When I first entered the Cooper Park, I felt like beeing in another place. Not for nothing this place is also called “The Valley of Surprise”. It has a special beauty – an urban jungle in Sydney and a perfect hideaway from the fast-paced city life.
It’s one of the largest remaining areas of natural bushland in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, extending from Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill to Manning Road, Double Bay to the Woollahra Council.
Cooper Park comprises around 17.5 hectares of open space with a length of 1,100 metres in an east-west direction. The Government was asked to purchase land for recreational purpose in the late 19th century around Sydney area. So, Sir William Cooper gave the whole of the gully from his Cooper Estate to the Government 1917. During the 1920s and 1930s Government started to landscape the area by providing a ‘tamed’ view of the surrounding wilderness bushland.
In December 1927 designers werde invited to submit their designs. Rules were to preserve the indigenous flora and rocks and any structural elements should be incorporated in the natural habitat. The winners, architects SE Coleman and RGC Coulter, were awarded first price of 100 pounds. The same pathways which were build in those days still meander through Cooper Park, following the natural contours. Several shade-giving faux stone grottoes had been erected within the parkland with some nice paintings inside. Some of them have a bench and a table – perfect for picnic.
A creek that runs through Cooper Park can be crossed by a series of small bridges, which had been constructed of various materials. One is made of metal, two are concrete and one is a brick bridge. But, the most prominent bridge is the picturesque arched moon bridge, built of sandstone. Constructed during the 1930s as part of a public works program which was designed to provide unemployment relief during the years of the Great Depression.
The creek running through the Park follows the line of a volcanic dyke of the Jurassic age. Sometimes you can even find the hidden waterfalls by listening the water babbling. All along the pathways you can find a wide variety of native trees and shrubs.
Within the park there are also seating and picnic facilities, children’s playground, tennis courts and football fields – something for everyone.
With a bit of luck you can not only hear the diverse birds singing but also see them while sitting on a branch and enjoying the sun.:)
Why I like it?
Like most of the public parks it’s for free. 😀 You can wander along the winding paths among native flora and have some peaceful hours. It is a hidden gem within the city of Sydney – a natural oasis.