Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park (under consideration) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park (under consideration)

Item details

Name of item: Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park (under consideration)
Other name/s: Sir David Martin Reserve, HMAS Rushcutter, Naval Depot, Reg Bartley Oval
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Other - Parks, Gardens & Trees
Primary address: New South Head Road, Rushcutters Bay, NSW 2011
Local govt. area: Woollahra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT7321 DP1165813
LOT1 DP554114
LOT2 DP554114
LOT1666R76919DP752011
LOT208R76919DP752011
LOT7039R47337DP752011
LOT7043R76919DP752011
LOT7044R76919DP752011
LOT7045R76919DP752011
LOT7081Part R60097DP752011
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
New South Head RoadRushcutters BayWoollahra  Primary Address
Waratah StreetRushcutters BaySydney  Alternate Address
New Beach RoadDarling PointWoollahra  Alternate Address
Evans RoadRushcutters BaySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park are state significant examples of the reservation of land for public recreation by councils in response to community lobbying. Both demonstrate the importance placed on inalienable and accessible public lands in Sydney from the mid to late-19th century and are amongst the largest harbour reclamation schemes for public recreation undertaken in the history of NSW. This broad expanse of open foreshore land, punctuated with rows of huge Moreton Bay figs form a magnificent southern boundary to this bay-side common, located beside the most densely populated area of Sydney, a place of respite from city life, and an opportunity to enjoy sweeping views of inner Sydney Harbour.

Both parks have historic significance marking the second wave of municipal park creation, part of 95 public parks created between 1863 and 1902 in Sydney, and of 50 created in the four-year lead up to 1888's centenary of the English colony. They reflect the influence of James Jones, Overseer for the Domains who laid out Victoria Park then Wentworth Park, incorporating sports ovals, greens and paths with lines or avenues of trees into the design, which was innovative and reflected practice in England and France in the 1870s. Rushcutters Bay Park was designed by engineer Frederick Augustus (F.A.) Franklin, who also designed Sydney's Centennial Park. Both parks retain their structure and layout, edged by the distinctive late nineteenth-century sandstone seawall, divided in two by the storm-water canal, which formalised a natural water course in the late nineteenth century, and framed by mature Hills and Moreton Bay Figs.

Both parks have played a central role in the evolving landscape of leisure, sports and sports spectating in this densely-populated quarter of the city over the past 150 years and have strong, state significant associations with several sporting events, including the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race since 1945 and the international boxing events hosted at the adjacent Sydney Stadium from 1908. The western half of Rushcutters Bay Park is dominated by the Grandstand and Reg Bartley Oval, which has provided an important recreational facility since 1894, and is a rare surviving example of a grandstand associated with a suburban park.

Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park have research potential to inform our knowledge over Aboriginal-settler contact and possible conflict in the early colonial period and 19th century cultural interactions in inner Sydney, shifting camps and settlement, interactions with colonists and increasing suburbanisation. Both have research potential on early and ongoing Aboriginal resistance to colonialization, lobbying for equal rights and for better living conditions. The role of visiting World Champion heavyweight boxer, African-American Jack Johnson in 1908, his winning fight in the adjacent Sydney Stadium in front of 20,000 people, his meetings with Sydney Aboriginal activists and advocates and influence is but one topic. Rushcutters Bay Park east may retain important archaeological remnants of early colonial rush-cutting skills and implements.

Yarranabbe Park has a strong association with the Navy, from its early international engagements in the Boer War and Boxers Rebellion in China, formed as the NSW Volunteer Naval Brigade, and across the Great War and WW2, with HMAS Rushcutter stationed in the portion of the park now known as Sir David Martin Reserve from its formation in 1911. Training, resting and embarkation took place from this base, where several of the key naval buildings still stand and house continuing naval uses.
Date significance updated: 20 Sep 19
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.

Description

Construction years: 1878-1899
Physical description: This item has four major components, spread across two local government areas (Sydney City and Woollahra):
Rushcutters Bay Park itself straddles and is divided by a major stormwater canal, which runs along the local government boundary between Sydney City and Woollahra Municipal Council government areas. Thus Rushcutters Bay Park is treated below in two separate halves, for purposes of clearer description:

A: Rushcutters Bay Park west (Sydney City Council-run, since 1909, taking over from park trustees prior to that);
B: Rushcutters Bay Stormwater Channel (forming the local government boundary line);
C: Rushcutters Bay Park east (Woollahra Municipal Council-run since 1906, taking over from park Trustees prior to that);
D: Yarranabbe Park (Woollahra Municipal Council-run), including the Sir David Martin Reserve (run by the Royal Navy Sailing Association).

In addition to (A) above, Sydney City Council resumed adjacent Lots 1 & 2 DP 554114 (south-west of the park's Western portion), which were not included in the public reserve created by the 1878 Act of Parliament or the 1885 proclamation of the park by its trustees, in 1924, to include in Rushcutters Bay Park (west). Sydney City Council retains ownership of these two lots. The remainder of Rushcutters Bay Park is Crown Land Public Reserve 500097 (Lot 7231/DP 1165813) with both the City of Sydney and Woollahra Municipal Council as trustees.

Within Rushcutters Bay (the bay's east and south) is a large marina. Servicing that and within adjacent (to its east) Yarranabbe Park are a series of boat and yacht clubs (the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia; Pacific Sailing School; the D'Albora Marinas) who all have club or service buildings and slipways into the bay from its eastern (Yarranabbe Park) side. These private sailing facilities are not included within the curtilage of the proposed heritage listing.

Between these facilities and New Beach Road, Darling Point is the Plantation Reserve, a long, thin (narrow) space chiefly comprised of trees, a public footpath and some grass.


(A-C): Rushcutters Bay Park (whole)
1878 part-resumed, part-reclaimed - about 13 + 14 acres (resumed/reclaimed) (Mayne-Wilson, 2014, xiii).
1885/12/11 - RCB Park, 14 acres 1 rood 3 purchases + original about 13 acres, gazette p. 7924 (Mayne-Wilson, 2014, iii).

Rushcutters Bay Park adjoins Sydney Harbour foreshore on Rushcutters Bay, that same suburb to its west, Darling Point to its east. The park's south-western section is traversed by Waratah Street. The south-eastern section fronts New South Head Road and the back boundaries of a row of buildings also fronting that road.

The park's key characteristic is its generous open space, mainly grassed, with occasional structures forming nodes or points of focus, such as Rushcutters Bay Park East's playing fields with cafe, toilet block and childrens' play area, cluster of boating and yaching clubs and slipways between Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park, Rushcutters Bay Park West's Reg Bartley Oval and grandstand, Tennis courts north and south of Waratah Street, the open grassed pitches east of the storm water canal where informal soccer and football is played, adjoining cafe and toilets, various wide paved paths and seating areas to take in views to the harbour and surrounding suburbs.


A: Rushcutters Bay Park West:
The park's open spaces include more 'formal' grassed pitches used for soccer and football, tennis courts south of Waratah Street and north of Reg Bartley Oval grandstand. Informal landscaped open areas of grass and various wide paved paths are used for strolling, jogging, picnicking and sight-seeing.

The park provides a close-up view of the Cruising Yacht Club and other sailing clubs and D'Albora marina across the bay (in Yarranabbe Park), especially of the assembled competitors for the annual Sydney-Hobart yacht race (SCC, Parks histories, Rushcutters Bay Park).

In the park's south-western corner, south of Waratah Street, are adjacent Lots 1 & 2 DP 554114, which were not included in the public reserve created by the 1878 Act of Parliament or the 1885 proclamation of the park by its trustees. These two lots were resumed by Sydney City Council in 1924, to include in Rushcutters Bay Park (west). Sydney City Council retains ownership of these two lots. Subsequently tennis courts were built on these lots and in the 1950s a kindergarten.

Rushcutters Bay Park West & East Sea Wall:
1878-83 Rushcutters Bay Park (head of the bay) ballast dyke sea wall construction and reclamation. The original ballast dyke wall was superceded by a 1895-1899 vertical sandstone block sea wall, which remains. This wall is built from large rusticated sandstone blocks with a substantial finishing course ith rusticated sides and a rounded upper profile. The blocks are approximately 1m wide. A pedestrian footpath has been built adjacent to the sea wall for the extent of both Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park, wrapping around the rear of Sir David Martin Reserve and D'Albora Marina sites.

Rushcutters Bay Park is on reclaimed land dating from the 1870s. Its creation was a major public work requiring reclamation of a large area of marsh, channeling of the creek and construction of a ballast dyke sea wall - the largest such undertaking at the time. A large plaque on the southern side of the Grandstand in the park's west commemorates the event.

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Sewage Pumping Station no. 18:
This State Heritage Register listed item (01339) comprises a 1902-4 Federation era sewage pumping facility, one of a group of twenty constructed by the state government in direct response to a Typhoid outbreak since the 1870s. It comprises two distinct parts: a superstructure comprising a rectangular single storey loadbearing brick building with a slate roof; and a substructure constructed of concrete which houses machinery and sewage chambers. For details see the separate inventory report (LEP, 2012).

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Tree Plantings (1890s+):
The park's dominant trees are paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Moreton Bay (Ficus macrophylla) and Port Jackson figs (F.rubiginosa). Other prominent trees are Hill's figs (F.microcarpa 'Hillii') along New Beach Road, Moreton Bay figs along New South Head Road and hybrid plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia) around its core sports fields. Lining Waratah Street are a mixture of trees including brush box (Lophostemon confertus) and Queensland lacebark (Brachychiton discolor) (SCLEP, 2012, with additions by Stuart Read).

A rich array of tree species is in the park's north-western corner, including maidenhair trees (Ginkgo biloba), Western Australian peppermint myrtle (Agonis flexuosa), brush box, Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius), Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta), Moreton Bay fig, paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and others (Stuart Read, pers.comm.).

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Grandstand (1894+):
The Grandstand is a two-storey timber framed building with hipped roofs lined externally in corrugated steel. Walls are lined internally and externally with timber weatherboards. The western end of the building contains change rooms at ground floor level plus a large Lunch Room and a smaller change room at first floor level. The eastern side of the building is open and incorporates tiered flooring on which seating is mounted. The two first floor rooms are accessed from the uppermost tier. The Grandstand has two roofs, one above the open spectator area and the other above the section containing change rooms and the so-called Lunch Room. The eaves of the former roof project substantially further than the eaves of the latter roof. Windows are generally timber framed and contain double hung sashes SCLEP, 2012).

Timber balustrading protects the northern and southern sides of the spectator area. Comparison of the balustrade joinery with that shown in photographs taken in 1956 establishes that the joinery is not original (SCLEP, 2012).

Given the ongoing processes of repair and maintenance that have taken place to the building over the years as well as rebuilding that took place after the fires of 1956 and 1957 and the 1992 refurbishment, there is relatively little apparent early fabric visible in the exterior of the building. It is, however, possible that the substantial timber posts and the roof trusses with chamfered timber members on the eastern side of the Grandstand date to 1894, while common brickwork along the lower section of the east, north and south sides of the building may be equally early (SCLEP, 2012).

Rushcutters Bay Park west - tennis courts north of Oval:
A modern kiosk (c.2007-2011) adjoins these tennis courts, which are surrounded by high wire-mesh fencing.

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Reg Bartley Oval (1885+):
There has been a fenced cricket oval wihtin the park since 1885. The timber picket fence around the oval is a distinctive feature of the park (LEP, 2012).

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Amenities Block (fmr. Air-Raid Shelter, 1941):
The Amenities Block is a two-storey building, the base of which was originally the air raid shelter constructed in 1941. Walls are substantial and lined with cement render. Window openings and other modifications to the structure were carried out around 1953 when the building was adapted for use as a Works Depot. It contains staff changing rooms and lavatories plus ancillary spaces. It is understood that the upper storey was constructed around 1992.

The upper storey is a lightweight framed structure with a hipped roof covered externally by corrugated steel and walls lined externally with timber weatherboards. Access to this level is gained via a timber stair at the north eastern end of the building and a narrow verandah extending the full length of the structure. The storey contains a series of rooms used for office purposes and staff amenities. Linings are simple and include vinyl or similar covering floors, plasterboard to walls and ceilings. The latter include cavetto profile cornices (LEP, 2012).

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Ground Toilets (1935):
This utilitarian building, constructed in 1935, consists of a single storey structure with a flat roof and cement rendered walls externally and internally. The floors are also of concrete. Where the render on walls and partitions meets the floors, it is coved for ease of maintenance. Ceilings are lined with fibro or comparable sheet material and joints in the linings are concealed by fine timber battens. The block contains original boarded timber doors and simple timber jambs to toilet cubicles.

Rushcutters Bay Park west - Public Toilet Block (1939):
The Public Toilet Block is a single-storey brick structure located beyond the south-western corner of the Grandstand that was designed in 1939 as a women's convenience. The building is a good example of the Inter War Functionalist style and is distinguished by subtle detailing of the external brick wall surfaces and a remarkably intact interior. Windows, where still in place, consist of permanently vented timber sashes. A finely crafted wrought metal grille protects the entrance to the building. However, the building is in very poor condition the roof slab is sagging and causing bricks to dislodge in a number of places. Cracking in brickwork is particularly evident at the south western corner of the building (LEP, 2012). The building was modified and updated in the 2000s by Sydney City Council.

Rushcutters Bay Park west - tennis courts and childcare centre south of Waratah Street:
2 tennis courts were constructed on Lot 2 DP 554114 by 1929.
In 1952-1953 a kindergarden was built south of Waratah Street, based on 1945 and 1947 plans. This is partly on Lot 1 DP 554114 and partly on the public reserve.
As part of a major park upgrade in 2007-2011, the 2 tennis courts on Lot 2 were reconfigured, to provide 3 courts instead of the former 2, which included demolition of a pre-1948 octagonal kiosk and 1948 small caretaker's cottage on this land.

B: Rushcutters Bay Stormwater Channel (1882-1898):
The Stormwater channel in the middle of the park forms the boundary between the local government areas of the City of Sydney and of Woollahra Municipality. Two pedestrian bridges straddle the canal, the northern-most one near the harbour being wider and more modern. The channel itself is concrete lined. Much of its extent is overhung by vegetation. A mesh fence demarcates it from the adjoining halves of Rushcutters Bay Park.


C: Rushcutters Bay Park east:
The park's southern boundary is marked by significant mature tree plantings such as the Moreton Bay figs (along New South Head Road) from the 1860s onward. Other rainforest species include Port Jackson figs that likely date to the same era. Other species such as paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and Hill's figs (F.microcarpa 'Hillii') likely date from later fashion periods (e.g. the Inter-War era) along New Beach Road.

The park's key characteristic is its open spaces, which include more 'formal' grassed pitches used for soccer and football. Informal landscaped open areas of grass and various wide paved paths are used for strolling, jogging, picnicking and sight-seeing. A path follows the shoreline behind the Sea Wall. Another path bissects the park heading south to New South Head Road. A further footpath follows the line of Hill's and Port Jackson figs along New Beach Road, Darling Point, on its eastern boundary.


D: Yarranabbe Park including the Sir David Martin Reserve (at its southern end):
(c.2.6 ha in size; predominantly a Crown Reserve, under the Crown Lands Act 1989, managed for public recreation, administered by a trust of which Woollahra Municipal Council is trust manager. This includes the Sir David Martin Reserve at the park's southern end, and adjacent boatshed and Sayonara slipways, run by the Royal Navy Sailing Association, but managed (the reserve) by Woollahra Municipal Council, since 2001.

Yarranabbe Park Sea Wall:
This formed a second stage of reclamation and sea wall construction - between 1883 and the early 1900s. The first phase of ballast dyke resumption was completed by 1885 (Land Site Solutions, 2015, 15, 16). This was originally a ballast dyke wall, later replaced by a vertical sandstone sea wall from 1895 to 1899. This later wall was made further out (west) into the bay, enlarging the reclaimed park behind, allowing for a foreshore road and generous public reserve. The northern-most section of sea wall, at Yarranabbe Park's apex, may have been constructed later. This wall is built from large rusticated sandstone blocks with a substantial finishing course ith rusticated sides and a rounded upper profile. The blocks are approximately 1m wide. A pedestrian footpath has been built adjacent to the sea wall for the extent of both Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park, wrapping around the rear of Sir David Martin Reserve and D'Albora Marina sites (WLEP, 2014) through the Plantation Reserve, a long narrow (thin) strip of land, principally grassed, with a public footpath and some trees.

In moving the new sea wall out (west) from the original ballast dyke sea wall, ten small new allotments were established north of the original extent of Rushcutters Bay Park fence. These, on which boat sheds (the first c194) and later yacht club facilities were built, are on land leased from the state of NSW. By 1899, six boatsheds on these ten lots were present and had slipways and jetties, perhaps through or over the original ballast dyke sea wall. Openings were made in the later sea wall after or during its construction to preserve harbour access for the tenants of these allotments (Land Site Solutions, 2015, 26).

The original sea wall extended along the harbour edge continuously from Yarranabbe Park to Rushcutters Bay Park. The existing sea wall has been breached in a number of locations between Yarranabbe Park and Rushcutters Bay Park to allow for the marina activities at D'Albora Marina, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Sydney Sailing School and the Sir David Martin Reserve. Some sections of the sea wall were removed for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Sailing facility (WLEP, 2014).

D'Albora Marina and adjacent yacht and sailing clubs:
The marina at land's edge in fact comprises a cluster of boating and yacht clubs, slipways and marina wharves (the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia; Pacific Sailing School; the D'Albora Marinas) who all have club or service buildings and slipways into the bay), which form the coastline along the southern end of Yarranabbe Park, abutting the north-eastern edge of Rushcutters Bay Park.

New Beach Road:
Adjoining Yarranabbe Park (and Rushcutters Bay Park East) on their east, was originally 'Beach Road' (from New South Head Road to Yarranabbe road) and first appears in a Sands Directory in 1904. Council minutes from 11/11/1902 suggest it had been dedicated by that time (ibid, 2015, 26). The northern section of New Beach Road appears to date from c1935/36 and tree plantings on this section of it were only made after or to coincide with that.

Naval Depot (1902+) / HMAS Rushcutter (until 1968) - 1c New Beach Road, within the Sir David Martin Reserve:
By 1902 the NSW Volunteer Naval Brigade was using land on the southern edge of Yarranabbe Park. It (2 acres, 3 roods) was gazetted for use as a naval recreation ground on 3/8/1904. With formation of the Royal Australian Navy after Federation, in 1911, the site became known as the Sydney Naval Depot.
1910+ a section of Yarranabbe Park Sea Wall was removed to allow for jetty access. This is now called the 'Sayonara Dock'.

In the 1940s the naval recreation ground was being used as a 'parade ground', filled by then with training buildings (including quarters, a ward room and a depth charge training area). These occupied almost half of the park at their greatest extent. The NSW Minister for Lands offered the Commonwealth Government (the Navy) a permissive occupancy of the area for one year from 1/6/1953, subject to removing all structures in that area during that time (ibid, 2015, 39). The bulk of naval buildings were removed from this site (except for a range of structures directly opposite the junction of New Beach Road and Yarranabbe Road, which seem to have been removed c.1968/69 (ibid, 2015, 40).

Sir David Martin Reserve was used as 'HMAS Rushcutter' until 1968 (ibid, 2015, 40). After 1968 all the former navy buildings north of the reserve, in Yarranabbe Park's southern end, had been demolished. From 1966 the boatshed and slipways in the Sir David Martin Reserve have been occupied and used by HMAS Rushcutter and the Royal Navy Sailing Association. The reserve now comprises four historic buildings: One is the drill hall built in the late 19th century and used during the training of the Naval Brigade which saw service during the Boxer Rebellion. Adjacent to it is an extension to the hall. Another is a Federation cottage and a third, the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA) boatshed (Robertson, 1985). A fourth is the Sail Loft, which has seen recent repair and restoration works (Stuart Read, observation, 19/9/2019).

Beyond HMAS Rushcutter, the park opens out into a small car parking area, then grassed open space for the rest of its northern expanse along the harbour. This is fringed by the Sea Wall on the west, and by a line of 1930s Hill's fig (Ficus microcarpa 'Hillii') trees on the eastern, New Beach Road boundary. Tall Californian desert fan palms (Washingtonia robusta) date from 1911 along the park's eastern edge in what became known as the 'Plantation Reserve'. This was approved by the NSW Minister for Lands as a link between the two foreshore parks and gazetted for plantation and access on 31/1/1912. Some fan palms date to the 1930s, as part of a scheme of Port Jackson or Hill's fig trees and Washingtonia palms, interspersed. In the 1930s various active recreation uses occurred in Yarranabbe Park's open space: a golf practice range, hockey fields, several tennis courts, an area reserved for football and provision of a concrete cricket wicket. Beyond the 1930s there is no evidence of active, formal sporting pursuits in this park.

Former Rushcutters Bay Sea Baths:
c1902 a set of sea baths were constructed in Yarranabbe Park, offset from the newly-completed sea wall. By 1904 they were known as the Farmer's Baths and had a separate bathing enclosure for women. The baths were demolished in late 1973-early 1974.
Modifications and dates: Rushcutters Bay Park West:

Rushcutters Bay Stormwater Canal:

Rushcutters Bay Park East:

Yarranabbe Park:
Since the removal of the naval structures from Sir David Martin Reserve in the park's south in the 1960s and removal of its harbour baths in the mid 1970s, very few substantial changes have been made to Yarranabbe Park (Land Site Solutions, 2015, 42).

The site, with Rushcutters Bay Park and Sir David Martin Reserve, were used as the Olympic Sailing Shore Base for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This included Yarranabbe Park being used for car parking and siting of various support structures. It appears that four temporary jetties were constructed through the sea wall during that period, roughly off the centre of the park (ibid, 2015, 43).

Within the Sir David Martin Reserve, there were renovations to the Drill Hall, its extension and Sail Loft (Sir David Martin Reserve, draft plan of management, n.d.). for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games (WLEP, 2014). In 2001 a new public jetty for water taxis and a new pathway along the Yarranabbe Park sea wall were built, with the winding up of the Olympic Coordination Authority (ibid, 2015, 43).
Further information: Yarranabbe Park is Crown Land administered by a trust of which Woollahra Municipal Council is trust manager. (Rushcutters Bay Park is owned by Woollahra Council) (source of information: Woollahra Council Gateway Proposal at DOC16/135817-6).

The seawalls of both Yarranabbe and Rushcutters Bay Park are listed due to an amendment to Woollahra LEP 2014.
Yarranabbe Park itself is not listed on Woollahra LEP 2014.

Sir David Martin Reserve (within Yarranabbe Park) including the former HMAS Rushcutter, comprising the Sayonara slipway, ramps, sea wall, parade ground, drill hall and extension, sail loft, cottage and garden, RANSA boatshed and slipway, flagpole, memorial, plantation reserve, all building interiors and grounds is listed on Woollahra LEP 2014.
The HMAS Rushcutter Slipway is separately listed on Woollahra LEP 2014.

Rushcutters Bay Park East is owned by Woollahra Council. Rushcutters Bay Park West is Crown Land administered by a trust of which Sydney City Council is trust manager.

Rushcutters Bay Park West is listed on Sydney City LEP 2012.
Rushcutters Bay Park Sewage Pumping Station 18 (in Rushcutters Bay Park West) is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.
Rushcutters Bay Park East is not listed on Woollahra LEP 2014.
Current use: Suburban parks and sports facilities, Sydney Water canal, sailing facilities
Former use: Aboriginal land, Chinese market gardens, farm

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. With European occupation of the region from 1788, the impacts on Cadigal and Wangal people and their ways of life were enormous, but there are descendants still living in Sydney today (Sydney City Council, (SCC) LEP).

Rushcutters Bay has historic significance as a site of some 6000 years of Cadigal occupation and seasonal use. It has historic significance as a documented site of early contact and possible conflict between Aboriginal people and settlers. The Cadigal called it Kogerah and its settler name, 'Rushcutters Bay' reflects Aboriginal and settler gathering of rushes here, used respectively for light-weight spears for fishing and thatching settler huts. Settlers were cutting rushes in this bay within weeks following landing in 1788 (Irish, 2019). The marshlands extended for nearly a kilometer, encompassing the entire present-day Rushcutters Bay Park. Aboriginal people retain a strong association with the parklands today (Weir Phillips, 2020, 5).

Yarranabbe Park is thought to be named according to the Eora name for Darling Point (Woollahra LEP). The Aboriginal name of this point was 'Yarranabbe' (Woollahra LEP (WLEP, 2014). Yaranabe is the Aboriginal name for Darling Point - possibly after a Sydney-based tribe of that name (spelt Yeranibe by David Collins) or after an Aboriginal person, Yeranibe, who assimilated into the European settlement during the early days of the colony (Britten, 1995). The indigenous inhabitants comprised at least two clans, the Cadigal and the Birrabirragal. There are still descendents living in the area (WLEP, 2014).

After the devastating 1789 smallpox outbreak, local Aboriginal populations regrouped, continuing to live in camps including in nearby Barcom Glen and downstream on public land at Rushcutters Bay, throughout the 19th century. Residents caught fish, gathered shellfish, sold shell-encrusted ornaments and wooden implements in Sydney to get other things they needed. Ceremonies continued to take place until at least the 1870s. Known local characters included Jack Harris and William Warrell, both of whom died in 1863 (Irish, Griffin, 2019). There have been Aboriginal settlements at Rushcutters Creek on what is now known as Rushcutters Bay Park (SCC, LEP listing).

Governor Phillip's first home (in Sydney Cove) was an elaborate tent. The marines used tents. Soon the foreshore and forest gave up materials for other, more or less permanent, structures. Cabbage tree palms were easily felled, their soft trunks used for walls and their foliage for roofs. Tall, strong rushes ideal for thatching and for bedding for horse stables were collected from the cove to the east, which the Gadigal called Kogerah and the colonists would know simply as Rushcutters Bay (Hoskins, 2009, 27; Pollon, 1990, 232), were rushes that could be cut and thatched (ibid, 2009, 27).

Relations with the harbour people in the first year (of colonisation, 1788) had oscillated between 'sociable' exchanges, such as the shaving sessions, and violence. Some, like the killing of the convict rush-cutters in the cove that provided thatching materials, were probably related to retribution. The dead men, in that instance, had apparently stolen a canoe (ibid, 2009, 41). The area was used by the first European settlers to collect rushes, hence the name (its swampy land was covered with tall, strong rushes, suitable for thatching huts and bedding for horse stables (Pollon, 1990, 232), but contrary to popular belief it was not the site of the murder of William Oakey and Samuel Davis in 30 May 1788. The site where they were killed was probably at Darling Harbour (SCC, parks histories, Rushcutters Bay Park).

Blackburn Cove, later Rushcutters' Bay:
Originally (the settlers) called (the bay) Blackburn Cove, honouring the Master of HM Armed Tender Supply. The creek flowing into this cove has two arms: Barcom Glen rising in present day Darlinghurst and Glenmore Brook, rising in Woollahra and which passed through lower Paddington. The valley also carried the romantic name Lacrozia Vale, believed to have been given by Major Sir Thomas Mitchell when he lived at adjacent Craigend in Darlinghurst (WMC, Local History Fast Facts/Lacrozia Vale & Rushcutters Bay entries), as the landscape reminded him of Spain.

South Head Road:
The South Head Road was originally cleared as a 15 feet (4.5 m) public way in 1803 by Surgeon John Harris and roughly on the line of present Old South Head Road/Oxford Street. It was improved in 1811 by 21 soldiers of Macquarie's 73rd Regiment over 10 weeks, the work undertaken through subscriptions. The road, 7 miles long (11.3 km) with 11 bridges, was rebuilt in 1820 by Major Druitt. Until 1854, South Head Road as a road terminated at the Signal Station, then it was extended to Watsons Bay (WMC, Local History Fast Facts online, South Head Road).

Stepping stones across the stream connected with a path that led to Darling Point at low tide (Pollon, 1990, 232).

Early land grants:
The first land grant in the area was to Thomas West in 1810 to establish a water mill. His son Obediah West described 'a beautiful running creek of pure clear water the land about being thickly timbered with splendid specimens of the mahogany, the blackbutt, the blood tree and the red gum About 200 yards from the mill a large swamp commenced and ran down to where Bentleys Bridge stands it swarmed with aquatic birds of every description - red bills, water hens, bitterns, quail, frequently all kinds of ducks and when in season, snipe, landrails, and at all times bronze-winged pigeons Brush wallabies were also very numerous and the head of the swamp was a great resort for dingoes.' (SCC, ibid).

Rushcutters Bay Park has historic associations with farmer William Thomas and family, recipient of the first official local land grant, in 1817, of the flat land near the bay (Armstrong, 2019).

Aboriginal life around Darling Point after 1822:
In 1903 Mrs Elizabeth Phillip, then aged 96, recalled that in her childhood:
'The blacks in that time were numerous, and I have often seen hundreds of them camped on what is now known as Darling Point; [they were] as kind people as ever lived. Whenever they speared fish they used to bring us some.'
Yerinibe or Yeranabe (Yeranibe Goruey), though born a Burramattagal (member of the Parramatta clan), was said to be 'King' of the Darling Point 'tribe' in the 1830-40 period. He is commemorated by Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point and Yarranabbe Park, Rushcutters Bay (Vincent Smith, 2011).

Market Gardens (1830s-70s):
The area was used for (increasingly after 1850s, Chinese) market gardens from the 1830s to the 1870s (Pollen, 1990, 232) 1900s (Armstrong, 2019) by the Ridley family and others. This area of market gardens was the main source of vegetables for the colonial settlement (ibid, 2019; ibid, 2015, 3; WLEP, 2014).

Reclamation & Reservation for a Public Park (1878-83):
In 1833, land at Mrs Darling's Point (Yarranabbe) was subdivided by the Surveyor-General in a series of 'villa allotments'. Various grand properties were developed in the next several decades across (now) Darling Point, including its western peninsula slopes, facing Rushcutters Bay (ibid, 2015, 4).

In 1839 a stone arch bridge was built on New South Head Road to span Rushcutters Bay Creek. From 1840 a carriage drive was proposed along Darling Point's (then) western foreshore. In combination with early consideration of development responses to the poor condition of the swamp areas at the head of Rushcutters Bay came access planning ideas in the mid-19th century for subdivisions that were proposed for the large land holdings on Darling Point. To supplement access along the peninsula's Rushcutters Bay frontage. This 'carriage drive' was first proposed to be developed in sync with subdivisions of the Glenhurst Estate and subdivisions at the tip of Darling Point. It would have conneted the original (stone) bridge over the creek behind Rushcutters Bay swepping north the full extent of the eastern side of the bay. This proposal was never built.

Mid-1800s consideration by surveyors was being given to sea access along the bay's eastern side and development of public wharves from the north-western tip of Darling Point to about half way along the point's western foreshore. Several private wharves protruded into the bay from grand properties near the north-west corner of Darling Point peninsula. A public wharf is noted on a map of 1840-59 by EJH Knapp, but early photographs do not seem to show it. The 'public wharf' where the Government Road (now Yarranabbe Road) meets the bay does appear to have been developed and a public wharf seems to have remained in much the same location after the reclamation works and creation of the reserve (Insite Land Solutions, 2015, 3, 5).

In 1842 Sydney Town was incorporated. The creek flowing into the western side of Rushcutters Bay was fixed as the municipal boundary and remains the local government boundary today (ibid, 2014).

In 1875 Thomas Garrett, Minister for Lands, requested that action be taken to reclaim the marshlands at Rushcutters Bay (Weir Phillips, 2020, 5). A petition was signed by 500 residents of Rushcutters Bay urging the Minister to undertake reclamation to the low water mark for the purpose of a public reserve. At this time there were complaints that the swamp area was unhealthy and unsightly (ibid, 2014). Silt dumping commenced at Rushcutters Bay in c1877 (ibid, 2015, 3).

In 1878 an Act of Parliament reserved and dedicated 6 acres here for public recreation and to allow reclamation work (Pollon, 1990, 232). That Act stated that the provisions of the Public Lands Act 1854 were to be applied to both the reclaimed and resumed lands. Lands listed to be resumed were for the purpose of creating a road as access to the park (ibid, 2014, 9). Part was resumed land and part was reclaimed land - about 13 acres and 14 acres (respectively)(Mayne-Wilson, 2014, xiii).

Park establishment (1878-99):
Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park are both typical of parks on reclaimed land from the 1880s (Pollon, 1990, 232). This was a major public work requiring reclamation of a large area of marsh, channelling the creek and constructing a ballast dyke sea wall (SCC, ibid). Reclamation works were completed in 1883 at a cost of (Pounds)20,000 (SCC, ibid), a very large sum for the time.

The reclamation scheme from which both parks were created was possibly an archetype in design and detailing for similar and later maritime infill projects in other locations throughout the Sydney basin and across New South Wales.

By 1883 initial work on Rushcutters Bay Park was complete. Work to continue the original stone dyke wall to the north of Rushcutters Bay Park (through what is now Yarranabbe Park) was underway that year (ibid, 2015, 3). Yarranabbe Park was formed as a result of this second phase of reclamation works along the bay's eastern side (the site if the (this) park
appearing to not have been included in the Rushcutters Bay Act of 1878 (ibid, 2015, 10).

The park was proclaimed under the Public Works Act 1884 on 11 December 1885 by trustees (WLEP, 2014; SCC communication, received 13/12/2019). In 11/12/1885 Rushcutters Bay Park comprised 14 acres, 1 rood and 3 purchases - from an original area of about 13 acres (i.e. the balance was reclaimed land). The Government Gazette page was 7924 (Mayne-Wilson, 2014, iii).

The first phase of ballast dyke edged resumption along the bay's eastern foreshore was complete by 1885 (having started in 1883). Existing (private) sea walls were present at the base of properties on the north-western tip of Darling Point (ibid, 2015, 16). These were not resumed nor reclaimed. The ballast dyke sea wall laid down from c.1881 was not in place long when consideration was being given in the late 1880s and early 1890s to formalisation of a harbour retention barrier in Rushcutters Bay, through development of a vertical sea wall. Planning and installation of the dyke wall and the vertical stone sea wall seem to have crossed over to some extent (WLEP, 2014, 17).

Rushcutters Bay Park was designed by engineer Frederick Augustus (F.A.) Franklin, who won the design competition for the park in 1886. Franklin was the same person who designed Sydney's Centennial Park (The Daily Telegraph, 29/6/1886, 5).

At the time of the park (public reserve)'s proclamation, a small parcel of land was not included in it, to the southwest of the informal path that would later be formally included as an extension to Waratah Street. This parcel of land faced Roslyn Street (now Roslyn Gardens), and included a narrow building, near the property's western boundary. This is likely to have been a residence, as a tennis court was constructed on this land soon after. This property included Lots 1 and 2 DP 554114 (Sydney City Council communication, received 13/12/2019). This land would later be resumed by Sydney City Council and integrated into the park, as tennis courts and, later in the 1940s, a kiosk and caretaker's cottage, and in the 1950s, a kindergarten added to it.

From 1885-94 three boat houses and skids were constructed on the bay (ibid, 2015, 3). In 1889 the water frontage area (around these boat houses and skids) (in Yarranabbe Park today) was designated as a public landing place and a slip provided for public use (WLEP, 2014). Late 1800s maps regularly show the eastern foreshore of Rushcutters Bay as a 'public landing place' - presumably representing the intention that the reclaimed area abutting a new foreshore roadway would be a multi-purpose marine/land junction to service visitors to and residents of Darling Point (ibid, 2015, 16).

An 1891 deputation of local residents pushed for resumption of a further strip of land on the eastern edge of Rushcutters Bay Park to extend the (existing) reserve. With the outbreak of bubonic plague in Sydney in 1900, measures were introduced by the NSW government to upgrade attention to public health issues. As part of the official response the government moved to resume (compulsorily purchase) private property along the eastern side of Darling Harbour, and in Walsh Bay, The Rocks and Millers Point. These areas were deemed particularly susceptible to disease and most in need of cleaning up and replanning (ibid, 2015, 15). Various other deputations were made to the Public Works Department in the mid-1890s regarding the necessity of continuing and completing reclamation works here (ibid, 2015, 20)

There were two phases of reclamation along the bay's eastern foreshore. With establishment of the original ballast dyke wall at the head of the bay (Rushcutters Bay Park), a ballast dyke alignment was proposed along the eastern foreshore (where Yarranabbe Park now is). This was laid out from 1883. Its alignment was planned to be adjusted outward (west) into the bay, as described on a c.1889 plan. It appears that this relocation of the ballast dyke wall did not happen, as the existing (vertical, sandstone) sea wall was built in its place (ibid, 2015, 18). This further-west extension was clearly made for the purpose of allowing space for a foreshore road and a generous public recreation reserve (ibid, 2015, 19).

Both parks are representative of the second wave of municipal park creation, part of 95 parks created between 1863 and 1902 in Sydney and 50 in the four-year lead up to 1888's centenary of the colony.

James Jones, Overseer for the Domains and in charge of all outside work, penned a design and drawing between 15 and 31 May 1886 'for a competitive plan for a new park at Rushcutters Bay' (State Records A02/8558, 77). This was a period when Wentworth Park was still being laid out under Jones. He had attended the opening of Sefton Park, Liverpool (U.K.) with Edouard Andrew, the designer of that park, in 1872. What was innovative about that park was its incorporation of sports into the new design - cricket, croquet, etc. In Australia, Jones was responsible for laying out of what was the second phase of park-making - first Victoria Park (1877-8) and then Wentworth Park, incorporating ovals, greens and paths (little of this survives in its early form), before being transferred to being Overseer of the Domain in 1884. The avenues of figs, large open spaces (greens), a fenced oval for sports is representative of what was a new approach, to incorporate active and passive leisure in suburban parks (Colleen Morris, pers.comm., 20/9/2019).

Almost immediately after Rushcutters Bay Park was proclaimed in 1885 encroachments began to occur. In 1892 (Pollon, 1990, 232 says 1894) a tram depot and powerhouse were built to winch the cable trams up the steep ascent to Edgecliff. In 1897 a fountain was erected on the south-western side of the oval to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee (SCC, ibid). The powerhouse was later used as a garage for trolley buses (Pollon, 1990, 232).

Plans were drawn up in c.1895 for a new sea wall to replace the ballast dyke wall. The new wall was built in chiselled and staggered sandstone blockwork (ibid, 2015, 20). The existing Rushcutters Bay Sea Wall was, to some extent, built in conjunction with the completion of the Rushcutters bay Stormwater channel no. 84, which was completed over the period of 1882-1898 (ibid, 2015, 21).

Boat sheds and launching ramps:
Ten lots of land were created north of Rushcutters Bay Park (north-eastern tip) by moving the new (vertical) sea wall out from the alignment of the ballast dyke original sea wall. These lots, on which boat sheds (the first appear to have been built in c1894) and later yacht club facilities were built, are leased from the state (ibid, 2015, 26). By 1899, six boatsheds were sitting on the ten lots of land and these had slipways and jetties. It seems these may have bone through or over the original ballast dyke sea wall prior to the existing sea wall being built. Openings were made in the existing sea wall after or during its construction to preserve harbour access for the allotment tenants. The Naval Base, to the north of these lots also created (its own) harbour access through the sea wall, which meant removing a section of wall. Parts of the sea wall in these locations have been patched with concrete and brick (ibid, 2015, 26).

Aboriginal resilience and occupation:
The first recorded settler complaint about Aboriginal people was in Rushcutters Bay in 1895, trying to move Aboriginal people on. It failed. Darling Point Governess Harriet Baker was part of persuading Aboriginal residents of the bay to move to La Perouse in the 1890s, perhaps in response to further complaints, with the help of the Police and (from 1881) the Aborigines Protection Board, under its first director, George Thornton. Well into the 20th century, La Perouse Aboriginal people retained knowledge of former settlements at Rushcutters Bay and cross-cultural relationships between them (Irish, Griffin, 2019).

Given increasing government and religious intervention, La Perouse's relative growth can appear to be the result of a deliberate policy of relocation. Historian Maria Nugent describes La Perouse in this period as a place 'where Aboriginal people from other metropolitan camps had relocated in the 1880s and 1890s when forced out of the city,' though she notes that Aboriginal people reject this idea of relocation in their own narratives about the settlement's origins. In a sense, both views capture the complex dynamics at play, as Aboriginal people had limited alternatives but were nonetheless rarely forced to move. Authorities and the public were also increasingly scrutinising Aboriginal settlements in the 1890s. As large, old estates were subdivided and suburban Sydney's population increased rapidly, a growing public awareness of the Aborigines Protection Board and the La Perouse settlement fostered a view that there was a designated place for Aboriginal people in Sydney and an official process for getting them there. Settlements used for decades without public outcry were now the subject of complaints to the Board, which was already monitoring them through police inspections and an annual census (Irish, 2017).

This increasing harassment in other areas made the security and stability of La Perouse more attractive, but the Board and police could not stop Aboriginal people from returning to other settlements on public land if they desired. In 1895, the Board acted on resident complaints about several dozen Aboriginal people from La Perouse, Vaucluse, the Shoalhaven district and the mid-north coast who had assembled at the public reserve at Rushcutters Bay. Recognising their limited powers, the police were 'loath to move in the matter,' according to the Evening News, and only acted when Aboriginal people shifted beyond public land to colonise the nearby ruins of a former chapel on the privately owned Mona Estate. When the police ordered them to move, they simply moved 'a few yards away,' back to the public reserve, and when asked to leave the area, they 'could not be got to view the matter in the same light.'. The police told the Board that they had persuaded the residents to 'return to their own districts,' but the Evening News reported that they had simply moved east to Rose Bay and 'were sure to return at night.' Board census records show that Aboriginal people continued to use Rushcutters Bay until 1899, but it seems that all had left by the turn of the century. The closure of the Rushcutters Bay settlement was later recalled by Trescoe Rowe, whose parents owned the Mona Estate at the time. Born in 1891, his childhood memory was that the Aboriginal residents, including his governess Harriet Baker (1860-1951), had been 'removed' to La Perouse, but there was more to it than that (Irish, 2017).

Baker was an active member of an evangelical movement called the Christian Endeavour Union, which comprised a number of societies associated with particular churches. Jean Watson and Reverend William Allen of the Petersham Congregational Church had a keen interest in evangelising to Aboriginal people. With the encouragement of the Aborigines Protection Association, they started working at La Perouse in 1893, with Lizzie Malone's son Charles Golden as secretary. By 1895 they had built a church and established the La Perouse Aborigines Mission Committee, which met at Harriet Baker's home in Paddington. Knowing this, it seems most likely that the few remaining Aboriginal residents at Rushcutters Bay were not forced to leave by the authorities, but were persuaded by Baker and her Aboriginal associates to make the permanent move to La Perouse (Irish, 2017).

Sewage Pumping Station No. 18:
With construction of the Bondi ocean outfall sewer, low-lying suburbs needed pumping stations and one was constructed here in 1899 (SCC, ibid).

Beach Road, later New Beach Road:
Beach Road (from New South Head Road to Yarranabbe Road) first appears in a Sands Directory in 1904. This directory listed various boat builders and proprietors and the Naval Station. Woollahra Council minutes of 11/11/1902 suggest that Beach Road had been dedicated by that time (ibid, 2015, 26).

Cricket (later Reg Bartley) Oval and Grandstand (Rushcutters Bay Park West):
The fill on which the sports oval was built was the foundations of the Old General Post Office which was demolished in the 1860s. The oval was completed and fenced by 1889 (SCC, ibid).

By 1894, paths around the southern side of the cricket ground were fenced and a grandstand constructed on its east side. However, a survey undertaken by the Department of Lands in 1894 shows a small grandstand on the west side of the cricket ground in the same location as the building that stands today. Waratah Street had been extended past the southern side of the cricket ground by this time. Sydney City Council records indicate the original grandstand was built by 1894 on the north side of the oval. In 1926 another grandstand was built, which was damaged by fires in 1956 and 1957. The oval was named in 1959 in recognition of Reg Bartley's 18 years service as alderman and five as Lord Mayor. The grandstand was renovated in 1992 and featured in the Australian films "The Sum of Us" (1994) and "Babe" (1996)(SCC, ibid.).

In 1895 plans were drawn up for a new sea wall (vertical and of sandstone), which remains today. c1895-99 the existing sea wall (vertical sandstone) was built around Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park (ibid, 2015, 3). In the case of Yarranabbe Park the new sea wall was considerably further into the bay than the original stone dyke wall, making for a more generous public reserve and new road (New Beach Road)(ibid, 2015).

In 1910 the then trustees of Rushcutters Bay Park were removed, and the grounds were vested in the Municipal Council of Sydney and the Council of the Municipality of Woollahra as trustees of Crown Land. Two additional parcels of land now known as Lots 1 & 2 DP 554114 (to the south-west of the park, near Waratah Street) were resumed by Sydney City Council in 1924 for inclusion in Rushcutters Bay Park. The City still retains ownership of these parcels of land. The rest of Rushcutters Bay Park is Crown Land Public Reserve 500097 (Lot 7231/ DP 1165813) with Sydney City and Woollahra Municipal Councils as trustees (Sydney City Council communique, received 13/12/2019).

During August 1926, the Deputy Town Clerk recommended a grandstand be demolished because of its dilapidated condition and as it was little used (which may have been contingent on its condition). The motion was subsequently withdrawn. However, a simple scheme was documented the following month. It consisted of a linear open stand located at the southern side of the oval. The drawing describing the stand also shows what appears to have been an open stand on the eastern side of the oval with a notation requiring its demolition). This is probably the structure the Deputy Town Clerk was referring to in August. Although evidence is inconclusive, the drawing suggests the grandstand on the western side of the oval may have been extended at some time after 1894.

In November 1926, Council approved the demolition of the old structure and erection of the new stand. Suitable timber from the old grandstand was to be reused in the new structure. It was estimated that the building would cost (Pounds)227. In fact, it turned out to cost about (Pounds)21 more. This structure, if built, no longer exists. During 1929, the first documented alterations to the Grandstand were carried out, to what was described as the luncheon room. This space was probably the large northern room on the first-floor level of the building.

By 1929, two tennis courts were constructed by Sydney City Council on Lot 2 DP 554114 (south of Waratah Street), additional to the existing tennis courts north of the cricket oval (nearer Rushcutters Bay)(Sydney City Council communique, received 13/12/2019).

Tree plantings:
Rushcutters Bay Park's significant tree plantings such as the Moreton Bay figs along New South Head Road contribute to its aesthetic value and reflect increased popular taste for using such rainforest species from the 1860s onward through influential Sydney Botanic Gardens Directors, Charles Moore and (after the mid-1890s) Joseph Maiden. Other rainforest species used in the park include Port Jackson figs that likely date to the same era (Stuart Read, pers. comm.). Rushcutters Bay Park east's lines of mature plane trees and Port Jackson figs define its major open spaces and provide beauty and protection for pedestrians. Yarranabbe Park's and Rushcutters Bay Park east's row of Hill's figs along New Beach Road define both parks' edge and reflect periods of interest in providing shade, amenity and beauty in public parks, both prior to 1890 and in the inter-war era of the 20th century.

In 1911 a row of Californian desert fan palms (Washingtonia robusta) was planted in a 15' wide strip of land behind Beach Road Reserve (Yarranabbe Park's) boat sheds, in what became known as the Plantation Reserve. This reserve was intended as a link between the two foreshore parks (WLEP, 2014). It was gazetted for plantation on 31/1/1912. The name 'New Beach Road' appears on some plans from c1908 (ibid, 2015, 30, 33). Another Californian desert fan palm is within the Sir David Martin Reserve, west of the cottage (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 19/9/2019).

Other tree species in the park along New Beach Road date from the Inter-War and post-World War 2 era (Stuart Read, pers. comm.). The Hill's figs date from the 1930s - the head gardener's report in Woollahra Council minutes of 10/3/1930 state that Beach Road Reserve would be planted with washingtonia palms interspersed with Port Jackson or Hill's figs in that season (ibid, 2015, 33). Other tree species in Rushcutters Bay Park West such as paperbarks (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and Hill's figs along New Beach Road may date to the 1960s (Stuart Read, pers.comm.).

In 1897 a fountain was erected on the south-western side of Rushcutters Bay Park West oval to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee (SCC, ibid).

Rushcutters Bay Ocean Baths, c.1902-74):
In the early 1900s, the Sydney Harbour Trust approved construction of a number of public bathing enclosures along the harbour foreshores, reflecting the increased popularity of bathing as a pastime and rising fear of shark attack. The earliest harbour enclosure established in Woollahra was the c1902 Rushcutters Bay Baths, anchored off the eastern side of the Bay, north of the naval complex (what is now Yarranabbe Park). By 1904 they were known as the Farmer's Baths and had a separate bathing enclosure for women (ibid, 2015, 27). In 1904 the first swimming sports were held in these baths (WLEP, 2014) by Ashcam School (ibid, 2015, 27). This enclosure fell into disrepair and was eventually dismantled in 1974 (WMC, Local History Fast Facts, Baths: Harbour).

Rushcutters Bay reclaimed land made part of Woollahra, later to Sydney City Councils:
In 1906 proclamation by NSW Governor Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson declared that under the Local Government (Shires) Act, 1905 the reclaimed foreshores of Rushcutters Bay would be added to the Municipality of Woollahra (WMC website, administrative history).

The resumption works at Rushcutters Bay preceded the 1908 Foreshore Resumption Scheme, under which most Crown-owned foreshore in the Woollahra local government area were acquired and provided for public use (ibid, 2015, 15).

More welcome additions to the park (Rushcutters Bay Park west) were croquet lawns in the 1900s, which were converted to tennis courts in 1923 (SCC, ibid).

Initially Rushcutters Bay Park west fell under the jurisdiction of trustees, but during 1909 came under the control of the Municipal Council of Sydney. This followed from a deputation to the Minister of Lands that took place after representatives of Woollahra Municipal Council suggested to Sydney's Council that all recreation reserves should be under the control of municipal authorities.

White City and tennis, Rushcutters Bay:
Just before the First World War White City, home of the Lawn Tennis Association, was established on former Chinese market garden land south of Rushcutters Bay Park and New South Head Road. On these courts, many famous players have made their debut. Next door to the west is the Sydney Grammar School's Weigall Sports Ground, named in honour of A.B. Weigall, an early master of the school (Pollon, 1990, 232).

In the 1920s pulling boats could be hired from Rushcutters Bay, at 2 shillings an hour, by day-trippers who rowed out to Clarke and Shark Islands for a day's picnic, or a first-class view of a harbour regatta. Steamers also called at these islands on Saturdays and holidays. 'Every convenience for visitors' was the motto of the area around Rushcutters Bay (ibid, 1990, 232-3).

Naval associations with Yarranabbe Park:
What is now called Sir David Martin Reserve in Yarranabbe Park's south has historic associations with the NSW Volunteer Naval Brigade from the 1890s until 1907 and after formation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1911, named HMAS Rushcutter it was the Sydney Naval Depot doing reserve training until 1968. The RAN Research Laboratory (RANRL) and RANSA remained occupants of the site, with the RANRL moved out in 1984.

Prior to 1901 the Naval forces of New South Wales were based at Fort Macquarie on Bennelong Point. With Federation pending the colonial government decided to relocate those forces and in February 1901 the site at Rushcutters Bay was selected. At that time part of the major component of the force, the NSW Naval Brigade, was serving with the China Field Force, based in Peking (now Beijing) during the Boxer Uprising. On 1/3/1901 NSW transferred its naval forces to the (new) Federal Government, as components of the new Commonwealth Naval Forces (CNF). The drill hall and attached office building were moved to this site from Fort Macquarie and the boatshed and cottage were newly constructed. On 30/9/1901 training of the Naval Brigade, including men recently returned from China, was resumed as a component of the Commonwealth Naval Militia (RAN plaque, 2009, in memorial on site in Sir David Martin Reserve).

In 1910 the Navy Works Department asked permission to remove part of the seawall for jetty access (in what is now the Sir David Martin Reserve, Yarranabbe Park)(ibid, 2015, 3). The Royal Australian Navy had expressed interest in using the reclaimed eastern shoreline of Rushcutters Bay from the late 1800s and by 1902 the NSW Volunteer Naval Brigade was using lands on the southern edge of Yarranabbe Park. This land (2 acres 3 roods) was gazetted for use as a naval recreation ground on 3/8/1904.

With the formation of the Royal Australian Navy in 1911, this site became known as the Sydney Naval Depot (ibid, 2015, 30).

The NSW Naval Brigade, which usually numbered 350 men, trained in the Drill Hall, rested at this site before embarkation as the contingent under commander, Captain Hixson to China to fight in the imperial engagement known as the 'Boxer Rebellion', foreshadowing the role of Australian troops during World War 1 (Insite Land Solutions, 2015, 30).

In 1904 a protest at Paddington Town Hall occurred, against alienation of lands in any part of Rushcutters Bay Reserve, for naval recreation or any other purpose. The Royal Navy recreation reserve proposal was revoked at the time of an 1899 survey plan of the area (ibid, 2015, 31).

1911 brought two important events - the renaming of the CNF as the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and introduction of compulsory peacetime training for boys and young adults here, as members of the RAN Reserve (RANR). With the formation of the RAN this site became known as the Sydney Naval Depot (ibid, 2015, 31).

In 1912 the Commonwealth Government applied to acquire an area north of the Naval Depot for Naval purposes. The state government refused the request but gave approval for the use of the area as a 'parade ground'. In the 1940s this parade ground was (nearly entirely) filled with training buildings (ibid, 2015, 31).

In 1913 a Store Room with loft ('Sail Loft') of two stories was built (beside New Beach Road, at the reserve's front)(WMC sign, on site).

With effect from 4/8/1914 the RANR became the RAN Brigade, which provided members for the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) to capture German installations at Rabaul in what was then German New Guinea and for the 1st RAN Bridging Train, which served at Gallipoli with distinction. In 1920 compulsory training was suspended, the RAN Brigade title discarded and the RANR title re-adopted. In 1921 compulsory training was resumed. the RAN Volunteer Reserve (RANVR) was formed to distinguish the volunteer officers and men from the RANR as the second component of the Citizen Naval Forces. In addition to training, the site also housed the Sydney District Naval Office. 1929 saw the suspension of compulsory training but the Naval Reserve Depot continued, largely for volunteers. A Naval Recruiting Office for the RAN was established (ibid, 2009).

The possibility of war in Europe caused Australia to build up the sea-going forces and naval training facilities. In 1937 this site was chosen for the building of a substantial anti-submarine school. Work began in 1938 and HMA Anti-Sumbarine
(A/S) School became operational on 13/2/1939 in the NE corner of this site (since demolished). It was staffed by RAN instructors. Initially priority was given to training specially selected officers and men of the RANVR living in Sydney. The training and contents of the School were highly classified and the building was guarded day and night. Up until the outbreak of World War 2 on 3/9/1939 62 officers had qualified in Anti-Submarine tactics and equipment and 32 sailors had been trained to operate and maintain Anti-Submarine detection equipment (ibid, 2009).

The Reserve from 1939 as the anti-submarine school is said to have trained so many officers and operators who fought in the battle of the Atlantic, that it played an important part in turning the tide against German U-boats in 1939-1945.

The early and rapid increase in the tempo of enemy submarine warfare in European waters caused the Royal Navy to ask Australia to provide monthly 20 sailors and as many officers as possible trained in anti-submarine equipment and tactics as well as to recruit seamen for service with the Royal Navy under the Yachtsmen's Scheme. On 1/8/1940 the Depot was commissioned as HMAS Rushcutter under command of the District Naval Officer (DNO). In addition to activities on site the command included a gunnery instructional centre at Wooloomooloo. During 1940 staff at A/S School became increasingly involved in fitting out auxiliary escort ships and new construction Bathurst Class Corvettes with A/S equipment and training the men to man it. In addition, the School became responsible for organising equipment and training for the static seaward defences of Australian ports. In 1940 due to supply difficulties from the U.K. planning began for the local production of A/S and Radar equipment. The A/S School building was extended to accommodate additional training gear and provide further classrooms. In addition to team training for ships, including Free French and Dutch ships, 118 officers and 343 sailors were trained during the year. At the end of 1941 Japan entered the war (ibid, 2009).

1942 saw a large increase in A/S and Radar training. The limited available space resulted in the DNO and staff moving off site and the Command being assumed by the Officer Commanding A/S School. Living accommodation was an urgent requirement and it was decided to build a barracks on the park, north of the site. The cottage became an office for the pay staff. Sayonara boatyard (now demolished) on the south end of the site was commandeered to house the A/S and Radar local production teams. The responsibility for training crews and administering the newly-built coastal patrol boats (Fairmiles) and harbour defence motor launches (HDMLs) evolved on the Farimile School established on 1/6/1942 in the first building on the park site. As the east coast was the probable area of patrol, 3 jetties were built for their use. The first Fairmile, ML813, came into service at the end of 1942. On 18/11/1942 the first women to carry out administrative duties at HMAS Rushcutter began serving as WRANS. As intended, WRANS rendered invaluable service here and elsewhere for the rest of the war. Also at the end of 1942 the Radar School was established at South Head. In April 1943 the ships company were able to eat and live in the new barracks. During 1943 the training load increased particularly for teams from USA, Dutch and French ships. The ex-Dutch submarine, HMAS K9, became a valuable aid for sea training (ibid, 2009).

Through 1944 great demands were made on all A/S training equipment. Following a serious accident, HMAS K9 was no longer available as a training target. Training ship teams continued to be a major element of the site's function. Boats and crews of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP) were brought into the Command, allowing A/S crews to be released for service elsewhere. NAP men were trained to take their place. Increased officer and sailor training allowed people who were serving overseas for more than 2 years, to be relieved. In November 1944 the Fairmile School closed and administration of ships was transferred elsewhere. Towards the end of 1944 the arrival of the first ships of the British Pacific Fleet increased the team's training load. At the beginning of 1945 the need to cater for new trainees reduced but refresher training for experienced men increased. As the British Pacific Fleet reached full strength the A/S School obtained the services of RN Mobile A/S Training Units and, at long last, real submarine targets for trainees and ships teams. Responsibility for Radar matters was transferred elsewhere. With the end of hostilities the training commitment lessened and focussed on permanent naval personnel. The main activity switched to providing medical, clerical and pay facilities for the many men and women to be demobilised (ibid, 2009).

Demobilisation continued as prime function in 1946. In 1947 the Australian Naval Sailing Association, later to become RANSA, was founded in the boat shed (here). The decision that year to form a specialist Electrical Branch had a profound effect. The A/S School lost responsibility for equipment maintenance as did other schools. It was decided to create the Torpedo A/S (TAS) Branch. This school and its Mining Section was transferred here to create the TAS School in 1948. Also transferred at that time was the Diving School. RANR training resumed in 1950 and was strongly supported by men with war service. 1956 saw the transfer of the TAS School to new, purpose-built premises at South Head in HMAS Watson. That year the Diving School was able to begin long-awaited Clearance Diver (CD) training. The RAN Experimental Laboratory (RANEL) was established, with citizen scientists and a Naval Superintendent in April 1956 and a fortnight later on 30/4/1956 HMAS Rushcutter paid off and the depot was administered from HMAS Watson. In that year the Diving School was able to form the first mobile CD team (DCT) and a Mine Countermeasures Development unit (MCDU) to work with RANEL. The buildings on the park to the north were demolished in 1957 and the land reverted to Woollahra Council. On 1/7/1957 HMAS Rushcutter re-commissioned (ibid, 2009).

Aerial photos from the 1940s show that approximately half of Beach Road Reserve (Yarranabbe Park)'s extent was employed by the Navy as its 'parade ground' (rather a misnomer, considerting the eventual number of buildings built on that 'ground' - this included quarters, a ward room and a depth charge training area (ibid, 2015, 37). A 1949 aerial photo shows the northern tip of the Naval 'parade ground', the northern seciton of New Beach Road (only built c1935/36 and it seems roadside tree plantings were made to coincide with or after this road being laid out (ibid, 2015, 38).

In the early 1950s, Woollahra Council sought to ensure that the Navy did not get a new lease for lands it occupied as a Naval drill ground at the southern end of Beach Road Reserve (now Yarranabbe Park) measuring 1.5 acres. The Navy was waiting for buildings to be erected at South Head prior to vacating this site. The subject land was under occupation by the Navy since 1931. The Minister for Lands offered the Commonwealth Government (i.e. the Navy) a permissive occupancy of the area for one year from 1/6/1953, subject to the latter removing all structures in that area during that time. Yarranabbe Park was only gazetted as a reserve for public recreation on 23/10/1953 and Woollahra Municipal Council was appointed as trust manager for the park on 20/11/1959 (ibid, 2015, 39). By 1957, the bulk of naval buildings had been removed from the site (except a range of structures directly opposite the junction of New Beach Road and Yarranabbe Road: these seem to have been removed c1968/69 (ibid, 2015, 40).

In 1959 it was agreed that RANEL would undertake all RAN scientific work. This required expansion in staffing and grouping. At that time the Diving School expanded its training load and capabilities with new types of underwater breathing apparatus. 1960 saw the replacement of an antiquated Recompression Chamber (RCC) with a new 10-man RCC. A School of Underwater Medicine was established as an important and integral part of diver training and operation. In 1963 the posts of Commanding Officer and RANEL Superintendent were combined. By 1965 RANEL had much greater scientific and engineering capacity for laboratory research and sea trials. RANEL training finished in 1966 when the Division moved to HMAS Watson. By then Clearance Divers had become the foremost experts in Bomb and Mine Disposal in Australia. This was well-demonstrated by the formation of CDT3 for service in South Vietnam on port security and explosive device disposal duties. RANEL played a significant part in the development of CD capability. In 1968 the Diving School and related activities moved elsewhere. HMAS Rushcutter paid off on 29/7/1968. Except for a four-year period when the RAN Trials and Assessing Unit became a lodger RANEL (by then RAN Research Laboratory (RANRL) and RANSA were the sole occupants of the site. RANRL moved out in 1984. In 1980 the site was transferred to New South Wales as Crown Land. It became the Sir David Martin Reserve, managed by Woollahra Municipal Council (ibid, 2009).

In 1966 the Royal Navy Sailing Association was formed, to promote sailing in the Royal Australian Navy and they operated from a boatshed at HMAS Rushcutter (in Sir David Martin Reserve, Yarranabbe Park: WLEP, 2014).
HMAS Rushcutter operated at the Sir David Martin Reserve until 1968, where naval volunteers had been located at this site since 1902 (ibid, 2015, 40).

Since removal of the naval structures from the southern end of Yarranabbe Park (Sir David Martin Reserve) in the 1960s and removal of the harbour baths in the 1970s, very few substantial changes have been made to Yarranabbe Park (ibid, 2015, 42).

In 1979 the Commonwealth Government transferred the site to the state government for public use. The land was dedicated as a reserve 'for public recreation' and 'public maritime purpose' in 1987 under the administration of a community trust board, called the Rushcutters Bay Maritime Reserve Trust. The reserve's name changed to Sir David Martin Reserve in 1991 in honour of the former NSW Governor and Rear-Admiral. The reserve retains four naval depot related buildings, the Drill Hall, its extension, a Sail Loft and the Cottage. It is managed since July 2001 by Woollahra Municipal Council. The Drill Hall and associated buildings continue to be well used by community groups. A RAN memorial with several plaques on the site's naval history was unveiled on 1/3/2009 by Councillor Peter Cavanagh and Vice-Admiral R.H.Crane AM, CSM, RAN, Chief of the Navy (RAN plaque, 2009, on site).

Yarranabbe Park is likely to have special association with former members of the RAN and their families, stationed here during World War 2 and association with the RAN as an organisation (Sir David Martin Reserve, draft plan of management, n.d.).

Yarranabbe Park sporting uses (1930s-40s):
During the 1930s various sorts of active recreation activities were proposed and occurred in Beach Road Reserve (Yarranabbe Park). These included a planned golf practice range, hockey fields, several tennis courts, an area reserved for football and provision of a concrete cricket wicket. Aerial photos from the 1930s and 1940s do not conclusively show delineated zones for these activities and no material has been found suggesting that formal sporting pursuits were conducted on the site past the 1930s (ibid, 2015, 34).

Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay (1908-73):
(South of New South Head Road, outside but adjacent to Rushcutters Bay Park):
Hugh Donald Macintosh ushered in a new era in Australian Boxing when he leased a Chinese market garden site at Rushcutters Bay on the corner of New South Head Road and Neild Avenue. Here he built the Sydney Stadium to promote a world heavyweight title fight between Tommy Burns and Bill Squires on 24th August 1908. Burns won this first major competition (although there were a few earlier exhibition matches) by a knockout in the 13th round. The early big fights proved to extremely popular and profitable (WMC website, Local History Fast Facts, Sydney Stadium).

On 26th December 1908, Burns accepted an offer of 6,000 pounds to defend his title against Jack Johnson - the first Black American to try for a world title in the class - at Sydney Stadium. This provoked huge interest for several reasons: an increasing interest in all things American due in part to the Australian visit of the United States Great White Fleet, the novelty of Johnson being black and a prevailing fear in some quarters that if Burns were defeated it might signal a weakness in the Anglo-Saxon Race. This encouraged a huge crowd to pay to watch the fight (WMC, ibid).

According to the 'Australian Encyclopaedia', Johnson was to receive 1,500 pounds but when he saw the full house on the night he demanded more. Macintosh forced Johnson to enter the ring at gunpoint. The fight was stopped by police in round 14 when Burns was knocked out, though the referee awarded the fight on points to Johnson (WMC, ibid).

A crowd of 20,000 people attended the 1908 world championship boxing match between Johnson and Tummy Burns. Johnson won (Kelly, 2018).

The Stadium was roofed in 1911 and in 1912 acquired by sportsman Reginald "Snowy" Baker (1884-1953) and his brother Harald. In 1914, Stadiums Pty. Ltd. was formed with Baker, Richard Lean and Melbourne based financier and gambler John Wren (1871-1953) as chief shareholders (WMC, ibid). World War I restrictions closed the Stadium in 1916 and it reopened at the end of the War (WMC, ibid). Some famous names in the pugilistic world appeared here in its heyday, such as bantam-weight Jimmy Carruthers and flyweight Joe Symonds (ibid, 1990, 232). Boxing matches continued until the 1970s, although by the 1950s it was also used for music and stage productions and for over half a century was an important part of Sydney's popular culture (WMC, ibid). The Stadium was demolished in 1973 to make way for the overhead section of the Eastern Suburbs Railway. Its former site is marked by a plaque (WMC, ibid).

Peace Day, 19 July 1919:
The end of World War 1 saw widespread celebration, including 'Peace Day' on 19 July 1919. This saw various events around Sydney city and suburbs. In the afternoon there was a regatta on the harbour, a naval and military tournament at the Show Ground and various sporting matches at the Cricket and Sports Grounds. In the evening, city and harbour were lit by floodlights. Bonfires were lit around the harbour, warships performed a searchlight display and there was a fireworks display from Garden Island. Later that evening, the Stadium at Rushcutters Bay hosted a fund raising carnival with boxing exhibitions, skipping championships, highland dancing, and massed bands (WMC, Thanksgiving Day, in 'Aftermath of the War').

Towards the end of 1934 schemes were drawn up within Sydney City Council for a block containing male and female toilets, to be constructed adjacent to the south-western corner of the Grandstand in Rushcutters Bay Park West. In November 1935 Council approved documentation for construction but work was delayed because the contractor originally selected was unable to proceed satisfactorily. Another contractor was selected at the end of February 1936 and work then recommenced.

According to Sydney City Council records additional works were carried out during the second half of the 1930s, including alterations and additions to the Grandstand (their exact nature is not known but they may have included the 1936 toilet block) and a women's convenience documented in 1939 by Council's Architects Branch. The building was designed by architect Albert Smillie and subsequently erected next to the toilet block that had been completed a couple of years before. Smillie had joined Council as an architectural draftsman during 1924. In 1932 he became an associate member of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. By September 1936 he had been promoted to architectural assistant and in November 1949 chief architect. In June 1953 he became Sydney City Council's principal architect and retired at the start of 1969.

The perceived threat of attack from hostile forces during the early years of World War II led to the construction of an air raid shelter in the vicinity of the Grandstand in Rushcutters Bay Park West. On 28 April 1941 Sydney City Council resolved:
'That the resolution of Council of the 17th February 1941 approving, inter alia, of the construction of a trench type Air Raid Shelter in Rushcutters Bay Park, be amended insofar as will provide for the erection of a pill box type of air raid shelter in Rushcutters Bay Park on the northern side of the Women's Convenience, behind the Grand Stand [sic], as shown on the plan accompanying the report of the City Engineer dated 16 April 1941, in lieu of the trench type shelter referred to, the construction of which has been found to be impracticable.'

Although documentation describing the air raid shelter has not been located, Sydney City Council had also prepared drawings for a standard shelter. The building at Rushcutters Bay seems to have been similar (although not identical) to this standard design. Routine maintenance on Grandstand fabric took place towards the end of 1947. It included simple works such as renewal of guttering and repairing of downpipes, painting the internal spaces and seating.

The air raid shelter was modified to incorporate a soil store and a work room around this time, although documentation describing these works is not dated. In 1953 Sydney City Council approved more alterations for the air raid shelter so that it could be converted into a Parks Depot. Documentation for the works was undertaken by the City Building Surveyor and in November the tender of E R Greenfield was accepted to execute the works. However, the scheme may have been modified early the following year - a drawing describing the works was approved in March 1954. The building was modified by the construction of a toilet, changing area and a meal room. Existing openings were bricked up and new windows and doors introduced.

The Rushcutters Bay Park (West) Grandstand was substantially renovated in 1992 to the design of the architectural firm of McNamara & Associates. The major modifications were internal and consisted of redesigned change rooms and alterations to the Council Storage Area on the ground floor level and removal of the shower area in the change room on the first floor level. Other works were repairs and maintenance within and without the building. At the same period a second level was constructed above the former air raid shelter.

Plans and estimates for a kindergarten on the west side of Waratah Street were prepared in 1945, amended in 1947 and a year later, Sydney City Council's department of Building Materials informed it that, due to post-war materials shortages, work could not commence for some time. Work finally proceeded in 1951 and the kindergarten was completed in late 1952, early 1953. This building is now called 'KU Rushcutters Bay Preschool'. It is partly located on Lot 1 DP 554114 and partly on the public (Park) reserve. At a later date, a small octagonal kiosk was built on Waratah Street adjacent to the 2 (1924) tennis courts, and in 1948 a small caretaker's cottage was built at 5 Waratah Street to the design of Albert A. Smilliee of the City Architect and Building Surveyor's department. Both these components were located on the public (park) reserve, in close proximity to the boundary of Lot 2 DP 554114. As part of a major upgrade of the park in 2007-2011, the tennis courts on Lot 2 DP 554114 were reconfigured, to provide 3 courts instead of 2, which included demolition of the kiosk and caretaker's cottage. Council has owned Lots 1 & 2 DP 554114 since it resumed them in 1924 to include in Rushcutters Bay Park. The City still retains ownership of these lots, but they are an integral part of Rushcutters Bay Park, even though they are not part of the (gazetted) Public Reserve (Sydney City Council communique, received 13/12/2019).

A commemoration of early European settlement came with the planting of a swamp mahogany tree and plaque to commemorate Thomas West near the sea wall in 1982 (SCC, ibid).

In July 1956 Sydney City Council approved expenditure of (Pounds)4,959 for repairs to the Grandstand. Although it has not been ascertained whether this work took place, if so it would have been money and effort wasted because the building was damaged by fire on two occasions, firstly on 21 December 1956 and then on 12 May 1957.

'Fire last night destroyed two dressing-rooms in a condemned wooden grandstand at Rushcutter [sic] Bay Oval. The cause of the fire, which started a few minutes before 9 p.m., is unknown. Brigades from Headquarters and Darlinghurst brought the blaze under control. For several months a "Danger Keep Out" sign has been nailed to the front of the grandstand. Earlier this year, two dressing sheds in Rushcutter Bay Park were destroyed by fire within two weeks.'

Approval was given for reinstatement and works associated with wear and tear and termite infestation in December 1957.

The oval was renamed Reg Bartley Oval in May 1959 in recognition of Bartley's service to the City of Sydney. He served as an alderman for eighteen years and as mayor for five yearly periods during the 1940s. During 1960 the female toilet block that had been documented during 1939 was closed to the public and has been in disuse ever since.

The Grandstand (in Rushcutters Bay Park west) was substantially renovated in 1992 to the design of the architectural firm of McNamara & Associates. The major modifications were internal and consisted of redesigned change rooms and alterations to the Council Storage Area on the ground floor level and removal of the shower area in the change room on the first-floor level. Other works were repairs and maintenance within and without the building. At the same period a second level was constructed above the former air raid shelter.

Yarranabbe Park (1944+):
In 1944 the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was formed. In 1951 that club acquired a boatshed at Rushcutters Bay (south of Yarranabbe Park) and opened a club house to the east of Rushcutters Bay Park in 1958 (WLEP, 2014).

In 1973 or early 1974 (ibid, 2015, 40) the Rushcutters Bay (Farmers) Ocean Baths were demolished, after some public opposition to traffic congestion in New Beach Road and perceptions that the baths were an eyesore (ibid, 2015, 40).

During the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, while most events were held at the Homebush facilities, the sailing races were run on the harbour from Rushcutters Bay (Hoskins, 2009, 304-5). Both parks and the intervening Sir David Martin Reserve were used as the Olympic Sailing Shore Base for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Sir David Martin Reserve, draft plan of management, n.d).

Yarranabbe Park is likely held in high regard by a broad cross-section of the sailing community, especially those involved in the Sydney to Hobart races and Sydney Olympic sailing events. Olympic Legacy items are located adjacent to the Sir David Martin Reserve, including the hard stand area, two cranes and marina. Within the reserve, such items include renovations to the Drill Hall, its extension and Sail Loft (Sir David Martin Reserve, draft plan of management, n.d.). for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games (WLEP, 2014). This included Yarranabbe Park being used for car parking and the siting of various support structures. It appears that four temporary jetties were built through sections of the sea wall during that period, roughly in the centre of the park. In 2001 a new public jetty for water taxis and a new pathway along the Yarranabbe Park sea wall were built, with the winding up of the Olympic Coordination Authority (ibid, 2015, 43).

On the Woollahra Municipal Council side (Rushcutters Bay Park east), large open, unenclosed spaces remain intact, framed by major mature tree plantings along the perimeters and along key walkways. This the principal characteristic and use of this park. The harbour wall has been heritage-listed by Woollahra Council. the children's playground, outdoor gym and kiosk are relatively new.

Various upgrades to Yarranabbe Park have occurred in recent years, including provision of and changes to the centrally-located children's playground and extension and improvement of the public footway along the sea wall to the park's northern tip (ibid, 2015, 43).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Environment/Contact: What do we know of the Contact Environment?-Environment (Natural) Control
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Other open space-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Topography: How did the environment, topography and the River influence early settlement? Is there a strong relationship-Peopling the Continent Contact
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Special tree or trees-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Park reserve-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Introduce cultural planting-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Natural landscapes valued by humans-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Lakes and wetlands supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Modification of terrain-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Environments important to Aboriginal traditional and spiritual life-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Eora nation - places of contact with the colonisers-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. All nations - places of battle or other early interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Cadigal tribe - Eora nation-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Convict labour-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Demonstrating convicts' experiences and activities-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Chinese agricultural practises-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Private farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture cropping river flats-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Market gardening-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Attempting to transplant European farming practices to Australian environments-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Waterfront tourism-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Keeping cafes and restaurants-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Maritime industry shipyards timber yards-
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 Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
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 Sydney and Australian Landmark-
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 Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
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 Landscapes of scenic beauty-
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 Landscapes of sport and recreation-
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 Landscapes of urban amenity-
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 Landscapes of passive recreation-
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 Landscapes of military activities-
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 Landscapes of remembrance-
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 Landscapes of institutions - productive and ornamental-
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 Significant tree(s) providing urban amenity-
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 Landscapes used for self reliant recreation-
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 Landscapes demonstrating styles in landscape design-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Providing a venue for significant events-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing national landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Holding opening and dedication ceremonies-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Holding annual shows-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Holding international shows-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Commemorating a major event-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Holding national events-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Maritime related industries-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Boat servicing-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Agisting and fattening stock for slaughter-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies for sanitation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies of constructing military buildings and structures-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Adapted heritage building or structure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Architectural design-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal 1820s-1850s land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Fencing boundaries - mortared stone walls-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early farming (sheep grazing)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal avenue of trees-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early farming (Cattle grazing)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Chinese market gardens-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Sea Wall-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban lots to public gardens-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Granting Crown lands for private farming-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Naming places (toponymy)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th century suburban developments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 20th century Suburban Developments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Subdivision of urban estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Beautifying towns and villages-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing suburbia-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages community park-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages living in the suburbs-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Cultural Social and religious life-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping coastal settlement-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages A Picturesque Residential District-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Suburban Consolidation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 20th Century infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in suburban settings-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Wharfside and Port Work Culture-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on public infrastructure projects-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on the waterfront-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in local government-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working complex machinery and technologies-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working for the defence services-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the First (Great) World War-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Commemorative naming of defence facilities and materials-
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. State government-
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. Local government-
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 roles for government - providing sewerage treatment-
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. Resuming land for Royal Australian Navy facilities-
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 roles for government - administration of land-
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 roles for government - administration of land-
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. Open Space Provision-
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. Public works-
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. Suburban Consolidation-
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 roles for government - administering a public health system-
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 roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
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. Federating Australia-
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 roles for government - public land administration-
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. Local and municipal self-governance-
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 roles for government - parks and open spaces-
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 roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Providing kindergartens for pre-school children-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - WW2 period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century post WW2-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - public parks movement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscape of Remembrance-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to climate - ocean pools and baths-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian (late)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Federation Arts and Crafts-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Federation period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. work of stonemasons-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Parks and public gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in suburbia-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation musical gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Playground-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Playing cricket-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Playing croquet-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Tourism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying picnics-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation community park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor concerts and performances-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Showground-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a Club-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Playing tennis-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying Fairgrounds-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going fishing-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going boating and sailing-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting lookouts and places of natural beauty-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Sea baths-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the showground-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a cafe-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Leisure-Includes tourism, resorts.
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Community volunteering-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Community organisations-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing exclusive clubs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing clubs for social improvement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an historical society or heritage organisation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of formal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Local adaptive reuses of military sites-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Administering and operating sporting complexes-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Managing the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities providing sports facilities for city workers and residents-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities cricket-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Racing yachts-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Racing yachts-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities croquet-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Private sporting facilities-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Providing public sporting facilities-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities swimming-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities tennis-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities tennis-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities football-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Boating-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Sport-Includes sporting facilities, equipment, trophies.
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Albert Smillie, Principal Architect, Sydney City Council-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with McNamara and Associates, architects-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Ald. Reg Bartley, Lord Mayor of Sydney-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The form of Rushcutters Bay park, an expansive flat open space stretching in a broad arc around the formerly natural bay, contained by a unifying seawall with formal recreation on the west, and informal on the east, either side of the channelised creek, demonstrates the reshaping of this creek valley by an ambitious reclamation project beginning in the late 1870s. Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park are historically significant as prime and early examples of reservation of land for public recreation by councils in the late 19th century as a result of an intense period of social protest aimed at preserving land from encroachment and providing for open space. Works here post-dated Farm and Sydney Coves, but well-preceded the 1908 Foreshore Resumption Scheme, under which most Crown-owned foreshore in Woollahra Local Government Area was acquired for public use (such as Nielsen Park and the Hermitage Foreshore (SHR)). They also preceded the most active period of harbour and coastal reclamation projects, from 1922-55.

Both parks have historic significance marking the second wave of municipal park creation, part of 95 public parks created between 1863 and 1902 in Sydney, and of 50 created in the four-year lead up to 1888's centenary of the English colony. They reflect the influence of James Jones, Overseer for the Domains who laid out Victoria Park then Wentworth Park, incorporating sports ovals, greens and paths with lines or avenues of trees into the design, was innovative and reflected practice in England and France in the 1870s.

This large open space, adjacent to the most densely populated areas of Sydney in the 19th and early 20th centuries, may be of state significance for its role in the history of harbourside leisure. For over 150 years, the park has supported formal and informal sports, and leisure activities including cricket, boating, harbour bathing, picnics and walking, croquet, and tennis, and accommodated large numbers of spectators to the boxing events at the formerly adjacent Sydney Stadium, and for the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race and Olympic sailing events.

Prior to transformation by reclamation, this place was a nurturing valley known as Kogerah to Cadigal Eora people, with camps at nearby Barcom Glen and on public land at Rushcutters Bay. The valley may be of state historic significance as part of an important network of inner Sydney living places for local Aboriginal people into the late 19th century, with strong connections to the Government Boatsheds at Circular Quay and to La Perouse. Residents caught fish, gathered shellfish, sold shell-encrusted ornaments and wooden implements in Sydney to get other things they needed. Ceremonies continued to take place at Rushcutters Bay until at least the 1870s. Known local characters included Jack Harris and William Warrell, both of whom died in 1863. The first recorded settler complaint about Aboriginal people was in Rushcutters Bay in 1895, trying to move Aboriginal people on. It failed. Darling Point Governess Harriet Baker was part of persuading Aboriginal residents of the bay to move to La Perouse in the 1890s, perhaps in response to further complaints, with the help of the Police and (from 1881) the Aborigines Protection Board, under its first director, George Thornton. Well into the 20th century, La Perouse Aboriginal people retained knowledge of former settlements at Rushcutters Bay and cross-cultural relationships between them. This resource-rich valley also supported early land grants to settlers including the Ridley family, who leased land to Chinese and other market gardeners from the 1830s-1900s, making Rushcutters Bay the main source of vegetables for the colonial settlement.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Rushcutters Bay and Yarranabbe Parks have rich historic associations which are of state significance which could be interpreted to today's users.

Yarranabbe Park's Sir David Martin Reserve has historic associations with the NSW Volunteer Naval Brigade from the 1890s until 1907 and, after formation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1911, named HMAS Rushcutter, it was the Sydney Naval Depot location for reserve training until 1968.

The NSW Naval Brigade, which usually numbered 350 men, trained in the Drill Hall, and rested here before embarkation as the contingent under commander, Captain Hixson to China to fight in the imperial engagement known as the 'Boxer Rebellion', a primarily naval involvement foreshadowing the role of Australian troops during World War 1. The Reserve has associations from the 1930s as the Navy's anti-submarine school. A great number of officers and operators who fought in the battle of the Atlantic against German U-boats from 1939-45 were trained here. Naval research facility uses continue in the remaining buildings and site. RANSA boat shed remains one of the site's key built features, along with the Drill Hall, its extension, the Sail Loft and Cottage. The park is likely to have special association with former members of the RAN and families, stationed here during World War 2 and association with the RAN as an organisation.

Rushcutters Bay and Yarranabbe Parks may be of state significance through a strong association with significant events. An internationally significant event was hosted at the adjacent Sydney Stadium, located adjacent to Rushcutters Bay Park in an area now underneath the aerial Bondi Junction train line: a local entrepreneur hosted the first opportunity for an African-American athlete to contest the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Less than six months after construction of the stadium, Hugh Donald Macintosh issued an invitation, with considerable financial incentive attached for the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Canadian Tommy Byrnes to take up a challenge issued by World Coloured Heavyweight Champion, American Jack Johnson, in a hitherto segregated sport. Johnson was awarded victory after fourteen rounds in front of a crowd of 20,000 people. This was a major equal rights victory and with boxing remaining a significant sport for Aboriginal athletes, more research is required to establish the impact of this event on the course of Aboriginal leadership, activism and athletics in NSW.

Rushcutters Bay and Yarranabbe Parks are associated with two annual national events: The New Year's Eve Fireworks displays and as the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht - this race has started at the adjacent Cruising Yacht Club each year since its start, in 1945.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Rushcutters Bay Park has historic and aesthetic significance as a large-scaled inner-harbour foreshore informally-landscaped park, providing dramatic views to and from the harbour and surrounds. With adjoining Yarranabbe Park, it forms part of a series of linked parks providing valuable open space for Darling Point, Woollahra, Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay, with some of Australia's densest population.

Both parks have technical significance for the grand scale and technological value of their engineering, land reclamation & sea-wall building. part of a major public works program involving reclamation of a large area of marsh, channelling the creek and constructing a ballast dyke seawall. Parts of the existing sea wall were built over the top of the original ballast dyke wall and may reveal further information about its construction.

Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Parks' unifying retaining sea wall has aesthetic significance as a landmark element along the foreshore which complements the natural beauty of Rushcutters Bay. It and its associated footpath and park provide the public an opportunity to approach, experience and enjoy sweeping views of inner Sydney Harbour.

Rows of huge Moreton Bay figs form a mature and magnificent southern boundary to this bayside common and a distinctive entry into the Municipality of Woollahra along New South Head Road. A central line of plane trees and another of Hill's and Port Jackson figs along New Beach Road, which forms both parks' eastern edge - contributes to the significant aesthetic values and green-belt values of both parks.

The architectural form of Rushcutters Bay Park west's Grandstand demonstrates the aesthetic characteristics of this type of building and retains what appears original joinery on its eastern side.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Both parks have potential social significance at state level reflected in the 1878 Act of state legislation that led to their creation, which was thanks to a long period of public lobbying of government.

Rushcutters Bay Park has potential social significance at state level as the site of key major public events, such as spill-over from the adjacent former Sydney Stadium over New South Head Road since 1908, the 1919 Peace Day celebrations and the adjacent Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, where the Sydney-Hobart yacht race has started each year since 1945. Both parks have been in continuous multi-purpose public use since the mid-1870s. Both remain a key gathering place for major national events such as viewing New Year's Eve fireworks displays.

Both parks and the intervening Sir David Martin Reserve were used as the Olympic Sailing Shore Base for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Yarranabbe Park is likely held in high regard by a broad cross-section of the sailing community, especially those involved in the Sydney to Hobart races and Sydney Olympic sailing events. Olympic Legacy items are located adjacent to the Sir David Martin Reserve, including the hard stand area, two cranes and marina. Within the reserve, such items include renovations to the Drill Hall, its extension, the Cottage and the Sail Loft.

Rushcutters Bay Park's social value is reinforced by memorials such as the plaque on the Reg Barley Oval grandstand commemorating completion of the harbour reclamation and park creation works and an 1897 fountain commemorating Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park may have historic and technical significance as part of a major public works program involving reclamation of the large area of marsh, channelling the creek and constructing a ballast dyke seawall. The current sandstone seawall built in the late nineteenth century forms a significant part of the development and expansion of area of both parks and the rest of the foreshore over the years.

Both parks have research potential to inform our knowledge over contact and possible conflict in the early colonial period and 19th century cultural interactions in inner Sydney. Both parks have research potential to inform our knowledge of early and ongoing Aboriginal resistance to colonisation, lobbying for equal rights and for better living conditions. The role of visiting World Coloured Champion heavyweight boxer, African-American Jack Johnson in 1908, his winning fight in the Stadium in front of 20,000 people, his meetings with Sydney Aboriginal activists and advocates are other research topics the parks can contribute towards.

Rushcutters Bay Park east and Yarranabbe Park's open spaces may retain important archaeological remnants of early colonial rush-cutting skills and implements.

Yarranabbe Park is likely to have archaeological potential for traces of the former Royal Australian Navy buildings in its southern end, abutting the Sir David Martin Reserve. It is also likely to contain remnants of the former substantial Farmer's Baths harbour pool.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Both parks are rare as large scaled 19th century inner-suburban parks close to our oldest city and as one of the last remaining major areas of open space in inner eastern suburbs. There are few other parks in NSW of such grand scale and engineering scope with large open spaces, still relatively intact and not compromised by major infill or other incursions.

The Grandstand is believed to be a rare surviving example of a late 19th century grandstand associated with a suburban park. The former air raid shelter, although adapted for reuse, is likely to be a rare purpose-designed air raid shelter within the City of Sydney.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Both parks demonstrate the importance placed by the community and Councils on inalienable and accessible public lands in Sydney from the early to mid-19th century and are amongst the largest harbour reclamation schemes for public recreation undertaken in the history of NSW.

The reclamation scheme from which both parks were created was possibly an archetype in design and detailing for similar and later maritime infill projects in other locations throughout the Sydney basin and across NSW.

Both parks are representative of the second wave of municipal park creation, part of 95 public parks created between 1863 and 1902 in Sydney and 50 created in the four-year lead up to 1888's centenary of the English colony. They reflect the influence of James Jones, Overseer for the Domains who laid out Victoria Park then Wentworth Park, incorporating sports ovals, greens and paths with lines or avenues of trees into the design, was innovative and reflected practice in England and France in the 1870s.

Rushcutters Bay Park is representative of late 19th century parks in its layout, structures and landscaped areas, for passive and active recreation. Yarranabbe Park is representative of late 19th century parks but with a simpler layout for passive and active recreation.

Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park sea wall is representative of sea walls constructed during the late 19th century.

Rushcutters Bay Stormwater canal is representative of purpose-built 1890s canals in Sydney.
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:

The proposed curtilage for the nomination includes both parks, the Rushcutters Bay Park Stormwater Channel and the Sir David Martin Reserve. It excludes the adjacent D'Albora Marina, boating and yacht club buildings and slipways. It includes the Plantation Reserve between the marina, boating and yacht clubs and New Beach Road. It excludes the tennis courts south of Waratah Street.

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentList on a Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR) 
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - Interim Heritage Order IHO 14625 Jan 19 7176
Heritage Act - Under consideration for SHR/IHO listingRushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park 08 May 19   
Local Environmental PlanSir David Martin Reserve: in Woollahra LEP 2014 23 May 15   
Local Environmental PlanHMAS Rushcutter Slipway: Woollahra LEP 2014 23 May 15   
Local Environmental PlanSydney City LEP 2012 (RCB Park Group)(West of canaI140314 Dec 12   
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 2015 (RCB and Ypark Sea Walls) 23 May 15   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Woollahra Register of Significant Trees1991variousLandarc P/L (Noel Ruting)Noel Ruting No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBritten, Jane1995History of Rushcutters Bay and Yarranabbe Parks
WrittenClouston P/L with Brian McDonald & Associates1997Rushcutters Bay Maritime Reserve: Plan of Management View detail
WrittenDesign 5 Architects2005Sir David Martin Reserve - Conservation Management Plan Volume 2 - Appendices
WrittenDesign 5 Architects1996Rushcutters Bay Maritime Reserve, New Beach Road: Conservation Analysis and Conservation Policy View detail
WrittenGodden Mackay P/L1997Olympic Yachting Venue Site, Rushcutters Bay: Archaeological and Heritage Assessment View detail
WrittenInsite Land Solutions2015Heritage Study - Yarranabbe Park
WrittenIrish, Paul2017Atween here and the Georges River View detail
WrittenMayne-Wilson, Warwick2014Town Parks of New South Wales - past, present and future
WrittenRobertson, Rosanne1985'The Foreshore Fights Rage on' View detail
WrittenSturt Associates for Woollahra Municipal Council2012Yarranabbe Park Plan of Management View detail
WrittenSydney City Council (Matthew Devine, Senior Specialist Planner Heritage)2019(Communique) Lots 1 and 2 DP 554114
Writtenunattributed (The Daily Telegraph)1886General News (report on design competition for Rushcutters Bay Park, 1886) View detail
WrittenVincent Smith, Keith2011Aboriginal life around Port Jackson after 1822 View detail
WrittenWeir Phillips2020Heritage Impact Statement - Rushcutters Bay Living Seawalls
WrittenWoollahra Municipal Council2016Yarranabbe Park and Rushcutters Bay Park Sea Wall Planning Proposal
WrittenWoollahra Municipal Council2014Yarranabbe Park and Rushcutters Bay Park Seawalls
WrittenWoollahra Municipal Council2005Rushcutters Bay Park, Yarranabbe Park and Plantation Reserve Plan of Management View detail
WrittenWoollahra Municipal Council2004Sir David Martin Reserve Plan of Management

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5067067
File number: EF18/748


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