The suburb of Rockdale in southern Sydney, located 13 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, is an administrative centre for the local government area of the Bayside Council. Rockdale is part of the St George area. Rockdale has a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial areas. The main shopping strip runs along the Princes Highway, on the eastern side of Rockdale railway station. The commercial centre spreads out into surrounding streets and on the western side of the railway line. King Street has developed into a cosy strip of cafes and grocery shops.

Rockdale was known by Europeans as Frog Hollow, then White Gum Flat and later as West Botany. The name Rockdale was suggested in 1878 by the first postmistress, Mrs Mary Ann Geeves. The name for the district gained more credence when the local railway station on the new Illawarra rail line, opened on 15 October 1884, was also given the name Rockdale.[2] The West Botany Municipality, declared on 13 January 1871 with two wards, West Botany and Arncliffe, was renamed "The Municipality of Rockdale" on 17 May 1888.

There was a suggestion that the area should become the Municipality of Scarborough but the name Rockdale was suggested by pioneer Mary Ann Geeves, postmistress and tollgate keeper and was officially adopted in 1887. Her husband, Yeoman Geeves, was a ganger on the construction of Rocky Point Road and the demolition of Cobbler's Hill (later called Arncliffe Hill). The Geeves family, including eldest son Frederick lived on the corner of today's Princes Highway and Tramway Arcade. Their general store adjoined the cottage and operated the first post office between Arncliffe and Kogarah in 1882. Residential development began with the opening of the railway in 1884. Perhaps the most significant property developer during the 1880s was Frederick Jamison Gibbes (1839 1888), a Member of Parliament, who is commemorated by Gibbes Street in Banksia. Until 1949, an electric tramway operated between Rockdale Station down Bay Street to Brighton-Le-Sands.

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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.

Brighton-Le-Sands is the most popular section of Lady Robinsons Beach, due to its close proximity to the suburb's 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.
Lady Robinsons Beach

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.

When Arthur Phillip arrived at Botany Bay with the First Fleet in January 1788, he rejected the bay as a suitable site for a new settlement, believing the land around the bay to be unsuitable for agriculture. Chinese Market gardeners, who have successfully grown vegetables here for around 130 years, have proved Gov. Phillip wrong.

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 neighbouring suburb of Kogarah is located 14 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and is considered to be the centre of the St George area. Kogarah has a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial areas. It is also known for its large number of schools (including primary school, high school and tertiary education) and health care services (including two hospitals and many medical centres). The NRL side, St George Illawarra Dragons have their Sydney office based at nearby Jubilee Oval, often referred to as Kogarah Oval. Kogarah features all types of residential developments from low density detached houses, to medium density flats and high density high-rise apartments. Kogarah railway station is located on the Illawarra line of the Sydney Trains network.

Kogarah's main shopping area is located around Kogarah railway station on Railway Parade, Regent Street and on the opposite side of the railway line on Station Street. The commercial area also extends to surrounding streets such as Montgomery and Belgrave Streets. Commercial and light industrial developments are also located along the Princes Highway and Rocky Point Road. St George Hospital is a major regional hospital, that serves the whole St George area but also accepts patients from other regions in New South Wales.

The name Kogarah is derived from the Aboriginal word "coggera" or "cogerah" meaning "rushes". The name was originally applied to what is now known as Rushcutters Bay. It had also been written as 'Coggera', 'Cogerah' and 'Kuggerah' but the current spelling was settled when the railway line came through the area in the 1880s. During the 1850s a small farming community sprung up in the Kogarah area after timber getters had gone through. The Kogarah Public School was completed in 1876. Residential development was slow until the arrival of the railway in 1885, when major subdivision took place and land sales boomed. Electricity arrived in 1923.

Princes Highway, Moorefield

The former neighbourhood of Moorefield is now part of Kogarah. It was originally a 24-hectare (60-acre) land grant from Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1812 to Patrick Moore, who built a fine house there. The Moorefield racecourse built by a descendant opened in 1888. Brigadier General John Lamrock CB VD was appointed secretary of the Moorefield Race Club in 1912 and remained in that position until early in 1935. The Moorefield estate was subdivided in the 1950s and the Department of Education purchased 7.7 hectares (19 acres), where it built two high schools and college of further education. Moorefield Girls High School was erected there in 1955 on the former site of Moore's farm.

The nearby suburb of Bexley is located 14 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. Lydham Hall, the oldest surviving residence in the area, stands on part of the original land grant of 1822. The light industrial developments are located on Forest Road between Bexley and Hurstville, but are slowly being replaced by medium-density residential. Bexley contains a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial developments.

Bexley's main shopping strip is located at Bexley on Forest Road. It includes a busy intersection with Bexley Road and Harrow Road (characterised by the art deco former Commonwealth Bank building), and another busy intersection at Stoney Creek Road (characterised by the Forest Inn Hotel). Commercial developments extend some distance down Stoney Creek Road towards Kingsgrove and are also scattered along Forest Road, south towards Hurstville and north towards Arncliffe. The area heading towards Hurstville (at the intersection of Willison Road) is usually referred to Bexley South. It contains a post office, two pizza chains and a variety of smaller specialty shops.

Bexley and Bexley North are named by James Chandler after his birth place of Bexley Heath in England. In 1822 Chandler took up heavily timbered land here which extended to the shores of Botany Bay. Subdivision into smaller farms began when a timber getters road leading to Gannon's Forest (Hurstville) was built through the property. The land had subdividing by 1856 but urban development began in ernest with the coming of the railway to Hurstville in 1884. By 1909, Bexley was linked to Arncliffe station by a steam tram.

Bexley North

Bexley North is 13 kilometres south of the Sydney Central business district. Bexley North is mostly residential with a small shopping centre located around the intersection of Bexley Road with Slade Road and Shaw Street, close to Bexley North railway station. The opening of the East Hills line and the railway station at Bexley North in 1931, opened up the area for home sites. The M5 South Western Motorway runs south-west towards Beverly Hills and Liverpool. There are no entrances at Bexley North to the 4 km tunnel which begins here and heads north-east towards Botany and the city. Access to the north east of the motorway is allowed at Kingsgrove and Arncliffe.

Bardwell Park

The neighbouring suburb of Bardwell Park is located 12 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and is part of the St George area. Bardwell Valley is a separate suburb, to the east. Bardwell Park is a leafy, predominantly residential area but features a small shopping centre around Hartill-Law Avenue and Slade Road, beside the Bardwell Park railway station.

Bardwell Park was named after free settler Thomas Hill Bardwell, a wealthy pastoralist from southern New South Wales who bought the land in December 1853. His heavily timbered grant was bounded by Wolli Creek, Dowling Street and Wollongong Road. In 1881, the land was auctioned and 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) were subdivided. The railway station opened on 21 September 1931 which opened up the area for home sites. The school opened in September 1943 and the post office opened in May 1946. Up until 2016 it was the only suburb in Sydney not to have traffic lights.

Bardwell Valley and Wolli Creek ValleyBardwell Park borders an important piece of remnant bushland, the Wolli Creek Valley, through which Wolli Creek flows. There have been active citizens' movements lobbying for its preservation in the face of demands for urban expansion. The most public of these prevented the building of the M5 South Western Motorway through the valley, resulting in the road being built as a tunnel under the valley. Nevertheless, community concern remains over the release of particle pollution from exhaust emissions into the atmosphere in the Bardwell Valley.

The Wolli Creek Valley contains the only bushland of any size left in inner south-west Sydney. It is also the only large undeveloped natural space that remains in a heavily developed residential and industrial region. The park offers public transport access, family picnic areas, parkland, birdwatching, bushwalking, extensive views of sandstone escarpments, heathland and woodland forest. A 60 hectare regional park is under development.

Bardwell Valley

Bardwell Valley is a separate suburb, suburb, located approximately 12 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. Prior to European settlement, Bardwell Valley was a significant part of the lands of the Cadigal people. Bardwell Valley was originally the name used to describe the land beside Bardwell Creek in the suburb of Bardwell Park. The suburb was formed in 1996 from parts of Arncliffe that bordered the valley and creek. After much development had taken place in the Arncliffe and Bardwell Park areas during the early 1900s, Bardwell Valley was the last remaining area with any significant cover of natural vegetation. As early as 1945, it had been suggested that the area would be the ideal location for a golf course.

The City of Rockdale established an olive grove in Silver Jubilee Park, Commemorating the contribution of the Australian Greek community in the development of the City of Rockdale. Bardwell Valley Golf Course sits beside the banks of Bardwell Creek. The Bardwell Valley Golf Club is located in Hillcrest Avenue. Silver Jubilee Park is located beside the golf course on Lorraine Avenue. Coolibah Reserve, Shepherd Reserve and Favell Picnic Area site beside Bardwell Creek.

Bardwell Creek Parklands

Bardwell Creek Parklands: Bardwell Creek is the major tributary of Wolli Creek, with its confluence located at Arncliffe some 2.5 kilometres upstream of the Cooks River junction. The upper reaches of Bardwell Creek arise in Hurstville to drain in a north- easterly direction through the suburbs of Hurstville, Bexley North, Bardwell Park and Turrella. Though radically changed since pre-colonial days, Bardwell Valley is a pleasant area for walkers with pockets of natural bushland surviving amongst the introduced flora and grassed areas which dominate this reserve.

A 6ha. remnant of closed forest, which includes Turpentine Forest and Eucalypt woodland and Sydney Red Gum and Sydney Peppermint woodland, is located south-west and north-east of Bexley Road and has been earmarked for preservation. A walking path follows the line of Bardwell Creek along its southern bank from Preddy's Road, Bexley North, to Bardwell Road, Bardwell Valley, near where the creek flows into Wolli Creek.


Princes Highway, Arncliffe

The suburb of Arncliffe is located 11 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. Arncliffe is part of the St George area, to the south of the Cooks River and Wolli Creek, close to Sydney Airport. Arncliffe is a mostly residential area featuring low density detached and semi-detached houses and some medium density town houses and blocks of flats around Wolli Creek station. Arncliffe's main shopping centre is centred around Firth Street and Belmore Street, beside Arncliffe railway station.

View of Botany Bay from Arnclffe Hill

Originally, Arncliffe Hill was known as Cobbler's Hill and the area became the vegetable garden for Sydney. Arncliffe is named after a grant made in 1883 to David Hannan, the first white settler in the area. Hannan, who married the first white child born in Campbelltown, was Government Overseer of Brickmaking. The name was suggested by surveyor William Meadows Brownrigg, in memory of the village of Arncliffe (below) in Yorkshire, England. Arncliffe appears in the Doomsday Book of 1066 and means Eagle Cliff. Development to the south of Cooks River was slow due to access across the swamps between Arncliffe and Sydenham being difficult. The arrival of the railway in 1884 heralded a decade of strong development, with the area changing from farmlands to residential suburbia.

Arnclffe Hill cutting and road bridge

The railway line from Sydney to Sutherland which cut through Arncliffe Hill was opened in 1884. The name of the district engineer for railways T.R. Firth is reflected in Firth Street which runs parallel to the railway line. Arncliffe Park was originally the property of Kim Too and cultivated as a market garden. The garden was officially proclaimed a public park in March 1889. The Arncliffe to Bexley steam tramway opened in 1909 and connected with trains at Arncliffe station. The line ran down Wollongong Road, then Forest Road through Bexley before terminating at the corner of Forest and Preddys Roads, Bexley. The line was single track, with a passing loop midway. A small car shed at Arncliffe maintained the trams. The line closed in 1926.

Arncliffe was settled by people from a variety of backgrounds. Original settlers in the area included British, Irish, Chinese from the goldfields and Germans who tended Arncliffe's vegetable gardens. In the early days, Germans represented the largest non-Anglo-Celtic migrant group in Australia. From the 1960s, Arncliffe has become home to many immigrants from around the world. The first wave included Greeks and Italians who began moving south from Sydney's inner-city suburbs. In 1963, after an earthquake devastated much of Macedonia and northern Greece, more southern European families arrived in the area. From the late 1970s, they were joined by many families from Lebanon, who sought asylum from the civil wars and ongoing conflict in the Middle East and Lebanon. Sixty percent of Arncliffe's residents now come from backgrounds other than the predominantly Anglo-Saxon and Irish origins of the earlier immigrants.

As a result, Arncliffe exhibits much evidence of the diversity of its population, including architectural styles ranging from Victorian through Federation era cottages to latter-day 'statement mansions'. The Al-Zahra Mosque and St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church reflect the diversity of the community. A dedicated olive grove in Jubilee Park, that is now part of Bardwell Valley, was created in recognition of the contribution made to the City of Rockdale by citizens who have their origins in Greece.


The suburb of Banksia is located 12 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. Banksia is mainly residential with a few commercial developments. It features mostly low density houses and some medium density blocks of flats. Banksia shopping centre consists of a small group of shops on Railway Street beside Banksia railway station.

The name of Banksia was suggested by David Stead, father of novelist Christina Stead, to honour Sir Joseph Banks, who visited the area as a botanist with James Cook who visited Botany Bay in April 1770. Banksia was originally part of a large property owned by Simeon Pearce and his brother James, which extended south to Rocky Point and was occupied for years by timber getters. Until the late nineteenth century, the area was heavily timbered but residential development began in the 1880s with the arrival of the railway in 1885. A station was not opened until lobbying by residents forced the issue in October 1906.

A market garden is located on the eastern side of West Botany Street, close to St George Soccer Stadium. Located next to St George Stadium on the grounds of Barton Park lies the Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre, the home of the Rockdale Ilinden Football Club, a largely Macedonian supported NSWSL soccer club.

Wolli Creek

Wolli Creek is an urban watercourse of the Cooks River catchment. The creek rises south of Narwee, within Beverly Hills Park, Beverly Hills, and flows generally east northeast through Wolli Creek Valley and Wolli Creek Regional Park, joined by its major tributary, Bardwell Creek, before reaching its confluence with the Cooks River near Arncliffe and Tempe. The creek is a lined channel between Kingsgrove Road, Kingsgrove and Bexley Road, Bexley North where it then enters the Wolli Creek Valley. The sub-catchment area of the creek is 22 square kilometres.

There have been active movements fighting for the preservation of Wolli Creek in the face of demands for land. The most successful of these prevented the building of a tollway through the valley, resulting in the road being built as the M5 Motorway tunnel under the valley. In a further attempt to protect the valley, a 50 hectare nature reserve of native bushland and public reserves named Wolli Creek Regional Park, has been planned. When complete, the planned nature reserve offers easy public transport access, family picnic areas, extensive views and bushland, rugged sandstone escarpments with walking tracks, a mixture of parkland, heathland, and woodland forest, and great birdwatching within close proximity to heavily developed residential and industrial landscape.
  • Wolli Creek Reserve

  • Wolli Creek railway station was built in the 1990s as part of the new airport Line. The 10.7 km line passes through a 9.6 km tunnel between Wolli Creek and Central stations. The line was opened in May 2000. The Airport line is an extension of what was originally known as the East Hills railway line, now called the Macarthur Line since it was extended and connected to the Southern Line at Glenfield. The Airport/Macarthur line crosses beneath the Southern Line to Sutherland and Cronulla at Wolli Creek station. Both lines have connecting platforms at Wolli Creek station.

    Discovery Point: In the 1990s, low lying land at Discovery Point near where Wolli Creek enters the Cooks River was earmarked for high density residential development. Essential to the development was the construction of Wolli Creek railway station on the Airport Line, which opened in 2000. Over the last 20 years, the area has been developed in accordance with the plan. Many of the residential towers in the development have been completed, and the units within sold and now occupied, as is the piazza-style Village Square. Facing Cooks River is Discovery Park, which features a BBQ area and childrens' playground.

    The word 'Wolli' is of Aboriginal origin and has been said to mean "black's Camp". This is probably incorrect and more likely the name of a particular Aboriginal campsite on its banks. The valleys of Wolli Creek and Bardwell Creek contain evidence of Aboriginal occupation, with smoke-blackened caves used by Gweagal, Bidjigal and Cadigal clan members. Reuben Hannam, a brickmaker, was granted 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land in 1825 along the banks of Wolli Creek. His son, David Hannam, obtained a 60-acre (240,000 m2) grant near the Cooks River in 1833 directly behind the Tempe estate. Alexander Brodie Spark (1792 1856) purchased the estate on the Cooks River in 1826 and built Tempe House in 1828. This part of Arncliffe is today known as Wolli Creek. Later, both Rocky Point Road and Gannons Forest Road ran through Hannam's grant, now known as the Princes Highway and Forest Road.

Muddy Creek

Muddy Creek, Kyeemagh

Also known by the names Slacks Creek and Black Creek, Muddy Creek is the last tributary of the Cooks River before it flows into Botany Bay. Muddy Creek enters the Cooks River from the south after passing through the suburbs of Brighton-Le-Sands and Kogarah. The creek runs for approximately 4.3km from Hurstville to Bestic Street, Rockdale.

Bestic Steet bridge ove Muddy Creek, Rockdale

Muddy Creek's sub-catchment is 5.7km2 and is mainly residential, with small pockets of commercial areas, a few parks and a Chinese market garden. The bridge over Muddy Creek next to McDonalds Rockdale and the Rockdale Matress Factory on Princes Highway used to be known as Skidmore's Bridge.
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  • After the Great War, Muddy Creek's wide tidal estuary was going to be turned into a canal to ship produce by barge direct from the market gardens on its banks to the markets of Sydney. The system of canals was to include the Cooks River and Alexandra Canal.

    The estuary is a mullet breeding area. St George Stadium occupies part of a wide strip of undeveloped land between Muddy Creek and the Cooks River. It is known as the Landing Lights Wetland. The Eve Street Wetland is locked off, apparently to stop vandalism. There are two areas of market garden bordering the wetland, one with deep irrigation trenches, which birds appreciate, perhaps because few people know they exist.

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