HomebushThe suburb of Homebush, in Sydney's west, is located 16 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. Homebush became a household name across in the world in the 1990s when it was chosen as the site of the main stadium and other venues that her built to host to 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Homebush was originally part of the area known Liberty Plains, which in the early years of the 19th century, was plagued by bushrangers who targetted travellers on the Sydney to Parramatta Road.
The Village of Homebush estate was a section of the Underwood Estate located to the south of the railway. The land had boundaries of The Crescent, Homebush, Beresford, Coventry and Bridge Roads, was subdivided in 1878.
The suburb of Homebush West was also originally part of the area known Liberty Plains, but was called Flemington by John Fleming, who was granted 200 acres (0.81 km2) here in 1806. The bush was turned into paddocks and later was the site of a cattle saleyard. In the early 1970s, the Sydney Markets were built at Flemington to relieve the Paddy's Markets at Haymarket, in the city. Since the establishment of Sydney Markets at Flemington in 1975, the residential part of the suburb, south of the railway line became known as Homebush West.
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The Parklands surround the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics at Homebush Bay cover an area slightly larger than New York City's Central Park. For years Homebush Bay had been an industrial wasteland avoided by locals looking for a place to relax. The whole area was rejuvenated after part of the area was chosen as the main site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The resulting parklands, which were designed to be dry and self-sustaining, reconnect residents of the western suburbs to Sydney's major waterway and provide recreation and education opportunities for 2.5 million visitors annually.
One of the redevelopment projects was the establishment of Bicentennial Park where the area's first water supplies, Powells Creek and Haslams Creek, join before entering the Parramatta River at Liberty Grove. Once used for the dumping of rubbish, the land on which the park was created has been turned into an attractive urban oasis. Sydney's newest urban parkland, it features lawns, ponds and recreational facilities alongside a tract of natural vegetation that includes a series of boardwalks through a natural stand of mangroves. Bicentennial Park is now part of the Sydney Olympic Park Millennium Parklands.
430 ha of parklands containing remediated lands; remnant woodlands; fresh and saltwater wetlands and areas of cultural heritage. Originally extensive tidal wetlands, its uses during and since colonial times included sheep and cattle grazing, the State Abbatoir, chemical industries, a brickworks and the Royal Australian Navy Armarments Depot. Sydney's winning bid for the 2000 Olympic Games gave a boost to the remediation process for the Homebush Bay environs. Free entry.
Facilities: picnic and barbecue facilities, grassed areas, tea house, childrens playgrounds, cycle tracks, bird watching hides.
Homebush Bay is located 16 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district on the Parramatta River on the southern side of the Parramatta River between the former suburb of Homebush Bay and the suburb of Rhodes. The bay has natural and artificial shoreline. In the 20th century, Homebush Bay became a centre of heavy industry, with large scale land reclamations to accommodate industrial facilities. When industrial operations scaled down, the bay became a dumping ground for a large range of unwanted material - from waste to broken up ships, even toxic industrial waste. Union Carbide had manufactured chemicals, including Agent Orange, on the Rhodes peninsula facing Homebush Bay and dioxins produced as a by product were buried in landfill or left in drums.
A drive to regenerate and rehabilitate the bay began in the 1980s. This led to the construction of Bicentennial Park, including a program to regenerate some of the mangrove wetlands and saltmarshes which existed around the bay pre-development. During preparations for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, it was decided to site Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay, which spurred the further regeneration and rehabilitation of the bay. A range of residential and commercial developments also began around the bay, including the development of a large shopping centre and residential district at Rhodes on the bay's eastern shore.
During the mid 20th century, Homebush Bay was used as a scuttling yard and became the resting place of a number of small vessels which had travelled the up and down the coast of New South Wales. The hulks of the following vessels remain and can be seen from the path to the Wildlife Refuge.
Ayrfield: The Ayrfield was a steel single screw steam collier, 1140 tons, by the Grangemouth Dockyard Company, United Kingdom in 1911 and launched as ss Corrimal. Once used by the Commonwealth Government to transport supplies to American troops in the Pacific, it was sold in 1950 and renamed Ayrfield in 1951. From this time it operated as a collier on the sixty-miler run between Newcastle and Sydney. The vessel was partially broken up at Homebush Bay in October 1972.
Heroic: A steel tugboat built at South Shields, United Kingdom in 1909, Heroic was built for Thomas Fenwick of Sydney, and at one stage, towed an ex-French three-masted warship Eure to Sydney from Numea for breaking-up in 1911. Commandeered by the British Admiralty during World War One, it was renamed Epic and under that name was engaged in rescue work off the Scilly Isles. In 1919, it was back in home waters when its crew rescued the freighter Allara when torpedoed off Sydney during World War Two. The Heroic was hulked at Homebush Bay in 1973, and its remains lie in Homebush Bay.
HMAS Karangi: A steel boom defence vessel of 971 tons, HMAS Karangi was built at the Cockatoo Island shipyards in Sydney Harbour NSW in 1941. Modelled on the British "Bar Class" of boom defence vessels, the Karangi had sister ships Kangaroo and Koala. Karangi assisted in l??naying the defenses of Darwin and was involved in repelling the Japanese attack on Darwin in 1942 as well as the Monte Bello Islands atomic tests of 1952. Partially scrapped in 1965-6, the vessel was later abandoned in Homebush Bay, however there is some conjecture whether the Homebush Bay remains are indeed Karangi, or possibly Kookaburra or Kangaroo.
Mortdale Banki: A steel single screw steam collier built at Walsend-on-Tyne, United Kingdom in 1924, the Mortlake Bank was bought by a Melbourne company in 1934 and operated on the famous sixty-miler route between Hexham and Mortlake for the Australian Gas Light Company. The Mortlake Bank rests today in the shallow waters of Homebush Bay, having been abandoned in the bay awaiting cutting up for scrap at the breakers yard in October 1972.
North Strathfield station. Photo: Bouygues Construction Australia
North Strathfield has long been an area of industrial developments. With the withdrawal of industry from the whole area on and around the Parramatta River, North Strathfield has experienced a gradual change, with medium and high density residential development on what were previously industrial sites. North Strathfield station is the first station on the Northern Strathfield to Hornsby line beyond the junction of the Northern and Western lines at Strathfield.
The Bakehouse Quarter
The suburb's commercial centre is located opposite the North Strathfield railway station. More commercial developments can be found on nearby Concord Road. The site of the former Arnott s Biscuits factory in George Street has been redeveloped as the 'Bakehouse Quarter' and feature office space, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and shops. Aldi, Fitness First and Outback Steakhouse are major tenants here. The head office and main call centre of NRMA Motoring and Services is also located in the former factory (see Arnott's Biscuits entry below).
The Arnotts Biscuit Factory operated at Homebush from 1908 to 1997, when it was relocated to Huntingwood. However, the administrative offices of Arnotts are still located in Homebush. Arnott's Biscuits were originally established in Newcastle. The first Sydney factory was opened at Forest Lodge in 1894. In 1905, the Arnott family wanting to expand, decided that a larger factory was required. Requiring access to the railway for transportation, the Arnott's purchased a six and half acre site at Homebush in 1904. The factory was designed by architect Charles Slatyer and built in 1907.
The site was known as 'Arnott's Folly' as it was considered too far from the City to attract workers. However, the Homebush factory which opened in 1908 was eventually the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and exported biscuits from Homebush to the rest of the world. Many members of the Arnott's factory lived nearby in Strathfield. The Arnott's Sign on the overhead railway bridge crosses Parramatta Road and is located close to the former Arnott's Biscuit Factory at Homebush. The bridge is still there today as is the Arnott's Sign. The factory complex has been converted into a residential and business area known as the Bakehouse Quarter, utilising buildings from the 1904 biscuit factory and warehouse.
Powells Creek, a southern tributary of the Parramatta River, is an urban stream west of Sydney Harbour, which flows through Sydney Olympic Park and joins Parramatta River at Homebush Bay. On its way it passes through the green areas of Mason Park, Bressington Park and Bicentennial Park. Its name recalls Edward Powell (1762-1814), one of the district's earliest white settlers who was granted land on the shores of Homebush Bay. Att Bressington Park it is joined by Saleyards Creek, which flows through a man-made tunnel under Paddy's Markets Flemington. The markets are built on the site of a cattle salesyard, hence the creek's name.
Until World War II, the creek was largely untouched and followed a natural meandering course through mangrove forests, delivering fresh water to Homebush Bay. Once extensive, salt marsh borders of Powells Creek have largely vanished with infilling and urbanisation. In 1948 the Creek was straightened and transformed into a concrete stormwater canal at its southern end. In 1993, the concrete was removed in the areas around Bicentennial Park and this has provided the Park with a more natural environment, conducive to the regeneration of natural ecosystems and the return of a range of native flora and fauna species. In the patk it is once again a mangrove-lined stream, flowing through Bicentennial Park and emptying into Homebush Bay.
Mason Park Wetlands: Mason Park and Mason Park Wetlands are situated between Powells Creek and Haslams Creek. The wetland consists of a saltmarsh, mangrove forest and small freshwater pond. The park lies in an irregular triangle formed by the arms of two canalised creeks, Saleyards and Powells Creeks, which drain north into Homebush Bay. Directly to the north is Bicentennial Park and Olympic Park, site of the year 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Long established residential and industrial land occupies most of the surrounding land in North Strathfield, Concord and Homebush.
The suburb of Strathfield lies to the south of Homebush, some 14 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. Being at the junction of the Northern and Western railway lines, Strathfield station is one of the more significant stations on the western line, and one of the few suburban stations were interstate and country trains stop.
In the early 1900s, grand mansions were constructed here as the country homes of wealthy merchants, many of which have been recognised for their historic value. Some examples include 'Bellevue' in Victoria Street and 'Radstoke' in Malvern Crescent, as well as Helikon, built in 1893 and designed by Charles Slayter, which is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. Streets such as Victoria Street, Llandillo Avenue and Kingsland Road predominantly feature older mansions, while Agnes Street, Newton Road and Barker Road are common locations for new homes. Strathfield has retained its wide avenues and most of the extensive natural vegetation, though a large proportion of Strathfield's population now dwells in apartments with the area immediately surrounding Strathfield railway station, which is dominated by high rise residential towers.
The Lidcombe area, to the west of Homebush, was first known as Haslam's Creek, recalling Samuel Haslam who took up a grant here in 1804, the northern boundary of which was the creek which bares his name. Haslams Creek flows into Homebush Bay on the Parramatta River. His neighbours included Joseph Potts, an accountant of the Bank of New South Wales, after whom Potts Point is named. Potts called his 1,000 acre grant Hyde Park. He extended it several times to include what today are Berala, Rookwood, Auburn and Potts Hill, which recalls its former owner.
Haslam's Creek, located near the site of Lidcombe station, was one of the first stations on the Sydney to Parramatta railway in 1855. Three years on it was the site of the first major railway accident in New South Wales which resulted in two deaths. When Rookwood Cemetery was opened in 1867, it was named Haslam's Creek Cemetery but the name was changed in 1876 after residents complained that the name associated their suburb with the cemetery. Ironically, when the cemetery's name was changed, so was the railway station - it became Rookwood! To add insult to injury, the municipality of Rookwood was created in 1891 which led to more lobbying to change the name back. This led to the selection of a new name for the suburb and railway station - Lidcombe - which was gazetted in 1913. The name Lidcombe was created in 1913 by joining sections of the names of two mayors of the Municipality of Rookwood: Mr Lidbury, the current mayor, and Mr Larcombe, a former mayor.
The section railway line between Haslem's Creek (Lidcombe) and Liverpool (13.5 km) opened 26th September 1856. Fairfield was the only intermediate station. Australia's first major railway accident occurred on 10th July, 1858 at Haslem's Creek at about 9 o'clock. The morning train from Parramatta ran off the line at a spot near the present Lidcombe Public Pool, some of the carriages turned over and fell down the embankment. Two passengers were killed, and several injured including Mr. Charles Boynton who later became the first station master at Haslem's Creek.
Rookwood Cemetery was created in 1868 and has some of the most prestigious, if not somewhat haunting, family vaults anywhere in the world. When it opened, Rookwood Cemetery was officially named The Necropolis (meaning 'City of the Dead'), Haslams Creek. At over 314 hectares it is the largest multicultural necropolis in the Southern Hemisphere that documents the cultural and religious diversity of the Australian community. It is also the largest active Victorian cemetery in the world. More than a million people have been buried at Rookwood since it opened in the 1860s. It is so large that it had to be divided up and run by different organisations, so one should think of Rookwood as several different cemeteries all in one place.
Various groups conduct tours which visit the graves of people of note. These include John Gowing, co-founder of Gowings store; David Jones, founder of David Jones stores; Kenneth Slessor, poet; James Toohey, brewer; Jimmy Governor, outlaw; Peter Dodds McCormick, songwriter (Advance Australia Fair); Louisa Lawson, suffragette; Lilian Fowler, Australia's first female mayor; Bea Miles, well-known Sydney eccentric; Jack Lang, former Premier of New South Wales; Joseph Cahill, former Premier of New South Wales; John Fairfax, newspaper proprietor; Abe Saffron, well-known Sydney underworld figure. 121 victims of the Dunbar, which was wrecked on the cliffs below The Gap in August 1857. They were buried in a mass grave.
Every year towards the end of September Rookwood has a big open day; there s tours of crematoriums, embalming talks, hearses, historic tours, parades, funeral home displays, and much more. The cemetery gates are open sunrise to sunset everyday. However, different groups and buildings within Rookwood have their own hours of operations. So while the cemetery might be accessible the buildings might not be open. If you plan to visit Rookwood by yourself (as in, not part of a tour), it is strongly recommend you bring a map if unfamiliar with Rookwood.
Location: East Street, Lidcombe.
The nearby suburb of Newington, to the north-west of Sydney Olympic Park, is 2 km west of Wentworth Point, on the Parramatta River. It is best known as the location of the Athletes Village for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and 2000 Summer Paralympics. The Athlete's Village was converted to residential apartments after the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Other apartments and free-standing houses have also been built since. A memorial featuring all the names of the Australian athletes who participated at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and 2000 Summer Paralympics stands on a reserve opposite Newington Marketplace.
Newington is situated on the traditional aboriginal lands of the Wann clan, known as the Wann-gal. The lands of the Wann-gal stretched along the southern shore of the Parramatta River between Cockle Bay (Cadi-gal land) and Parramatta (Burramatta-gal land). The other side of Parramatta River was occupied by the Wallumetta-gal people.
The suburb of Newington took its name from the Newington Estate which was named by John Blaxland after his family estate in Kent, England. In 1807, John Blaxland acquired 520 hectares of land, reserving the original grants of Waterhouse, Shortland, Archer and Haslam. He named the estate Newington after his family estate in Kent, England. Blaxland established a series of salt pans on the banks of the Parramatta River and by 1827, was producing 8 tons of salt each week for the Sydney market. Blaxland also established a tweed mill, limekiln and flourmill. Newington House was completed in 1832 and St Augustine's Chapel in 1838. Coal mining explorations were undertaken by Blaxland in 1841. He dug several six metre pits which gained the interest of the Australian Mining Company. The two parties reached agreement and, subsequently, undertook several unsuccessful explorations.
Newington athletes village for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
The Newington Estate was first offered to the Government for use as an Asylum for the Insane in 1874. The Government did not accept this offer, but later purchased the estate and built an Aged Women's Asylum to replace the existing asylum which was housed within the Immigrant Depot at the Hyde Park Barracks. In 1968, after a series of drawn out negotiations, the Government of the day decided to close the hospital and transfer the property to the then NSW Department of Prisons, who built the Silverwater Correctional Complex. Some of the buildings are preserved in the grounds of the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre where they are still in use. In the late 1990s the site was developed by Mirvac and Lend Lease for the purpose of an athletes village for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Post the games the site was developed into a new residential suburb by Mirvac.
Newington Armory: Newington Armory is a heritage-listed former Royal Australian Navy armament depot, now used for tourism purposes, at Holker Street, Sydney Olympic Park, Cumberland Council, New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1897 by the Royal Australian Navy. By the 1880s, Sydney's defence storage facilities had reached maximum capacity, and were considered too close to populated area. Newington was chosen as a replacement for the storage of gunpowder and other explosives for its relative isolation. Over the years the site was enlarged, 200 acres of mudflats were drained, and the foreshore had moved out into the bay and been straightened. The gradual closure of the site as a military base began in 1957 when explosives storage was transferred to Kingswood in Sydney's greater west, and was completed in December 1999 when the Royal Australian Navy made its last transshipment of ammunition through Newington Wharf.
Newington Armory has now evolved from its military-industrial origins into a unique arts precinct, including a theatre, outdoor amphitheatre, artist studios and an exhibition space, which features the longest continuous gallery wall in Australia. The Armory has free exhibitions throughout the year, plus film festivals, public art, cultural activities and kids activities. One of these is an historic railway ride that was once used to move missiles and torpedoes around the Armament Depot. Every Sunday 11am to 1pm, every half hour. Location: Jamieson Street, Sydney Olympic Park. Limited parking available in Blaxland Riverside Park.
Computer generated image of Wentworth Point
Once part of Homebush, Wentworth Point is a new suburb on the western shore of Homebush Bay on the southern side of the Parramatta River. The locality takes its name from the colonies assistant surgeon D'Arcy Wentworth, who was an early colonial land grantee. The northern part of the peninsula on the west side of Homebush Bay had been named Wentworth Point and gazetted in 1976, but it was not gazetted as a suburb until October 2009.
Wentworth Point is served by bus and ferry services. Stage 2 of the Parramatta Light Rail is a proposed light rail link between Westmead and Sydney Olympic Park via Parramatta. The project would include a station at Wentworth Point and the construction of a bridge across the Parramatta River for light rail traffic between Wentworth Point and Melrose Park. Kayaking, rowing and dragon boating can be seen inside Homebush Bay, but water access and boat storage facilities are limited. There is a recreation club in Wentworth Point which has an indoor heated pool, an outdoor recreational pool, gym and tennis courts.
Before redevelopment as a waterfront residential area, the point has had a variety of commercial and industrial uses, and has been home to a plywood manufacturer, de Havilland Marine boat builders, the former Head Office and warehouse space for Hyundai Australia, a debot for McPhee Transport, and a transmission tower for Sydney radio station 2GB. Though predominantly high density residential with a neighbourhood shopping and business area, NSW Road & Maritime Services owns about 18 hectares of land at the northern end of the point. This land has been subject to proposals for marine related development including boat storage.
Photo: Wheeler Studios
Bennelong Bridge: The $63 million Bennelong Bridge across Homebush Bay for buses, emergency services, cyclists and pedestrian use only, opened in May 2016 from Gauthorpe Street in Rhodes to Footbridge Boulevarde in Wentworth Point (foreground). Thr bridge provides a direct connection from City of Canada Bay's network of cycle paths to more than 35 kilometres of cycle paths at Sydney Olympic Park, as well linking to the 20 kilometre Parramatta Park to Sydney Olympic Park cycle and pedestrian path network.
Liberty Grove is a small high density residential suburb located in between Homebush Bay Drive to the west and the Main Northern Line railway to the east. It is surrounded by the suburbs of Rhodes to the north and Concord West to the east and south and Sydney Olympic Park to the west. Settlers first arrived in the area in January 1793 and began farming on 'Liberty Plains', from which the suburb's name is derived. Through the 1900s it became one of Sydney's industrial areas. However, it and much of adjacent industrial area around Homebush Bay, were completely transformed as part of the Olympic precinct development in preparation for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
When Capt. John Hunter and Lieut. William Bradley first explored the Parramatta River in February 1788, Homebush Bay was charted and recorded but not named. Ten days later Governor Phillip accompanied the next expedition. The party landed on the western shore of the bay and walked south-west to about where Granville is now located. The first land grant at Homebush Bay was issued in 1797 to a shepherd, Samuel Haslam after whom Haslams Creek was named. Many of the Olympic venues are between these two creeks. It also covers the areas once occupied by landholders Capt. Henry Waterhouse, John and Gregory Blaxland and D'Arcy Wentworth and his eldest son, William Charles Wentworth.
It is commonly thought that Homebush, Homebush Bay and Homebush West all take their name from colonist D'Arcy Wentworth's estate 'Home Bush'. However, historian Michael Jones, who had been commissioned by Stathfield Council to write the history of that municipality wrote: "Wentworth is popularly credited with having called the area after his 'home in the bush', although Homebush is also a place in Kent". It is considered unlikely that it was named after the village in Kent as D'Arcy Wentworth was Irish and had no links to the English county. According to local historian David Patrick it wasn t D'Arcy Wentworth who named Homebush but an earlier grantee on the land that being the military figure Thomas Laycock.
It would appear that after Laycock became mentally ill, following his direct involvement in suppressing the Castle Hill convict rebellion D'Arcy Wentworth became his doctor. It has been reputed that D'Arcy Wentworth either bought the Laycock Homebush Farm from Laycock or, more fancifully, won the property in an unfair game of cards from the ailing Laycock. Wentworth retained Thomas Laycock's name of the property and added to its extent. Laycock had been granted 40 hectares in 1794 and increased this to 318 hectares (790 acres) by 1803 and named it "Home Bush". A notice that Laycock placed in the newspapers about his property "Home Bush" is from before when Wentworth acquired the land from him. Later on, Wentworth acquired more land there himself and the estate had grown to 400 hectares (990 acres) by 1811. Homebush once had a very famous racecourse, established by Wentworth.
The Village of Homebush estate was a section of the Underwood Estate bounded by Beresford Road and Dickson/MacKenzie Streets and western railway line. It was subdivided in 1878 and 381 house blocks were auctioned in that year. By the end of the century many large houses and substantial villas had been built. In the 20th century house construction continued and most blocks had been built on by the end of the 1920s. Most of the original settlers soon departed for agriculturally more attractive places, like the Hawkesbury.
Homebush was established in the 1800s by the colony's assistant surgeon D'arcy Wentworth. According to local government historian Michael Jones, "Wentworth is popularly credited with having called the area after his 'home in the bush', although Homebush is also a place in Kent." The first name of settlement at what is today called Homebush was Liberty Plains. This was a group of grants given to the Colony's first free settlers, who came on the ship "Bellona", in 1793. Most of the original settlers soon departed for agriculturally more attractive places, like the Hawkesbury. One of them, Edward Powell, later returned and established there the Half Way House Inn, on Parramatta Road just west of the creek that now bears his name. Later, when the Great Western Railway line came through there, with a station just behind Powell's inn, the name Homebush was borrowed from the nearest large estate, that of D'Arcy Wentworth. A shopping centre by the name of Homebush has since grown around the railway station of that name. There also used to be a Ford factory in Homebush, with assembly linesx for the Telstar and the Laser models, but the factory closed in 1994.