For an Inner West neighbourhood park, Petersham Park has a lot going on. This is one of the largest parks in the area, and is a convenient stone's throw from Parramatta road, and the Petersham train station.
One of the first things you notice when entering Petersham Park are the attractively coppiced trees towering above the ANZAC Memorial Avenue and, beneath them, the ANZAC memorial gates. These gates honour the memory of those men who left Petersham to fight in the first World War. The gates were in fact part of the original Petersham Town Hall which was built in 1882, but were relocated to Petersham Park a few years before the building's demolition.
A few years ago the ANZAC Gates bronze memorial plaque was stolen, much to the dismay of local residents, but has since been replaced.
This Edwardian-style park is home to other heritage features, such as decorative pergolas and pergola-style structures. Like nearby Maundrell Park - and indeed many parks in the Inner West - pergolas are a common heritage feature.
They add old-world charm to the park and the circular formation of those in the 'Palm Grove' is distinctive. A variety of palm species have been utilized here, including Canary Island Date Palms and Cabbage Tree Palms. The 'Palm Grove' structure further distinguishes itself from most similar structures in the Inner West in that it also provides structured seating amidst the palms.
Over by the grand stand I discovered a plaque. On closer inspection it revealed that in late 1926, Sir Donald Bradman scored his first 1st Grade Century at the age of 18 at Petersham Park. He was playing for St George against Petersham and amazingly, this was also Sir Donald Bradman's debut appearance in Sydney Grade competition at any level.
While few rundowns of this famous cricketer's career mention this park's significance, it is an excellent little-known claim to fame for Petersham Park - especially considering that it continues to be a hub for cricket in the Inner West.
The location of the central cricket oval, generous shady grassed areas and children's play equipment make the site a frequent choice for families, especially on weekends. A small band rotunda at the site also plays into the suitability of this site as recreational spot.
Named after record breaking Australian swimmer - Fanny Durack - the facade of the centre is attractively adorned with informative plates that honour her career. Between 1912 and 1918 she broke twelve world records. Her great achievement helped to promote swimming among women of the time.
The aquatic centre is located within Petersham Park and is home to an 8 lane, 25 metre outdoor heated pool. Casual visits for adults cost $4.70, while for children and school students the cost is $2.40. Multiple visit passes are also available.