The Early Days

The early days with rubbish & pollution at Homebush Bay
               Photo: State Library of New South Wales no. d2_48529

Sydney Olympic Park has a rich and colourful history.

Dating back to the early 20th century, the area was the location for the State Abattoir and the State Brickworks.

During the 1930s and 40s chemical factories also became a common site, producing a range of pesticides such as DDT and oils, paints, pigments and resins.

With these major industries, the scene was set for the next 50 years.

By the late 70s, the fortunes had faded for the Abattoir and Brickworks, both ceasing operation in 1988.

As more land became degraded, the waterways and ground water also became polluted. But the main destroyer was uncontrolled land filling during the 1960s and 70s when household, commercial and industrial wastes were dumped.

Then, in 1993, Sydney’s successful bid for the 2000 Olympic Games fast-tracked the area’s urban renewal.

More than nine million cubic metres of household, commercial and industrial waste were recovered and consolidated onsite.

More than eight million trees, shrubs, ground covers and aquatic plants were planted.

What followed was a construction program, addressing the specialised needs of a single, truly enormous event, while ensuring each venue could serve multiple uses well into the future.

The result, balancing the built and natural environments, was an exemplary Olympic precinct.

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