Historical items and sites including Aboriginal rock art indicate that Primrose Park was frequented by the Cammeraygal people.
The Cammeraygal were a clan of the Eora tribe of Indigenous Australians who were united by a common language, strong ties of kinship and survived as skilled hunter–fisher–gatherers in family groups or clans that inhabited the Lower North Shore of Sydney. They occupied discrete territories within which there were various camp sites – each used for a limited time depending upon the season, the availability of food or the activity undertaken, such as tool manufacture. There does not seem to have been defined villages or permanent camp sites within these territories.
The traditional lands of the Cammeraygal people are now contained within the North Sydney, Willoughby and Mosman area. The Cammeraygal people lived in the area until the 1820s and are recorded as being in the northern parts of the Sydney region for approximately 5,800 years.
The name Cammeraygal is ensigned on the North Sydney Municipal emblem. The North Sydney suburb of Cammeray and the Cammeraygal High School located in the North Sydney suburb of Crows Nest are named after the Cammeraygal people. In 1999, the North Sydney Council erected a monument in honour of the Cammeraygal tribe who are the traditional owners of the North Sydney area.
Primrose Park - Neutral Bay, derives its name from colonial times. During the colonial times, there were various bays in Sydney that supported the docking of foreign vessels. The term Neutral Bay is in reference to the neutral docking of all foreign vessels. 1789 is when the name was originally indoctrinated. The Governor of Sydney, Arthur Phillip, named this common docking bay as "Neutral Harbour". All foreign ships were encouraged and invited to dock here while resupplying their ships with food and water. Around 1899, the land became the first site in Sydney for the sewage treatment works, closing shortly after in 1920. The area was dedicated in 1930 to the park it is now. The park got its name from HL Primrose, who was the North Sydney Mayor from the period of 1926 to 1932 and later NSW Minister for Health.
For many years these buildings had been used informally by several local community organisations, but by 1985 one building (the compressor house) was vacant and derelict. The then-mayor Ted Mack commissioned architect Feiko Bouman to design low budget building renovations that would allow for a variety of community uses.
Primrose Park Art & Craft Centre opened its doors in February 1991, supported by North Sydney Council, to operate as a not-for-profit community centre run by interested local residents and craftspeople.
Some twenty years on, Primrose Park has cemented its position, not only within the local community but across the country as a respected artistic centre. North Sydney Council undertook significant renovations in 2019 and is now a 'state-of-the-art' accessible facility. It is home to Primrose Paper Arts, Australia’s only open-access studio group devoted to paper-making. It’s also the headquarters of the Australian Society of Calligraphers, respected around the world for their fine craftsmanship. Home to Primrose Park Photography, with a modern fully equipped darkroom. Basketry NSW practices their fine craft. As does our painters, Artists in the Park. We also welcome our newest group, Textiles & Spinners Sydney.
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