Topic: Fenton Street (TDN 01/02/2020)

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Fenton Street 

Fenton Street in Stratford was named after a character in Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The western end is dominated by the CBD and King Edward Park. Established in the 1880s, the park was originally known as the Page Street Reserve, with the change in name happening in 1902. The park had an expanse of native bush and a sports ground for athletics and cricket.

In the early 1920s soldiers of the Wellington Regiment, wanting to honour their former commander William Malone, donated funds to build a memorial gate. Completed with the assistance of public subscriptions, the memorial was officially opened in 1923.

The Malone gates encouraged citizens to consider another memorial, this time to the soldiers of the district who had lost their lives in the war. Victoria Park, recently upgraded by the council, was to be the location and debate ensued about what was suitable, many wanting a memorial that was also ‘useful’. A pavilion was one suggestion, but rejected because the design would eventually become unfashionable. The impressive memorial gates facing Fenton Street were officially opened in April, 1926.

The improvements to Victoria Park at the time resulted in more rugby games and larger crowds. Several years later the rugby club wanted a new ticket box, to be built beside the gates. An argument ensued about protecting the ‘dignity’ of the gates. However a compromise was reached, the Domain Board of course wanting its share of the increased revenue to help maintain the park.

The residential sections on Fenton Street beyond Victoria Park, towards Swansea Road, were first surveyed in the early 1900s and slowly developed over the following decades.

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