Purchasing Heywood Park: £1 at a time

Heywood Park, one of the City of Unley’s largest and most-loved green spaces almost did not exist. It came into being only through the inspired leadership of then mayor of Unley, William Harold Langham.


This storey is the feature of the current exhibition at the Unley Museum.

Called Purchasing Heywood Park: £1 at a time, this exhibition traces the race during the 1900s to raise funds and secure this valuable open space.
Had it not been for Mayor Langham, Unley residents may have never attained this popular picnic spot. It was a widely discussed and debated issue with heated letters appearing in the newspapers and disgruntlement within Council.
As current Unley Museum Curator Elizabeth Hartnell, says “as it captured the public’s imagination in 1920, the story continues to resonate with local residents today”.
After rate payers voted against the purchase, Mayor Langham rallied the people of Unley and others around the State to donate to a subscription fund. Public support was such that £4,000 was received in 4 days. Donations ranged from 5 shillings to 500 pounds ($12 to $25,000 in today’s money). As a result, Heywood Park became a ‘people’s park’ opening in 1921 with 9,000 people crowded under its gum trees.
“Purchasing Heywood Parkis an exhibition about the passion of a Mayor, those who fought for a people’s park and the 230 donations made. The exhibit displays photographs of Heywood Park as it was in the early 1900s, original hand written notes of encouragement and support that accompanied donations, and follows the heated and at times bitter debate among Councilors as reprinted in the daily press. Visitors can check the alphabetical list of donors to see if their family was one of them.” Ms Hartnell says.
Purchasing Heywood Park is on display at the Unley Museum from now until 24 September 2014.
Unley Museum
80 Edmund Avenue, Unley
Open Monday to Wednesday 10.00am – 4.00pm, Sunday 1.30 – 4.30pm.
Closed on public holidays.  Admission is free.
For more information call (08) 8372 5117 or go to
www.unley.sa.gov.au/museum

2 Comments

  1. Tess   •  

    Luv this story.
    Is is about residents banding together and giving generously.

  2. It is interesting Tess, a study of the nature and behaviour of humans. A reflection of both sides of a community – a large slice voting no en mass but a group including possibly outsiders prepared to put $ where their mouth is.

    I am certainly going along to see the exhibition so I can learn more about the behaviour back then. Might learn something for current day consultations.

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