Not many people know that Sydney Olympic Park has its own heritage railway, so we asked our own ‘fat controller’ Todd to share more about this unique asset.
The Millennium Parklands Railway at Sydney Olympic Park’s Newington Armory has been in almost continuous use since its construction in 1909. Built to move munitions within the site of the original Australian Navy Armament Depot the railway was converted for passenger use following the handover of the RANAD site to the Olympic Co-ordination Authority in 1999 and subsequently the Sydney Olympic Park Authority in 2001. Full accreditation, under the Rail Safety Act, to operate a passenger service, was granted in 2003 following the design and construction of unique narrow gauge passenger carriages.
Image courtesy of Paul K Robbins
To maintain Sydney Olympic Park Authority’s accreditation to operate the train and carry passengers, the railway, including the locomotives, passenger carriages, historical rollingstock and the rail track and points are inspected annually by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR). The regulator audits the operating systems, train driver and guard/ guide medical certification and training, records of train movements, including a unique voice activated recording of train driver and guard communication, passenger numbers, track and rollingstock inspection and maintenance records, incident reporting and risk assessment records and procedures.
The Armory Railway guided tours are available for all ages so get the family together and book a tour for a historic adventure.
We are really excited to be part of GPOP – the Greater Parramatta and Olympic Peninsula – which is Sydney’s true centre and set to be the connected and unifying heart of our growing city.
Check out more about the exciting future of GPOP in this video from the Greater Sydney Commission. (And, thanks to Andrea and our friends at ParkBikes for their help in telling the story!)
In spring we see a lot of wildlife activity in the park. We have a range of wildlife habitats including forest, wetlands, lakes and grasslands. These areas are protected to allow wildlife to be, well, wild.
One of the special events this spring was the hatching of 3 cygnets for our Australian Black Swans on Lake Belvedere. If you have visited recently perhaps you have seen them. The cygnets are growing quickly on their diet of native food around the lake (no feeding please, they need a proper diet to grow healthy).
Adult keeping a close eye on the new cygnets
Bees have also been seen on the move in the park. At this time of year hives often split with one half of the hive moving out to find a new place to live. We were lucky enough to see this swarm taking a rest from flying in the recent high winds.
Of course the park is also a great place for people and wildlife to hang out. The islands in Lake Belvedere provide a secure place for nesting, grooming and other activities. There are many great viewing locations surrounding the lake to view this activity close-up and without disturbing the animals as they go about their lives.
While some birds take a nap, others get on with the important grooming process
Have you noticed that our Kookaburras do not beg?
Our park Kookaburras are a very well mannered bunch. No begging or stealing food as you find in some parks. Our kookaburras have an abundance of native food available in the park – so much better than a stolen sausage for them. When animals are not fed they exhibit their normal behaviour and you get an authentic wildlife experience.
One of our very well mannered Kookaburras at Concord West
Olympic legacy is very topical, now that the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games have drawn to a close.
Sydney Olympic Park is considered one of the most successful example of lasting Olympic legacy and we are committed to ensuring the Olympic Legacy lives on.
With our diverse array of plant life in the Park, planting trees with a strong connection to the Games is something we pride ourselves on. In the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Games, rows of ornamental Manchurian Pear trees were planted around the train station. With heart-shaped leaves and spectacular autumn colour, the Manchurian Pears bloom with scented white flowers in September, marking the occasion of the Opening Ceremony.
To continue this tradition, Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ trees or more commonly known as Callery Pear Trees have been planted along Murray Rose Avenue outside the new NRMA building. Callery Pear Trees also grow spring flowers, have spectacular autumn foliage and provide summer shade.
The improvement works along Murray Rose Avenue will not only see the planting of these trees, but also improved pavement surfacing from asphalt to durable ‘large format’ pavers and instillation of ‘heel safe’ (and café chair friendly) tree grates at the base of each replacement street tree.
Sydney Olympic Park is not only a place of living, learning and working, but also a place to stop and take in the beautiful scenery. Take the time to walk along Murray Rose Avenue and have a look at the new Callery Pear Trees, stopping to grab a coffee at one of the many great cafes along the way.
The Rio Paralympic Games are well underway and our athletes are in the best shape we’ve ever seen with the medal tally stacking up higher and higher by the day.
Our athletes have shown tremendous strength, resilience and humility and we are proud to have them represent our nation at the Games.
The Australian Paralympic Committee is based in Sydney Olympic Park with their headquarters having been grounded here for over a decade. Many of our Paralympic athletes use the facilities in the Park to train and compete in preparation for the Games.
Here at Sydney Olympic Park, the legacy of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games is something that burns bright in our minds and what better way to celebrate this than to light the Olympic Cauldron one last time this year for the 16th anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Games.
Head to Jacaranda Square on Thursday 15 September to watch our Aussie athletes take on the rest of the world and then follow us to Cathy Freeman Park to light the Cauldron in honour of the 16th anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games!
Screening of the Paralympic Games –
When: Thursday 15 September – Sunday 18 September, 5am – 11am
Where: Jacaranda Square, Park St
Lighting of the Cauldron –
When: Thursday 15 September, 12pm – 4pm
Where: Cathy Freeman Park