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SSC Newspaper : June 2010
a name given to a mansion built for the mayor of Sydney, Walter Renny, in 1868. It was also the name of the Duke of Wellington’s estate in England. Sadly, the original home no longer exists. From the beginning the council, under Mayor George Hardie, was determined to keep Strathfeld an exclusive residential area and built many boulevards and parks. But it was diffcult to keep out the city that was growing around them. In 1906, the Arnott family moved into Strathfeld and built a new biscuit factory on the edge of the municipality at Homebush. The population of the area grew rapidly as hundreds of people found work there. Arnott’s became part of the fabric of the municipality. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, Arnott’s saved its workers by cutting hours rather then sacking people. In 1920, Strathfeld Council banned the building of blocks of fats and factories to try to keep its suburbs exclusively residential. The ban lasted until 1969 when the state government forced a change, and three-storey fats were allowed near railway stations. By the 1990s, with Sydney growing fast, the dam could hold no longer and multi-storey apartment blocks started shooting up near transport hubs. Every attempt was made to preserve the unique stately homes and heritage streets of the municipality for future generations. Strathfeld Council’s parks and tree-lined streets are an oasis in a bustling busy city. Yet Strathfeld has also become part of the changing city that has grown around it. Today Strathfeld is a thriving multicultural community, with more than 50 per cent of the population born overseas. It has some of Sydney’s best schools. Restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world are fourishing in busy shopping centres. It is a Strathfeld far from the imagination of the frst farmer settlers who struggled to eke out a living on harsh dry soil, but it is a Strathfeld they would no doubt fnd exciting and full of wonder. Produced in co-operation with Cathy Jones, Secretary of the Strathfeld District Historical Society. Current Mayor, Tony Maroun Which three Australian Prime Ministers hailed from Strathfield? See question 18 A s Strathfield celebrates a century and a quarter as a municipality, an urban planning expert has peered into the crystal ball to see what life might be like in the next 125 years. His vision: it will be denser, smarter and more diverse, buzzing with personal vehicles that fy, peppered with second homes for international citizens – and possibly closer to the coast. Professor Peter Phibbs is an urban planner with an international reputation in the area of housing studies. Formerly the Associate Dean in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Sydney, he is now Co- ordinator of Academic Programs at the Urban Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney. He says while planners love to make predictions, or rather, educated estimates, deciphering what Strathfeld might look like in 125 years “is a stretch”. But Professor Phibbs does see some current trends that point the way to the future and top of those is tighter urban density. “Strathfeld is going to have a lot more people,” he says. “The projections are that by 2036, its population is going to double in size – that’s by 50,000 people. I think that’s a very likely outcome.” And central to that popularity will be Strathfeld’s key asset of being a major rail hub. “That’s just going to become more valuable in time,” says Professor Phibbs. “Petrol is going to get more expensive so places with good public transport access will become more popular. In the longer term we’ll be driving hydrogen-powered cars or some other kind of car. Technology will take over from oil, in which case some of the constraints around travel might change a bit, but certainly in the short term, access is going to be a big issue for Strathfeld.” While Strathfeld’s cultural face has changed dramatically in recent times, from the Anglo-Saxon and European predominance that characterised it for most of the 20th century to a more Asian-centric mix, Professor Phibbs expects there will be further changes to that. Professor Phibbs says Sydney and indeed, Australia generally is going to become more popular, so the Surf SHoPS, flyinG CArS And HiGH r i Se livinG By Julietta Jameson whole population needs to start getting used to the idea of higher density.” He believes a notable attraction for Sydney will be its “blue sky”. As pollution worsens in many cities, he predicts that people in cities with less clean skies may choose Sydney, and moreover, Strathfeld, to have a second home from which to enjoy our relatively clean environment. “In parts of Asia you will see people who will probably have property in Sydney or family in Sydney, so you’ll see a lot more people living in several countries, especially as air transportation improves.” As that begins to occur, Professor Phibbs believes Strathfeld will be a natural choice for many. “That’s because of the transport hub, but also because it’s got cultural mix so a lot of people coming from different places will be comfortable with that. It’s got access to good parkland, sporting facilities, it’s got a lot going for it. It’s got a good housing mix, some pretty spectacular housing, it’s got history – for all those reasons it will do pretty well.” Professor Phibbs also believes climate change may have an impact on Strathfeld. “The other thing that could happen, if you look a really long way out, is that part of the eastern suburbs could possibly end up under water – so there’ll be surf shops in Strathfeld.” He is joking about that, but adds, “It will defnitely be a shorter trip to the coast (with sea levels rising). As people get more nervous about climate change, they’ll choose places accordingly.” And Strathfeld’s schools are likely to also be a draw. “The world’s just going to become more competitive so people will be even more focused on education. The clever country will become a more popular concept.” And, says Professor Phibbs, it’s entirely possible that in 125 years we may be driving those Jestsons- style hover cars. “People are going to do anything they can to get out of Sydney’s traffc. To get above it is the logical step.” With visionary town planning, the railway was built before the suburbs were established. reSidenTS eorge Reid, William Hughes 790-1872). ian and surgeon (1836-1918). tt’s Biscuits (1827-1901). on (ranked world number 3 in 1928). nufacturer (1866-1937). town planner (1900-1956). fer. g champion. die rock band. right.