Steel Park Marrickville South was once the Marrickville Municipal Rubbish Tip.

Steel Park Marrickville South was once the Marrickville Municipal Rubbish Tip.

Don’t blame me.  Blame the Library who gave me this book to read over Christmas.  The book is called, ‘Jack of all Trades – Mistress of One’ & was written by actor Grahame Bond, famous for his role as Aunty Jack.

Grahame’s Mum worked days at the Marrickville Post Office & at nights, “as a cleaner at the Marrickville brake lining factory.  She described walking into the factory late at night, ‘the air filled with white flakes, like dandelions floating on the breeze.’  Her job was to vacuum up the loose asbestos. That’s the bad news.  The good news… my dear mother lived to 98.” 

The story gets better.   An excerpt –

“Originally the area bordered by Illawarra Road & the Cooks River had been glorious marshland stretching all the way from Marrickville to Botany BayIn the early 1930s Marrickville Council in its wisdom decided to divert the river using rubbish as landfill, which resulted in the area becoming a floodplain.  Today this might be called land reclamation.

In the early 1940s, the garbage landfill concept was expanded & the floodplain became the Marrickville Municipal Rubbish Tip.  Suddenly we had an open garbage dump metres from private housing, & Gary & his parents lived directly opposite.  What the council had approved was criminal, but for us kids it was a treasure trove of pickings; old toys, prams, comics, even beds.  It was idyllic, except for the tons of rotting food & vegetable matter.

And further on –

“In the late 1940s Marrickville Council made a momentous decision to remove the rubbish tip & rezone the area to become parkland.  The plan was to move the tip to another suburb & create a landscaped masterpiece from the denuded garbage tip.  To fashion the park, the Council simply reversed the technique used originally to reclaim the land.  This time they brought in the bulldozers to scrape off the surface rubbish & truck it to Tempe.  What was left was then covered with tons of mud & debris from the bottom of ‘good old Cooksie.’  The new parkland was now littered with old bits of broken shells from mussels, oysters & cockles.  The area was aptly named Steel Park, where I played for West Marrickville primary school’s rugby league team.  Steel Park by name & steel park by nature:  the surface was punishing, uneven & dangerous.  With so many objects protruding from the grass it was Tetanus City.

We soon discovered that the opposing teams preferred to forfeit rather than compete on our playing field.”

History is grand.  It can answer so many questions like why are the river banks straight & why strange objects are often found to be protruding from the dirt.  I’d recommend reading Jack of all Trades.  It’s not only interesting, especially for locals, but it is also funny.

We know that Steel Park is reclaimed land & also Tempe Reserve & both were used as Council garbage dumps.  I wonder whether the other green areas along Marrickville’s section of the Cooks River is also is also reclaimed land - Marrickville Golf Course, Mackey Park & Kendick Park & whether they were garbage dumps also?

We know that Steel Park & also Tempe Reserve  is reclaimed land & that both were used as Council garbage dumps. I wonder whether the other green areas along Marrickville Council’s section of the Cooks River is also reclaimed land – Marrickville Golf Course, Mackey Park & Kendrick Park & whether they were garbage dumps also?

 

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