This article is part of our local series, where we highlight local venues, parks and attractions near our clinics. Learn more about Marrickville by clicking here.
Located in Marrickville, Henson Park is a multipurpose sporting centre that was created on the site of former brickworks. And the park is an attractive and historically important feature of the site. Henson Park is home to the Newtown Rugby League Football Club, also known as “The Newtown Jets.” Occasionally, Henson Park also hosts AFL matches. The park is also well-suited for families and never gets seriously crowded, making it a great picnic spot.
History of Henson Park
Henson Park was opened in 1937; before then, it was the site of a brick pit. The closure of the brick pit left a huge water hole which became a serious danger. The Marrickville Council bought the site in 1923, did a minor renovation, and used it as relief work for several people during The Great Depression. Henson Park was officially opened in 1933. In 1938, it became the principal cycling venue for the British Empire Games, the forerunner to today’s Commonwealth Games.
During the British Empire Games, the gatherings repeatedly exceeded 40,000. During the late 1970s, the velodrome surrounding the playing ground was removed and replaced with grass running track and used for local school games festivals. The multipurpose sporting centre looks quite the same as it has since opening and has been home to the Newtown Jets.
The Newtown Rugby League Football Club played in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL), a forerunner to the National Rugby League (NRL) until 1983, until the team stopped going to the competition due to financial reasons. Today, Henson Park is still the home ground of the Newtown Jets, who participate in the New South Wales Rugby League during the winter season. And during the summer, Henson Park serves as the home ground to Canterbury-Marrickville Olympic Soccer Club that participates in the NSW state Supper league.
Notable Spots Surrounding the Henson Park
The King George V Memorial Grandstand is on the western side of the park – this has about 1000 seating capacity. Also, from the north-west to the south-east side of Henson Park, you will see a massive grass hill, which is one of the biggest hills in Sydney. A bitumen bank where you can park your car is also located in the south-east to the western part of the ground.
Recent Upgrade of Henson Park
In 2019, the Shorten Labor Government invested about $5 million to renovate the park, transforming it into a sporting centre that would also host major Australian Football League matches. Moreover, with the aim to increase female participation in sport, the Henson Park upgrade includes the building of the female change rooms, making the park fit to host Greater Western Sydney women’s AFLW team and the Cronulla Sharks National Rugby League women’s team.
The Henson Park renovation will also allow it to be used to host ALF matches and junior rugby league. In addition, it will be used as a coaching clinic facility for teams across Sydney’s Inner West. The upgrade to the Henson Park is an all-round winner for women's participation in sport, major football codes, and the Inner West community.
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