Child’s Play: playgrounds in Sydney in the 20th century

Providing playgrounds in the city was a uniquely 20th century phenomenon. In this lunchtime talk, historian Laila Ellmoos will look at how children occupied Sydney's urban spaces, with a focus on the introduction of supervised children's playgrounds in the inner city from the 1930s.

Supervised playgrounds were the product of a curious hybrid of town planning ideals, public health initiatives and philosophies around child development. Sydney Municipal Council established its first supervised playground at Moore Park in December 1932. The council’s main aim in setting up these dedicated play areas was to get children off the streets, away from the very real dangers posed by cars and traffic. Structuring and controlling the time and space of urban-dwelling children, by providing supervised play in a delineated and enclosed playground area, was also hoped to provide moral uplift and guidance.

Laila Ellmoos is a professional historian who is passionate about communicating history to a wide range of audiences through exhibitions, talks and the written word.

This illustrated talk will be in-person and online.

Event date

Event Details

1 Little Pier Street, Haymarket, New South Wales

The Ideas Space, level 1, Darling Square Library in The Exchange.


1pm - 2pm

Entry fees:
Prebooking required
Attendance limit:
Less than 50
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
Attendance options: online or in-person (separate tickets). This event will be Auslan interpreted.