City of villages III

Western Sydney is a vast area, diverse in people, landscape and built environment. Its many communities sometimes feel that the city turns its back on them, but not the Dictionary of Sydney. From Parramatta to the Blue Mountains, read about the history of the suburbs that grew from farming towns and villages like Camden, Narellan, and Minto, or about the industrial suburbs that developed along the road west, like Lidcombe, Auburn, Camellia and Granville. An essay on Western Sydney, by Gabrielle Gwyther, examines some of the cultural, social and economic history of this diverse region.

Convict uprising at Castle Hill 1804, National Library of Australia nla.pic-an5577479

The Hills district, to the north-west, is another large local government area, which roughly corresponds to ‘the Hills’ in people’s minds. Site of Sydney’s most famous convict rebellion, as described by Anne-Maree Whitaker, Castle Hill is now a thriving outer suburb. Seven Hills, once famous for its orchards and world-leading poultry research station, is also now a suburban area. Carlingford is another Hills suburb covered in the Dictionary, and our entry on the notable historic site, Rouse Hill Estate, written by Terri McCormack, also makes an interesting read. Make sure you follow the tangled connections of the Rouse and Terry families, who were so important in this area (and other parts of Sydney).

John Street Camden c1895, Powerhouse Museum 85/1284-51

To the south-west, is the agricultural heartland of Sydney’s early development, Camden, once known as the Cowpastures. While still retaining its rural feel in Camden town itself, some of the surrounding areas have changed fast in recent decades. Read more about Elderslie, Bickley Vale, Grasmere, Spring Farm, Mount Hunter, Studley Park, Oran Park, Cawdor and more  in one of our most completely covered areas. The Camden Historical Society‘s writing group, with the encouragement of Ian Willis, are the reason we have so many articles on this fascinating region.


About Emma Grahame

Emma Grahame has been Editorial Coordinator of the Dictionary of Sydney since May 2007.
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