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This site is dedicated to providing information on the history and heritage of the Strathfield district.

The Strathfield district is located in Sydney’s Inner West, about 11 kilometres from the Sydney CBD.  It is often said that Strathfield is the geographical heart of Sydney, which is no longer the case given the constant expansion of the Sydney Metropolitian Area but it is true that Strathfield is highly accessible to nearly anywhere in Sydney due to a highly connected rail system and proximity to major roads and motorways.   Strathfield Rail Station is one of the largest and busiest railway stations in NSW.  It is estimated that 120,000 people access Strathfield Rail Station each week.

Strathfield is a major centre for education and many public and private schools and universities are located in this area.  Some of which include the Australian Catholic University in Barker Road Strathfield, St Patrick’s College, Meriden Ladies College, Trinity Grammar Preparatory School, Homebush Boys High School, Strathfield Girls High School, South Strathfield High School as well as a host of public and Catholic primary schools.

Strathfield is renowned for its built and natural heritage which contributes to Strathfield’s distinctive streetscape character.  Strathfield’s streetscapes feature large nature strips and street trees, which were first established by 19th century boulevarding programs. Heritage is represented by a number of architectural styles dating from the 1870s including Victorian, Federation, Californian Bungalow and Post War styles.  There are a number of heritage conservation areas throughout Strathfield.  Natural areas are represented and include Mason Park Wetlands, which is regionally and nationally recognised as a significant natural heritage site.   This area features significant numbers of parks and reserves.  The Cooks River flows from Botany Bay through Strathfield and creeks such as Powell’s Creek and Saleyards Creek flow into the Parramatta River.

If you require further information or have suggestions about information or topics that could be included on the site, please post a comment or contact Cathy Jones via email: cathy.jones@optusnet.com.au

38 Comments on About Strathfield Heritage

  1. Dear strathfieldheritage.org

    I just recently drove through the more southern part of Strathfield Municipality, along Liverpool Road, and I think I saw a blank space where the old fire station had been.

    Am I mistaken? And was that a heritage building?

    Cheers,

    John

    • John

      I drove past the old Enfield Fire Station and it has not been demolished. The station is a draft heritage item on the local environmental plan. However, there is a large construction on the corner of Liverpool and Holmwood Ave, maybe that was the corner you saw.

      Cathy

  2. Thanks Cathy,

    Good to know the demolition site I saw was my mistake and wasn’t where the fire station (still) is.

    Cheers,

    John

  3. gregory read sc // 06/09/2011 at 9:36 pm //

    Hi Cathy Jones, my name is Greg Read and I am a long time resident of Strathfield, i notice one big important part of our History that you have left out is the Strathfield massacre in 1991, August why is that?

    • Greg

      I haven’t not included information on the massacre for any reason except it is extensively covered on many sites on the web and there is probably little I can contribute which is different, however I will post information soon.

      Cathy

  4. gregory read sc // 04/10/2011 at 8:01 pm //

    Hi Cathy thank you for you response.
    regards
    Greg Read

    • Hello Greg,

      Have you been past the memorial recently .. in Strathfield Square?

      Council has done a very good refurbishment of it and it is now prominent, and put onto a block of stone, whereas formerly it was very easily overlooked.

      Another history point (but never heritage listed probably) is that behind the streescape there (at Strathfield Private Hotel more or less), TOTALLY hidden from anyone’s view, an old house somehow survived. It was there for many years but now seems to have been demolished.

      Anyone know anything at all about it please?

      Cheers,

      John

      • John

        There is a photo of the memorial on the page about the Strathfield Massacre on this site. I was speaking to someone recently and was told that the old house which was behind the shop facades was demolished a few years ago. I had never been in this building so I’m not sure what parts of the house were there but think it was part of Strathfield Private Hotel. It was never heritage listed.

        Cathy

  5. Jenny Inglis // 08/02/2012 at 10:44 pm //

    Hi Cathy,

    Being a long term resident of Strathfield, I was surprised to see that the Townhall has recently acquired
    a large box like growth or mini tower that now thrusts up from the roof. This sadly looks rather odd.
    Do you know what this appendage is, and do you think that they gave themselves planning permission for it?
    —— Jenny Inglis

    • Jenny

      It’s a lift. There was no lift to the first floor where the council chambers is located, which is needed for disability access. It’s amazing how much space is needed to install a lift. Planning documents and approvals are available from council on request, if you want to view them. Any council development consent is available for public inspection under the Government Information (public access) Act.

      Cathy

    • Jenny

      It’s a lift. There was no lift to the first floor where the council chambers is located, which is needed for disability access. It’s amazing how much space is needed to install a lift. Planning documents and approvals are available from council on request, if you want to view them. Any council development consent is available for public inspection under the Government Information (public access) Act.

      Cathy

  6. John Byrnes // 21/03/2012 at 1:47 pm //

    Hello, I am John (contactable at john.mail@ozemail.com.au) and am seeking to locate descendants of Edward Powell who was a pioneer (free settler) at Liberty Plains, now Homebush; and also the Hawesbury River area (Cornvallis, and Curryburry on the Richmond Lowlands). Also looking for anyone else interested in this family (and some time ago found David Patrick with similar interests). Edward Powell ‘founded’ what’s now the area around Homebush station and shopping centre, as his grant named “Dorset Green”. Edward is thought to have returned to Sydney to rejoin convict Sarah Dorset and his son Edward Dorset Powell who he fathered as a seaman on an earlier trip here on the convict transporter Lady Juliana. But if this is true it was thwarted since the authorities had early on transphipped Sarah Dorset and the other female convicts of Lady Juliana to Norfolk Island. Powell after reaching Sydney the second time married a fellow passenger, Miss Fish. There must be very many descendants via Elizabeth Fish. There may be none via the Edward Powell jnr of Miss Dorset, since that Edward Powell seems to have died young (aged 31) with no children. The records however are sparse and hard to interpret, and so all this is not dead certain.

  7. John Byrnes // 27/04/2012 at 12:51 pm //

    Hello,

    I’m John Byrnes (born at Ashfield and have lived most of my time at Strathfield, and a little at Croydon). I am interested in anything to do with the former “Dorset Green” first free settler land grant, which was granted to Edward Powell and is now the land around Homebush station and shopping centre. I’m one of at least three persons known to be interested in any Powell history or stories. If anyone has any queries or information to share on such please contact any of the following three researchers:

    John Byrnes – john.mail “@” ozemail.com.au 
    David Patrick – patrickd “@” spin.net.au 
    Barry Hishion – bhishion “@” tpg.com.au

    Thanks, John

  8. John Byrnes // 19/05/2012 at 10:07 pm //

    Hello,

    Anyone know who “Oretone Pty Ltd” are?

    This is the name appearing on a DA stuck to the front of the old Homebush Theatre building to construct 32 storey high towers there. Golly, how high are the tallest buildings in Sydney at the moment? Residential towers at Rhodes are, I think, now reaching 23 storeys (not yet occupied). Is Homebush to overtake that suburban record with on giant leap?

    Regards, John

  9. Hello there,

    I have a query. There is an argument on another website over whether or not Homebush (and Homebush West) are considered inner western suburbs of Sydney. I’m of the view that they aren’t even though Strathfield is due primarily to the rail junction and the changes in housing (so to speak) west of Strathfield. The inner west seems crammed whereas Homebush and beyond is not. I’m going from memory as I am not a Sydney resident but my brother in law is and he lived in Strathfield for awhile before moving to Stanmore and then later Dulwich Hill and now Summer Hill.

    I’d like something concrete if you have anything that can help – or hinder my view as I do acknowledge that Homebush (and indeed Flemington as well) are Strathfield council suburbs. I’m just not convinced that it proves anything.

    • I think Homebush and Homebush West would be considered part of the Inner West as there is no physical barrier between Strathfield and Homebush/Homebush West, whereas there are barriers between these areas and Lidcombe/Auburn, which are always referred to as West, such as Rookwood Cemetery and at Pippita Freight line. However, there is probably no definitive answer to this. Homebush and Homebush West (Flemington) have been part of Strathfield Council for 50-100 years. However, the larger area of Homebush Bay takes in Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Point, Newington and is located in the Auburn Local Government Area. I have found that people who are unfamiliar with this area think of Homebush in relation to the old Abbatoirs etc, whereas the suburb of Homebush is within 2-3 kms of the Homebush Rail Station and is divided from the Olympic site by Homebush Bay Drive.

    • John Byrnes // 10/08/2012 at 10:00 pm //

      Hello Phil,

      Some time ago I asked Ashfield, Burwood and Concord (Canada Bay) Councils what they considered the “Inner West” to be. However I forgot to ask Auburn Council, or just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Why don’t you ask Auburn Council where they think the “Inner West” stops .. that might clear it up.

      In the past some have called Strathfield “Western Sydney” even; but now many call the western Cumberland Plain “Western Sydney” … so you can see that what is happening is that the sense of ‘Sydney’ has been creeping ever westwards.

      Cheers,

      John

      • John

        I have never seen Auburn Council or the suburbs of Auburn, Lidcombe referred to as Inner West. Most State Government plans refer to Auburn as west, while Strathfield is generally regarded as the furthest inner west council. I agree that perceptions of ‘region’ have shifted over the years as Sydney has grown in size.

        Cathy

      • John Byrnes // 10/08/2012 at 10:51 pm //

        Hi Cathy,

        I agree, and if asked I think they’d reply that the Inner West ends with Strathfield LGA but I do not know of anyone ever having asked and gotten such answer.

        When I was asking I was trying to find when the term “Inner West” first arose, etc. None knew but it was a term in use in the 1940s and presumably would be a bit older than that.

        The hospital on Liverpool Road at Croydon used to be called the “Western Suburbs Hospital”.

        That name dates back to 1893, so back then at least west of Ashfield (and/or Ashfield itself?) was regarded as the western suburbs.

        Back then I don’t think Parramatta would have been regarded as ‘Sydney’. So therefore divide Great Western Highway in two between Ashfield and Parramatta. You’ll get the mid point around Flemington Markets (also later called Sydney Markets). Therefore as a rought guide take from there (Flemington [some call it Homebush West) east to Iron Cove (Hawthorne Canal) and that’s your “inner” west in terms of being the ‘inner’ (eastern) part of the original “Western” suburbs.

        Thus the Inner West is the LGAs of Canada Bay, Ashfield, Burwood and Strathfield.

        However, because there’s been no other popular name to cover them, any/all of the other suburbs between there and Sydney also from time to time can be found callin themselves Inner West too.

        Cheers,

        John

      • John Byrnes commented on Welcome to Strathfield
        Hi Cathy,
        I agree, and if asked I think they’d reply that the Inner West ends with Strathfield LGA but I do not know of anyone ever having asked and gotten such answer.
        When I was asking I was trying to find when the term “Inner West” first arose, etc. None knew but it was a term in use in the 1940s and presumably would be a bit older than that.
        The hospital on Liverpool Road at Croydon used to be called the “Western Suburbs Hospital”.
        That name dates back to 1893, so back then at least west of Ashfield (and/or Ashfield itself?) was regarded as the western suburbs.
        Back then I don’t think Parramatta would have been regarded as ‘Sydney’. So therefore divide Great Western Highway in two between Ashfield and Parramatta. You’ll get the mid point around Flemington Markets (also later called Sydney Markets). Therefore as a rought guide take from there (Flemington [some call it Homebush West) east to Iron Cove (Hawthorne Canal) and that’s your “inner” west in terms of being the ‘inner’ (eastern) part of the original “Western” suburbs.
        Thus the Inner West is the LGAs of Canada Bay, Ashfield, Burwood and Strathfield.
        However, because there’s been no other popular name to cover them, any/all of the other suburbs between there and Sydney also from time to time can be found callin themselves Inner West too.
        Cheers,
        John
        Approve Trash | Mark as Spam

        John

        As Sydney has grown in size and the western suburbs has become huge in size, the western suburbs has developed sub-regions like the Inner West, Greater Western, South-western etc. I think the term Inner West is recent ie last 20-30 years. There are plenty of references such as Western Suburbs Hospital, Western Suburbs Rugby League (former home ground was Pratten Park at Ashfield), Western Suburbs Courier Newspaper (now Inner Western Courier) etc.

        Cathy

      • John Byrnes // 10/08/2012 at 11:52 pm //

        Hi Cathy,

        I’ve seen the term used in the 40s but unfortunately with no explanation as to exactly where they were referring to.

        There’s two senses of early (e.g. 1940s use). One is as ‘inner west suburbs of Sydney’ and that seems to have most often meant the suburbs *immediately* west of sydney, e.g. in reference to granting franchises or milk runs for the inner west suburbs. And the other usage, probably coming into popularity even later on, was as Sydney’s “Inner West”. My folks lived in Ashfield and later on in Croydon and I can remember that they used to tell people elsewhere that they lived in “THE Inner West”. But I cannot remember how long ago that might have been. Such terminology was common enough by the 1980s.

        Cheers,

        John

      • John

        Terms like inner west are likely to have developed as the metropolitan area of Sydney has expanded. There are also terms like ring eg middle ring which describes the distance of suburbs from the City. local government has organises regional organizations of council, known as ROCs, like SSROC southern Sydney etc.

        Cathy

  10. John Byrnes // 08/08/2012 at 6:31 pm //

    TALKS ON HOMEBUSH AREA

    These talks start at 12 noon at: 18 August 2012. in Five Dock Library 

    An afternoon of talks, at Local Studies Room, Five Dock Library.

    Getting there
    …………………
    Five Dock Library is located near the corner of Great North Road and Garfield Street, Five Dock.  It’s on the first floor above the Supabarn store. There is car parking beneath the building which can be accessed from Garfield Street with a lift to the Five Dock Library. Parking in the car park, however,  is limited to two hours free parking. There is free parking available in the adjacent streets. Five Dock Library is accessible by bus from the city (438 or 439) or from Burwood Railway Station (492). Five Dock Library is also accessible by ramp from Garfield Street or by a lift which is located adjacent to the Supabarn store. 

    Giving a talk
    ………………..
    If you would like to give a 5-10 minutes talk please send the title to John Byrnes at john.mail “@” ozemail.com.au, to have it added to agenda.

  11. Kennedy // 09/08/2012 at 7:05 pm //

    I am a recent visitor to Strathfield and having been there from Aug1 to 7 2012 I was shocked upon being told of its history of the Aug 17 1991 massacre and also in the Strathfield Plaza. I shall have pleasant memories of this place and even want to return for another stay at this town centre where I stayed on Redmyre Road. I enjoyed the liveliness of this town place ranking it the best of all the places I visited to Sydney this time around. I have gotten a clearer view of what it is like to bounce back from a tragedy of this size and exposure. Just enjoyed sitting around the park square benches last Thursday evening and night and absorbing it all watching the people traffic by.I come from Melbourne and was not in Australia when the tragedy happened in 1991.

    • gregory read sc // 10/08/2012 at 7:32 am //

      Hi Kennedy
      Yes, Saturday, August 17th ,1991 was indeed a shock to all australians and visitors in Strathfield, we are having a remembrance service on 17th August, 2012, at the memorial on the footpath outside GLORIA Jeans Coffee shop at 10.00 am.All welcome.

      • Mary Azar // 17/08/2012 at 9:16 pm //

        Hi Gregory!

        Gregory read are you the Greg Read who saved people on the day of the Strathfield Massacre?
        I was not able to attend the service but they are in my thoughts always.

        I attended the same school as Roberta Armstrong and attended ballet classes with her after school as well.
        On earth she was an earth Angel, sweet, kind and always had a smile on her face.
        I miss her dearly and will always remember her.
        She had a heart of gold.

      • gregory read sc // 18/08/2012 at 12:47 am //

        Hello Mary Azar,
        Yes i am that Greg Read, thank you for taking time to remember Roberta. Yes the 21st Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony went ahead and we accept your apology. You were there like so many, there in spirit but not in person.
        The Ceremony was conducted by myself as MC the Deputy Mayor of Strathfield, Principal of McDonald College, NSW POLICE Force, Matt Jones from Social Alchemy, and we had an apology from the Strathfield, Member of Parliament NSW.There were members from the “Read Family” present also and members of the public.
        kind regards

        Greg Read SC
        Survivor

  12. Scott Brandons Smith // 29/08/2012 at 11:13 am //

    Does anybody remember Selbourne in Redmyre Road, Strathfield?

    • Selbourne House was in the grounds of Meriden Ladies College. It was used as the Boarding House for the school.

  13. Karyn Dijkstra // 03/10/2012 at 9:13 pm //

    My elderly mum (90 yrs) recently attended Strathfield Private Hospital. She was wondering if this hospital in on the site of an old private hospital called “Aroya” or something similar. Apparently my brother was born in the hospital in Strathfield around 60 years ago. Does anyone know anything about this old hospital?

    • Karyn

      The hospital was known as ‘Oroya’ and was once located on the southern corner of Everton and Wentworth Road Strathfield. It was originally a private home but after its sale in 1919, it became a private hospital.

      ’Oroya’ was later known as Strathfield Private Hospital but the current hospital is located opposite to the older “Oroya’. ‘Oroya’ is now a block of units.

      Regards

      Cathy

  14. dear cathy,

    at the moment i am doing a year 10 assignment based on changes that have occurred in strathfield. i was wondering whether you would be able to assist me by pointing out any areas that have changed a great deal in this time and if you could mention some of the changes that have occured around strathfield square (the area around strathfield plaza eg. churchill avenue, albert rd, raw square, morwick street, etc.) your help would be greatly appreciated. if you were able to post any information by friday that would be phenomenal as my assignment is due on wednesday.

    Kind Regards and Thanks for this,

    Rob

  15. Phillip Anderson // 25/10/2012 at 9:30 pm //

    The story on Homebush Cinema by Cathy Jones was very interesting, however I would just like to point out that the date that the Ice rink closed was definately not 1971.
    I was a young 13 year old who went there skating in early 1973.
    I know this because I remember seeing some sharpie chicks dancing next to the juke box to The Sweet’s song “Blockbuster” and that was released in January 1973. So there is no way that the ice rink closed down in 1971. From memory it was late 1973.

    • Philip, you may be right. The information was obtained from the Kevin Cork pamphlet on the cinemas of local municipalities and like all historical research, there can be mistakes. I assume that the most important information to Cork was the historical information relating to the operation of the cinema itself. Cathy.

  16. Joanne Chicco // 09/03/2013 at 3:13 pm //

    Hello Cathy and everybody,

    Can somebody tell me the exact street address of the Dr Dill Macky Memorial Home in Albert Road Strathfield? What was the street number? Hopefully somebody will know. Joanne.

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