This image, from an early 20th century postcard, shows Hyde Park evolving into a calm, open space, perhaps even a retreat from the busy working life of the nurse (probably from the nearby Sydney Hospital) captured in the photo.
In the 19th century, Hyde Park underwent a complete change, leaving behind its early role as a mustering point for convicts and soldiers and becoming the predecessor of what we see today – a tranquil, green sanctuary. Of course, the predecessor of Hyde Park was not calm in any sense of the word. Although Governor Macquarie set the land aside in 1810 as a common, naming it after Hyde Park in London, the area soon became Sydney’s first recreation and games centre. It was used for a variety of sports, from cockfighting to cricket, but one of the most important and famous features of the park was a racetrack. Slowly, as the century wore on, the park began to be used for more peaceful pursuits, more in line with what we would recognise today.