Category Archives: Cabarita

Illuminating local stories

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An exciting new art installation planned for Cabarita Park will bring together stories and images of what the park means to local people.

Artists Sean Bacon and Kym Vercoe are collecting stories and images which will be projected on to fig and palm trees in the park. They are having a filming day in Cabarita Park on Saturday, 5 November 2016 from 11am to 2pm so come along and share what the park means to you.

The aerial photograph, taken in 1968, shows Cabarita Park in the centre of the image. In the foreground can be seen the AGL (Australian Gas Light Company) works at Mortlake, now redeveloped as Breakfast Point.

Golden era of swimming recalled

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The 1950s are often regarded as the golden era of Australian swimming.

Recently the National Film and Sound Archive received a donation of rare film footage of swimmers at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Vancouver in 1954. It includes local swimmers Lorraine Crapp (now Lorraine Thurlow) and Jon Henricks.

The local Concord community contributed to a fund to send swimmers Jon Hendricks and Lorraine Crapp and oarsman David Anderson to the Vancouver Games. Lorraine Crapp, who was just 15 years old at the time, won the 110-yard and 440-yard gold medals at Vancouver. Upon their return from the Games there was a special civic reception for the three athletes at Concord Council Chambers (at that time situated on Burwood Road, Concord). The photograph shows Lorraine Crapp, wearing the official Games uniform, with David Anderson following. The girls acting as a guard of honour are swimmers from the Cabarita Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Club of which Lorraine was a member. More images of the civic reception can be seen on flickr.

All three athletes went on to participate in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne with both Lorraine Crapp and Jon Henricks winning gold medals.

Cabarita Park

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Cabarita Park has continued to evolve over a period of some 135 years since it was dedicated as a ‘Reserve for Public Recreation and Access to Wharf’ in 1880.

In the early days it was an important vantage point for rowing races held on the Parramatta River which was promoted by the extension of the tram service to Cabarita in 1907. Over the years extensive plantings of trees and gardens together with facilities such as the Federation Pavilion and Concord-Cabarita Coronation Baths combined to make Cabarita Park an important recreational area.

The process of change and development continues with ‘The Conservatory’, an exceptional arts and cultural facility which will be completed next year.

The photograph, above, which shows Cabarita Park in 1923 was recently donated to Canada Bay Connections.

Local club made a big splash

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In the early 1950s the Cabarita Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Club had a big impact on Australian women’s swimming.

The club was founded by Lesley Thicknesse who had been a diver at the Empire (now Commonwealth) Games in London in 1934. Her three daughters Janet, Val and Pam along with Lorraine and Thelma Crapp were among the first members of the club. Based at Cabarita Baths (now Cabarita Swimming Centre), six members of the club were part of the Australian team at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

In view of the regimens of today’s elite swimmers, it’s interesting to reflect on training 1950s style. Winter calisthenics classes were held on the backyard lawn of the Thicknesse family home. Participants were reminded to ‘bring a rug or small blanket’. However, training was under the guidance of Frank Guthrie, one of the great coaches of the period, who helped Lorraine Crapp achieve enormous success in the pool.

The photograph shows Pat Huntingford and Lorraine Crapp participating in a Cabarita Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Club calisthenics class in 1955.

City of Canada Bay is hosting a family fun day at Bayview Park, Concord on Saturday, 21 March 2015, 12noon – 4pm as part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group – Our Living River initiative, to make the Parramatta swimmable again. Come along, it’s free!

Historical postcards released

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Four historical postcards have been released by City of Canada Bay Library Service which show aspects of recreation and work along the Parramatta River.

The earliest image, above, shows the women and men, mixed pairs skiff race near Drummoyne in 1906. Other images show the Lysaght Bros. Co. wharf at Abbotsford Bay, the opening of the Concord-Cabarita Coronation Baths and Rhodes Punt.

The postcards promote the library’s digital image collection, ‘Canada Bay Connections’ and City of Canada Bay Museum. They are available free of charge from Concord Library, Five Dock Library and City of Canada Bay Museum.

Correy’s Pleasure Gardens

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Music, dancing and picnics have always been enjoyed at Cabarita Park.

From the 1880s until World War 1, a focus of the park was Correy’s Pleasure Gardens operated on land adjacent to Cabarita Park. The pleasure ground was established by Thomas Obed Correy, who had previously owned gardens at Botany in the 1870s. Correy brought plants, flowers, shrubs and trees to Cabarita and provided swings, merry-go-rounds, a cricket field, a running track, summer houses, and from 1887, a dance pavilion, which was a great attraction for the many social and sporting clubs that held their annual picnics at the grounds.

The dance pavilion could accommodate up to 900 people who would be entertained by a ten piece string orchestra. Daytime dances were popular until gas replaced the kerosene lamps and evening dinners and dances became increasingly popular making the pleasure gardens one of Sydney’s leading recreational resorts.

During the World War I, Correy’s Pleasure Gardens declined in popularity and was eventually sold in 1918.

Correy’s Pleasure Gardens are one of many stories of Cabarita highlighted in a new Breakfast Point and Cabarita Park education kit now available on the City of Canada Bay web page. For more images of Correy’s Gardens see our flickr set.

The view from above

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Canada Bay Connections includes many aerial photographs which provide a fascinating perspective of our area.

The photograph above shows the Parramatta River looking towards Cabarita and Mortlake. The huge gas storage tanks of the Australian Gas Light Company (AGL) can be seen dominating the landscape.

AGL purchased 32 hectares of land at Mortlake in 1884 and commenced gas production two years later. Following the closure of the gasworks in 1990 the site has been redeveloped for medium-density housing and today is known as Breakfast Point.

The photograph is by Milton Kent (1888-1965) who specialised in oblique aerial photography over Sydney in the 1930s. The image is believed to have been taken in 1939.

Making a splash

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Cabarita has long been a recreational spot for residents.

In 1923, council provided a shark netted swimming pool at the northern end of Cabarita Park. This was superseded when the Concord-Cabarita Coronation Baths were opened on the 27 November, 1937. In the first month of its operation some 30,000 people made use of the facilities with adults paying three pence and children a penny. It has, of course, since been refurbished and improved to meet the present needs of the community and today is known as the Cabarita Swimming Centre.

City of Canada Bay Museum currently has a display ‘Cabarita, then and now’ which highlights the way the area has changed over the years. The display includes photographs recently donated by Kay Dawson that were taken by her grandfather. The photograph above shows the original pool in 1923.

Federation Pavilion

The Federation Pavilion in Cabarita Park provides a special link with the beginning of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The pavilion was built as the focal point for the Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia in Centennial Park, Sydney on 1 January 1901.

The original pavilion in Centennial Park stood 14 metres high on a slab of polished granite and was covered with ornate details rendered in fibrous plaster. After the ceremony, the plaster was removed and the wooden structure began to fall into disrepair. In 1903 the remains of the structure were purchased by Concord Council for £60 and moved to Cabarita Park. The granite platform was embedded into the ground at Centennial Park in 1904 to mark the exact location of the Inauguration ceremony.

Over the years the Federation Pavilion at Cabarita has been the focal point of many community and private functions. In December 1935, it was the venue for the formation of the Concord 12 Foot Flying Squadron, later renamed the Abbotsford 12 Foot Flying Squadron. More recently it has become popular as a venue for weddings.

Tram to Cabarita

 

The late nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries saw a rapid expansion of tram services to meet the growing need for urban transportation.

In turn the tramlines helped to transform semi rural areas into suburbs.
By the 1920s Sydney had one of the world’s largest tramway networks which carried well over a million passengers each weekday.

The photograph shows an O-class tram on a trial journey to Cabarita prior to the introduction of a regular electric service in February 1912.

Do you have memories of trams in our area?