Clifton Gardens

Fairground rides in photo

This week, the Past Present wanted to investigate one of Sydney’s famous pleasure grounds. Sydney has a variety of beautiful beaches, lovely parks and even a few fun parks, but once these attractions were combined in places like Clifton Gardens. The postcard above shows Clifton Gardens in circa 1910, including one of the old fashioned rides which were enjoyed by visitors.

The history of Clifton Gardens as a place to holiday begins in 1871 when a hotel called the Clifton Arms was built by D. Butters. In 1879 this hotel was leased by David Thompson who purchased the hotel a year later in 1880 and later built the Marine Hotel which operated until the 1960s. It was in 1906 though that Clifton Gardens really became a tourist hub when Sydney Ferries Ltd purchased the Thompson estate, including a skating rink, wharf, dance pavilion, and the three story hotel. They soon added to these attractions, building a grand circular swimming enclosure, a boatshed and even a tramway from the wharf to the hotel. Clifton Gardens as it was then known was a perfect place for not only family and private tourists and visitors, but also for union and company picnics and was frequented by the employees of various butchers, banks and even The Water Board.

Come back next week to find out more about the history of Clifton Gardens famous Baths.


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