Wimbo Park Mural, Surry Hills

Wimbo Park and Centennial Park

Wimbo Park Mural, Surry Hills

The mural depicts the history of the park. Seventy years ago this place was called Wimbo Paddock and was a recreational area. Some of the activities which took place here in those days are depicted: men playing marbles, a carnival with a carousel, a razzle-dazzle, Blondin the tight-rope walker and Captain Penfold taking off in his hot air balloon. As the general area was developed this site was used as a stone masons workshop by the Sydney City Council. Now it is once again used for recreation. The mural is dedicated to the long-term residents of Surry Hills. It was made by local residents and co-ordinated by artist Peter Day under the sponsorship of the Sydney City Council. LP Carter OBE. Town Clerk

Although it’s a little cold, wet and windy outside right now, it was a really beautiful day in Sydney. And so I set out mid-afternoon for what I’d planned as a brief walk to the nearby coffee shop to read the paper and have a bite to eat.

Somehow that brief walk morphed into an almost three hour stroll which took me around Surry Hills and over to Centennial Park where there were, literally, thousands of people enjoying the sunshine.

For me, a walk around Centennial Park is about taking the time to look at nature and the people you pass, to take in the sights, sounds and smells, to think and to contemplate.

Although I concede I wouldn’t have this layer of fat around my tummy if I ate and drank sensibly and exercised regularly (running around the park instead of strolling), I concluded firmly in my mind this afternoon, that I’m not a “runner”.

Much like the story of the tortoise and the hair, I’m one of those people who prefers the slow, steady approach to my exercise, rather than the intense burst of energy. It’s perhaps also analogous to my attitude towards life also?

Walking, not running, has other advantages, as I noticed a few things on my afternoon walk that I hadn’t noted previously.

First and foremost, I discovered “Wimbo Park”. Well, I shouldn’t say “discovered”, as I’ve been living near “Wimbo Park” for about fifteen years now. It’s that curious little park on Bourke Street, opposite Bourke Street Bakery.

Wimbo Park was the site of the City of Sydney's stoneyard from 1955 to 1981  Here masons dressed stone in a variety of forms and shapes for many city projects.

Wimbo Park was the site of the City of Sydney's stoneyard from 1955 to 1981 Here masons dressed stone in a variety of forms and shapes for many city projects.

Thousands who have queued for their bread on the weekends are probably in a similar position to me. They’ve noticed it. They might even have sat in it. But they probably have no idea that it’s a park with “history”

There’s a few plaques around the park which give a little of the background. According to a plaque on Bourke Street Wimbo Park was officially opened on 14th April 1982 by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman Douglas W Sutherland AM. There’s also a mural which tells you about the different uses the ground had prior to becoming “Wimbo Park”.

Curious to know more about the histoy of “Wimbo Paddock” and “Wimbo Park”, when I arrived home tonight, I went online but found very little. Surry Hills blogger, Neil, of course, has previously blogged about it. But beyond that, there’s very little. There’s a brief reference to a need for improved lighting in City of Sydney council minutes from 1997. There’s a few references to a rather obscure EP, only released in NZ, by a band called Dappled Cities. And there’s also a Wimbo Park in Cannock in England, apparently.

Slightly less enlightening was discovering “Wimbo” in urban dictionary defined in these terms… “The combination of a whore and a bimbo. Usually unattractive and slutty”

3 thoughts on “Wimbo Park and Centennial Park

  1. Hi James,
    The band, Dappled Cities, you mention above are actually still an ongoing concern some 10 years after recording that debut EP ‘Wimbo Park’. I wasn’t managing the band at the time (they were still at school) however I do know most of the band had recently ‘discovered’ Surry Hills having come from different parts of Sydney. They now have 3 albums under their belt, ARIA nominations, #1 Chart debuts a US and UK deal – and currently split their time between Sydney, New York and London. When they are in Sydney you just might spot them still hanging out in Wimbo Park.

    cheers
    Troy Barrott

  2. Hello James, many residents are greatly concerned about the proposed route for the light rail through Surry HIlls which means the removal of Wimbo Park and the local residents mural (along with Olivia Gardens apartments, homes on South Dowling Street and part of Moore Park). We are hoping to have consultation with the government so that historic items such as the WimboPpark mural are preserved in some way.

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