ES Marks Athletics Field

This is an early morning shot of the ES Marks Athletics Field located just to the south of Centennial Park on ANZAC parade. This field and has played an interesting part in Sydney and Australia’s sporting history, particularly in Athletics.

It was constructed in 1906 but it wasn’t until the 50s, after Australia’s first cinders track was laid, that it became NSW’s major competition venue. It was home to NSW Athletics from the 50s to the early 70s, and again in the 80s to early 90s after a new surface was laid.

It has hosted major events such as the National championships as well as University Games. In its prime it was also home to Sydney City Hakoah in the old National Soccer League. In recent years it has had stints as training base for the NSW Waratahs Super Rugby team and the Sydney Roosters from the NRL.

It is named after Ernest Samuel Marks who was a former Lord Mayor of Sydney. He was also secretary of Athletics Australia for 38 years as well as managing three Australian Olympic teams in 1908, 1912 and 1932.

Many famous athletes have trained or competed at the field including Sebastian Coe, Daley Thompson, Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene. Some prominent Australians such Kerry Saxby-Junna, Matt Shirvington, Louise Sauvage, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Cathy Freeman have also trained or competed here.

It ceased its role as Sydney’s major athletics venue after the facilities for the Sydney Olympics were completed at Homebush. But has recently been resurfaced again for the many school and club athletics carnivals it continues to host, ensuring that it will be used for a few more years yet.

Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.


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