Whenever we have, a sort out
we can almost guarantee we will find
hidden gems that have been forgotten
over the passing years.
Discovering these little gems
sends us back to our memory store
as we search to remind ourselves
of the time we got them many years ago.
These little gems found
bring a smile to us once more
as they did to us
all those years before.
David Harris – 1 Ocober 2011
‘We can almost guarantee we will find hidden gems that have been forgotten over the passing years’ rings true with this little beaut hidden in the heart of the city of Sydney. Paddington Reservoir Garden is located on one of Sydney’s most busy streets, Oxford Street, Paddington. Laid hidden behind the rows of people waiting for the bus to head into the city its icon Sydney sandstone wall, 21st concrete flooring and iron fencing.
Just to give you a little background info and insight. In 1866 Paddington Reservoir Garden became Sydney’s third largest water supply system. Its connection to the other two water supply systems in Sydney, the Lords Dam (Botany Bay) and the Low-Level reservoir on Crown Street, Surrey Hills, helped provide water to the elevated suburbs of Sydney. Prior to the Reservoir, the surrounding suburbs would gather water either by wells and/or by a water-cart service provided at the time. Although the reservoirs main purpose was to provide water to the Sydney suburbs, its operating time was short lived after the commission of Centennial Park Reservoir in 1899. Throughout the early 20th Century, Paddington Reservoir took on many different uses, ranging from a storage unit for the water board, a garage and workshop for the water board between 1914 – 1934. In 1934, Paddington Municipal Council purchased the property. The Council decided to lease out the west chamber converting it into a service station while leaving the east chamber to be occupied by the water board. Between the 1950’s until the 1990’s, the west chamber continued to remain as a service station until a roof collapse in 1990 and a further roof collapse in 1993, which decommissioned the west chamber as a service station and closure of all its facilities. In 2006, architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and landscape architects JMD Design took on the task to rebuild the Paddington Reservoir into the sunken garden and sanctuary it is today. The rebuild and reconstruction took almost three years to complete and in 2009 Paddington Reservoir Garden officially opened to the public.
So, with the history out of the way, I truly suggest that if you are ever in the city especially if you’re walking your dog, cat, parrot (trust me I have seen such animals and their owners casually walking on by) or taking a lovely stroll with your partner, children and/or parents, or even if your on your own, to wander into the little hidden gem and take in the wonderful beauty and transformation of such a place. From it’s humble beginnings to its lushest greens, sparkling reflections of the pond and comfy deck chairs, one could easily be swept up and forget that the hustle of city life is just a stone throw away.
And with that, I highly recommend that you take yourself there, get yourself a coffee, bring a good book and enjoy the peace of this little hidden gem in the heart of the city.