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Hammond Park

Home > Sydney > Tennis Courts | Playgrounds | Parks | Outdoor | Free
by Rota (subscribe)
Still out and about
Published April 4th 2017
A park and a parachute jump
Hammond Park is a quiet recreational park in Ashfield and is commonly used as a convenient place for a walk or to sit beneath the trees at the wooden benches. Residents of nearby streets value it for how peaceful it can be there during the day, not having as much activity as other nearby sports grounds.

hammond park, ashfield, childrens playground, park, tennis courts, inner west
Shade at the perimeter of the park

It is not a very well-known park, but it's worth checking out for its free tennis courts and the attractive covered children's play area.

But aside from this there is a little-known historical tidbit about this park that makes it one-of-a-kind. A plaque just after the decorative pergola reveals the spots significance.

In 1888 a watchmaker by the name of J. T WIlliams made the first ever intentional parachute descent in Australia from the site of Hammond Park.

Testing his parachute had been a hobby of his, and due to the success he encountered he decided to make a public demonstration of his skill.

hammond park, ashfield, childrens playground, park, tennis courts, inner west
A daring feat marked by this plaque

Close to 4000 people showed up to watch Williams ascend into the sky by balloon and later release himself from the balloon at 1000 ft, to descend via parachute to a point close to Homebush.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald on December 10th,1888 describes the response of the crowd:

"The enthusiasm among those who had witnessed him leave the ground, many of whom were all too fearful he would never return alive knew no bounds as the parachute, spread out in mid-air like a huge umbrella, could be seen making its way back."

hammond park, ashfield, childrens playground, park, tennis courts, inner west
It was done again a century later

What an awe-inspiring site it must have been to the residents of Ashfield in the late 1800's.

Interestingly, the feat was reenacted on the same location at Hammond Park in 1988 - exactly 100 years later - by Bill Johnson, to mark the Bicentenniel Celebrations.

Hammond Park - like many parks in Sydney's Inner West - was the site of an event that the casual passer by would be unlikely to suspect had occurred at a quiet neighbourhood park.

But even the most modest of spaces can be host to something great.
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Why? For tennis courts, children's play equipment and green space.
When: Daylight hours
Phone: (02) 9716 1800
Where: Frederick Street, Ashfield NSW 2131
Cost: Free
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