Croydon, New South Wales

Croydon, New South Wales
SydneyNew South Wales
Croydon The Strand.JPG
The Strand, Croydon
Population: 9,646 (2006 census)
Postcode: 2132
Area: 2.4 km² (0.9 sq mi)
Location: 11 km (7 mi) west of Sydney CBD
LGA: Municipality of Ashfield, Municipality of Burwood
State District: Strathfield
Federal Division: Grayndler, Reid, Watson
Suburbs around Croydon:
Concord Five Dock Haberfield
Burwood Croydon Ashfield
Burwood Heights Croydon Park Ashbury

Croydon is an affluent suburb in the inner-west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Croydon is located 11 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. Croydon is split between the two local government areas of Burwood Council and the Municipality of Ashfield.

The suburb is nestled between the commercial centres of Ashfield and Burwood. It is bounded by Parramatta Road to the north, Iron Cove Creek to the east, Arthur Street to the south and a number of different streets to the west. To the north are Kings and Canada Bays on the closest reach of the Parramatta River, to the northwest is Concord Hospital and the Olympic Games complex at Homebush Bay. To the south is Canterbury Racecourse.



Aboriginal settlement

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area now known as Croydon was home to the Wangal clan of the Dharug people. Their territory was believed to be centred on Concord and stretched east to the swampland of Long Cove Creek. The land was heavily wooded at the time with tall eucalypts, blackbutts and turpentines covering the higher ground and mangroves, swamp oaks and swamp mahoganies in the lower swampy ground of Iron Cove Creek. The diet of the Wangal was primarily fish so they spent most of their time living near the shores of the Parramatta River and fishing in canoes. The land away from the river shores provided fruits, berries and edible plants as well as possums and kangaroos, which were killed both for food and their skins.[1]

Mural in Elizabeth St, Croydon, an artistic impression of what the area may have looked like prior to the arrival of the First Fleet

The arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 had a devastating effect on the local people, mainly from the introduction of smallpox, to which the indigenous people had no resistance. The disease spread quickly so that many indigenous people died of this white man's disease without ever having seen a white man. The Wangal certainly got to see the white men. One of their leaders, Bennelong, even befriended the first governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip, and was taken by him to England.[2]

After establishing the colony at Sydney Cove in early 1788, Phillip ordered that a second settlement be established at Rose Hill (now called Parramatta) later that same year to increase the prospects of establishing successful farms. Within a year or so, a land route had been established between the two settlements, cutting through the territory of the Cadigal, Wangal and Burramattagal along the way. This rough track later became the main artery of the expanding Greater Sydney and, as the northern boundary of what is now Croydon, dictated early British settlement in the area.[3]

Early British settlement

Governor Phillip showed great reluctance to grant large amounts of land to his colonists, restricting land grants to the towns and people actively planning to farm the land. After his return to England in 1792, acting governor Major Francis Grose and his successor Captain William Paterson pursued the opposite policy granting large swathes of land to their friends prior to the arrival of the second official governor John Hunter in 1795.[4]

The first land grant in the Croydon area was to Captain John Townson in April 1793 who received 100 acres (0.4 km2) on Parramatta Road stretching west from Iron Cove Creek and south to what is now Queen Street. Further grants were made in 1794 to: Private J Eades (25 acres on Parramatta Road to the west of Townson's holding); James Brackenrig (30 acres on the other side of Eades's land); Augustus Alt, the first surveyor-general of NSW, (100 acres stretching south from Townson's land to roughly what is now Thomas Street); and Sarah Nelson (15 acres west of the southern corner of Alt's land in the area now known as Malvern Hill). Alt was the first to take up residence on his land, naming it 'Hermitage Farm'. However, his house was burnt down by a group of indigenous people (possibly led by Pemulwuy) in 1797 and he didn't return to Croydon, establishing himself in neighbouring Ashfield,[2][4] and selling his property to John Palmer.[5]

Sales plan for land in the suburb of Croydon, including the boundaries of Anthony Hordern's estate, 1881
Presbyterian Ladies' College, 1892. Shubra Hall is on the left

By 1820 a large part of the area had been subsumed by Joseph Underwood's large 'Ashfield Park Estate'. This property remained largely intact for more than 40 years, until it was subdivided into large blocks after the death of Elizabeth Underwood in 1858. By this time its proximity to the railway made it a desirable area (the station was originally called Fivedock).[6] One of these subdivisions was the 'Highbury Estate', on part of which Anthony Hordern, son of the founder of the great retail firm, Anthony Hordern & Sons, eventually built his house 'Shubra Hall', just beyond the west border of Ashfield. It later became part of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, the current boundaries of which give an idea of the extent of the Hordern property.[5] The College, including Shubra Hall, the main school building and the Meta Street entrance gates, is now listed on the Register of the National Estate.[7]

From around 1800 to 1860, development in the area was slow with the forests gradually being cleared for orchards and grazing land. The area was a haunt of bushrangers in the 1820s with two major thoroughfares, Parramatta Road to the north and Liverpool Road to the south providing regular opportunities for holdups.

In 1855, the Sydney-Parramatta railway was built through the area which led to a housing boom around the stations at Ashfield and Burwood. This in turn led to local governments forming in the two areas with the land divided roughly equidistant between the two centres. In 1874 a new station was built on the boundary of the two areas and was named Five Dock after another settlement to the north. Because Five Dock was actually a long way north some confusion ensued and Ashfield Council renamed the station in 1876 to Croydon after the suburb in London. The suburb remains divided between the two neighbouring councils to this day.

Population growth

The first developments were on the northern side of the station around Edwin and Elizabeth Streets. Anthony Hordern built his grand home 'Shubra Hall' in 1869 while many of the shops along Edwin Street North were built in the 1880s. Many houses in the areas surrounding Edwin Street North and Elizabeth St are also of the Victorian style popular in the 1880s and 90s.[5] The 1880s and 90s also saw the establishment of the suburbs first schools with Croydon Public School in 1884,[8] and the Presbyterian Ladies' College relocating from Ashfield in 1891.[9]

The southern side of Croydon remained largely undeveloped until the early 20th century. The Malvern Hill Estate was subdivided in 1909 and designed as a model suburb like Haberfield with wide tree-lined streets and houses built in the then-modern Federation style (a variation of Arts and crafts). Part of the development was the Strand shopping strip, which has survived intact to this day and is now heritage listed in its entirety.

Since World War I, little has changed in Croydon generally. While there have been some blocks of flats built in that time, they account for only around 10% of dwellings in Croydon and many of them are art deco blocks from the 1930s which fit in with the general heritage feel of the area.[10]

Commercial area

Croydon's principal commercial area is located around the railway station. The Strand, south of the railway line, features a number of restaurants and cafes while the older Edwin Street precinct, north of the line, is mainly specialist businesses such as printers. A secondary commercial area along Parramatta Road is mainly used car yards and light industrial. Croydon was also the site of the Western Suburbs Hospital which closed in the 1990s and has been replaced with an aged care facility and community health centre.[5][11][12]


Croydon Railway Station

Croydon railway station is located on the Inner West and South railway lines of the City Rail network. On weekdays, many limited stops services on the South line serve Croydon, with as many as four limited stops services to the city an hour in the morning peak, and a very small amount of limited stops services towards Lidcombe in the evening peak period. On weekends, Croydon is served by two limited stops services to the city per hour. [13]

Seven bus services pass through Croydon:

  • The 461 travels down Parramatta Road between Burwood and the city
  • The 418 travels down Liverpool road between Burwood and Tempe bus depot
  • The 480 and 483 also travel down Liverpool Road between Strathfield and the city
  • The 490 and 492 travel from Drummoyne to Burwood via Queen Street, Croydon. They then travel through the southern part of Croydon with the 492 continuing on to Rockdale and the 490 continuing to Hurstville
  • The 491 travels down Frederick Street and Elizabeth Street between Five Dock and Ashfield and then on to Hurstville

Croydon is sandwiched between two major roads: Parramatta Road and the Hume Highway (also called Liverpool Rd). Within Croydon itself, there is only one road bridge (Meta St bridge) over the railway line connecting the north and south parts of the suburb.

Schools and churches

Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Badminton Road

A drawcard of Croydon is its four well-established and highly regarded schools:[14]


Croydon features many of the inner west's most sought-after addresses due to its grand homes, larger blocks and family friendly streetscapes.[14] As of 2006, the majority of dwellings were separate houses (67.5%).[15]

House in Badminton Road

Croydon is a quiet village-like suburb with mostly detached housing built in the early part of the 20th century in what is known as Federation Bungalow or California Bungalow styles. The suburb caters for first-home buyers, while the wealthy may also find homes in the Malvern Hill Estate, a well-established pocket of prestigious homes that rarely come on the market and sell for more than $900,000.[14] As of June 2008, the median house price of Croydon stood at $747,500.[16]

The Malvern Hill area of Croydon was designed as a model suburb in 1906 by surveyors Atchison and Schleiser. Like the nearby Appian Way area in Burwood and the 'garden suburb' Haberfield, the aim of the development was to have modern houses on large blocks of land with wide streets. Most of the houses are California Bungalows or similar Federation-era designs. The Malvern Hill Uniting Church was designed by Alfred Newman. Just east of Malvern Hill, in the Ashfield Council part of the suburb, is the grand Gads Hill Villa built by former Ashfield mayor Daniel Holborow and the nearby St James Anglican Church.


Iron Cove Creek forms the border between Croydon and Ashfield

Centenary Park is a large open park with a barbecue area, bike tracks, play equipment, basketball court, two synthetic cricket nets and two playing fields that are used for cricket, rugby and football. Burwood Soccer Club and ACC Cricket Club play some home matches at the park. The Western Suburbs Leagues Bowling Club (Wests Sports) is located next door to the park.

Bede Spillane Gardens is situated on the corner of Croydon Road and Queen Street. Part of the park is locally known as "The Dungeon" due to its secluded position. Bede Spillane Gardens is located adjacent to Western Suburbs Leagues Bowling Club (Wests Sports) and is only a short distance from the much larger Centenary Park.

Other parks include Blair Park, Wangal Reserve and Reed Reserve.



2006 Census Croydon
Croydon[15] Sydney[17] Australia
Population 9,646 4,119,190 19,855,288
Median age 38 35 37
Median weekly income $478 $518 $466
Born in Australia 53% 60% 71%
Catholics 39% 29% 26%
NASA image of Sydney's CBD and surrounds, with borders of Croydon shown in orange

According to the 2006 census, Croydon had a population of almost 10,000 people. It did not have the same level of high density housing found in its neighbours Ashfield and Burwood. Around two thirds of dwellings were separate houses with 18% apartments and 13% terraces, semis or townhouses. The average age of people in the suburb was slightly older (38) than the rest of Sydney and a higher percentage of people owned their homes outright (37%) than those paying them off (27%). Average loan repayments ($1900 per month) were much higher than the national figure ($1300).[15]

Croydon still retains many of the characteristics of the broader Inner West region of Sydney, including a high proportion of residents born overseas. Around 53% of residents were born in Australia with 7.1% born in China, 5.5% in Italy, 2.3% in Lebanon, 2.2% in South Korea and 2.0% in Greece. There was a very high percentage of people professing to be Catholics (39%). People with no religion (15%) and Anglicans (11%) are less common than in Australia generally while Eastern Orthodox (7%) and Buddhism (4%) are more common.

Notable residents

Notable former and current residents of Croydon include:

  • Joseph Abbott (1843–1903), wool-broker and politician[18]
  • Augustus Alt (1731–1815), first surveyor-general of NSW.
  • Adolphus Herbert Frederick Norman Appleroth (1886–1952), founder of Aeroplane Jelly[19]
  • Margaret Chandler (1934–1963), who died in the infamous Bogle-Chandler case, lived in Croydon with her husband Geoffrey.[20]
  • Michael Fitzpatrick (1816–1881), public servant, land agent and politician[21]
  • Walter Wilson Froggatt (1858–1937), entomologist, founder of the Naturalists' Society of New South Wales and author. Froggatt Crescent in Croydon, and the Froggatt prize for Science at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney are named after him.[22]
  • Shopping magnate Anthony Hordern (1819–1876) built and lived at Shubra Hall, now part of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney
  • The fictitious poet Ern Malley (1918–1943) purportedly lived in Dalmar St, Croydon.[23]
  • Sarah Nelson, first settler in the Burwood Council area.[2]
  • Sir Bertram Stevens (1889–1973) was premier of NSW from 1932 to 1939.
  • Fredrick Wills (1870–1955), artist and photographer and motion picture pioneer[24]


Voting in Croydon since 2000
Elections Fed01[25] NSW03[26] Fed04[27] NSW07[28]
Two Party Preferred Results
  Labor 61% nr 59% 68%
  Liberal 39% nr 41% 32%
First Preference Results
  Labor 51% 53% 47% 53%
  Liberal 35% 29% 37% 28%
  Greens 4% 11% 10% 12%
  Democrats 5% 2% 1% 2%
  Unity Party 2% 4% nc 3%
  Christian Democrats nc nc 3% 3%

Croydon has recently been entirely within the federal electoral division of Lowe and the NSW state electoral division of Electoral district of Strathfield. However, following the recent federal electoral redistribution, the part of Croydon within Ashfield Council has been moved into the federal electoral division of Grayndler held by Anthony Albanese.

From a political point of view, Grayndler is considered a safe Labor seat while Lowe is more marginal, having changed hands a number of times in recent years. Currently it is held by Labor's John Murphy. The previous member Paul Zammit was elected as a Liberal member but quit the party after a change in government policy increased the amount of aircraft noise over the electorate. He unsuccessfully tried to retain the seat as an independent.

The state seat of Strathfield is also considered marginal. It was held by the Liberals until a redistribution in 1999 saw Labor's Paul Whelan come into power. The seat is currently held by Virginia Judge, also a Labor member.

The Croydon area by itself is considered a fairly safe Labor area. The table to the right shows that when you just look at the polling booths in the suburb of Croydon, Labor has consistently returned around 60% of the two-party preferred vote even when the first preference votes have fluctuated. The Greens vote, while not as large as in other parts of the inner-west has been steadily increasing in recent years.



  1. ^ Coupe, S&R: Speed the Plough, page 9-20. Ashfield Municipal Council, 1988 ISBN 0-9595234-1-3
  2. ^ a b c "How it all began". Burwood Council. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  3. ^ The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollen, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 75
  4. ^ a b Coupe, S&R: Speed the Plough, page 22-26. Ashfield Municipal Council, 1988 ISBN 0-9595234-1-3
  5. ^ a b c d (PDF) Edwin Street North Conservation Area. Sydney: Ashfield Council. 2004. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  6. ^ The Department of Railways Research and Information Section (1966) Railway Quiz (Department of Railways) p11
  7. ^ The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/15
  8. ^ "The Origins of the Croydon Public School". History. Croydon Public School. 2002. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  9. ^ McFarlane, John (1988). "Firm Foundations 1888-1919". The Golden Hope: Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney 1888-1988. Croydon, NSW: P.L.C Council, Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney. pp. 30–31. ISBN 0-9597340-1-5. 
  10. ^ Harvest of the Years - Burwood 1794-1974, by Eric Dunlop
  11. ^ "Businesses in Croydon". Sydney Business Directory. Archived from the original on 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  12. ^ "Western Suburbs Hospital History". Central Sydney Area Health Service. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  13. ^ {{cite web |url=
  14. ^ a b c Singer, Michelle (2006-12-05). "Focus on Croydon". Domain (The Sydney Morning Herald): p. 3. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  15. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Croydon (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  16. ^ "Locality Details - Croydon 2132". Suburb Profiles. Domain.$257,000&suburb=Croydon&postcode=2132#mapanchor. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  17. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Sydney (Statistical Division)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  18. ^ Teale, Ruth (1969). "Abbott, Joseph (1843 - 1903)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 3 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  19. ^ Brunton, Paul (1993). "Appleroth, Adolphus Herbert Frederick Norman (1886 - 1952)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 13 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 63–64. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  20. ^ "Sex, drugs and a murder mystery". Sydney Morning Herald. 2006-08-20. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  21. ^ Dickey, Brian (1972). "Fitzpatrick, Michael (1816 - 1881)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 4 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 184–185. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  22. ^ McDonald, D.I (1981). "Froggatt, Walter Wilson (1858 - 1937)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 8 (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 592–592. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  23. ^ "History happened here - Ern Malley and 40 Dalmar St, Croydon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  24. ^ Laughren, Pat (2005). "Wills, Frederick Charles (1870 - 1955)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Supplementary (Online ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 283–284. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  25. ^ "Federal Election 2001 - Polling Booth Results (Lowe)". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  26. ^ "NSW Election 2003 - Polling Booth Results (Strathfield)". Elections NSW. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  27. ^ "Federal Election 2004 - Polling Booth Results (Lowe)". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  28. ^ "NSW Election 2007 - Polling Booth Results (Strathfield)". Elections NSW. Archived from the original on 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 

External links

Coordinates: 33°52′45″S 151°06′56″E / 33.87904°S 151.11553°E / -33.87904; 151.11553

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