Incredible news has reached us from a former resident of Battersea (London) - Mike Todd, who until May 2010 was a Wandsworth Councillor representing Battersea's Queenstown Ward. Thousands of miles away from our very own Battersea, lies a City suburb c.11 miles west of of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, called Canada Bay.
So what? you may say. Well, Canada Bay has a wonderful surprise in store for all those who love Battersea.
Here is Mike's story, written in his own words:-
You can imagine my surprise when after a visit to the local rowing club for a spot of lunch, I came across a street, called of all things Battersea Street - So the ex Councillor in me could not resist a trip down Battersea Street as a reminder of the terrific four years I had serving the Wandsworth ward of Queenstown -
And who could of imagined what lay nestled at the bottom, hugging the Parramatta River - non other that my own little slice of South West London - Battersea Park - !
Below: Mike Todd in Battersea Park...down under:
Battersea Park is a small public reserve of 15,010 square metres situated on Hen and Chicken Bay, along the Parramatta River. The area is part of the City of Canada Bay. Nearby Abbotsford Point was originally called Battersea Point but later was renamed after the adjoining suburb. The name is most likely derived from Battersea in London. Several place names along the Parramatta River replicate names along the River Thames around London (Henley, Chiswick, Putney, Mortlake).
Battersea Park is predominantly a grassed area bounded by a stone seawall to the river and a terraced sandstone cliff with concrete stair on the other. The stone terracing shows evidence of quarrying for construction of the sea wall. Towards the end of the 1930s the then Drummoyne Council (now part of the City of Canada Bay) commenced a programme of land reclamation. The first scheme centred around the foreshores of Hen and Chicken Bay and entailed the reclamation of mud flats and the erection of a sea wall. The park is notable also for its remnant indigenous trees particularly one large Blackbutt.
Along the foreshore there are unfinished stone terraces with drill holes still visible on the face. These form part of the remains of a tidal swimming pool built by J.Cashman in 1910. There were several tidal swimming pools along the Parramatta River in the first half of the twentieth century. The terraces were used by Sydney Rowing Club spectators during the 1920s. Rowing was a significant sport along the Parramatta River from the 1880s through to the early 1930s.
A few images of Battersea Park are available through the Library's image collection, 'Canada Bay Connections':
http://imagelibrary.canadabay.nsw.gov.au/Library (simply type Battersea in the search box; the most interesting shows reclamation work completed by 1941 in 'Lee's Local Record')
Whilst my once usual walk around Battersea park will not now be as long. It will be, never the less, a great reminder of London and its fantastic parks - and of course the my spiritual home of Queenstown.
We are so grateful for Mike taking the trouble to share this discovery and send our best wishes to him and all other residents of Canada Bay, where a little piece of Battersea shall always lie, reminding Australians and ex-pat Battersea folk of the original Battersea that rests along the River Thames back home.