Prior to World War II, Blacktown was one of numerous semi rural towns on the Cumberland Plains to the west of Parramatta, it being located at the junction of the Richmond and Penrith railway lines. After the war, Sydney's Greater West experienced a population explosion, and Blacktown in particular developed in leaps and bounds, become the major commercial centre on the Plains between Parramatta in the east and Penrith in the west.
Blacktown is today the largest of any suburb or township in New South Wales and is one of the most multicultural places in Sydney. Only 50% of the people living in Blacktown were born in Australia. The most common countries of brith are India, Philippines and China. The City of Blacktown is the home to the largest Aboriginal population of any metropolitan local government area.
Westpoint Shopping Centre is a popular place for local residents and visitors of Blacktown. One of its cinemas has the largest standard cinema screen in Australia. Blacktown has one of the two last remaining Drive-in Theatre in Sydney. Every Sunday morning the Blacktown Markets takes place on the grounds of the Drive-In. Another popular market is Parklea Markets. A Wet 'n' Wild water park opened in 2013.
Blacktown railway station is on the North Shore, Northern and Western Line of the Sydney Trains network. A major bus interchange is located next to the station and an underground bus station is at the entrance to Westpoint. Blacktown is a terminus of the North-West T-way.
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Blacktown Arts Centre is located at 78 Flushcombe Road on the highest point of land in the Blacktown CBD. Originally built in the 1950s as an Anglican church, the building was deconsecrated in 1999. The Arts Centre opened to the public in October 2002. In 2006 the centre underwent a multimillion-dollar refit and extension. The building reopened in April 2007 with facilities for performance, extended visual art galleries, workshop space and enhanced administrative areas.
Located around 2 km west of Blacktown city centre, the focus at Featherdale Wildlife Park is on interactivity with Australia's native fauna. It's about a 45 minute drive from the city in Sydney's Greater West (Doonside). All the expected animals are there - kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and emus, wallabies, dingoes, Tasmanian devils and more. Location: 217 Kildare Rd, Doonside NSW. Phone: (02) 9622 1644.
Formerly the Fairfield City Farm, Calmsely Hill is a 580-acre working sheep and cattle farm in suburban Sydney, 20 km south of Blacktown. Great for families, activities include a Farmyard nursery where people can hold and feed farm animals, cow milking, a sheep shearing show, whip cracking show and working dog show. Here you can get up close to a range of native and farmyard animals. Bring your own picnic lunch, or use our electric BBQ s to cook your own lunch while you enjoy our beautiful grounds. Take-away food can be purchased at the Farmhouse Kiosk. Coach parking is excellent and there is wheelchair access and facilities for people with disabilities. Location: 31 Darling Street, Abbotsbury, NSW.
A Bicentennial project of the Blacktown Council, this park has both natural bushland and landscaped gardens on the bank of Eastern Creek. The various sections are interconnected by walking paths. A lake, a wharf, reception centre, waterfalls and rapids create a pleasant landscaped environment for relaxation. Its name recalls one of two local indigenous men, Colebee and Nurragingy, who in 1819 were granted land by Gov. Lachlan Maacquarie as payment their service to The Crown, for showing the passage over the Blue Mountains and for assisting him in dealing with Aboriginal issues. Location: Knox Road, Doonside, around 4km west of Blacktown city centre.
Facilities: barbecue and picnic facilities, childrens playgrounds, bush walking tracks.
Public transport: train to Doonside station. Walk along Cross St, right into Crawford Rd, left into Coveny St.
This Museum is housed in a c1895 cottage that was built for Reservoir staff to live in. A visit to the museum reveals the European history of the Prospect area, which dates back to 1788. The photographic displays tell the story of local residents such as William Lawson, estates such as Veteran Hall and Greystanes, the building of Prospect Reservoir, local quarrying industry, the local Churches, Inns and Schools. History files available to help with research. Location: Located on the right hand side of William Lawson Drive, leading to Prospect reservoir, off Reservoir Road, Prospect, NSW
Formerly Blacktown Public School, Blacktown s first ever school, this building was designed by George Allen Mansfield and ready to receive students in 1877. Today it is the only remaining historic building in the City centre and services the public with local and visitor information, souvenirs and historical exhibitions. Phone 1300 302 858. Open Tues Sat 10am-3pm (closed public holidays). Location: Civic Plaza, Flushcome Road, Blacktown NSW 2148
Construction of Prospect Reservoir was commenced in August 1882 and completed around July 1888. It was a pivotal component of the Upper Nepean System, Sydney's fourth water supply system and later as the distribution point for Warragamba water. Prospect was the largest water supply storage in Australia until 1905. It was not the highest earth and clay-core dam, but it was the largest in length, embankment volume and storage capacity. The design and construction methods used on Prospect Dam were the most advanced for the late 1800s and although it suffered significant crest settlement and major slippages of the upstream shoulder during the first 15 year's of its life, Prospect Dam was considered to be a major achievement of its day.
Prospect Dam is 26 metres high, has a length of 2,225 metres with an embankment volume of 1.9 million cubic metres. Prospect Reservoir has a storage capacity of 50,200 megalitres. There are two brick valve houses, which are Victorian Tudor in style. The original valves are intact, as are Venturi meters which date from 1907. Open everyday of the year, the picnic area within Prospect Reservoir has BBQ facilities, children s playgrounds, toilets and a viewing area. Entrance off Reservoir Rd from Great Western Highway. Ph: Sydney Water on 132 092.
This exquisite garden was cooperatively designed and constructed by Blacktown City Council and Liaocheng Municipal Government in China, as a symbolic gesture of friendship between the two sister cities. The architectural style of the structures within the garden is based on the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty in China, and feature a Gateway, Seven Arch Stone Bridge, Light Mountain Pavillion and a Waterfall Gazebo. Location: Nurragingy Reserve, Knox Rd, Doonside NSW. Phone: (02) 9839 6000.
Also known as Eastern Creek Raceway, Sydney Motorsport Park is operated by the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) and caters for motor sport competition, driver education and motor shows. The entire complex can be hired or individual areas may be rented separately. ARDC staff are experienced in event management and can assist with planning an activity. Location: Brabham Drive, Eastern Creek, NSW. Phone: (02) 9672 1000
Originally built in 1887 as a residential property, the Manse has had many uses over the years including that of a Church. Today it housed the Mount Druitt Historical Society who offer genealogy classes and heritage trail tours of Mount Druitt. Open Mon, Wed and Fri 10am-12pm (All other times by appointment). Location: 23 The Avenue, Mt Druitt, NSW. Phone: (02) 8801 0169
Originally the first public school to open in Riverstone in 1882, this museum now displays items from the historic meatworks, historical farm machinery, household furniture, sporting memorabilia, books, photos, military items plus more. Open First Sunday of every month, 11am-3pm (Closed Jan). Phone: (02) 9627 1232. Location: 81 Garfield Road East, Riverstone, NSW
Third Settlement Reserve, which adjoins Toongabbie Creek and Quarry Branch Creek at Old Toongabbie, marks the site of the 3rd settlement established by the early British colonists. Needing to find land more arable than that around Sydney Cove, the Government established farms at Rose Hill (present day Parramatta) in 1789 and a third settlement at this location in 1791. Known as the Toongabbie Convict Farm, it used convict labour to grow crops of barley, maize and wheat. There were 2 main areas of settlement, one at Johnstons Creek, the other 3 km further north along Old Windsor Rd.
Though attempts have been made to change it from time to time, The name Blacktown does not have racial connotations, but rather symbolises the importance of Aboriginal culture in the area that began long before white men came. The full and interesting story of Aboriginal Cultural heritage has never been written down, due to a lack of detailed information about the traditions and the tribes of the people who lived there. What is known comes via the many stone tools created out of the area's rich red sandstone that have been found at various locations, which point to Aboriginal occupation of the area for thousands of years. The name also recognises probably the most understanding attidude of any of the colonial Governors towards the Aboriginal people by the one who gave the locality its present name - Lachlan Macquarie - when he became the first reprsentative of Government in Australia to acknowledge their ownership and occupatiion of the land prior to the arrival of British colonists in 1788, when he granted land here back to them as their own.
In 1819 Macquarie granted land to two local indigenous men, Colebee and Nurragingy as payment their service to The Crown, for showing the passage over the Blue Mountains and for assisting in dealing with Aboriginal issues. A few years later, the Native Institution (a school for Aboriginal children) was moved from Parramatta to the site where Richmond Road meets Rooty Hill Road North on their land grant (this intersection is now in the suburbs of Oakhurst and Dean Park). He named it "The Black's Town" and actively encouraged the remaing indigneous population of the Sydney Basin to re-establish a home for themselves there. This settlement developed around the site of the present day Blacktown railway station. The estblishment of the settlement was one of Macquarie's last actions as Governor, however his replacement, Governor Brisbane, and subsequent governors allowed it to become little more than an internment camp, which resulted in Black's Town becoming a deserted village by 1848. The road from Prospect to Richmond became known as the Black Town Road, and it is from this name that the name of the suburb itself has survived.
In 1860 the Railway Department gave the name of Black Town Road Station to the railway station at the junction of the railway and the Black Town Road, with the name shortening to Blacktown by 1862. The arrival of the railway led to the formation of a town around the station. A post office was opened in 1862 and a school in 1877. The first school, a single-storey brick building with gables, was opened in 1877. While no longer in use as a school, the building in Flushcombe Road is now used as a Visitor Information Centre. It is the oldest remaining building in the Blacktown CBD and is heritage-listed.
In 1906, the Shire of Blacktown was formed and in 1930, electricity was introduced to the town. The population in 1933 was then around 13,000. In the 1950s and 60s, there was a large amount of suburban development both in the current suburb of Blacktown and the new suburbs that sprung up around it. This led to civic development in the town centre with the hospital opening in 1965, the courthouse and police station in 1966, the library in 1967 and the TAFE college in 1969. In 1973, the Westpoint shopping centre opened which was soon followed by the cinema complex.