I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published March 20th 2015
Who would guess this local park is linked to Napoleon?
Balcombe Park doesn't look like other parks, so I didn't immediately realise it was a public space. From the road, it appears very small, and sort of like a courtyard area.
A closer inspection reveals that the park is quite formal, but still very welcoming. There's swings, seats and a table (which has a chess board set onto it). Open space is located to the rear and the place includes basic facilities like a bin and a bubbler.
The existence of the park and its unique appearance is explained a little by its location in front of The Briars, a heritage house with a connection to Napolean Bonapate. The house once belonged to Alexander Balcombe, Deputy Registrar of the Equity Court in Sydney, who lived there from 1895. His grandfather had a similar house on Saint Helena, where Napoleon was exiled by the British. Napoleon is said to have lived with Balcombe and his family for several months in his first year on the island.
Since The Briars was built in Wahroonga, modeled on the Saint Helena home, the land has been subdivided, and prior to becoming a park (which only happened a few years ago) this area was a tennis court. Ku-ring-gai Council bought the land to restore the 'visual curtilage' of the house and also provide another public space for the increased number of residents that be living in Ku-ring-gai in the future.
Feel like a game of chess? This place is for adults as well as children