Patton Street Park
Patton Park is named after mining engineer William H Patton who was the General Manager of Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd (BHP) from 1887-1890. Patton's engineering skills were critical to the development of new mining techniques and equipment, which increased efficiency and productivity. In 1888, Patton introduced ‘square set timbering’ - a fortifying framework which revolutionised underground mining in Broken Hill. The system soon spread to other mines throughout Australia, and then around the world, and was in use until the 1960’s.
Patton Park is located in the CBD of South Broken Hill, an area which, until the 1930s, was mostly a few square miles of barren, scrubby land interrupted only by saltbush, mulga and a smattering of miner’s huts built parallel to the Line of Lode.
In 1936, Zinc Corporation Limited’s men of vision – W. S. Robinson, A. J. Keast and Jack Scougall supported regeneration and encouraged Albert and Margaret Morris’ dream of the Greening of the Hill. The Corporation provided trees and shrubs to the South Broken Hill Progress Association, whose members became a green army of tree planters.
The Zinc Corporation Co-Operative Building Society formed in 1940 and the New Broken Hill Consolidated Community Advancement Society formed in 1945, providing free house loans to thousands of mining families and opening new residential areas surrounding Patton Park. 1,200 new homes were built in the boom period between the 1930s and 1950s.
Patton Park became the village green of the new community when it was officially opened in November 1940. The elegant wrought iron entrance gates of the park open on to a wooden rotunda shaded by mature gum trees planted in the 1940s by Council and the Progress Association. The Silver City Woman’s Band played at the official opening and, since then, thousands of residents have been entertained by bands playing on the rotunda, a favourite pastime in the Broken Hill parks between the 1940s and 1970s.
In 2019, Patton Park was refurbished with funding from the NSW State Government, Broken Hill Environmental Lead Program and Broken Hill City Council. The upgrade included a new playground with a rocket feature – a nod to the historic rocket playgrounds of a bygone era, along with new paths, barbecues, shelters, accessible toilets and amenities, CCTV, and smart lighting powered by renewable energy.
Patton Park is now the village green to a new generation in South Broken Hill.
Audio transcript available.