Inner West

Olympic Site
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009 Olympic Park Rail Station Homebush 010 Stadium Australia Homebush Bay  011 Sydney International Archery Park Homebush Bay
Olympic Park Site Three- Multi-residential    
Click here for a map and history of the Sydney Olympic Park.
Newtown Click here for a Newtown Gallery
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023 Marlborough Hotel, Newtown 024 Newtown Courthouse 013 Newtown Post Office
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021 Newtown Synagogue 03 St. Stephen’s Anglican Church Newtown 022 The Trocadero
Inner West
Lewisham Towers, Lewisham   008 ACI Factory, Waterloo 
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02 Redfern Mortuary Terminal 04 Holyrood, Strathfield 007 King George V Memorial Hospital Camperdown 
Rivendell from Parramatta River
04A Santa Sabina Convent 005 Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital,Concord. 005A Yaralla House, Dame Eadith Walker Hospital Group
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012 Empire Buildings, Lewisham 014 Railway Institute, Devonshire Street. 015 St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Redfern.
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016 Redfern Post Office 017 St. John's, Ashfield 018 Strickland Flats
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019 Callan Park Lunatic Asylum 006 Erica,The Appian Way, Burwood.  020 St. Augustine's, Balmain


Also see the sections on GlebeLeichhardt, Sydney University & Pyrmont


 Newtown Click here for a Newtown Gallery

Newtown is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Newtown is located approximately 4 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district and lies across the local government areas of the City of Sydney and Marrickville Council. The postcode is 2042.

Since the 1840s, when the Newtown area began to change from a rural to a commercial and residential landscape, it has been home to a very diverse community, which is evidenced by the styles of domestic architecture. The few remaining houses of the 1830s and 40s range from "Golden Grove" on Forbes Street[1] to tiny and austere "working-men's" cottages in Hordern Street. This trend of class diversity was to continue and expanded into cultural diversity in the mid 20th century with post-war migration bringing hundreds of European migrants to the area.

The late 20th century saw a rapid increase in houses prices due to Newtown's close proximity to the Sydney CBD, and consequently, a gentrification. This has been somewhat countered by the proximity to Sydney University and the large numbered of students in shared housing.

19th Century

King Street and Newtown Railway Station from a coloured postcard. c.1906

Newtown's reputation as a retail precinct was established early. Marcus Clark, one of Australia's leading retailers was based there. Newtown was established as a residential and farming area in the early 19th century. The area took its name from a grocery store opened there by John and Eliza Webster in 1832, at a site close to where the Newtown railway station stands today. They placed a sign on top of their store that read "New Town Stores". The name New Town was adopted, at first unofficially, with the space disappearing to form the name Newtown.

That part of Newtown lying south of King Street was portion of the two estates granted by Governor Arthur Phillip to the Superintendent of Convicts, Nicholas Devine, in 1794 and 1799. Erskineville and much of MacDonaldtown were also once part of Devine's grant. In 1827, at a time when Devine was aged about 90, this land was acquired from him by a convict, Bernard Rochford, who sold it to many of Sydney's wealthiest and most influential inhabitants including the Mayor. Devine's heir, John Devine, a coachbuilder of Birmingham, challenged the will which was blatantly fraudulent. The case was eventually settled out of court by the payment to Devine of an unknown sum of money said to have been "considerable". The land was further divided into the housing that is now evidenced by the rows of terrace houses and commercial and industrial premises.

Part of the area which now falls within the present boundaries of Newtown, north of King Street, was originally part of Camperdown. This area was named by Governor William Bligh who received it as a land grant in 1806 and who passed it to his daughter and son-in-law on his return to England in 1810. In 1848 part of this land was acquired by the Sydney Church of England Cemetery Company to create a general cemetery beyond the boundary of the City of Sydney.

Camperdown Cemetery, just one block away from King Street, Newtown, was to become significant in the life of the suburb. Between its consecration in 1849 and its closure to further sales in 1868 it saw 15,000 burials of people from all over Sydney. Of that number, approximately half were paupers buried in unmarked and often communal graves, sometimes as many as twelve in a day during a measles epidemic. Camperdown Cemetery remains, though much reduced in size, as a rare example of mid 19th century cemetery landscaping. It retains the Cemetery Lodge and huge fig tree dating from 1848, as well as a number of oak trees of the same date. It survived to become the main "greenspace" of Newtown, its large stand of trees giving it something the character of an oasis. Among the significant people buried in the cemetery are the famous exlplorer-surveyor Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, Major Edmund Lockyer and Mary, Lady Jamison (the widow of the renowned colonial pioneer landowner, physician, constitutional reformer and 'knight of the realm', Sir John Jamison). The cemetery also holds the remains of the victims of the wreck of the Dunbar in 1857.

From 1845, when the first Anglican church was built on the site of the Community Centre on Stephen Street, by Edmund Blacket, a number of churches were established, including St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in the 1850s, the Methodist Church on King Street, now Newtown Mission, and the Baptist Church in Church Street. The present St Stephen's Anglican Church, a renowned example of Victorian Gothic architecture, was designed, like its predecessor, by Edmund Blacket, and constructed in the pre-existent cemetery from 1871 to 1880. With Camperdown Cemetery it is on the National Trust register of buildings of National Significance. Its Mears and Stainbank carillon is unique in Australia, while its Walker and Sons organ of 1874 is regarded as one of the finest in New South Wales.

On December 12, 1862 the Municipality of Newtown was incorporated and divided into three wards: O'Connell, Kingston and Enmore, covering 480 acres (1.92 square kilometres). In 1893 a plan was discussed to rename the area 'South Sydney' (as two municipalities North of Sydney Harbour had merged to form North Sydney three years earlier), but nothing came of it.

Although there are a few earlier buildings in Newtown the most rapid development occurred in the late 1800s, with many former farms and other large properties being subdivided and developed as row-houses, known popularly as "terrace houses". With their predominance of Victorian-era houses with stuccoed facades, balconies of iron lace and moulded architectural ornaments, many Newtown streets are similar to those of other well-known inner city suburbs like Glebe, Paddington and Balmain.

From about 1870 onwards, Newtown had a large proportion of its residents living in terrace houses of the cheapest possible construction, much of which was "two-up two-down" with rear kitchen, some having ajoining walls only one brick thick and a continuous shared roofspace.[15] Hundreds of these terrace houses still remain, generally 4 metres (13 feet) wide. It was not uncommon for speculative builders to build a row of these small houses terminating in a house of 1 1/2 width at the corner of the street, this last being a commercial premises, or "Corner Store". During the Federation period, single storey row houses became increasing common.

This preponderance of small houses is indicative of the working-class employment of most of the Newtown residents, many of whom worked in the city or at local shops, factories, warehouses, brickyards and at the nearby Eveleigh Railway Workshops. Retail and service trades dominated the suburb increasingly throughout this period, with (?) and shopkeepers together accounting for 70-75% of the working population.[16] During the late 1800s and early 1900s Newtown prospered, so much so that in the Jubilee Souvenir of the Municipality of Newtown, published in 1912, it was described as "... one of the most wealthy suburbs around Sydney."

A number of imposing Victorian mansions were also built on larger estates, as well as rows of larger and more stylish terrace houses in certain areas such as Brown Street in North Newtown, and Holmwood Street in South Newtown. As in many other historic areas of Sydney, some of the largest and most important houses, such as 'Erskine Villa' (formerly on Erskineville Road, and which gave its name to the suburb of Erskineville), were demolished and the estates subdivided. Another tragic loss was the home of Mary Reibey in Station Street, which was acquired by the NSW Department of Housing in 1964, demolished in 1967, and replaced by a public housing apartment block. Only the cottage of Mary Reibey's dairyman survives, a little further down the street.

One of the most impressive surviving sets of 19th Century housing in Newtown is the imposing terrace of five elegant five-storey mansions running along Warren Ball Avenue in North Newtown, facing onto a park.

From the late 1800s onwards, the Newtown area became a major commercial and industrial centre.<1---This doesn't require citation! The 19th century shops are still there as evidence. The paragraph goes on to cite the factories, brickworks etc etc.---> King Street developed into a thriving retail precinct and the Newtown area was soon dotted with factories, workshops, warehouses and commercial and retail premises of all kinds and sizes. Several major industries were established in the greater Newtown area from the late 1800s, including the Eveleigh rail workshops, the IXL jam and preserves factory in north Newtown/Darlington, the St Peters brickworks and the Fowler Potteries in Camperdown.

Early 20th century
Although it prospered in the late 1800s, during the first half of the 20th century, and especially during The Depression, the area became increasingly run down, with wealthy Sydneysiders preferring to settle in newer and more prestigious areas like Strathfield, Burwood, the North Shore and Eastern suburbs. Like many inner-city Sydney suburbs such as Glebe and Paddington, Newtown was for many years regarded as a slum.

In the post-war period, the low rents and house prices attracted newly-arrived European migrants, and Newtown's population changed radically, becoming home to a sizeable migrant community comprising Greeks, Italians, and many other nationalities. Many of these families opened and ran restaurants, cafes, milk bars, grocery stores and other business along King Street. In recent years, as these families have aged, many of these longstanding postwar businesses have closed and the shops have been sold and redeveloped, with property values increasing astronomically.