Holidays are the perfect time for families to spend a few days enjoying time together. This week, The Past Present decided to take a step back in time, to visit a place where families might have spent their day out in days gone by, Fairyland at Lane Cove.
The area where Fairyland was built, on the Lane Cove River, belonged to the Swan family who purchased the land early in the 20th century and had soon established a market garden on the site. One of their popular crops was strawberries, which were purchased by people boating on the river and eventually, the Swan family began to offer afternoon teas to these passers by. By 1920, the family had recognised the potential for their land to become a popular, lucrative pleasure ground and set about transforming their market garden into what became known as Fairyland.
The pleasure grounds were immensely popular with day trippers and it wasn’t long before rides (including the wonderfully named ‘razzle dazzle’), a wharf, dance hall, kiosk and playground had been built. The Swan family used fairytale characters throughout the area, painting them on buildings, and even making painted, wooden figures which were to be found in the trees – hence the name fairyland. Today the bush has mostly reclaimed the old pleasure grounds, but many remember happy outings on the banks of the Lane Cove River.