Bankstown


Located 20 kilometres south-west of the, the suburb of Banktown is a major commercial and administrative centre in south-western Sydney. Bankstown has one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Australia. Bankstown is considered as one of the most multicultural areas in the country with over 60 different languages spoken by the people of this suburb. Bankstown's central business district is clustered around Bankstown Railway Station. The commercial area beside the railway station is known as Bankstown Plaza.

Bankstown was known as "Yankstown" during World War II because of the large number of American service personnel stationed at Bankstown Airport. Bankstown closely follows Marrickville in being one of the most cosmopolitan corners of Sydney. Here you will find Vietnamese rubbing shoulders with Lebanese, Lithuanians, Latvians, Filipinos, Samoans and Australians. Bankstown's ethnic diversity has spawned a host of restaurants, eateries and cafes.

Markets
Bankstown Market
Bankstown Paceway, 176-178 Eldridge Road, Bankstown, NSW 2200, Australia
Trading: Every Sunday - 9am - 3pm
Type: Art & Craft, Farmers, Produce, Second hand goods
Phone: (02) 9708 4111



Bankstown Airport


Bankstown Airport is situated on 313 ha of land at Condell Park. Used exclusively by light aircraft, it operates 24 hours a day. In the calendar year of 2011, Airservices Australia recorded 243,126 aircraft movements at the airport. This makes it the fourth busiest airport in Australia by number of movements, after Sydney, Moorabbin Airport and Jandakot. It has three parallel runways, several apron areas, a small passenger terminal and a business park, home to over 170 businesses.

Bankstown Airport was originally planned in 1929 but did not come into operation until 1940 when it was developed as a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) facility. When General MacArthur arrived in Australia, during World War II, Bankstown Airport was used by the United States Army Air Forces, and was established as a key strategic air base to support the war effort in 1942. During the war, Bankstown Airport was home to several fighter units. Several "dummy houses" also existed in and around Bankstown Airport. These houses were built to make Bankstown Airport and its surrounds appear as a farm. There were gun pits in and around the airport to protect it from air raids and an anti-aircraft battery on the Corner of Bexley Road and Homer Street, Kingsgrove to help protect the approaches to the airport. Searchlight units of 62 Anti Aircraft Search Light Station personnel were based in Stacey Street as well as Australian Military Forces who rented houses in the street to provide accommodation for troops. After the war it was considered as an international airport terminal but certain limitations made it unsuitable for this purpose.


Australian Aviation Museum


The Australian Aviation Museum is a world class Museum at Bankstown Airport which showcases the history and future of aviation, space technology and the role played in world aviation progress by Australians. The Museum has a wide range of aircraft and aviation artifacts on display, many aircraft in fact manufactured at Bankstown Airport. Hawker de Havilland built hundreds of aircraft during and after WWII, including Tiger Moths, Mosquito Bombers, Drovers and Vampires. Included in our collection are a number of rare aircraft, including the world's only Fawcett 120 (also manufactured at Bankstown), a 1931 Clancy Skybaby, a Luton Major and a Harley Newman Gyrocopter.

The Museum has on display a mock up Boeing 747-400 which is used as a Movie set. It has been used in films such as Mission Impossible II, the Lost (TV series), Foxtel's the Pam Ann Show and many other productions. The Movie Set has a detailed Cockpit with Galleys, First, Business and Economy Seats. Another unique item is a Leather Flying Coat once worn by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

Location: Site 500 Starkie Drive, Bankstown Airport, just behind ALDI off Tower Road. Ph (02) 9791 3088. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10:00am - 4:00pm.


Mt Lewis Lookout
Located in the tiny locality of Mt Lewis, views from this lookout are across Punchbowl and surrounding suburbs. Lowry Street, Mt Lewis. No facilities. Public transport: train to Bankstown, Bus No. 941. Alight cnr Wattle St and Noble Ave.


Thalia Kenway Reserve


This rather inconspicuous suburban park hides a secret - below it is a 3 storey underground bunker which was used during the latter part of World War II as the co-ordination centre for Allied wartime aircraft and shipping movements in the South Pacific. Still largely intact, the bunker was built under what was known as Black Charlie's Hill, which at the time was an undeveloped area of virgin bush. The complex had reinforced concrete walls nearly two metres thick, which surrounded kitchens, dining rooms, showers and toilets, as well as the operational rooms and a huge air-conditioning unit. One wall featured a giant map of the south-west Pacific War Zone, where submarine and aircraft movements were tracked.


World War II bunker, Thalia Kenway Reserve

Believed to be associated with the operations of the bunker was the development by De Havilland of a manufacturing facility on one side of Bankstown aerodrome. This factory had completed the manufacture of 212 Mosquito fighter-bombers by the end of the war. Rumour has it that a tunnel links the bunker with the factory but evidence of this and the tunnel itself has yet to be found. Likewise, it is thought that a narrow gauge railway once connected the two locations. The existence of a street called Railway Parade in the vicinity, which is nowhere near the existing railway lines, supports this theory.

The bunker was sealed shut in 1949 prior to the surrounding area being subdivided and sold as the Watts estate. Its sealed entrance is located in the garden of a nearby house. The complex extends under a number of homes in the immediate vicinity as well as neighbouring Wattawa Public School, which was built in 1956. With all the appearances of a deliberate attempt to seal its fate, the interior of the building was trashed and set on fire in 1973, ruling out forever the possibility of restoring it for posterity.

Location: Cnr Marion and Cantrell Streets, Condell Park. Public transport: train to Bankstown, Bus No. 937 to cnr Marion and Cantrell Sts.


Mirambeena Regional Park


The Park consists of a string of parks and nature reserves on the banks of the Georges River and Prospect Creek stretching between the suburbs of Lansdowne and Georges Hall. It caters for a variety of outdoor leisure activities, from model boating to sport and bushwalking. It was here that explorers Matthew Flinders and George Bass camped during their voyage of exploration up the Georges River in the early days of Sydney. Their visit is remembered in the name Flinders Slopes, one of the Park's five sections.

Flinders Slopes: Henry Lawson Drive, Lansdowne. Facilities include an adventure playground, amphitheatre, barbecues, exercise track, look-out, picnic facilities, walking tracks.

Garrison Park: Beatty Parade, Georges Hall. Derives its name from the garrison of soldiers once stationed here for the protection and assistance of Major Johnston when h >e was conducting a government census. Johnson, best remembered as the man who led troops of the NSW Corps into Sydney to arrest Governor William Bligh in the infamous Rum Rebellion of 1808, was granted land at the point and built a small cottage there. Park facilities include barbecues, playground, disabled access, an exercise track, picnic facilities, toilets, walks, foreshore views.

Lake Gillawarna: Ashford Avenue, Georges Hall. Facilities include artificial lakes, an exercise track, picnic facilities, a kiosk, a playground, river frontage, toilets.

Lansdowne Reserve: Henry Lawson Drive, Lansdowne Road and Hume Highway, Lansdowne. Facilities include barbecues, bushwalking, cross-country track, off-road model car track, picnic facilities, road cycling track, toilets.

Shortland Brush: Hanly Street), Georges Hall. Facilities include a boating lake, exercise tracks, Barnaby's Restaurant.
Public transport: train to Bankstown, Bus No. 937, alight at park.


History of Bankstown


In 1795, Matthew Flinders and George Bass explored up the Georges River for about 20 miles beyond what had been previously surveyed, and reported favourably to Governor Hunter of the land on its banks. Hunter examined the country himself, and established one of the pioneer colonies there, called Bank's Town, today written as one word Bankstown. Hunter named the area in honour of botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who travelled to Australia with Lieut. James Cook in 1770. Banks played a major role in the establishment of the Colony of New South Wales in 1788.

The area of first European settlement along the river has been partially preserved as part of the Mirambeena Regional Park. The Bankstown City area includes large areas of the Georges River National Park. One hundred years after its naming, Bankstown was proclaimed a municipal district on 9 September 1895.

In 1939 local residents were made privy to the events of World War II. Conscripted residents were required to report for duty at a drill hall on Canterbury Road, Belmore. Camps were set up in and around Canterbury Racecourse and local parks in the district. Residents with foreign names were sent to internment camps as there was growing suspicion about residents with foreign names. A portion of these folk were Australian citizens who served with the Australian armed forces during World War I.

The area around Chapel Road, Bankstown, were 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.

World War II began Bankstown's industrial revolution. Few factories or industry of any consequence were located in Bankstown prior to 1945, this was changed dramatically between 1942 and 1954, especially when the Department of Aircraft Production gave approval for aircraft manufacturer Hawker De Havilland, to operate a factory at the airport for the production and manufacture of de Havilland Mosquito bombers. There are now over seven-thousand businesses operating within the Bankstown district. Bankstown's population increased dramatically after World War II by people relocating from the inner-city areas and incoming migrants, mainly from Europe and towards the end of the 20th century from Asia and the rest of the world.

Bankstown is still the seat of major industry including the aviation, engineering and maintenance at Bankstown Airport. Other employers include small industrial operations, the public service and the retail industry.



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  • Operation room of the bunker under Thalia Kenway Reserve





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