The centrepiece or living heart of Goulburn is the beautiful Belmore Park, a peaceful green oasis in the centre of one of the cleanest and tidiest cities (while officially a city it only has a population of 24,000) that I have visited. The Park is full of interesting things in itself, it has a few good cafes around about it and all of the city’s central attractions are within an easy walk.
From around 1833 what is now Belmore Park was the then town’s market square. Here pigs, sheep, cattle and garden produce were traded and local sporting events were held. According to a 1951 article in the Goulburn Post a typical “sports programme comprised such events as climbing a greasy pole, catching a pig with a greasy tail, bobbing for rolls and treacle with the hands tied behind the back, and diving in a tub full of water in which small coins were thrown. The climax of these sports was a wheelbarrow race; the course being a straight line from Auburn Street to Sloane Street.”
The largest of many beautiful trees still in the park today is an English oak planted by Lady Belmore in 1869 when she and Lord Belmore officiated at the opening of the railway line between Goulburn and Sydney. The barrow and spade used by Lady Belmore in the planting ceremony were given to the good Lady as mementos of her visit. Market Square was renamed Belmore Square (later Park) in Lady Belmore’s honour.
In 1871 the then Belmore Square was further gentrified when it was enclosed in a white picket fence and it was henceforth reserved for minor sports and Sunday picnics.
Over the years since then numerous civic monuments have been installed adding to the general ambience of the park. These include:
Temperance Fountain (1886) – actually located on the Auburn Street footpath just outside the Park. This was a gift from the Goulburn Temperance Societies, given in the hope of replacing at least some of 74 pubs and other drinking establishments then in existence – see separate review HERE.
Fence and piers (pillars) marking the coronation of Edward VII (1902) – Only a small portion of the very ordinary fence and a couple of very ordinary piers, flanking the Temperance Fountain, remain (see picture above).
Boer War Memorial (1904) – see separate review HERE.
World War II Role of Honour (with Vietnam plaque) and the National Servicemen’s Memorial (2002) – see separate review HERE.
Band Rotunda – commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The very Victorian looking Rotunda was designed by local architect EC Mansfield and cost around GBP 75. It was funded from leftover money in the Citizens’ Diamond Jubilee celebrations fund, after sufficient had been retained for a lavish children’s picnic to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.
Hollis Memorial Fountain – commemorates Dr L.T. Hollis who was the Parliamentary representative for Goulburn from 1891 to 1898. This, again Victorian design, fountain is a duplicate of the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fountain at St. Leonard’s Park, Sydney and was constructed in 1899.
Granite column/lamp – constructed in 1910 this memorial, in the form of a lamp, commemorates John Knowlman, a former Mayor and prominent Goulburn citizen. Originally there was a symbolic brass wreath on top but that has been removed for ‘safe keeping’ while lights in the lamp have been disconnected for safety reasons!
Not a bad collection for an area of only a hectare or so but still all capped of with a kids playground, plenty of seats and, notwithstanding Goulburn’s constant battle with water shortages, beautiful green lawns, delightful flower beds and a glass conservatory.
In keeping with tradition, a number of community events such as markets, carol services and the like are still held in the park from time to time.
Gone though is the miniature zoo which the park hosted from 1910 -26 when visitors shared the park with wallabies, kangaroos, emus and an aviary full of birds.
My next Goulburn review– HERE
Return to the beginning of my Goulburn reviews –HERE