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Snippets and tips: Park stories

A Fairyland Story

Many Friends may not be aware that there exists a parcel of land approximately halfway between River Avenue, Chatswood West and Epping Road, North Ryde which is known as Fairyland. Fairyland is now part of Lane Cove National Park but it was not always so.

Around the turn of century the land was cleared for market gardens. Later, in the 1920s, it was turned into picnic grounds. It was in this guise that many older folk knew it. It has been suggested that the name Fairyland was arrived at, not only because it was a place of mystery and beauty, but also because it was the practice of the Swan family, who ran the grounds, to place fairytale characters in the trees.

 As more people patronised the area a wharf, dance hall, kiosk and playground etc were installed. Consequently, it was known as Fairyland Pleasure Grounds. Access to the grounds was mainly by ferries. Later an access road was built from Delhi Road, about 100 metres west of the Crematorium gates. An old gate post is still standing but the road is now overgrown. After many setbacks the picnic grounds closed in the 1970s and became part of the then LCP State Recreation Area in 1978.

 The down side of all this activity is the destruction of native vegetation and the invasion of weeds into the area. Also, exotic species eg camphor laurels and poplars were actually planted as shade trees. Consequently, it is the task of Group 14 of the LCNP Bushcare program to rectify this. The January 1994 wildfires destroyed any remaining relics of the bygone era. As a result, only a few remaining building posts can be seen together with a small concrete wall.

Most of the area has revegetated with Acacia longifolia and other natives together with numerous weeds. Much more work is needed to rid the remaining areas of privet, morning glory, camphor laurel etc. Any Friends interested in working in this historic area should contact the Bush Regen staff at the Park on 9412 1811.

Peter Bernard, Group 14 Co-ordinator


The Great North Walk winds its way through Fairyland and an enterprising member of the Group, who just happens to work for IBM, has produced a coloured business card to hand out to walkers who ask the most amazing questions like AWhat ARE you doing?@ to the volunteers on their knees amongst the weeds. Yes, you guessed it - they are worshippers of the new Fairy Revival Cult having their twice monthly prayer meeting led by Wizard Bernard.

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