When Lt. James Cook explored the shores of Botany Bay in April 1770, he and botanists Joseph Banks and Carl Solander made an excursion into the country "which we found deversified with woods, lawns and marshes; the woods are free from under wood of every kind and the trees are at such a distance from one a nother that the whole Country or at least great part of it might be cultivated without being oblig'd to cut down a single tree ..." (Cook's journal).
This first landing site was later to be promoted (particularly by Joseph Banks) as a suitable candidate for situating a settlement and British colonial outpost. However, almost 18 years later, when Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet arrived in early 1788 to establish an outpost and penal colony, they found that the bay and surrounds did not live up to the promising picture that had been painted. Instead, Phillip gave orders to relocate to a harbour a few kilometres to the north, which Cook had named Port Jackson but had not further explored. It was in this harbour, at a place Phillip named Sydney Cove, that the settlement of Sydney was established. The settlement was for some time afterwards still referred to generally as Botany Bay.
No doubt Cook would feel feel vindicated about saying what he did, were he to return today and see the development that has taken place during the 240 or so years since he last saw Lady Robinsons Beach. He'd observe the the mixture of low density houses, medium density flats, high rise apartments, retail, and perhaps drop in for a bite to eat and a coffee in one of the many cafes and restaurants on Brighton-Le-Sands' popular dining strip.
It wasn't until the railway opened to Hurstville, via Rockdale in 1884, that the potential of the area fronting Lady Robinson s Beach, named in 1874 to honour Governor Sir Hercules Robinson s wife, began to be realised. In 1885 Thomas Saywell constructed a tramway from Rockdale to Lady Robinson Beach, along Bay Street. He was given a 30-year lease on the line. He also financed and built the public swimming baths, a substantial picnic area, a race course and the Brighton Hotel, on the current Novotel site. It was a huge success and to avoid confusion with the English Brighton upon which it was modelled, it became known as Brighton-Le-Sands.
By 1900 there were pleasure grounds south of Bay Street, as well as a pony racetrack. Moorefields Racecourse was located at the current site of Moorefield Girls High School, at the intersection of Presidents Ave and Princes Highway, but ceased operation in 1915. For the first 20 years of the 20th century, a small boat ran a ferry service around Botany Bay, with an important stop at Brighton-Le-Sands. Extensive development of the northern area of the suburb occurred in the late 1920s and again in the 1950s, and by the 1980s Brighton-Le-Sands and its surrounding beachside suburbs have developed into what we see today.
Shops, restaurants and Entertainment: Many cafes and restaurants are located along The Grand Parade and Bay Street, covering many types of cuisine: Australian, French, European, Italian, Thai and Japanese, though Greek is predominant due to the number of Greek and Macedonian residents in the area. Take-away food shops are also abundant, particularly for seafood, chicken, cakes, gelato and Greek food. The Novotel Hotel has a bar and buffet restaurant. The area has been dubbed 'Little Greece by the Bay for its many Greek cafes, restaurants and businesses. The Kiosk, Le Sands Pavilion and the Signatures Brasserie are on the beach side of the Grand Parade overlooking the sand and the boardwalk.
Transport: Brighton-Le-Sands and the neighbouring suburbs are served by a number of buses services which connect to Rockdale railway station. Rockdale station is on the Illawarra rail line.
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The area between Cooks River and Georges River was originally known as Seven Mile Beach. It was changed to Lady Robinson s Beach in 1874 to honour the wife of Governor Sir Hercules Robinson. This name still applies to the whole strip of beach on the western shore of Botany Bay beyond Sydney Airport. Originally known as Seven Mile Beach, its name recalls the wife of a Governor of NSW during the 1870s who used to ride her horse up and down the beach every day. It is one of the cleanest non-surf beaches in the Sydney metro area thanks to tidal activity which keeps bacteria levels low. The sand is clean, the water shallow enough for small children to wade in, particularly at the southern end. A cycleway connects Kyeemagh at the northern end with Sandringham in the south. Toilets, ample parking and picnic areas are located throughout the length of Cook Park, which separates the beach from General Holmes Drive and The Grand Parade.
The suburb of Kyeemagh is 12 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, on the western shore of Botany Bay. Kyeemagh is a quiet, residential district located in a triangle of land with Lady Robinsons Beach to the east, Cooks River and Muddy Creek forming a northwest boundary and Bestic Street bordering the south.
It was the lush reeds on the shores of Botany Bay at this locality that Lieut. James Cook of HM barque Endeavour described as 'Water Meadows' on his visit here in April 1770, believing them to be lush fields. On the strength of this false premise, Botany Bay was chosen as the site for Britain's New South Wales convict settlement in the 1780s. Those reeds, named kogara by the local Aborigines, gave rise to the area on the shores of Botany Bay being first named Kogarah.
An early 1920s map of the area shows numerous streets, and names the locality as North Brighton. Similar maps relating to the 1925 and 1928 electoral roles show a very dense, cramped settlement to the east of Muddy Creeek as Filby Estate, between a Goode Street and the bay. Adair Street and Annie Street lie east from Goode Street. Other streets include Coy, Derby, Henry and William Streets. There appear to be numerous other lanes and walking tracks in the settlement, none of which have persisted. This settlement was replaced by the larger, more sparsely-populated suburb of Kyeemagh that we see today.
The name 'Kyeemagh' is said to originate from an Aboriginal word meaning "beautiful dawn". Manly Cove on North Harbour was known to the Aborigines as Kay-Yee-My, which may also account for the name though no explanation exists as to why the name was transferred to this location. It has also been suggested that Kyeemagh is a corruption of the name of the local Aboriginal tribe, the Kameygal. The name was first used here for a Polo Ground established near the bay in 1929. The ground was also used for playing cricket. The area between the Cooks River and Georges River was originally known as Seven Mile Beach. It was changed to Lady Robinson's Beach in 1874 to honour Governor Sir Hercules Robinson's wife.
Its close proximity to the airport makes Kyeemagh Beach the most northerly section of Lady Robinsons Beach, and by far the most noisy. Stormwater from drains near the beach and nearby Cooks River lifts pollution levels higher than other sections of the beach, particularly after rain. All in all, it is not the best place for a swim, but wind conditions here are perfect for windsurfing, and a boat ramp on Cooks River (off General Holmes Drive at Tancred Street) is ideal for launching boards.
Facilities: boat ramp (Cooks River), ample parking.
The most popular section of Lady Robinsons Beach, due to its close proximity to the popular beachside cafe and restaurant strip. This puts strain on parking, which barely copes with demand, particularly at weekends. Features a shark-proof swimming enclosure.
Originally part of the estate of landowner and businessman Thomas Saywell who dreamed of creating a seaside resort similar to Brighton in England, which catered for the working class. Saywell built a hotel, swimming and picnic facilities and tramway from Kogarah station to Brighton beach, which put the area on the map. As the area developed, street names with a Californian influence were selected such as Hollywood, Monterey, Pasadena and Culver. Monterey was known unofficially as North Scarborough (Ramsgate was known as South Scraborough), due to its close proximity to Scarborough Park, which was once part of Pat Moore's Swamp or Patmore Swamp, a piece of swampy marshland over the first row of sandhills. Patmore Swamp had been reclaimed and renamed Scarborough Park, recalling the time the First Fleet transport Scarborough had anchored in Botany Bay in 1788, so the name already had associations with the area.
The name Scarborough was never officially adopted and in 1972 the Rockdale Council suggested Monterey as the name for the area between Ramsgate and Brighton-Le-Sands only. It met with some opposition but was eventually adopted. The name Monterey was first used by a post office and shopping centre, possibly after Monterey in California, mainly because of its many California-inspired street names.
Quieter than Brighton but just as good, the middle section of Monterey Beach features a somewhat ineffective shark proof swimming enclosure and a kiosk at Ramsgate, nearby cafes, a ramp for launching sailboards at the end of Scarborough Street and a full size boat ramp off Carruthers Drive.
The suburb of Ramsgate is 16 km south of the Sydney central business district, on Botany Bay. Ramsgate is surrounded by the suburbs of Ramsgate Beach, Monterey, Kogarah, Beverley Park and Sans Souci. The suburb is mostly residential with a shopping strip on Rocky Point Road, near the intersection with Ramsgate Road. Ramsgate and Ramsgate Beach are named after the famous English seaside town. Ramsgate began as an extension of the beachside resort at Brighton that landowner and businessman Thomas Saywell created. The locality has been known by a variety names before the current name was settled upon. It was first named Seven Mile Beach after the 10 km long strip of sand on Botany Bay's western shoreline. When the whole strip of beach was renamed Lady Robinson's Beach in honour of the wife of the Governor of NSW Sir Hercules Robinson, Ramsgate beach was included in that name. In the 1970s the idea of changing the suburb name again was mooted, this time to Scarborough (see Monterey above).
The suburb of Dolls Point is located 17 km south of the Sydney central business district on Botany Bay. Dolls Point is a quiet residential suburb that has managed to maintain an uncluttered landscape. Its village feel makes it a family friendly neighbourhood. It is home to fine sailing, water views and abundant parkland. The origins of the name are unclear but legend has it that the point was named for an escaped convict who took shelter in its deserted landscape to hide from the authorities. At the time, the area was considered uninhabitable. Back then the area between Cooks River and Georges River was originally known as Seven Mile Beach. It was changed to Lady Robinsons Beach in 1874 to honour the wife of Governor Sir Hercules Robinson. Cook Park is named after Samuel Cook who advocated it as a public pleasure area. Dolls Point takes its name from the geographical formation on Botany Bay. Cook Park runs along the eastern border and the beach stretches from Dolls Point to Sandringham Bay.
Backed by the Peter Depena Reserve opposite the deep 1 km wide river mouth to Towra Point, Dolls Point beach is very popular with families. It is said to have the whitest sand in Sydney. Fishing and kite surfing are popular activities in the beach. The beach begins at the rock groyne and continues to the southwest for 550 metres past a seawall and a small tidal pool to a western deviation in the sandy shore at a groyne in front of a sailing club in Georges River.
The suburb of Sandringham is located 18 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, on Botany Bay. Sandringham is a quiet residential suburb on the western shore of Botany Bay, at the mouth of the Georges River. Cook Park runs along the eastern and southern border and the beach stretches from Dolls Point to Sandringham Bay. The Georges River Sailing Club sits on the foreshore.
Sandringham was named to honour the Prince of Wales, Edward VII, and his royal residence at Sandringham, Norfolk, England. Originally known as Strippers Point as it became a centre for timber getting and bark stripping. Originally part of Thomas Holt's Sutherland Estate, a section of it was bought by William Edward Rust in 1872 who had previously run a hotel at nearby Sans Souci. He built a hotel here also, naming it the Prince of Wales Hotel and the district Sandringham. At the time, the Prince of Wales was building a royal residence at Sandringham in Norfolk, England.
Sandringham Bay is a small bay to the south of Dolls point, facing where the Georges River enters Botany Bay. Cook Park is named after Samuel Cook, who advocated it as a public pleasure area. Cook Park runs along the eastern and southern border. Sandringham was originally known as Strippers Point in the 1830s, from the local occupation of tree-felling and bark-stripping. When developer Thomas Holt (181-88) moved there, he renamed it Sandringham and built the Prince of Wales Hotel. As an ardent royalist, it is thought he chose the name to honour Edward VII, the Prince of Wales who in 1872 was also building a royal residence at Sandringham, in Norfolk, England. In the 1920s a picnic area was developed and the Sandringham sea Baths were built. Steams took visitors from Sandringham and Brighton-Le-Sands to Kurnell on Sundays and holidays.
Sans Souci is 17 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. The suburb sits on the western shore of Botany Bay. Lady Robinsons Beach and Cook Park run along the eastern border. Kogarah Bay runs along the western border. Sans Souci is connected to Taren Point, in the Sutherland Shire, to the south, by the Captain Cook Bridge over the Georges River. Sans Souci took its name from a grand house built on Rocky Point Road on land bought in 1853, by Thomas Holt (1811 1888), a wool merchant and politician, for his German wife. It was named after Sanssouci in Potsdam, Germany, the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. It was a large house but because of its isolation, Holt's wife refused to live in it so Holt built another house at Marrickville, overlooking the Cooks River, which he called The Warren. He bred rabbits for hunting and kept exotic animals, including an alpaca on this property.
In the 1860s, Holt sold his Sans Souci property to William Rust, who turned it into a popular hotel, despite its isolation. The hotel's name was eventually used as the name of the locality. Sans Souci is a French term meaning "without care", in other terms, "no worries". The area between Cooks River and Georges River was originally known as Seven Mile Beach. It was changed to Lady Robinson s Beach in 1874 to honour the wife of Governor Sir Hercules Robinson. Cook Park is named after Samuel Cook, who advocated it as a public pleasure area.
A steam tram operated between Sans Souci and Kogarah in the 1890s which allowed people to enjoy bathing, boating and fishing. In 1937, a silent electric trolley bus was introduced that, until 1959, ran from Rockdale to Kogarah, Sans Souci and Dolls Point. This steam tramway opened in 1887, and was replaced by an electric trolleybus service in 1937. It connected with trains at Kogarah station by way of a large balloon loop through the streets, then passed south down Rocky Point Road to Sans Souci, Sandringham and Dolls Point. Small depots at Sandringham and Kogarah serviced the line. The line was single track at each end with a double-track middle section down Rocky Point Road.
Scarborough Park is a nature reserve set aqround a strip of swampy marshland over the first row of sandhills. It is part of the Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor. This marshland was originally a group of low lying lakes with reeds along their banks, set amongst parkland with mature tree. It was given the name of Pat Moore's Swamp or Patmore Swamp in colonial times. The open space around the lakes was carefully landscaped with grassed area and walking paths as a public works employment programme in the 1930s depression era. Care was taken not encroach on sections of marshes and their surrounding flora. The park has been earmarked as a corridor through which an uncompleted section of the Sothern Freeway - linking Sydney to Woollongong - would be built.
Location: President Avenue, Monterey