What is the history of the park
Although named ‘Pioneers Rest Park’ the area is generally known as ‘Pioneer Park’. The park was formerly the Church of England Cemetery for Wollongong and, as it is a rare example of a nineteenth century burial ground, the site is highly significant. The earliest burials are thought to have taken place in 1833 or earlier.
Burials ceased in the early twentieth century and the cemetery deteriorated through neglect. By a State Act in 1940, the cemetery was converted into a public park with ownership being passed to Wollongong City Council. The headstones were all laid horizontally, and a fill of ash and soil was laid with grass on top to provide the park space.
Do the new paths follow the same routes as the old ones?
Yes, they do. We are limited to replacing existing infrastructure within the park with only small additions permissible.
How will the park be improved?
New paths, furniture and signs will be installed that are designed to meet Australian accessibility standards. The paths will be wider and will allow water to drain off them.
What is the upgrade to the entries?
The footpaths at the three entrances will be improved to formalise the entry and improve access.
Will the stone entrance be changed?
The stone wall and entrance structure are important connections to the park, people and location and won’t be changed.
How will the paths be better?
We’re using pavers made from natural stone that are non-slip and durable. These Australian Blue Stone Pavers also fit in with the heritage significance and appearance of the site and reflect its historical nature. We are raising the height of paths in some areas and will need to re-lay small areas of existing pavement.
What is permeable pavement and why are we using it?
We use permeable pavement all around the Wollongong Local Government Area to minimise negative impacts on street trees. This type of pavement allows water and air into the root zone of our Street Trees.
Will any of the rose gardens, lawn or trees be affected?
No, definitely not. We’ve worked with arborists and staff to negate all impacts on the trees and plants in the park.
Where are we getting the information for the interpretive sign?
We’re using several sources including the Illawarra Local History Museum, historical documents, Council’s Local History Library, Archaeologists and Councils website.