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Pub: Sydney Morning Herald

Pubdate: 20-Aug-2002

Edition: Late

Section: Metropolitan


Page: 12

Wordcount: 276

Redferners’ heritage park gets the derro treatment

Elizabeth Farrelly

While heritage buildings are saved by the book, heritage parks do less well. Have you seen Prince Alfred Park lately? It’s a disgrace, and getting worse. The City of Sydney has two major Victorian parks, Hyde Park and Prince Alfred. There, though, the sisterhood ends. each requires a formal plan of management. Hyde Park has one, Prince Alfred doesn’t, a 1993 draft never having been adopted, despite the Lord Mayor’s clandestine public meetings last year, where you had to give your name before being told the venue.

So, where Hyde Park enjoys a restoration/maintenance budget in the millions, Prince Alfred’s would be lucky to top a few bucks a year. Where Hyde Park is minutely nipped, tucked, buffed and coiffed, as befits a top-people’s park, Prince Alfred is the homeless cousin. It is Redfern.

Pocked with dustbowls and clover outcrops, drought-affected, track-scarred and wheelie-gouged, Prince Alfred is grubby, brown and mown quarterly, if that. No French fountains or smart salmon-coloured paving here. The paths are asphalt, shoddy asphalt at that. Cars rip through. The pool is unkempt, barbed wire-fringed and perennially threatened with closure. The courts are padlocked, and danger-tape, itself dilapidated, quarantines the kids’ play and exercise areas on a semi-permanent basis. Recreation centres have been closed for years. Toilets, ditto.

But I guess, in the end, it’s only fair. Those CBD types work hard and pay taxes, some of them. Redferners don’t vote in the city, and don’t throw top-drawer dinners. How can they expect public funds to wash their way?


ILLUS: In need of some TLC …

the fence around the Prince Alfred Park pool.


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