Poppies bloom in High Cross Park

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Upgrades & Improvements, Council

Large red poppies have sprung up in Randwick’s newly reopened High Cross Park as part of an art installation by Transport for NSW and Randwick City Council to commemorate Remembrance Day.

The artwork coincides with the completion of light rail work in the park to build an underground substation and the reopening of the park to the public.

The artwork consists of a large bright red poppy installation along Avoca Street with words from the poem “In Flanders Field” written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor in the First World War.

The installation was installed on Monday 28 October 2019 and will be on display for three weeks including Remembrance Day.

Recognised as a significant landmark in Randwick, High Cross Park is valuable green space with a war memorial providing a little oasis in the town centre.

The poppy artworks were developed by Transport for NSW and installed near Martin Place for the Centenary of Armistice Day last year to reflect on the sacrifices of service women and men.

Poppies in High Cross Park, Randwick.

Historical significance of High Cross Park
During light rail construction, a World War II air raid shelter was uncovered during excavations at the park – remnants of the park’s historical significance. The raid shelter formed a part of the defence system of air raid shelters and zig-zagging anti-aircraft trenches, which were dug into open places such as parks. At the end of the war, the shelters and trenches were often backfilled, including this discovery at High Cross Park.

Light rail work
When finalising the final design of the CBD and South East Light Rail, the location of the Randwick Terminus (the stop at the end of the Randwick Line) that was initially planned for High Cross Park was relocated to High Street, enabling improved flow of traffic around the local area and saving the park.

Transport for NSW and Randwick Council negotiated to build a light rail substation underground through innovative ventilation designs meaning space in High Cross Park could be retained and visual impacts minimised for the benefit of the community.

The final stages of work in High Cross Park involved energising the substation. This was completed and the park handed back under the care of Randwick Council last month.

Poppies in High Cross Park, Randwick.

Quote from Marg Prendergast, Coordinator General, Transport for NSW:

“It’s great to see High Cross Park restored and reopened for the community to enjoy.

“The beautiful red poppy artwork that we’ve worked together with Randwick Council to install is a fitting way to mark the completion of light rail work in the park especially in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

“I hope everyone living and working around Randwick has a chance to visit High Cross Park and view the installation before it’s removed.”

Quote from Councillor Danny Said, Mayor of Randwick:

“It’s great to see High Cross Park reopened to the public and I want to thank everybody for their patience during light rail construction. High Cross Park is an important green space and is well used by local workers, residents and hospital visitors. I’m very pleased Council has been able to work cooperatively with Transport for NSW to relocate the originally proposed terminus from the park and to also underground a large substation beneath the park.This has preserved the space for the continued use of the community for future generations.”

Quote from Jennie Barry, General Manager, Prince of Wales Hospital:

“The artwork looks fantastic, and will be enjoyed by many staff and visitors to Prince of Wales Hospital. It is also historically significant to our hospital given we were the military repatriation and rehabilitation hospital during both World War 1 and World War 2.”

High Cross Park, Randwick.

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