Bellevue Hill 2023: local history
Elizabeth Hartnell from Woollahra Libraries shares her favourite historical facts about Bellevue Hill
Published 24 May 2023
During 2023 we’re celebrating Bellevue Hill -- which shares the same postcode – and this month we’re looking at the area’s fascinating history.
Elizabeth Hartnell from Woollahra Libraries Local History Team loves Bellevue Hill. She leads local history walks around the suburb and she shared a few of her favourite historical facts and curiosities in Bellevue Hill.
“Bellevue Hill is a place that’s been visited for thousands of years. Aboriginal people knew about this location and visited here due to its elevation and the ability to see extremely far places. We know they also visited Cooper Park quite a bit,” Elizabeth said.
“European settlers visited the area too, people would come out from the city and they would come here to have a beautiful view.
“People ended up settling here after land was released from the Harkness Estate in 1900 and then again in 1913.
“By the late 1920s there were around 29 shops around Bellevue Road and Victoria Road.
“Cooper Park has been visited by people for recreation going back as far as 1885. It was originally part of the Cooper Estate. In 1915 Cooper’s nephew decided to donate the entire block of land to the Council for recreation. Today Cooper Park is the largest natural parkland that exists within Woollahra Council.
“One of my favourite parts of Bellevue Hill is this little planter box at the top of Cooper Park. It used to be a horse trough containing water for various animals.
“It was donated by Annis and George Bills. Before George passed away in 1927, because the couple didn’t have any children, they decided to set up a trust that would help fund these troughs all over Australia. Bellevue Hill was the perfect location for a horse trough because the animals were thirsty and in need of a rest after they had trekked to the top of this massive hill.
“There’s more than 700 troughs just like this one across New South Wales and Victoria,” Elizabeth said.
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