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Foundation Park at The Rocks

Home > Sydney > Walks | Parks | Outdoor | Historic Houses | Free
by Pauline (subscribe)
Published April 27th 2013
A hidden gem at The Rocks
Foundation Park is a quirky hidden gem in The Rocks Gloucester Walk, behind a row of shop houses in Argyle Terrace. It was an accidental discovery for me as there is no directional signage to this park.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk
Shops along Argyle Terrace

A random exploration at The Rocks Foodie Market led me to an interesting shopping strip on Playfair Street.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk
Left: Enter via the middle door, Right: The narrow passageway

As I was strolling down the strip from shop to shop, I was confronted by three doors. Which door to enter? For me, it is the intriguing door in the middle with a narrow passageway which looks more inviting. I decided to walk through it to the other end and that's how I stumbled upon Foundation Park.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, sandstone cliff
Sandstone cliff

Foundation Park is formerly the site of eight colonial housing ruins built on this sandstone cliff and rocky hill from 1874 - 1878. It was only until 1972 when this site was transformed into a park, featuring archaeological remains of the long-vanished houses with collection of artwork which models the 19th century furniture.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk
Remains of the 19th century colonial housing kitchen

The lower terrace of the park used to be a kitchen for the ruined former dwelling.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk, Furniture
Steel Chair

Part of the houses were restored and brought back the past to the present with low dividing walls. Renowned sculptor, Peter D. Cole designed some of the steel furniture which decorated the park to resemble the past.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk, Chair,
Wooden Bench

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk
Top: Washtub, Bottom: Table and chair

The are bits and pieces of furniture here and there such as wooden bench, chairs and tables.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk, old furniture
Left: Old cabinets and chair, Right: Fire place

As I was looking around, a small group of people was there on a guided tour. I overheard that the rooms in the former houses here were small and it was very cramped to live in with big families back then. Due to the strategic location of The Rocks near the ports in 19th century, it was an area with high-density population.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk, Old Clock
Old dresser and Clock

Most of the rooms were nothing bigger than 3m x 3m. It is interesting to see how everything was designed and put together to demonstrate the condition of people living here in the past and how the rooms were being used for different purposes.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney hidden secret,
View of Foundation Park from higher terrace

If you walked up to the higher terrace of Foundation Park, it gives you a good aerial view of the the park and the remains of this historical site.

Foundation Park, The Rocks, Sydney, GLoucester Walk, MOnument
Foundation Park Monument, Author: J Bar

To demonstrate the size and shape of the former dwelling on the site, a steel structure of the house with brightly painted doors and window frames were installed. I thought the bright colour is a little out of place but oh well, it catches the attention of passerby.

If you happened to be around The Rocks and interested to visit some historical sites, I would recommend Foundation Park as a must-see place. Just be a little careful with the steps, stairways and uneven path while exploring the park.
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Why? A hidden gem in The Rocks
When: Anytime
Where: Gloucester Walk, The Rrocks
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
I explored around The Rocks last year and came across this park when I went up the Argyle Stairs and along the Gloucester walk. Its an interesting hidden bit of history, and feels a little eerie too.
by Brett Miller (score: 1|63) 3616 days ago
Really good article! Like all the pics too. Has inspired me to take a peek.

by trace2 (score: 0|8) 3615 days ago
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