park in 1968 when the Newtown Jets Rugby League Club wanted to remove the cycle track to bring spectators closer to the field. The moved to a newly-built velodrome in Camperdown following their lease of O'Dea Reserve from Marrickville Council.

Aboriginal Knockout Carnivals and the Koori United Rugby Team
Henson Park is one of the playing grounds used of the annual Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival (2005 is the 35th year of the knockout) and is the home ground of the Koori United Rugby Team.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Local. Requires further assessment.

Henson Park is named after William Henson and his son, William Thomas Henson. William Henson was a local and state politician (MLA for Canterbury from 1880-2 and 1885-9). His son was a local politician and a man of independent means.

William Henson, senior (1826 - 1903) was born in Sydney on 1 August 1826. He was educated at St Phillips School, Church Hill and later managed an extensive sheep station at Obley. He married on 9 January 1855 at Sydney and had 4 daughters and 2 sons. He was successful on the goldfields at Ophir and Bendigo and settled at Ashfield. He was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly on 22 November 1880 and he served as Member for Canterbury between 1880-1882, and 1885-1889. He was also a prominent Wesleyan Methodist and member of the Sons of Temperance, the Local Option League, the Orange Lodge, and Honorary Secretary of Benevolent Society. He died in his home at Ashfield on 19 March 1903.

William Thomas Henson was an alderman on Marrickville Municipal Council from 1897-1917 and was elected Mayor on four occasions (1902, 1906, 1907 and 1908). He died in 1926 at his residence at 152 Livingstone Road, Marrickville. His son, Alfred Arthur Henson was also an alderman of Marrickville Council. Alfred Arthur Henson served from 1922 to 1931. William F C Henson, also a son of William Thomas Henson, was the captain of the Marrickville Cricket Club in the 1920s
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Requires further assessment.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Local. Home of the Newtown Jets. Henson Park has also been identified as a place of importance to the local Aboriginal community in relation to the use of the park for annual Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnivals and as the home ground of the Koori United Rugby Team. Requires further assessment.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Local. Given that the site was a brick pit for many years and was then infilled in the 1930s, the possibility of any surviving archaeological deposits is remote.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Requires further assessment.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Local. Requires further assessment.
Integrity/Intactness: The grounds and buildings are relatively intact and the park retains its integrity.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

General maintenance especially to the grandstand.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville Local Environmental Plan 2001 18 May 01 86 
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville LEP 2011I7112 Dec 11 2011/645 
Within a conservation area on an LEPwithin draft cons. area Marrickville LEP 2001    
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Marrickville Heritage Study19862.107Fox and AssociatesNovember 1984 No
Marrickville Heritage Study Review19972030141Tropman & Tropman Architects1997-1999 Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAustralian Museum Business Services2001Aboriginal Site Survey of the Cooks River Corridor, Marrickville (in 3 stages)
WrittenChrys Meader, Marrickville Council Historian2005Henson Park - Significant Dates (5/9/2005)
WrittenMarrickville Council2002Sportsground and Park, Henson Park Plan of Management (adopted Feb)
WrittenMarrickville Council2001Tennis Centre and Carpark Plan of Management (adopted Dec)
WrittenMarrickville Council1936Marrickville: 75 Years of Progress 1861-1936

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2030141
File number: 2.107


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