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.
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 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 was put on hold until it was established in 1940, after the commencement of World War II when the Department of Civil Aviation attained 630 acres (2.5 km2) of land for development as an Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) facility. Initially known as RAAF Station Bankstown, the station becoming RAAF Bankstown on 2 December 1940. 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.
De Havilland Australia has been affiliated with the airport opening a factory at the airfield in 1942, occupying the area to the south of the runway. After the outbreak of war, the RAAF selected the Tiger Moth as its primary trainer and in 1940 DHA commenced licensed manufacture at a new facility at Bankstown. When production ended in February 1945 over one thousand had been built. DHA also licence-built 87 DH.84 Dragons from 1942 and 212 DH.98 Mosquitos from 1943 for the RAAF.
The factory was purchased by Boeing in 2000 and is now Hawker de Havilland Aerospace Pty Ltd (HdHA), a subsidiary of Boeing Australia Ltd. In May 1988 HdHA delivered the first Bankstown-assembled Sikorsky Blackhawk to the RAAF. The last of 38 locally assembled aircraft was delivered in January 1991. Today HdHA is in the forefront of composite structures technology and has manufactured composite and alloy components for the Airbus A320 family, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A380, Bombardier Challenger 300, Boeing 737, Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 as well as for several military aerospace programmes. In August 2013 production of aircraft components at the old Hawker de Havilland Bankstown factory ended after 70 years when Boeing consolidated its Australian manufacturing operations at Fisherman s Bend in Victoria in 2012.
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.
Located in the tiny locality of Mt Lewis, views from this reserve 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.
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.
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.
Hume Highway and Chapel Rd / Rookwood Rd intersection, Three Swallows pub on the right, looking towards Yagoona, 1938
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, 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.
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.
Juno Parade, Greenacre
The nearby suburb of Greenacre is located 17 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. Greenacre is named for the contrasting green of an acre of ground cleared for cultivation alongside the first road through the area. The name was adopted in 1909 as Greenacre Park for the first land division in the area which was near Bankstown station. Originally known as East Bankstown.
The suburb is distinctly but unofficially split into the north and the south. The southern parts of Greenacre are serviced by a strip of local independent shops and outlets along Waterloo Road and around the intersection of Juno Parade and Boronia Road. The northern parts of Greenacre are serviced by the Chullora amenities such as Chullora Market Place. The major shopping centres close by are Bankstown Central Shopping Centre and Westfield Burwood.
Cao Dai Temple
The nearby suburb of Wiley Park is located 17 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. The twenty acres now comprising Wiley Park was initially part of 60 acres of land granted to Robert Wilkinson in 1832. It passed to the Wiley family in 1862. This park is named after John F. Wiley, a shoemaker, who bequeathed land for the park to Canterbury Council when he died in 1895. The suburb was named after this park, partly because the railway station was on Wiley's Avenue (near King Georges Road), which ran from Wiley's property on the corner of Canterbury Road to Punchbowl Road. Wiley Park railway station is on the Bankstown Line of the Sydney Trains network. King Georges Road is a main road running through Wiley Park that starts as Wiley Avenue, to the north in Greenacre through to Beverly Hills in the south and beyond. Canterbury Road runs along the southern border of the suburb.
William Ewart "Bill" Hart and his home made biplane
On 29th June 1911, Parramatta dentist and pioneer airman William Ewart "Bill" Hart, and American A.B. Stone, another early aviator, took part in Australia's first air race,from from Botany Bay to Parramatta for a wager of 100 Pounds. Stone is said to have lost his way and came down on Wiley Park. The legend has it that he saw Cook's River and thought that it was Parramatta River. During that same year, cinematographer Ernest Higgins made eighteen flights with Hart and obtained enough footage for three movies, The Camera in the Clouds (1912), Among the Clouds with a Camera (1912) and Australia Calls (1913).
Until the 1980s, Wiley Park included a large velodrome that held events including Australian Championships and hosted concerts by a range of artists including Johnny O'Keefe. Cycling in the area was a popular sport, and a famous cycling store was operated by Jack Walsh in the adjoining suburb of Punchbowl for 50 years. Unfortunately the council allowed the velodrome to fall into disrepair and removed it without community consultation, replacing part of its area with an amphitheatre. Some sources cite that the loss of the velodrome was due to road widening. The amphitheater and its inside meeting room is now the home of Horizon Theatre Company.
The nearby suburb of Punchbowl is located 17 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. In the 1920s and 1930s, Punchbowl was a higher-class suburb, with a number of popular theatres that were closed down or demolished thirty years later. Punchbowl has a relatively small shopping centre, although the selection is diverse. It thrived until the advent of Roselands and Bankstown Square in the late 1960s and its bisection by the upgrading of Punchbowl Road in the 1970s. It is centred on Punchbowl railway station, along The Boulevarde and Punchbowl Road. Local businesses and clubs reflect the diversity of the population.
Punchbowl is named for a natural basin shaped like and called "the punch bowl", which was located where today there is a grassed area at the end of Coronation Parade where Georges River Road now meets Punchbowl Road. This feature gave its name to a farm there in the mid 1800s, and later the road that led to it (now Punchbowl Road). In the 1830s, an inn built by George Faulkener, close to the corner of Liverpool Road, was called the Punch and Bowl. John Stephens had a property there in the 1830s and his son is mentioned in the Wells Gazetteer in 1848, "Clairville or Punchbowl, in the Parishes of St George and Bankstown, is the property of Sir Alfred Stephens". When a railway station opened on this road in 1909, three kilometres away from the 'punch bowl' itself, the surrounding suburb came to be known as Punchbowl.
The nearby suburb of Padstow is located to the south of Bankstown 22 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. Padstow is a mostly residential suburb bounded on the north by Bankstown and on the east by Salt Pan Creek, which is a stream feeding into the Georges River. The M5 South Western Motorway traverses the northern end of the suburb, which is also the location of a number of light industrial facilities. Padstow shopping centre is located around Padstow railway station.
Padstow was first named Padstow Park Estate after the town of Padstow in Cornwall, England. The Cornish Padstow's name means "the holy place of St Petrock" (not to be confused with St Patrick, as they are spelled and pronounced differently), an important Cornish saint. The estate included the grants of Simon McGuigan (130 acres), Joseph Cunningham 50 acres (20 ha) and Michael Conroy 40 acres (16 ha). Timber-getting and farming were the main activities here. The Padstow Park post office opened in 1927 and the first school opened in January 1929. The railway station opened on 21 December 1931, which encouraged development in the area, especially after World War II. The suburb s name was changed to Padstow in 1939.
A number of the streets in the vicinity of Padstow railway station have Egyptian themes as names, including Arab Road, Cairo Avenue, Pyramid Avenue and Sphinx Avenue. To the west of Padstow, on the border with Revesby there is also a group of streets with outer space related names, such as Uranus Road, Mars Street, Neptune Street, Hydrae Street and Vega Street.
The suburb of Condell Park is located to the west of Bankstown and kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. The suburb is next to Bankstown Airprt. Condell Park was named after Ousley Condell, an engineer who arrived on 8 May 1829 on the barque Swiftsure with 13 other settlers. He applied for a position in the public service and was granted four 50-acre (200,000 m2) adjoining lots in 1830 that he called Condell Park.
Black Charlie's Hill
Black Charlie's Hill, located in Simmat Avenue, Condell Park, was named after a local identity whose nickname was 'Black Charlie'. His real name is said to have been Charles Luzon or Charlie Lopez, a man of Aboriginal ancestry. He lived near Edgar Street, South Yagoona and like others in the area, during the early 1900s, grew vegetables that he carried off to the market by horse and cart. His home was constructed of corrugated iron. Black Charlie was said to fire a single shot each evening promptly at 9pm but the reason was never disclosed. Some suggested he was hunting rabbits, others to warn of the approach of aircraft.
The Bankstown Bunker was an exact replica of the underground Ops rooms of wartime England, which directed Britain's air defence fighter plane attacks on the invading German Luftwaffe. It had all the attenuated fixtures necessary to run a top secret operational defence base. The bunker was equipped with its own code room, plotting rooms, two escape tunnels and a radio transmitter room. In the centre of the bunker was a large room of about two stories in height. This was the main Ops room and control centre for all RAAF Missions in the Pacific area. The room also had a large map of the South West Pacific theater of World War II.
The bunker still exists and access can be obtained through one of the old air vents. The entry point is located on private property in the backyard of a dwelling with an access tunnel running under a public park in which the bunker is buried. This is located at the end of Taylor Street, which can also be found on the corner of Marion and Edgar Streets, Condell Park. In 1976 the entire site was redeveloped into town houses which cover most of the land area. The area now comprises a number of separate complexes or "Closes" containing eight to eleven villas. Each Close is named appropriately after planes which flew from Bankstown during the Second World War.
The nearby suburb of Georges Hall is located to the west of Bankstown 24 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. Georges Hall was named after the house and farm owned by Lt Colonel George Johnston (1780 1823) called 'Georges Hall'. It was situated beside Prospect Creek, near Henry Lawson Drive. In 1809 it became an administrative centre, where it was used to conduct the census.
In 1796, George Bass, Matthew Flinders and the boy servant William Martin began an expedition to explore parts of the colony on a small boat called the Tom Thumb. They sailed into Botany Bay and explored the Georges River, twenty miles (32 km) beyond previous expeditions to the area that is now Garrison Point. For their exploration efforts Bass and Flinders were rewarded with 100-acre (0.40 km2) land grants in this area by Governor John Hunter.
The recreational reserve of Garrison Point obtained its name from the garrison of soldiers that were stationed here to ensure the safety of Lt Colonel Johnston as he conducted a census in the area. The park is now the local focus of annual Australia Day celebrations in the Bankstown area. Adjacent to Garrison Point is Lake Gillawarna, an artificial lake that forms an important breeding ground for native birds. Garrison Point and Lake Gillawarna form the southern part of a larger reserve called Mirambeena Regional Park that extends into the adjacent suburb of Lansvale. A short distance south from Garrison Point is Kentucky Reserve, another recreational park area overlooking the Georges River, adjacent to Henry Lawson Drive.
The nearby suburb of Yagoona is located to the west of Bankstown 20 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. Yagoona is an Aboriginal word meaning 'now' or 'today'. It was the site of the first McDonald's restaurant to open in Australia in 1971. Before European settlement, the area was originally occupied by the Bediagal people.
The area now known as Yagoona, Bass Hill, and north Bankstown was once known as Irish Town, due to the high concentration of Irish rebels transported here from Ireland in the late 1790s. Land grants were issued to Irish families and finally the suburb of Yagoona was created in 1927. St Matthew's Anglican Church was built on Liverpool Road (now Hume Highway) in 1861 to cater for the Protestants of the district as well as to function as a school. The main commercial area is located on the Hume Highway (Liverpool Road), near Yagoona railway station. The station is on the Bankstown line of the Sydney Trains network. Yagoona was home to the first McDonald's restaurant in Australia, opened in 1971, but it closed in 1994.
The nearby suburb of Yagoona is located to the north-east of Bankstown 15 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district. The suburb of Chullora was originally part of the area known as Liberty Plains, which was land given to the first free settlers who arrived in Sydney Cove on 6 January 1793. In the 1950s, many immigrants from Europe were housed in the area. Once established, they moved to other parts of Sydney. Chullora was the name used for one of the estates in this area. Chullora is an Aboriginal word meaning 'flour'. The recent construction of the Tip Top Bakeries, has perhaps brought the suburbs back to its roots.
Chullora railway workshop
Chullora is today essentially an industrial area with many factories and warehouses. A Big Bicycle is located outside the Chullora Recycling Centre and is a roadside attraction. Chullora is home to the largest postal distribution centre in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australia Post bulk parcel lodgement centre. The Chullora Railway Workshops and Electric Carriage Workshops previously serviced and repaired suburban and inter-urban trains, although this has now been outsourced to the private sector.
Beaufort aircraft factory at the State Railway Workshops, 1945
During World War II, Chullora was selected as the site for a major wartime manufacturing plant. The site once occupied several hundred acres of land surrounded by Rookwood Cemetery, Brunker Road, the Hume Highway and Centenary Drive. The site was said to have been the largest secret manufacturing plant in Australia which was used for the production of military weapons, plane components, tanks, HE Bombs and ordnance. Over two-thousand men and woman were employed to work at the factory on a daily basis. During the war the factory produced components for 700 Beaufort, 380 Beau fighter and up to 50 Lincoln aircraft. Over 54 ACI tanks were built as well as 60 General Lee tanks that were adapted for use in the Australian Military, as were local jeeps in the 1970s. The factory also produced 81 cupola turrets for the British Matilda tanks.
An underground "bunker" and tunnel system is located on this site. It is directly under a block flats in Davidson Street and Marlene Crescent. The entrance to the "bunker" is by steel doors set in concrete into the hillside in a railway cutting which runs from alongside the railway line parallel to Marlene Crescent at a platform called the Railwelders and which leads under the block of flats. The doors to this "bunker" were welded up in the late 1980s. The steel doors are no longer visible, and the associated area has been back filled.
Apart from the bunker, there is also a network of storage facilities that extend under the railway workshop. Sometime between 1977 and 1978 the steel access doors were fitted with locks (Railway SL type). The airshafts for this "bunker" are still clearly seen from the Hume Highway and some of them are within metres of the roadway. It has also been alleged that a tunnel approximately 6 km long connects this complex with Bankstown Bunker, (RAAF headquarters during World War II) on the corner of Marion and Edgar Street Condell Park. Access to this network of storage facilities was from a steel door, bolted into the side of a stormwater drain which along to and under the Hume Hwy and eventually under the rail workshop.
Chullora Migrant Camp, 1953
A railway camp for railway workers was established near the corner of the Hume Highway and Brunker Road, Chullora in 1948. It covered 18 hectares of westerly slopes and initially some 20 huts, called chalets, were constructed. With time 13 chalets covered an area around Anzac Street, North Chullora. Small huts housed single men, larger ones railway staff (drivers, fireman, guards and conductors). The Chullora railway camp had an Australian and migrant section. Migrants were generally Eastern European displaced person, mostly Polish. Married men and families were accommodated in cramped quarters. There was a general store, operated by a Polish family. Mc Vicar s buses provided local transport. In 1949, the Catholic Church built St. Francis Cabpini for the Catholic residents at the camp.
Potts Hill reservoirs under construction
The nearby suburb of Potts Hill is located to the north of Bankstown 21 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. Much of the area of Potts Hill was occupied by the Potts Hill Reservoir site, off Brunker Road. The Potts Hill Water Supply Reservoirs were an integral part of the Upper Nepean Water Supply Scheme, which was crucial to the development and growth of Sydney from the late nineteenth century. The reservoir fed water to Centennial Park, Dover Heights, Woollahra, Vaucluse and to the city as far as the eastern side of Darling Harbour, The Rocks and parts of Woolloomooloo. The complex includes the inlet for an early twentieth-century high pressure tunnel, which was an outstanding engineering feat and was the third largest water supply tunnel in the world for its time. Reservoir No. 1 was the first reservoir on the site, constructed between 1887 and 1889.
Potts Hill residential redevelopment
Like Prospect Reservoir, Potts Hill reservoir is now just a service reservoir rather than a storage reservoir, with only Reservoir No. 1 retained. The land occupied by Reservoir No. 2 has been redeveloped as a residential estate with 450 dwellings.
Movie director Ridley Scott spent several months in 2016 with leading actors and crew shoorting scenes for the movie Alien: Covenant, the sequel to his 2012 film Prometheus and prequel to his 1979 classic Alien. The site was also used in the 2015 Oscar-winning blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road.
Potts Hill reservoirs, 1953
In 1946 the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board (now Sydney Water) started to build the City Water Tunnel a water supply tunnel from Potts Hill to Waterloo in Sydney to supplement the existing Pressure Tunnel (started 1946, finished 1961). From 1948 to 1955 workers camps were set up at Potts Hill to accommodate the European migrant workers (Poles, Czechs, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians) who were indentured from the many displaced persons brought to Australia after World War II. Due to the proximity of Regents Park, the camp was also known as the Regents Park migrant camp.
Conditions at the Potts Hill camp were primitive. Known as "tent city", many workers had to live in tents, some of the huts were in bad repair and there was a lack of hot water, showers and electric coppers. In early 1951 there were nearly 1,000 men living in the camp. The local businessman who sold food to the workers neglected to install refrigeration and had a poor record for hygiene. Workers' wives were only allowed in the camp between 11 am and 5 pm on Sundays. Wives, particularly in hospitals, were often on night work, and did not have week-ends off. Sometimes married couples could not see each other for several months. The workers also experienced hostility from the union members of the Water Board.
In 1948 the Division of Radiophysics of the CSIRO obtained permission from the Water Board to operate a field station on vacant land adjacent to the Potts Hill reservoir. The southern and eastern sides of the No. 1 reservoir were used for the east-west and north-south arms of the solar grating arrays. By 1952 it had become the Division's largest field station. Equipment included a 4 element Yagi and single Yagi antennas, a 16-ft x 18-ft paraboloid, a Mills Cross Telescope prototype, a 68-inch paraboloid, swept lobe interferometer Yagi aerials, a prototype of a Fleurs Cross aerial and 16 and 32 element solar grating arrays. Radiophysics continued operations until 1962 when the field station's operations were transferred to other field stations.
Potts Hill is named for Joseph Hyde Potts, an accountant in the Bank of New South Wales, who received a grant of 1,100 acres (4 km2) in 1833. He originally called his property Hyde Park and had increased his holdings to 2,564 acres (10 km2) by 1835. Two reservoirs were built here between 1888 and 1923 as part of the Sydney water supply system. The inner Sydney suburb of Potts Point is also named after Joseph Hyde Potts.
Mount Lewis is a mostly residential suburb with a few shops and commercial developments located on Wattle Street. Mount Lewis Bowling Club is located on Waterloo Road. The small suburb is 18 km south-west of the Sydney central business district. Mount Lewis takes its name from the highest point in the district at Mount Lewis Reserve on Wattle Street. The origin of the name is unclear but it reflects the height which provides good views west towards the Bankstown CBD, south towards Canterbury Road and east towards the Sydney CBD skyline.