Zetland, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Zetland is located 4 kilometres south of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

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Zetland (the former official name for the Shetland Islands, derived from the Old Norse name 'Hjaltland'). Hjalt in Old Norse meaning the hilt or crossguard of a sword. As the local language evolved the ja became je as with Norse hjalpa which became hjelpa. Then the pronunciation of the combination of the letters hj changed to sh.

As Norn was gradually replaced by Scots, Shetland became Ȝetland (the initial letter being the Middle Scots letter, yogh (which can also be found in the name Menzies, e.g. Prime Minister Menzies) This sounded almost identical to the original Norn sound, "hj". When the letter yogh was discontinued, it was often replaced by the similar-looking letter 'z', hence Zetland.

Victoria Park Racecourse was a racecourse in Zetland, an inner-city suburb, south of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was bordered by O'Dea Avenue, South Dowling Street, Epsom Road and Joynton Avenue.

The site was originally Waterloo lagoon and swamp which was drained in the early 1900s to create the racecourse. The racecourse was privately owned and developed by Sir James John Joynton Smith (1858 - 1943), a hotelier, racecourse and newspaper owner. Believed to be named after Victoria Park in London, it was said at the time to be the grandest and finest of the pony horseracing courses in Sydney. Notably Zetland's Victoria Park was the 'first course in Australia to cater for ladies in the provision of retiring rooms', featuring the most modern and best facilities of the time.

Zetland also featured a 1.810 km cinder and clay track around the outside of Victoria Park Racecourse. It held the first motor race meeting in 1908, and was used until the outbreak of World War I.

By 1930 the site had become home to the Australian Trotting Club. During WW2, the Australian Army moved in to establish an Ordinance Unit. In 1945 it returned to being a racetrack.

After World War 2, the racecourse closed and was bought by the British Motor Corporation for a car plant manufacturing Morris, MG and Austin cars. In 1975, Leyland Australia closed the car plant and the site was acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia for a Naval Stores depot which operated until the mid 1990s. The site is currently undergoing redevelopment into high density housing. A three-storey totalisator building remains on the site, used as a site office by the redevelopers and now part of the complex. The racecourse is also remembered in Tote Park a small park on the site.

Victoria Park is a new, purpose-built development in the electorate of Heffron. Part of a grand plan for South Sydney, the 25-hectare Victoria Park in Zetland will be a model for successfully transforming overused and decaying inner-city precincts and will act as a catalyst for the development of the rest of the Green Square Town Centre. Up to 2,500 dwellings and 150,000 square metres of office and retail space will create a new, vibrant community in this part of inner Sydney.

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Zetland Sydney Australia


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