Centennial Park (1972)

    Centennial Park is the biggest park in Sydney, and over several decades people had plans to destroy it. In the 1950s They proposed a giant sports stadium and sporting facilities. This brought a public outcry, particularly from the residents of Randwick, Woollahra, and Paddington.

    Throughout the 1960s there were several more proposals for sporting facilities in the Parklands. Community opposition demanded that land not be taken from public use for the leisure of the minority. In 1964, it seemed that their voices were heard when the Premier finally rejected the proposal to develop a sporting complex on Parklands' property.

    The plan was revived under the cloak of a deluded bd for the 1988 Summer Olympics. The proposal covered 40 hectares of land, equivalent to 30 per cent of the entire Parklands.

    This was in 1972, under the Askin Liberal government. A number of famous people lived in Centennial Park, a better-off area of Sydney, including the novelist Patrick White, the famous naturalist Vincent Serventy, and Harry M. Miller, the entrepreneur. Patrick White and Vincent Servent led a march from Paddington Town Hall to Sydney Trades Hall of hundreds. This led to an enquiry under architect Walter Bunning. The march to Trades Hall asked the union to impose a ban. A green ban was imposed, and Centennial Park is there today because of that. The Olympics was held in 2000 in Homebush Bay, a former industrial site advocated for by Mundey when Centennial Park was under threat.
    Protests about this threat were led publicly by the likes of Nobel award winning author Patrick White, Neville Wran (who went on to become NSW Premier), high profile environmentalist Vince Serventy and countless other high profile people. Protesters very early had the support of Jack Mundey and the union movement. Mundey would later recall that the Chief-of-Staff of the Sydney Morning Herald said that the two issues that generated the most letters to the paper in 1972 were the Centennial Park proposal and the proposed removal of fig trees in the Domain.

    As a result of the Green Bans and threats to places such as Centennial Park, the future government led by Neville Wran introduced heritage and environmental protection policies to the NSW Parliament, and Wran moved the administration for Centennial Park to his own Department.


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