Dave Sharma is pleased to announce Sydney’s Centennial Park has been added to our National Heritage List, elevating the Park to the status of other National Heritage places such as Bondi Beach, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Australian War Memorial.
Stretching almost 200 hectares, the Park becomes the 115th place to be included on Australia’s list of pre-eminent heritage sites.
Centennial Park has outstanding heritage value to the nation as the site chosen for one of the defining events in Australia’s history: the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia. The inauguration event held at Centennial Park on 1 January 1901 was a key moment in Australia’s progression to a unified Commonwealth when the six colonies of South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland were brought together as one.
These actions marked the creation of a new democracy. From this moment, on 1 January 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia became a self-governing nation.
The ceremony began with the ‘Great Inaugural Procession’ through the city of Sydney, with some 10,000 people participating in a parade watched by an estimated 250,000 people. The procession entered Centennial Park through the Paddington Gates and culminated in the part of the park now named Federation Valley.
The natural amphitheatre of Federation Valley, surrounded by rocky ledges and grassy hills, formed an ideal gallery which allowed hundreds of thousands of ordinary members of the public to witness the inauguration ceremony alongside the dignitaries.
The ceremony included the swearing-in of: the first Governor-General of Australia, Lord Hopetoun; the Federal Executive Councillors; the nation’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton; and the first Federal Cabinet. It took place at a temporary structure designed especially for the occasion, known as the Federation Pavilion. A permanent memorial now marks this spot.
The Liberal-National Government congratulates the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust on this listing and commends the work it does to manage and preserve the heritage of the ‘people’s park’.
I welcome this important announcement, as it will provide protection to a very important part of our nation’s history and Wentworth’s open spaces. It is an important step in protecting the quality of life enjoyed in this part of Sydney for future generations.