Location: Parramatta River - West
The suburb of Mortdale is a suburb located on the Parramatta Rive, 17 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. Mortlake sits on the southern bank of the Parramatta River and is home to the southern bank of the Mortlake Ferry or commonly known as the Putney Punt, the last surviving punt service in Sydney. Mortlake is also The Terminus for bus routes 439 & L39 (to Circular Quay via Five Dock Shops and Leichhardt) and 464 (to Ashfield railway station).
Mortdale was named after businessman Thomas Sutcliffe Mort who held land in the area in the 1850s. Dr. Robert Townson (1763-1827) was the first land grantee. Thomas Sutcliffe Mort then took over his land and sublet sections to farmers. In 1894, an orchard and a farm here were subdivided and the land sold for residential development. They sold well and further subdivision took place in consequence to the opening of Mortdale Station in March 1897, however it was the establishment of houses for returned soldiers of World War I in the 1920s that brought the biggest influx of new residents. .
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Concord Oval, site of the Longbottom Stockade
In 1791, a stockade was built on the Parramatta Road at a place called Long bottom. The trip between Sydney and Parramatta was too long to be completed in one day, so the stockade was essential protection for overnight stays. Prisoners were detained here for the night on their 24 Kilometre trek from Sydney to Parramatta or vice-versa. Convict road gangs were housed in the original buildings and a small detachment of mounted police was stationed there. It closed in 1842.
In 1840, 58 French-Canadian convicts were sent to the Longbottom Stockade. In 1837, these convicts had participated in a rebellion against the British, in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The rebellion was quashed by Sir George Arthur, a former Governor of Van Diemen's Land. The British took many prisoners, of which 29 were executed and 149 sentenced to transportation for life to Australia. Those of British descent were sent to Van Diemen's Land and the French-Canadians sent to Sydney.
They arrived on the 25th of February 1840. Generally these 'convicts' were treated as prisoners-of-war and were allowed comparative freedom while they were detained at the Long Bottom Stockade. In 1842, these Canadian convicts were given tickets-of-leave and by 1844 most had received a free pardon. Of the 58 French-Canadians that were sent to Sydney, two died, one married a settler from Dapto on the South Coast and 55 returned to Canada.
Many historians agree that the Canadian Rebellion assisted in the granting of responsible self-government to other British Colonies. In 1839, in a series of recommendations resulting directly from the rebellion, Lord Denham recommended that responsible government be granted to Upper and Lower Canada and that same principal was later applied to Australia and New Zealand.
There are three inlets in Hen and Chicken Bay whose names relate to these French-Canadian rebels. Canada Bay is near the head of Hen and Chicken Bay and nearest to the point where the stockade once stood. North of Canada Bay and still on the western side of Hen and Chicken Bay, is Exile Bay and beyond that, towards Cabarita Point, is France Bay.
Cabarita Point is located at the western entrance of Hen and Chicken Bay. Cabarita is an Aboriginal word meaning 'by the waters' and was first used in land documents in 1856. Cabarita is one of only three places on the Parramatta River where Aboriginal names are used. It is probable that the name was given as a direct result of the policy adopted by the Surveyor-General of New South Wales, Major T. L.Mitchell which was to preserve Aboriginal place names. Some also suggest that it was assisted by a young clerk in the Surveyor General's Office, namely Henry Kendall, who became one of Australia's best known early poets. Kendall Bay is immediately west of the Cabarita headland.
Cabarita Point was also the site of Correy's Pleasure Gardens. The Gardens were well established by 1887 and many visitors took the ferry from Sydney. By this time, a dance pavilion, capable of holding up to 900 people was built. It was common for large crowd to be entertained by a ten piece string orchestra in this pavilion. On the Kendall Bay side of the Gardens, visitors could purchase fresh fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. It was reported that many Sydney florists bought their supplies from there. The house in which the Corry family lived is still standing and is located near the entrance to Cabarita Park.
Cabarita Park now covers most of the Cabarita Point headland. The pavilion where on 1 January 1901, Earl Hopeton, the first Governor-General of Australia, proclaimed the Federation of Australian Colonies is located within the Park. At the time of the proclamation of federation, the pavilion was located in Centennial Park, but tt was relocated to Cabarita Park in 1951.
Cabarita Point Marina
West of Cabarita Point is another memorial to a rower. The memorial is a column with a globe on the top, and commemorates the achievements of William Beach, the 'undefeated champion sculler of the world'. Bill Beach was born at Lake Illawarra on the South Coast in 1850. On 16 August 1884, an estimated crowd of 100,000 people watched as Beach beat the Canadian, Ted Hanlan, for the World Championship. The next year, Beach beat Hanlan again, as well as Clifford and Matterson. In 1886, he went to England and defended his crown against five of the world's best oarsmen. This race was rowed on the Thames River, over the Putney to Mortlake course. In 1887, he beat Hanlan for the third time but this race took place on the Nepean River. He was then 37 and announced his retirement. In 1888, Peter Kemp beat Hanlan twice on the Parramatta River course and then in turn was beaten by the 'Clarence River Comet', Henry Ernest Searle.
Kendall Bay is the site of a large wharf that was built to discharge coal brought by sea from the Felton Bank Colliery near Maitland in the Hunter Valley. This wharf, minus its coal handling equipment, remains there today. The coal was used in the Mortlake Gas Works of the Australian Gas Light Company which was situated on the western side of Kendall Bay. The Mortlake operation opened on 23 May 1886. Previous to this, AGL had its works at Darling Harbour where the first gas works were opened in 1841. The Darling Harbour works continued to operate until 1922 when the Company's entire gas-making operation was transferred to Mortlake.
Cape Cabarita is a new residential area, on France Bay, created on the site of an old industrial factory, in 2000 - 2005.
Breakfast Point is believed to have been named because it was here that Captain John Hunter stopped to have breakfast on his first journey up the Parramatta River on the 5th of February 1888. Ten days later when Governor Phillip came to inspect, the party stopped at the same place, again for breakfast. The modern day suburb of Breakfast Point is a residential area of medium density housing.
Breakfast Point was for many yers the site of AGL's Mortlake gas works. When the plant was in full operation here, it used nearly 460,000 tonnes of coal per year. This was brought from Hexham on the Hunter River by colliers which, like those steaming from Newcastle, were also known as the 'Sixty Milers'. However, the distance travelled to Sydney from Hexham was closer to 87 nautical miles (160 kilometres).
The colliers used were the SS Felton Bank and the SS Mortlake, each of 1400 tonnes, and the MV Hexham Bank of 1650 tonnes. The Hexham Bank was built in Brisbane in 1953. The last collier brought coal to Mortlake in late 1971. The process of carbonisation, used to obtain gas from coal, was discontinued 31 December 1971. After that time, natural gas from the interior of Australia was piped to Mortlake where it was given an odour for safety reasons and distributed to consumers throughout the Sydney area. The site has been redeveloped with medium density housing.
The twin bays of Majors Bay and Yaralla Bay are located on the Parramatta River bottomalmost opposite Kissing Point. Majors Bay was named after Major Grose, who in 1793 as Lieutenant-Governor, granted land at the end of Hen and Chicken Bay to the Colony's first free settlers. Major Grose named the area Concord, a Quaker word meaning 'brotherly love'. In 1776, Grose had been a junior officer during the American War of Independence and he had fond memories of Concord in Massachusetts.
In 1797, ex-convict Isaac Nichols was granted 20 hectares of land near Majors Bay, where he established a farm and built a house. Over the years he acquired more land and by the time of his death on the 13th of November 1819, Nichols' land at Concord covered more than 280 hectares. His orchard produced quality apricots, apples, cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, plums and strawberries.
Oiginally known as Horseshoe Bay because of its shape, Brays Bay was named after settler John Bray who established a farm here in 1794 and called it Brays Cove. Following the death of his son, Alfred Llewellyn Bray, the first Mayor of Concord, the family home, Braygrove, was purchased by R. Tulloch & Company and in 1915 the Iron Works transferred from its original site at Pyrmont to Rhodes.
The company flourished and won several important contracts, particularly for the construction of railway bridges, viaducts and rolling stock. In 1923 the company began manufacturing shovels, spades, garden tools, etc. under the 'Tulloch-Phoenix' brand. The large fig tree standing in the corner of McIlwaine Park is known as the Strike Tree as this is where the workers gathered to discuss the situation any time there was a strike at the factory. Before the park of created, the site was occupied by electrical manufacturer, Phillips.
In February 1964, the first of 120 double deck trailers was delivered by Tulloch Limited to the New South Wales Government Railways. These were purchased to replace wooden carriage stock from Sydney's suburban fleet. Some were later converted to powered cars. These trains remained serice until March 2004.
As early as 1794 there was a regular rowing boat service that ferried passengers from the Kissing Point shore to the Concord shore. It is also recorded that the first ship built in Sydney, the Rose Hill Packet (also known as The Lump) regularly called into both Kissing Point and Concord on its journey to and from Parramatta.
From around 1800 there was a punt/ferry crossing the river. This carried people, livestock and vehicles and made the journey to Sydney much shorter than having to travel by way of Parramatta. The journey via punt was 16 kilometres. A punt remained in service on this stretch of the river, crossing further west and running between Meadowbank and Rhodes. It began operating in 1898 and continued until the Ryde Road Bridge was opened 7 December 1935. The Rhodes ramp can be seen on the south bank just east of the Meadowbank Rail Bridge.
The original road bridge had an opening span which lifted to allow larger craft to pass under. It was designed by the Department of Main Roads and constructed by Ryde Council. The lifting span enabled timber boats to deliver their cargoes to the State Timber Yards at Rhodes. It was a toll bridge and the toll was not removed until midnight 30 June 1949. In recent years a new bridge has been built parallel to the older one but it has no opening span. The machinery associated with the original lifting span was dismantled when the new bridge was opened.
The bridge which currently takes the Northern Railway Line over the Parramatta River at the end of the Rhodes Peninsula replaced the John Whitton Bridge, located alongside it. The older structure is a lattice girder bridge built in 1886 to a design by Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways, John Whitton, as part of the Sydney to the Hawkesbury railway line. It carried rail traffic until 1977. Today it is used as a pedestrian bridge. Work started on the Meadowbank Bridge in 1947 but was abandoned in 1954 due to a lack of funds. Work resumed in 1975, but to a different design which incorporated the abutments and piers erected earlier. Being less than 10 metres above water level at high tide, the newer bridge effectively stops the passage of large vessels upstream beyond this point.
The nearby suburb of Rhodes sits on a peninsula between Bray Bay and Homebush Bay, on the southern bank of the Parramatta River and is located about 3 kilometres from Stadium Australia, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney International Aquatic Centre, Bicentennial Park and Millennium Parklands. The eastern section, east of Concord Road, is predominantly single family detached houses and parkland. It features two residential streets, Cropley Street and Llewellyn Street, which front the Parramatta River.
The central section, between Concord Road and the Main Northern railway line, is mixed commercial, single family detached dwelling residential, warehouse/office developments and community facilities. It includes: Rhodes Corporate Park, built on the site of the former Tullochs Phoenix Iron Works; two office blocks with some retail opposite the station; the Rhodes NSW Fire Brigades station (staffed by retained as opposed to full-time officers); single dwelling residences; the former Rhodes Public School (now a community centre); a Coptic Orthodox church and facilities; the Masonic Aged Care Hostel; warehouse/office development along the river; and the First Yaralla Sea Scouts.
Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre
The western section, west of the railway line, features new developments on the former chemical and industrial sites, and includes: the Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre; many new (2007) apartment blocks; and a public foreshore walkway with two small parks (one incomplete Jan 2010).
Rhodes was named after the estate of Commissary and early settler Thomas Walker on whose property the railway platform was built. The name recalls Walker's grandmother's home, Rhodes Hall, near Leeds, England. Walker was an early European settler who married Anna Blaxland, the daughter of Blue Mountains explorer John Blaxland of neighbouring Newington. In 1911 when Messrs. G & C. Hoskins established a large foundry specialising in the manufacture of cast iron pipes for gas and city water reticulation purposes, heralding the entry of industry onto the once picturesque and heavily forested isthmus. Rhodes Hall was demolished in 1919 to make way for the John Darling Flour Mills. During the period from about 1930 to the mid-1980s, the western part of the suburb between Homebush Bay and the railway line was taken up by chemical manufacturing. The main manufacturers were Berger Paints, CSR Chemicals, Union Carbide, and Allied Feeds.
Rhodes peninsula and Homebush Bay showing early reclamation works, 1928
With the exception of the area bounded by Mary, Walker, Marquet and Gauthorpe Streets, almost all of the land on the western side of the railway line needed remediation. The remediation of the former Union Carbide site, the former Allied Feeds site was completed in February 2011. The former Berger Paints site near Oulton Avenue, and the CSR Chemicals / Orica Chemicals site on the southern side of Mary Street west of the railway, were also remediated. The Rhodes Waterside Shopping centre is located on the former Berger Paints site. Apartments are being developed on the former Orica Chemicals site, with commercial buildings along the railway line. Apartments are being developed on the former Union Carbide site and the former Allied Feeds site.
Photo: Wheeler Studios
Bennelong Bridge: The $63 million Bennelong Bridge across Homebush Bay for buses, emergency services, cyclists and pedestrians opened in May 2016 from Gauthorpe Street in Rhodes to Footbridge Boulevarde in Wentworth Point. 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.
Ryde Bridge: The Ryde Bridge links Rhodes to Ryde, across the Parramatta River. Rhodes is on a major north-south road system through the suburbs of Sydney, the A3. It is close to two main east-west links, Victoria Road to the north and the M4 Western Motorway/Parramatta Road/City West Link to the south.
Cycleways: A number of cycleways run through Rhodes, predominantly along Llewellyn and Walker Streets, joined by Leeds Street and an underpass under Ryde Bridge. There are shared paths along the Homebush Bay foreshore (incomplete in 2010) and immediately to the west of the railway behind the shopping centre and offices in Rider Boulevarde. Cycleways run west to Silverwater Bridge and on to Parramatta on both sides of the river. John Whitton Bridge, which is the former railway bridge joining Rhodes and Meadowbank, has a cycleway and pedestrian walkway. There are links to the cycleway running predominantly along the Cooks River to Botany Bay.
The neighbouring suburb of Concord is Concord is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west of the Sydney central business district. Concord is known as the 'Parklands Suburb' of the Inner West. Concord West is a separate suburb, to the north-west.
Major Francis Grose, lieutenant-governor, settled in the Concord area in 1793. Major Grose named it Concord, a Quaker word meaning 'brotherly love'. In 1776, Grose had been a junior officer during the American War of Independence and he had fond memories of the village of Concord in Massachusetts, where the American War of Independence had its origins. Some historians believe the Sydney suburb was named Concord to encourage a peaceful attitude between soldiers and settlers.
The first land grants in the area were made in 1793. In 1838, 58 French Canadians who had taken part in the Papineau Rebellion in their own country were taken as political prisoners and transported to Sydney. They were sentenced to hard labour in the quarries of Concord before repatriation in 1845. The names France Bay, Exile Bay and Canada Bay recall the incident.
Richardson's 'peach tin' prototype mower
Victa Mower: Mervyn Victor Richardson dev?? eloped the Australian rotary mower in his suburban garage in Concord in 1952 and began manufacturing them in his spare time at the rate of ten a month under the name Victa. The following year the business became full-time and grew rapidly, production for 1959 from its factory at Milperra was 143,000 mowers. This expansion was achieved without borrowed funds and without taking in any outside capital. The company was completely unencumbered and its sole shareholders were the three members of the Richardson family: Mervyn, his wife Vera and his son Garry.
Australian drama TV series All Saints, is set in the fictional All Saints General Western Hospital. The external shots (the sweeping shots of the skyline and hospital) were filmed at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital. Some scenes have been shot in and around Concord and Majors Bay Road.
The Australian TV series Grass Roots was set in the fictional suburb of Arcadia Waters. Many external shots of Arcadia waters Council chambers used Concord Council Chambers as a setting and as was other various locations around Concord, particularly in the shopping centre and cafes in Majors Bay Road.
The Australian mini series Bangkok Hilton was partly filmed in the grounds of the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital.
The Australian drama/comedy series Packed to the Rafters was partly filmed in Riverview Street, and other locations within Concord, where the Rafter family home is located.
Dirty Deeds is a 2002 Australian/Canadian production filmed in Concord, utilising Henley park and a nearby 1960s period home for the setting.
Brides of Christ a 1991 miniseries used St Marys Catholic Church Concord for some of the internal Church Mass scenes.
The Cut, a 2009 comedy/drama series, was partly filmed in Concord, with some internal filming done in a Majors Bay Road shop and some external filming done on the Majors Bay Road shopping strip and Concord Oval.
Scenes from action movie Superman Returns were shot at Rivendell Hospital, which was Lex Luther's mansion.
Scenes from the drama series Rake were shot in Concord.
Scenes from the 2013 miniseries Carlotta were shot in Concord.
Thomas Walker Hospital
Concord West, located 16 km west of the Sydney central business district, is a separate suburb to Concord, to the east. Concord West is bordered on the west by Rhodes, Liberty Grove and Homebush Bay; to the south by North Strathfield and Homebush; and to the east by Concord, Breakfast Point, Cabarita and Mortlake. It shares the postcode of 2138 with Rhodes. Concord takes its name from Concord, Massachusetts, in the United States. It was the site of the Battle of Concord, the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War (1775 1778). Some historians believe the suburb was named Concord, to encourage a peaceful attitude between soldiers and settlers. The first land grants in the area were made in 1793.
Yaralla. Photo: City of Canada Bay Heritage Society
A major historical figure in the area was Thomas Walker (1804 1886), a philanthropist who lived in the Victorian Italianate mansion, Yaralla, on the shores of Parramatta River. When he died, Walker left substantial funds for the establishment of a convalescent hospital in the area. The hospital known as the Thomas Walker Hospital was designed by Sir John Sulman in the Federation Free Classical style and built on a large site north-west of Yaralla. It is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. Since the late 1970s, it has functioned as Rivendell Child, Adolescent and Family Unit, which specialises in the treatment of young people with psychological problems.
Walker's philanthropic work was continued by his daughter Dame Eadith Walker (1861 1937), who was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1919, and was made a Dame 1929. The family home, Yaralla, eventually became the Dame Eadith Walker Hospital; like the Thomas Walker Hospital, it was listed on the Register of the National Estate. Dame Eadith also aided in establishing the Concord Repatriation General Hospital. Concord Repatriation General Hospital provides the external shots for the fictional All Saints General Western Hospital in the Australian television drama series All Saints. The Australian mini series Bangkok Hilton was partly filmed in the grounds of the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital.
The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway is a Walkway located near the repatriation Hospital which commemorates the Australian soldiers who participated in the New Guinea campaign during the second World War.
Mortlake was originally known as Bottle Point. The suburb's name is derived from its namesake Mortlake, by the banks of the Thames in London. Parramatta River had been known as the 'Thames of the Antipodes' and other nearby suburbs were also named after Thames localities of Greenwich, Woolwich and Putney.
Mortlake was notable as the site of the Australian Gas Light Company (AGL) gas works, which first purchased land here in 1883. Colliers from Newcastle brought coal to the gasworks site at Mortlake. When a new Gladesville Bridge was opened in 1964, it was built to replace a bridge that needed to close every time the swing section on the southern end of the bridge had to be opened to permit large vessels to pass through. The gas works closed and the land redeveloped into the Breakfast Point residential development.
Until 1948, an electric tramway connected Mortlake south to the suburbs of Burwood, Enfield and Ashfield.