One of Sydney’s best kept natural secrets, Gough Whitlam Park, is a beautiful, little know peaceful waterway retreat on the on the banks of the cook river in Earlwood.
Peace in a public space
Originally owned by a convict pardoned by the state, this piece of land came into the possession of the Department of Public Works and was purportedly used for the storage of building materials used in the maintenance and construction of the river banks, including the disposal of dredging from the river.
Labeled unfit for development in the early 1900s due to the smell of naturally rotting vegetation in the often stagnant waterway, It was donated to Canterbury Council in 1978 and Council transformed the area into parkland not long after.
Creating a garden Mosaic
Council named the area Gough Whitlam Park in December 1982 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the election of the Whitlam government.
The Garden of the World “was designed to Botanically represent the Cultural Diversity of the City of Canterbury” situated in Gough Whitlam park and heralds its central tennants of Respect, Unit and Peace. The design of the landscape feature and gardens were done in partnership with the residents and community groups in the Canterbury electorate.
The landscaping works of the garden were completed in 2009 to compliment the theme of “Respect Unity Peace” already enshrined on indigenous mosaic which had been installed earlier, on 22 October 2004.
The sixth in a series of street mosaics commissioned by Council, the mosaics paid tribute to the local leader of aboriginal resistance, Pemulwy and his son, Tedbury. The mosaics portray the original Cooks River with native fish, local middens with sea shells in secret places, native animals that used to live in the area and hand stencils from a local rock shelter.
Today, the mosaic and landscaping feature is located near the Cooks River cycle path and the bridge over the creek.
Paying tribute to the original custodians
The garden mosaic also recognised and celebrated the original custodians of the area, the Bediagal people. The native low-lying grasses and golden ‘yellow sienna’ natural stone was, and we pay our respect to them.
Mr Whitlam unveiled a plaque that acknowledged his Federal Government’s assistance to Canterbury Council during its term in office.
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