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SSC Newspaper : June 2010
June 2, 1885 Souvenir Edition The making of a modern suburb Strathfield Council Chambers as they were back in the late 1920s. The historic proclamation which anounced the formation of Strathfield. Three prime ministers and many famous names mean our municipality has played an important part in Australian history. Frank Walker reports. From the time Sydney’s frst settlers set foot in the Strathfeld area, it has always been a place set apart from the rough and tumble of the crowded settlement that would become the city of Sydney. Within a day or two of landing at Sydney Cove in January 1788, the frst explorers rowed up the Parramatta River. They met several Aborigines near current day Strathfeld and gave them gifts of beads while they shared a campfre. It wasn’t until 1793, fve years after the First Fleet landed, that the frst white settlers moved into the area. The settlement, called Liberty Plains, was reserved for free people who were granted large tracts of land for farming in what is now Homebush. However, the soil wasn’t suitable for farming, especially the English style of farming the settlers knew. As a result, the farms were abandoned. But the disaster turned fortuitous, cementing the area’s future as the site for the gentry’s country residences and shaping the architecturally elegant place it is today. STATELY HOMES In 1807, one of the settlers, Edward Powell, reckoned the best use of the abandoned farmland was to build a pub. He called it The Halfway House Hotel, as it was half way between Sydney Cove and the growing settlement at Parramatta. The hotel was a big success and over the next 40 years other settlers – mainly the well-off members of the fedgling colony, including lawyers, doctors, judges, businessmen and merchants – were granted large tracts of land and built large stately homes as their country residences away from Sydney Cove which was becoming crowded and squalid, and where crime was a growing problem. continuedon page 2 “ Strathfield was one of the earliest centres of Sydney, and remains a major hub of our metropolis. ” Premier Kristina Keneally YOur AC HiEvEMEnT rEALLY TAKES THE biSCuiT! Images supplied by Strathfeld District Historical Society Arnott’s congratulates the Strathfield community on its 125th anniversary