FROM TIP TO TIP TOP
Sydney Park, Sydney. This Park is located in St Peters and borders Alexandria in the south of the city. It is well known by its high brick chimneys. A large 40-hectare site with hills, grasslands, wetlands with an extensive cycling path.
Sydney Park is bounded by the Princes Highway and Euston, Campbell, Barwon Park and Sydney Park roads.
The north-west part of the park is on the edge of a Wianamatta Shale belt from which brickmaking clay was extracted in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prior to European settlement, this area would have been a forest of turpentine and ironbark trees. The south-eastern area of the park is on Botany sands with swamps, marshes and heath associated with the waterway now known as Sheas Creek.
In the 19th and 20th centuries the park was a major source of clay, which was extracted and led to a number of family-run brick, pottery and tile works being established with brick-making becoming an important local industry.
Bedford Brickworks was established in Sydney Park in 1893. The brickworks were taken over by the Austral Brick Company in 1933 and remained operating until 1970.
From the late 1940s to the 1980s the former brick pits were used as a local tip. There was no wildlife and the site was unrecognisable from the green oasis of thriving wetlands today.
When St Peters tip was finally closed, a final layer of soil and building rubble was placed over the former brick-pits to create a new regional park. In 1991 ownership of the Sydney Park site was transferred to South Sydney Council, and to the City of Sydney once the 2 councils merged in 2004.
Sydney Park includes a series of visually prominent hills which provide panoramic views of the city skyline and Sydney Airport. The Park is popular for recreational activities such as kite flying. Stormwater detention ponds have been transformed into wetland habitat to partly recreate the pre-European environment. At the same time the area’s industrial heritage has been preserved with the kilns and brickworks chimneys at the corner of Sydney Park Road and the Princes Highway.
IMAGE CREDIT: City of Sydney Archives and Simon Phillips