In the 1880s this leafy green hollow was a sports field and venue for fashionable penny farthing races which attracted crowds in their hundreds. Although christened the Union Athletic Club Sports Ground, it was referred to by locals as the Toowong Sports Ground and this name stuck until its name change to Oakman Park in the 1960s.
It took this name from Belgian immigrant and pioneering landscape architect Harry Oakman who was appointed Brisbane’s park superintendent after World War II to help rebuild all the parks neglected or destroyed by wartime activities. Amongst his achievements were the building of 120 playing fields, the reinvigoration of New Farm’s rose gardens and the reconstruction of the City Botanic Gardens. He continued writing horticultural books and designing green public spaces until his nineties.
At the Moggill Rd edge of the park lies a relic of the Patterson’s Sawmills – a cast iron fly wheel and steam engine cylinders in use from 1901-1945. The sawmill itself operated from 1884-1985 on the site where Toowong Shopping Village towers are today.