Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sydney Suburbs - Banksia, Banksmeadow, Bankstown

Sydney Suburbs, continued . . . 

Today, some suburbs named in honour of banks.  No, not the ones you hate, but Sir Joseph Banks.



12 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD.

Name origin:

Banksia is named after Joseph Banks, the botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook on the voyage which resulted in the first European contact with the East coast of Australia.

Joseph banks

The name Banksia was given to the area after the railway station opened in 1906.

  • Banksia is located within the local government area of Bayside Council, the Council formed on 09.09.2016 by the merger of Botany Bay and Rockdale Councils. Elections will be held on 09.09.2017. 
  • Banksia was originally a heavily timbered area. Residential development began in the 1880’s and was boosted by the opening of the railway station in 1906. 
  • According to the 2011 census, there were 3,231 residents in Banksia 
By the way:

Botany Bay was originally given the name Stingrays Harbour by Cook because of the number of stingrays they caught. Cook's log for 6 May 1770 records "The great quantity of these sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Stingrays Harbour". However, in the journal prepared later from his log, Cook wrote instead: "The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Botany Bay".

James Cook


Some Banksia houses:




11 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD.

Name origin:

Banksmeadow is named after Sir Joseph Banks.

Cook described the area in 1770 as “as fine a meadow as ever was seen.” 

The only problem with what Cook described is that he did not actually get out and inspect what he had been looking at.  What he thought was a fine meadow was a swampland covered by rushes. 


Banksmeadow is a largely industrial area with commercial and industrial developments associated with nearby Port Botany. This includes a number of oil terminals, the Sydenham-Botany Goods Railway and a large Orica Limited chemical facility.



20 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD

Name origin:

Bankstown was named by Governor Hunter, the second governor of the colony and who had succeeded Arthur Phillip. The Hunter Valley and Hunter Street, Sydney are named after him.

John Hunter

Hunter named the area Banks Town and selected it for settlement.

  • Bankstown is located within the local government area of Canterbury-Bankstown, formed by the merge of Canterbury and Bankstown Councils on 12 May 2016.
  • The Bankstown City area includes large areas of the Georges River National Park.
  • On 27 May 1980, during a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Bankstown was accorded city status.
  • In 1795, George Bass and Matthew Flinders had explored the Georges River, named after George 111, and had sailed along what would later be the southern boundary of Bankstown Municipality. They were then both given land grants in the area.
  • From March 1942 thousands of American servicemen arrived in Sydney. A large portion of these troops were stationed in Bankstown earning the suburb the nickname 'Yankstown'.
  • During World War II Bankstown Airport was established as a key strategic air base to support the war effort. After the arrival of Douglas MacArthur in Australia, control of Bankstown Airport was handed to US Forces, becoming home to US 35th Fighter Squadron and the 41st Pursuit Squadron of the United States Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces who occupied the airport from 1942 to 1944.
  • From 1945 to 1947, a specially constructed bunker in Bankstown, known (funnily enough) as the Bankstown Bunker, served as Royal Australian Air Force headquarters.  The Bankstown Bunker is currently buried under a public park which lies at the end of Taylor Street.
  • The area around Chapel Road Bankstown, where Paul Keating Park and the council chambers are now located, was the living quarters for the various military personnel who worked in Bankstown as well as training facilities for the various plotting rooms around Sydney. The site of today's court house was used to house British servicemen, whilst hundreds of army huts were constructed on the site of today's Bankstown Civic Centre.

Bankstown Bunker, 1945

Bankstown Bunker today

Bankstown Plaza 1946

Restwell Street, Bankstown 1955

Jewel Picture Theatre, South Terrace, Bankstown, 1960

Bairds Hardware Store, South Terrace Bankstown 1930

Morrison, Richards & Co., South Terrace Bankstown: store and wagon, 1920

Bankstown, looking south from Hume Highway lookout, c1961. Stacey Street just out of frame to left.

The Majestic Bus, Named After the Majestic Theatre in Bankstown, c. 1920 

Cycling group, Bankstown, c. 1900 

Bankstown Municipal Road Gang 1940

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