Ryde Park Rotunda | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Ryde Park Rotunda

Item details

Name of item: Ryde Park Rotunda
Other name/s: Band Rotunda, Pavilion, Ryde Park Gazebo
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Gazebo
Primary address: 7 Blaxland Road, Ryde Park, Ryde, NSW 2112
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
7 Blaxland Road, Ryde ParkRydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The 1934 Ryde Park band rotunda is of historical significance as part of the development of Ryde Park since 1908, and for its historical role in providing public recreation within the park. The band rotunda has historical association with the Ryde Band founded in 1883 (now the Ryde City Concert Band), and with its designers, Messrs. Summerhayes, Son and Allsop architects. The Rotunda has aesthetic significance as a fine, representative, Inter-war period architect-designed structure, which is a focal point within Ryde Park.
Date significance updated: 20 Aug 12
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.


Designer/Maker: Messrs. Summerhayes, Son and Allsop architects
Construction years: 1933-1934
Physical description: Ryde Park, which occupies approximately 7.7 hectares, is located immediately south of Ryde Public School, near the Ryde town centre. The Park is obscured from view by the Ryde Bowling Club and screening trees. The Rotunda is the only listed heritage item within Ryde Park. The Rotunda is located on the western side of the Park, not far from Argyle Avenue, within a dense group of trees. In 1943 (from the 1943 aerial photo), the park was then sparsely vegetated, with an avenue of trees planted to the east of the rotunda. Since the 2006 Ryde Park Plan of Management was prepared, the area around the Rotunda has been cleared and paved, and new paths installed, creating a better context for the Rotunda,

The Band Rotunda is a simple brick octagonal structure, set within the grounds of Ryde Park. The pyramidal roof is clad in terracotta tiles and has boxed eaves and features a tall pointed finial. The Band Rotunda is constructed of face brickwork with a dichromatic brick diaper pattern below sill level. Openings are segmental arches with a toothed brick head detail. Each corner is adorned with a painted medallion. Concrete steps access the Rotunda, which has perimeter timber seating. The ceiling is lined with radial tongue and grooved timber boards.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:15 Aug 12
Modifications and dates: June 2009: the floor and surrounds of the rotunda were renewed with new paving, and removal of vegetation close to the rotunda,
Current use: Bandstand
Former use: Bandstand


Historical notes: AREA HISTORY
Aboriginal people inhabited the Sydney basin for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. The northern coastal area of Sydney was home to the Guringai people, western Sydney was home to the Dharug clans, and southern Sydney was inhabited by the Dharawal clans. The Guringai lived primarily along the foreshores of the harbour, and fished and hunted in the waters and hinterlands of the area. All clans harvested food from their surrounding bush. Self-sufficient and harmonious, they had no need to travel far from their lands, since the resources around them were so abundant, and trade with other tribal groups was well established. The British arrival in 1788 had a dramatic impact on all of the Sydney clans. Food resources were quickly diminished by the invaders, who had little understanding of the local environment. As a result, the Aboriginal people throughout the Sydney Basin were soon close to starvation. The Sydney clans fought back against the invaders, but the introduction of diseases from Europe and Asia, most notably smallpox, destroyed over half the population. The clearing of land for settlements and farms displaced local tribes and reduced the availability of natural food resources, leaving Aboriginal people reliant on white food and clothing. The French surgeon and pharmacist Rene Primavere Lesson, who visited Sydney in 1824, wrote: "the tribes today are reduced to fragments scattered all around Port Jackson, on the land where their ancestors lived and which they do not wish to leave." (Information taken from City of Ryde Aboriginal Site Management Report, Aboriginal Heritage Office, 2011).

In the early years of European settlement of Sydney, the Ryde area was found to be highly suitable for farming and orchards, and early colonial land grants to marines were given to encourage agriculture. In January 1792 land in the area which extended from Dundas to the Lane Cove River along the northern bank of the river, was granted to eight marines. The area was named by Governor Phillip the “Field of Mars”, Mars being the ancient Roman God of war, named to reflect the military associations of the land grantees. Two of these land grants were made in the modern area of the suburb of Ryde. Isaac Archer and John Colethread each received 80 acres of land on the site of the present Ryde-Parramatta Golf Links (now in West Ryde).

These grants were followed soon after by grants to ten emancipated convicts in February 1792, the land being further to the east of the marine’s grants, in the area now central to Ryde. Most of the grants were small, from 30 to 100 acres. This area was called Eastern Farms or the Eastern Boundary. By 1794 the name Eastern Farms had given way to Kissing Point, a name believed to have originated from the way in which heavily laden boats passing up the Parramatta River bumped or ‘kissed’ the rocky outcrop which extends into the river at today’s Kissing Point. Further grants were issued in 1794 and 1795, gradually occupying most of the foreshores between Meadowbank and Gladesville. Some of the grants were at North Brush, north of the Field of Mars settlement, in the area of Brush Farm and Eastwood.

Much later these were bought by John Macarthur, Gregory Blaxland and the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The district remained an important orcharding area throughout the 19th century.

The land on which Ryde House (now Willandra) was built was part of the emancipist John Small's 1794 grant and was acquired by James Devlin in 1828 from Thomas Small, James' step-father. James Devlin (1808-1875) was born in NSW, the son of Irish exile Arthur Devlin and his colonial-born wife Priscilla Squire. Devlin was originally a wheelwright, and later became a successful developer and contractor. James Devlin was a warden of St Anne's Church, Ryde and also a trustee for many years, and a Trustee of the Field of Mars Common, Devlin was instrumental in advocating for the proclamation of Ryde as a municipality and was one of the first Ryde aldermen in 1871. Devlin's Creek and Devlin Street are named after James Devlin. (Pollen, 1996).

About 1840 the name Ryde began to be used in the locality, with Devlin's 1841 subdivision being the earliest documented use of this name. Megan Martin has shown that the names Ryde and Turner Street were both chosen by James Devlin to honour the new Anglican Minister, Rev. George Turner, whose wife was a native of the English Ryde. Devlin and his neighbour, James Shepherd, had some 40 lots surveyed in a subdivision they named the Village of Ryde, with Devlin's 'East Ryde' facing St. Anne's Church and Shepherd's 'West Ryde' facing the road to Parramatta.

Devlin designed and began building the house now known as "Willandra" in 1841 on the old Small's farm and the Devlin family moved into the house in 1845. At that time it was called Ryde House.

Known as Salter's paddock, Ryde Park was opened in 1908. Ryde Park has provided facilities for sports such as lawn bowls, football, tennis, cricket and hockey, and has also been the venue for exhibitions such as the Poultry and Canine Societies' Shows in 1922 and the Gladesville Horticultural Society Show in 1932. The Rotunda was erected in Ryde Park in 1934 for Ryde Council by a Mr. M. Herbert of Chatswood at a cost of 350 pounds. Messrs. Summerhayes, Son and Allsop were the architects (these architects also designed the Ryde Bowling Club clubhouse in Ryde Park around the same time). The tender for constructing the Band Rotunda and Bowling Club clubhouse was reported as having been accepted by Ryde Council in December 1933 (Sydney Morning Herald, 26 December 1933, page 2 "Among the Councils" column, section on Ryde).

The Rotunda was officially opened on 4 June 1934 by the Minister for Local Government (Mr. Spooner). The opening of the Rotunda was held on the "King's Birthday" in conjunction with a sports display (Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 1934, page 17). At the opening ceremony, Mr. H. Bernard, a trustee of the band, stated that the Ryde Band was the oldest in New South Wales, and would celebrate its golden jubilee in 1935. The Ryde Band was founded in 1883, but has lapsed twice since then, and is now known as the Ryde City Concert Band (rccb.org.au).

A Ryde Park Plan of Management was prepared in 2006, and following the recommendations of the Plan of Management, the Rotunda was restored and its vicinity opened up in 2009, with a new floor and surrounds to the Rotunda designed by artists Milne and Stonehouse combining black and rose granite in a pattern reflecting the entangled shadow of wisteria branches (www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Community/Arts+and+Culture/Ryde+Park+Rotunda).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing Community-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Community Development-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The 1934 band rotunda is of historical significance as part of the development of Ryde Park since 1908, and for its historical role in providing public recreation within the park.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The band rotunda has historical association with the Ryde Band founded in 1883 (now the Ryde City Concert Band), and with its designers, Messrs. Summerhayes, Son and Allsop architects.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Rotunda has aesthetic significance as a fine Inter-war period architect-designed structure, which is a focal point within Ryde Park.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
No social significance has been identified.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
No research significance has been identified.
SHR Criteria f)
The rotunda is not rare.
SHR Criteria g)
The rotunda is a fine representative example of an architect-designed inter-war period band rotunda.
Integrity/Intactness: The Rotunda is considered intact, including the path pattern around it.
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:

DOCUMENTATION: Heritage Impact Statement is required by Council to accompany any Development Application for non-minor work. Please consult Council planning staff about proposals and the level of documentation that will be required as early as possible in the process. Note that Council has adopted planning provisions to assist in the making of minor changes that will not have any impact on the significance of properties without the need to prepare a formal application or Heritage Impact Statement. In this case Council must be consulted in writing to confirm the nature of the works. APPROACHES TO MANAGING THE HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ITEM: (Note: the detailed requirements for each item will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The following advice provides general principles that should be respected by all development.) The Band Rotunda should be conserved and its context within Ryde Park respected. The historic nature of the layout of the pathway network in its vicinity and the avenue of trees to the east of the rotunda should be respected. The work undertaken to the context of the Rotunda in 2009 is considered sympathethic. The use of the rotunda for events in Ryde Park is strongly encouraged. The overall form of the building should be retained and conserved and new uses should be restricted to those that are historically consistent and/or able to be accommodated within the existing fabric with minimal physical impact. All significant fabric should be retained and conserved. The setting of the rotunda should be conserved and significant plantings, walls, paths and other landscape elements should be retained in a manner that will not threaten the viability of significant gardens, landscapes or views. The surfaces and materials of the rotunda should be retained, and painted surfaces painted in appropriate colours. Face brickwork should not be painted or coated. Openings should not be enlarged or enclosed.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 201013   
Local Environmental PlanRyde Draft LEP 2011I13   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I1302 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No 10517717 Jan 03 14345

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study1988177Jonathan Falk Planning Consutants P/L Assoc with Rodney Jensen and Assoc P/L  No
Review of 1988 Ryde Heritage Study.2002 Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects.  Yes
Ryde SHI Review Stage 22012 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1934"Band Rotunda Opened", Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 1934, page 11
Written 1934"Sports at Ryde Park" Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 1934, page 17
Written 1933Sydney Morning Herald, 26 December 1933, page 2 "Among the Councils" column, section on Ryde
WrittenClouston Associates2006Ryde Park Plan of Management, January 2006

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: 2340152

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