by Cathy Jones
Coronation Reserve runs the length of Coronation Parade from Liverpool Rd to Georges River Road and the Coronation Arch is sited within the reserve. For the occasion of the coronation of King George VI in 1937, Enfield Council built the Coronation Arch [see photo] and refurbished the Reserve. In recognition of the occasion, the Arch, Reserve and Road were all renamed with word ‘Coronation’ in their title.
The reserve lies on the border of the original Redmire Estate, granted to James Wilshire in 1908 but did not commence sub-dividing until 1867. By the 1850’s a track was established marking the current Coronation Parade, which is the border between Burwood and Strathfield Councils. The reserve is located between two parallel streets known as Punchbowl Rd and The Boulevarde [in 1937 both streets were renamed Coronation Parade] and is bordered by Liverpool Rd and the Cooks River at the junction of Georges River Rd. The original reserve was about 80 feet wide but the reserve has increased in width when the trams, which ran through the eastern side of the reserve, were removed in 1951 and reserve expanded.
Coronation Parade was the site of the steam tramway built in 1902, which ran from Liverpool Rd to the depot terminus in Tangarra St and through the current Reserve. The tramway was electrified in 1912 and a double track added in 1915. Competition from local buses forced the closure of the tram service in 1948, though the tracks were not removed until 1951. The old tramway was located on the eastern side of the Reserve and the small brick hut near Dean St was built adjacent to the tram stop as a waiting room. After the tracks were removed, Coronation Reserve was substantially altered in layout and the former tramway incorporated into the Reserve.
By the 1920s, there was much public pressure to provide better public reserves and gardens in the borough and in 1931, a petition was received by Enfield Council to improve the condition of the reserve. However, improvement works did not commence until 1936 with labour provided by Depression relief work schemes and the desire to mark the Coronation of George VI with the building of the Coronation Arch. The archway and reserve were officially opened by the Governor of New South Wales, Lord Wakehurst, on 5th June, 1937 and at this time, the roadway was renamed Coronation Parade.
Enfield Municipal Council, 1936, Annual Report
OHM Consultants, 1996, Coronation Arch Enfield Conservation Plan, Strathfield Municipal Council.
Register of the National Estate – www.heritage.gov.au
© Cathy Jones 2004, updated 2017. This article is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the author.