In 1976, the Commonwealth handed over a tired and dilapidated army depot in Marrickville for public use as a community centre and recreational space. After considering many proposals and an extensive survey of local residents, the call for a place where people could maintain and share cultures brought to Australia from all over the world was answered with the creation of the Addison Road Community Centre.
Hundreds of volunteers – from ethnic welfare groups and children’s services, artists, environmentalists, social workers and activists – pulled together to renovate and transform the old army huts and create a green, welcoming and supportive place. In its early years, the Centre was supported by local council and received federal funding under programs for arts and multicultural development, thanks to Marrickville’s status as one of the most ethnically diverse and under-resourced regions in the country. Today, Addi Road is managed by an independent charity, the Addison Road Community Centre Organisation (ARCCO), and is one of the largest and longest-running community centres in Australia.
The site also exists as a living museum and shares its rich history in many different ways, including a self-guided Heritage Trail, guided tours, school excursions, exhibitions and a growing history collection. The heritage trail through the nine acre estate takes you on a wheelchair-accessible loop through the locally-listed heritage site of Addi Road, passing seven information panels and three audio listening-posts that play excerpts from our oral history collection. The information panels cover the most significant stories and historical periods in the life of Addison Road: the freshwater creek; the Purdy family’s farm; the World War One army depot; the horses of Addi Road; the Leave and Transit Depot; the Save Our Sons anti-conscription movement; and the vibrant community centre in the heart of Marrickville.
As you follow the trail, you will see buildings and landscape formed in the early years of the twentieth century and cross an ancient waterway that lies beneath the grass and bitumen, while you pass the daily activities of the 40 plus community organisations based at the Centre.
The Heritage Trail is open whenever the gates of the Centre are open, but is of course best taken during daylight hours and fine weather. Parts of the Trail are inaccessible during the running of the Marrickville Organic Markets on Sundays.
If you would like to book a guided tour of the Heritage Trail simply fill out their booking request form and one of their friendly team will be in touch to organise a date with you.
To find out see here.