17 June 2009

Works to improve York Park begin

| johnboy
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Back in 2005 we noted that York Park had been saved from conversion into a car park thanks to the lobbying of the Liberal’s Senator Gary Humphries.

While it looks like just a scraggly copse of oaks planted too close together the historical significance is pretty huge. They were planted in 1927 by the then Duke and Duchess of York (ok, at least some of them were) who were out here for the opening of parliament house. Through the historical accident of the abdication crisis that couple became King George VI and Elizabeth, the recently departed Queen Mother.

Last time I was in the National Museum they gold plated shovels used for the planting day were on display.

With plans underway back in 2004 to convert two thirds of the trees into offices and car parks it’s really pleasing to see the ship get turned around on this one.

The National Capital Authority has now announced the start of works to make the park into the sort of place people might actually want to go.

    Low-height perimeter walls, paths and associated landscape works will be built to protect the heritage listed plantation.

    NCA Executive Director, Andrew Smith said the new works will also improve public access and amenity.

    ‘The upgrade works will create a park which is unique in Canberra, for everyone to enjoy.’

Hopefully the upgrade will remind future bureaucrats of the significance of the site.

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I recall spinning the old Dato 180B on the verge of the playing area one day when I was running late for the game. Had to move quickly; I had the softball kit in the boot.

So now all that’s left of it is those oaks, and their fence.

old canberran8:54 pm 18 Jun 09

From memory Ant, York Park was quite large and extended on both sides of Brisbane Avenue from Sydney Avenue to Kings Avenue. It’s about 40 years since I played softball there so the memory’s a bit rusty.

Was it used as sporting fields before they built DFAT? Now it’s the oaks, the PM&C carpark, the DFAT carpark…

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they start developing that whole area.

Softball was fun. It’s one of the few team sports I’ve really felt I could participate in.

I recall playing public servive lunchtime softball there too (and coaching the Treasury/Finance D Grade woman’s team that palyed there regularly in the 80’s). We used to shoot across the road to the Wello for a swift one or two, before the long haul back to Parkes.

It sounds really pleasant and nice. What a great thing to do! I’m glad the trees are still there. Windsor Walk sounds a bit like a dance step though.

Google maps seems confused. It has the whole block as York Park, but most of that is actually the DFAT carpark, which was sold by Finance last year for the new Climate Change building to be put on. And the oaks are used, by staff from PM & C and ANAO to sit in and eat their food from the caravan parked there.

However, I saw on a plan that the capital authority plans to tart-up something called Windsor Walk through there, put bricks down and plant things in garden beds.

old canberran11:14 pm 17 Jun 09

I played many a game of hockey there in my younger days, and lunchtime softball.

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