The revitalisation of Church Street Mall and its renaming to Centenary Square provides an opportunity to visit some of the interesting sites and buildings that line this section of what was once a busy traffic thoroughfare.

The Centennial Memorial Fountain, when erected  in 1888, formed a tear shaped traffic island on Church Street, at the intersection with Macquarie Street (see image above). The road on the eastern side of this island was used by horse and carts, cars and buses turning left from Macquarie street and heading south down Church Street, past Murray’s Ltd Hardware Store and Town Hall.  This small section was named Centenary Avenue, although officially it was still Church Street. In 1975 Council closed  this section to traffic to create a pedestrian plaza and renamed it Centenary Plaza. It was the precursor to the full closure of Church Street, from Darcy Street down to George Street in 1985 to create Church Street Mall.

Church Street 1943. The Centennial Memorial Fountain (circled) forms a tear drop shaped park with Church Street on one side and Centenary Avenue on the other

Church Street 1978. The park area of the Centennial Memorial Fountain is enlarged when Centenary Avenue (circled) is closed to traffic in 1975 to create Centenary Plaza.

Church Street 2011. Church Street was closed to traffic in 1985 and Church Street Mall opened in 1986. In 2014 it was redeveloped and renamed Centenary Square.

The section of the Mall, between Macquarie Street and George Street, was reopened to traffic in 2007. The section between Darcy and Macquarie Streets is the focus of this page.This is the heart and gathering point of Parramatta. From the site of the first market on which the Town Hall is located, to the Royal Memorial Gates, to  St John’s Church, the oldest continuously used church site in Australia, and the unusually designed Centennial Memorial Fountain and onto the Murray’s Ltd building which formed part of an early shopping emporium, there abounds, in a very small area, a rich array of stories relating to Parramatta, from its foundation to present day.  In 2014 Parramatta City Council revitalized this whole area and renamed in Centenary Square.

Below are a series of posts on buildings and memorials, past and present, on the section of Church Street that is now Centenary Square.

The Parramatta Soldiers’ Hut

“The Hut” by Nell Gawthorne, held in the City of Parramatta Cultural Collections Artwork Collection (Acc no. 2006.175) During World War Two, community organisations and local councils across Australia were instrumental in providing recreational opportunities in...

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Vanished Parramatta: Lost urban landmarks

Dundas Skyline Drive-in, c. 1950s (Source: www.drive-insdownunder.com.au) Some previously well-known features of Parramatta’s urban landscape have, over the years, given way due to changes in taste or developments in technology. Here, we take a look at the stories...

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Gazing on green: The Trees of Parramatta

A spectacular tree in Parramatta Park (Source: City of Parramatta Council, 2012) Trees across the Parramatta area make our surroundings more attractive and pleasant. They provide relief from heat and glare, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and help retain...

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Keeping Good Time: Clocks of Parramatta

The Centennial Memorial Fountain in Centenary Square, Parramatta, 2017 (Source: Anna Namuren) Devices have been used to measure the concept of time for thousands of years - from the tracking of the sun by obelisks and dials, to the use of hourglasses and waterclocks,...

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From our collection, images of Church Street, Parramatta

Map showing the location of key sites at Centenary Square. Click the map to be taken to Google maps