K054 : Kingsford Smith Memorial Park | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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K054 : Kingsford Smith Memorial Park

Item details

Name of item: K054 : Kingsford Smith Memorial Park
Other name/s: Hudsons Gully (Jack 1999)
Primary address: 17 Gang Gang Street, Katoomba, NSW 2780
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
17 Gang Gang StreetKatoombaBlue Mountains   Primary Address
Lurline Street; William StreetKatoombaBlue Mountains   Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Kingsford Smith Park is of historical significance at a local level for its ability to demonstrate Katoomba community's response to 1930s attitudes toward the provision of parks and playgrounds. The park also has significance because of its association with the memory of the most distinguished of early Australian aviators (Jack 1999).

The entry pavilion provides a local landmark due to its location at the highest point of the park nearest the town centre.

The toilet block structure has some significance as an unusual park building which, along with a similar building in Russell Hawke Park, Katoomba is perhaps unique.
Date significance updated: 09 Sep 09
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1940-1940
Physical description: The park is at its highest at its northern and the western edges from which the natural topography of the land slopes steeply away. Rock walls have been constructed to accommodate ornamental planting on the slopes and to provide levels for the paths to traverse the incline down into the park. The wall at the top entrance is in bad condition. The predominant planting is of mature cool-climate trees - ornamental cherries, pinoaks, Cherry Laurel, Japanese Maples, Liquidambar, conifers and holly (Ilex sp.). Under storey planting consists of tree-fems, Bergenia and azaleas. Much of the park on its western side is overgrown and Buddleja has self-seeded on the more steep embankments. The drainage system for the lower areas of the park has deteriorated and there is no longer an ornamental pond. The music shell has been daubed with graffiti. On the eastern boundary of the park there is a stone retaining wall which appears to predate the rest of the walling in the park. The boundary planting of cypresses (Cupressus macrocarpa) is tall and overshadows the eastern side of the park. A path or service drive below the cypresses skirts part of the eastern side and is lined with holly and variegated holly planted alternatively. There are both planted and self seeded ornamental cherries in the shrubbery beds on the eastern side. The dominant planting toward the southern end of the park is of eucalypts and tree fems (Cyathea sp). There are faux rusticated log toilet blocks constructed of cement and chicken wire at the southern entrance. A small building visible in the early photographs has been removed. Much of the park is overgrown and requires some tree or shrub removal. The eastern side of the park is better maintained than the western side.

(Built Items)
Entry Pavilion
At the corner of Gang Gang Street and Lurline Street is an entry pavilion built with a domed roof, sheeted in metal supported by four massive rockfaced stone pillars. The upper course of sandstone is corbelled on the outer face of the pillars. Above the dome is a model of a plane.

A slate tablet on the western pillar was laid in 1938 by the Lord Wakehurst KCMG Governor of NSW. On the northern pillar, a granite tablet marks the opening of the park by the Hon. L.O. Martin M.L.A., Minister for Works and Local Government in 1940.

Sound Shell
Approximately at the centre of the park, located towards the lowest part of he park is a small stage with a segmented roof sheeted in corrugated steel in a shell form and lined with cement sheeting. The walls are butressed with rendered masonry. A stage protrudes from the shell and is located over a former pool.

Toilet Block
South of the sound shell, near the north end of the access drive from Vale Street, is a rustic toilet block formed of render over a wire mesh frame to simulate a log cabin. The block has a gabled roof which curves gently upwards at the eaves.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:19 Mar 01
Modifications and dates: Concrete blocks to vents in toilet block
Current use: Park
Former use: Park


Historical notes: The entire area of Kingsford Smith Memorial Park was originally owned by Ernest Hudson, whose wife built Wadi Shaifa (K102) on the north-west perimeter of the land in 1916/17. Hudson died in Palestine in 1918 and his wife owned Wadi Shaifa until 1947. She ran the house as a guest house in 1930-31 and around this time dedicated the land in the valley below as a council park.

Aerial photographs from both 1932 and 1933 show the northern perimeter of the park area and slopes were vegetated, possibly with remnant eucalypts. The central natural drainage area was cleared. The earliest image of the park is believed to be c. 1936 (Low 1991 p. 123) and shows a planned network of paths, steps and recent planting. Children's playground equipment had been introduced - swings, slide and see-saws. The natural drainage area was retaining water. The dominant vegetation was remnant eucalypts and the relationship between the Hudson residence and the park was clearly evident - the park acting as the 'front garden' of the large house. A Mr Kerr from Sydney Botanic Gardens drew up the plan for the park (Slade in Low 199 1, p. 123), although Kerr's position at the Botanic Gardens is unknown. Labour was provided by the unemployed, a common aspect of park development during the 1930s, and rock for the retaining walls was obtained from local bushland (Slade in Low 1991, p. 123). Dedicated 'Kingsford Smith Park' by Lord Wakehurst on 7th March 1938, the park was officially opened by L.O. Martin MLA, Minister for Works and Local Government in 1940.

Kingsford Smith (1897-1935) was a pioneer aviator, whose long flights within Australia, over the pacific and to Britain between 1927 and 1934 had given him international recognition. Kingsford Smith was killed in November 1935 when his plane en route for Australia from Britain crashed in the sea off Burma. Two and a half years later, the Municipality of Katoomba celebrated him posthumously. The governor of New South Wales, Lord Wakehurst, attended the opening ceremony (Jack 1999).

There are two similar photographs from this period - one by M.S. Chisholm and the other an undated postcard. Both show the completed music bowl and park benches for the audience area with an ornamental pond between the stage and seating area. The eastern side of the park had been recently planted with shrubs in bands along the slopes. The eastern boundary of the park was planted with a row of cypress. The lower slopes and levelled area in the central depression were grassed. A 'whirlygig', a type of roundabout, had been added to the children's playground. The vegetation of the south-west corner of the park was predominantly native. A 1959 aerial photograph shows the boundary plantation of cypresses had grown and provided the park with a well defined edge and that the other shrubs and trees planted on the eastern side had grown. The southwestern area of the park was relatively sparsely planted. This area is now overgrown.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Kingsford Smith Park is of historical significance at a local level for its ability to demonstrate Katoomba community's response to 1930s attitudes toward the provision of parks and playgrounds.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The entry pavilion provides a local landmark due to its location at the highest point of the park nearest the town centre.

The toilet block structure has some significance as an unusual park building which, along with a similar building in Hinkler Park, Katoomba is perhaps unique.
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:

Seek advice about the repair of walling, paths and drainage. Remove self-seeded weed species.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLocal Environmental Plan2005K05407 Oct 05 122 
Heritage study K054   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983K054Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992K054Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Heritage Review Katoomba Leura2001K054Jack, Hubert, Morris, LavelleRIJ; PH; CM Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008K054Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGwen Silvey1996Happy Days: Blue Mountains Guesthouses Remembered
WrittenHoward, Frederick1983Kingsford Smith, Charles (1897-1935), in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol.IX
WrittenJohn Sands1931Sydney and Country Directories, 1895 -

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

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170406

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