Sunday, 2 June 2013

Moore Park is lessened

Moore Park was viewed as "a kind of heath, poor, sandy and full of swamps" when the First Fleet arrived in 1788. The land that now forms Moore and Centennial Parks was the aquifer for the early settlement. Streams cascaded down the escarpment to Darling Harbour, the most significant being through Frog Hollow. Governor Lachlan Macquarie set aside 1,000 acres of land for grazing stock in 1810 and Charles Moore, Mayor of Sydney from 1867 - 69 fought for the land to be dedicated as a leisure area for the people of Sydney.

Sydney's first zoo was established on what had been known as Billygoat Swamp in 1879. Billygoat Swamp was a small lake of clear potable water and had been used for swimming and catching fish and eels but was built over by the zoo. The zoo became Sydney Girls High School in 1921 when the zoo moved to Bradley's Head, and was joined by Sydney Boys High School in 1928.

The route of the tram rails is between Sydney Boys High and the playing fields to the north and a Community Light Rail Forum was convened there in The Great Hall on the 15th April. The Transport Minister told the Forum that they were looking into the possibility of sinking placing the rail in a trench after it has crossed Surry Hills. At a breakfast of Randwick stakeholders a week later the Deputy Director General of Transport for NSW was keen to establish his tree-hugging credentials and said that Moreton Bay Fig Trees along Anzac Parade could be preserved by placing the tram-lines in a trench. So where does this leave the spur line to the Sydney Cricket Ground?

I have been caught in a downpour in Moore Park west of the Entertainment Centre. Ground water covered the park, ankle deep in the more sunken areas. The water eventually seeps into the Eastern Suburbs - Botany Bay aquifer but it takes quite a while. I thought about getting a photo of this phenomena during last Sunday's downpour, but why ruin a new pair of shoes - it is just a park covered with water.

Trams cannot travel down slopes greater than 6 metres in 100 metres and the overhead lines have to go down as well and have to be isolated from passersby. Open trenches for the trams go on forever and have to be drained - electric trams cannot operate when tracks are covered with water.

The Project can not be costed while so little is known about the routes through Moore Park and the impact on the Park and on Sydney High is unfathomable.

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