Sunday, July 31, 2022






Daceyville is a suburb in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, located 7 km south of the Sydney central business district and is now part of Bayside Council (formerly the City of Botany Bay). It is a residential suburb surrounded by the suburbs of Pagewood and Kingsford.

Cook Avenue cottages, Daceyville


Name origin:

Daceyville was proposed by and named after John Rowland Dacey (1854–1912), a state parliamentarian for the area from 1895 to 1912, who urged the creation of a garden suburb modelled on the garden city of Letchworth in Hertfordshire, England. The plan was executed after his death with a plan to provide low-cost housing for working-class people. Rowland Park in Daceyville is also named after him.

John Rowland Dacey

A bird's-eye view of Dacey Garden Suburb (1918)



The design of Daceyville was intended to improve both the health and moral standing of residents. Laneways had been associated with rat-borne diseases, so they were not part of the design. All residents had enough land to grow their own food, no front or back fences were permitted to facilitate natural surveillance by neighbours, and homes opened at the rear onto small parks where it was expected that children would play.

Sir John Sulman (1849–1934) planned the estate on crown land that had been reserved as a water conservation site. Daceyville was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1991.

In 1974, the New South Wales State Government proposed demolition of Daceyville's houses to make way for walk-up apartments and high rise housing. The development was also linked to a planned extension to the heavy rail line that was proposed to join Bondi Junction and Daceyville. Residents created the Daceyville Preservation Society to oppose the redevelopment, and garnered the support of the Builders Labourers Federation who were famous for their "Green Bans". Ultimately, the Daceyville Garden Suburb Heritage Conservation Area was created, and the NSW government abandoned their plans to develop enormous Waterloo-style public housing towers in Daceyville.

In the 1980s the NSW Department of Housing embarked on a renewal project in Daceyville, which resulted in a relatively modest densification of the suburb. Numerous two-storey apartment buildings were constructed as part of the renewal, in a sympathetic architectural style to the rest of Daceyville. These new apartment buildings were mostly constructed in vacant land which had previously been rear gardens and rear parks of other homes. This land repurposing by the NSW Department of Housing has resulted in some areas of Daceyville now having three rows of houses squeezed in-between two roads, for example between Astrolabe Road and Boussole Road, and has undermined some of the original design goals of the Dacey Garden Suburb plan.

Public housing in General Bridges Crescent

In 2021, the NSW government partnered with Ray White Kingsford to begin auctioning properties in Daceyville, transferring them to private ownership after having previously been used as public housing for over 100 years.

Astrolabe Park, Astrolabe Road and Boussole Road were named after the two ships commanded by La Perouse, the French explorer who arrived at Botany Bay just days after the First Fleet in 1788. Many other streets in Daceyville are also named after the First Fleet, such as Cook Avenue, Endeavour Road, Solander Road, and Banks Avenue.

After World War I, Daceyville was used to provide housing for returning war veterans. Some streets in Daceyville were named after Australian and British war figures, such as Haig Park and Haig Avenue being named after Douglas Haig, the British Commander-in-Chief. Other examples include Major General Bridges Crescent, named after William Bridges, and Captain Jacka Crescent, named after Albert Jacka.

Burke Crescent and Wills Crescent were named after the explorers of the Burke and Wills expedition, which had attempted to cross the Australian continent. In the 1960s, Burke Crescent, originally named after explorer Robert Burke, was renamed to Colenso Crescent to honour four brothers who fought in World War II, two of which being killed during the war.

According to the 2016 census, there were 1,209 residents in Daceyville.

Compared to the working-class families who originally called Daceyville home, the suburb's current population is considerably older. According to the 2006 census, 37.3 per cent of its population is over 60. The majority of homes are still under the jurisdiction of Housing NSW; however, approximately 23 are in private hands, due to an offer the Commission made to tenants in 1965. A few of these residences belong to families who have continually occupied their homes since the 1920s, while many newer residents came after the suburb's redevelopment. Some feel they have 'won the Lotto' when they are placed in Daceyville, while others have their complaints.

Though Daceyville could have become a series of 1970s high-rises, not unlike Waterloo, it is now protected by a strict Development Control Plan. As a historical precinct, the suburb is a perfect illustration of Sydney's changing attitudes to town planning, public housing and heritage.



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