by Cathy Jones
Coronation Reserve, a large green open space, runs the length of Coronation Parade from Liverpool Road, Enfield to Georges River Road, Belfield.
The reserve is located between two parallel streets that were known as Punchbowl Road and The Boulevarde. In 1937, both streets were renamed Coronation Parade.
Coronation 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.
Coronation Parade was the site of the Enfield to Mortlake and Cabarita 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.
The original reserve was about 80 feet wide but was increased in width when the Tram service, which ran through the eastern side of the reserve, was removed in 1951. The expanded reserve is built over the tram tracks.
The Coronation Parade Arch is sited within the reserve and faces Plymouth Street. For the occasion of the coronation of King George VI in 1937, Enfield Council built the Coronation Arch and refurbished the Reserve. In recognition of the occasion, the Arch, Reserve and Road were all renamed with word ‘Coronation’ in their title.
By the 1920s, there was much public pressure to provide better public reserves and gardens in the borough. In 1925 and in 1931, petitions were received by Enfield Council to improve the general amenities alongside the tramway on Punchbowl Road and the condition of the reserve. In 1936, Enfield Council decided to take up funding provided under the new NSW Local Government (Further Amendment) Act, to undertake local public works with the aim of creating more employment. The Council spent a total of £30,000 on a number of improvement works, including some drainage, park, improvement and work on the Cooks River, however the primary project was upgrading of the area that became Coronation Reserve.
In the 1936 report, the Mayor Alderman Reuben H Jenner wrote: ‘Coronation Parade has, with careful planning, been changed from a wasteland to a place of beauty’. He further wrote “in the first section between Plymouth and Hill Streets….A central gravel pathway was constructed ordered on each side by beds of annuals and flowering shrubs, which form a distinctive colour scheme’.
Enfield Council resolved to mark the occasion of the Coronation of King George VI with the building of the Coronation Arch. Ald. Jenner wrote that ‘Council considered that an improvement could be effected by the construction of some distinctive architectural feature that would appropriately commemorate the Coronation of King George VI. Plans of a rustic brick colonnade were prepared and approved and this dignified structure, which combines the utilitarian, and the traditional, has now been erected’.
To celebrate the opening of the Arch, Enfield Council approved the purchase of 2500 commemorative medals and distributed them to school children in the area. Civic preparations were made for the opening including a request that the shopkeepers keep the coronation decorations up until after the opening of the archway and reserve. A choir of children were organised to perform at the opening and invitations were designed and printed. Photographs of interest were collected and included in the Council annual report for 1936 which was published as a special commemorative edition.
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. The Mayor of Enfield, Ald. Reuben Jenner, noted that the Coronation Arch and reserve and similar civic improvement products were made possible with the financial assistance of government grants and through work relief scheme funding.
The archway was restored by Strathfield Council in 2001.
Enfield Municipal Council (1936). Annual Report
Enfield Council Minutes 887/1925 and 1267/1931.
Howe, G (1999), Heart of the City, Ancestral Trail Publications
OHM Consultants (1996) Coronation Arch Enfield Conservation Plan, Strathfield Municipal Council.
MUNICIPALITY OF ENFIELD. (1937, June 4). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 – 2001), p. 2188. Retrieved August 31, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224751684
Gazette (1937, June 4) NSW Government Gazette
Register of the National Estate – www.heritage.gov.au
© Cathy Jones 2004, updated 2017, 2021, 2023. This article is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the author.
I’m trying to find photos of Tangarra street, enfield during the late 30’s and 40’s, my dad worked in the butcher shop there and my mum in the newsagents..
Any information would be great