30 January 2024

A long overdue new look for one of Kiama's oldest parks

| Jen White
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Four men hold plans for the park upgrade.

Kiama Mayor Neil Reilly, MP Gareth Ward, Project Manager David Wagstaff and Director Michael Malone with plans for the Hindmarsh Park upgrade. Photo: Supplied.

Work is finally due to start this week on a $4.5 million upgrade of one of Kiama’s oldest parks, Hindmarsh Park.

The work will include a new, inclusive playground, improved facilities, upgrading of the Orry Kelly stage and landscaping.

The project had been delayed for some time as Kiama Council struggled to find builders willing to take it on.

Funded by the NSW Government, work is due to commence this week (29 January) and is expected to be completed by September in time for the spring school holidays.

Hindmarsh Park was originally a water reserve in the early days of Kiama’s settlement. In the late 1890s it was rededicated as a public park – “Central Park” – and the water reserve was drained and filled.

READ ALSO Early Kiama settlers braved thick scrub to build homes and a thriving township

In 1906, two tennis courts were built in the park, followed by a tennis clubhouse in 1959 alongside Terralong Street. The courts and clubhouse were dismantled in 1988 to open up the park for town gatherings.

The name changed to Hindmarsh Park in 1967 to honour the Hindmarsh family, known as the “Founding Orphans of Kiama”.

A plaque in the park recognises the “communal services rendered to the Municipality” by Michael Nesbit Hindmarsh, Nesbit Evans Hindmarsh and Alfred Neil Hindmarsh, who were instrumental in the early development of Kiama and Gerringong.

The park was especially popular with children for its climbing rocket.

Rocket ship formerly in Hindmarsh Park.

The popular rocket ship which used to be in Hindmarsh Park. Photo: Gaye Burrows/Lost Wollongong.

Kiama Mayor Neil Reilly said he was excited to see the upgrade move into the construction phase.

“I thank our staff and contractors for their perseverance in getting this important project through the challenging but crucial design, consultation and planning stages.

“I also thank Gareth Ward for his advocacy for this project, and the NSW Government for their strong support, especially the significant funding being invested.

“I can’t wait to see a revitalised Hindmarsh Park, which is just one part of the exciting things in store for the Kiama CBD over the next couple of years.”

Council has appointed Growth Civil Landscapes to deliver the landscaping and installation of the new playground, while Proludic will supply the new play equipment, which has been adapted to the requirements of Hindmarsh Park.

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The project is being done in three stages, to minimise disruption for locals and visitors using the park.

It will start with the Collins Street footpath upgrade, followed by the Orry Kelly stage improvements and shade structure from February to April. The new play equipment, pathways and gardens will be installed between April and September.

The playground will include towers with rope climbing, bridges, a slide, swings and inclusive play elements.

The existing playground will remain open until the final stage in April, when the new equipment is due to be installed.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said Hindmarsh Park was one of the many “jewels in the crown” of the township.

“I’m delighted that this public open green space is being made an even better public open green space for our local families and young people to enjoy,” Mr Ward said.

For more information visit Kiama Council.

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