Como and Como West, located on the southern shores of the Georges River in Sydney's South, are named after Lake Como at the foot of the Lepontine Alps and Lugano Prealps in Italy. It is believed to have been thus named by James Murphy, who was manager of the Holt-Sutherland Estate Land Company, the man responsible for building Como House and the Como Pleasure Grounds. The pleasure grounds developed as a very popular resort after the completion of the railway and erection of a railway platform at the end of the Como Bridge in December 1885.
Some street names are of Aboriginal origin; the Italian influence on the suburb is also reflected in many of the existing street names which were named after various cities located throughout Italy including Genoa Street, Verona Range, Tivoli Esplanade, Ortona Parade, Novara Crescent, Pavia Road, Cremona Road and Loretta Avenue (originally named Loretto, a misspelling of the Italian city of Loreto).
Como Public School, Genoa St, Como,
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UBD Map 312 Ref P 2. A leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll across the Como Bridge has become somewhat of an institution for many residents of the St George district in Sydney's south. Spanning the Georges River, the former railway bridge can be approached from either end via a level walking path. A visit to the restaurant or marina for lunch or a cup of coffee, to hire a boat or perhaps a picnic in the nearby park makes it all the more worthwhile.
Built as part of the Sydney to Illawarra railway, the single line Como bridge remained in use until 1972 when the new double line, pre-stressed concrete structure alongside it began taking rail traffic. The old bridge was saved from demolition as it carries the pipeline from Woronora Dam to the reservoirs at Penshurst, a function that commenced in 1945 and continues today. The bridge is today used as a footbridge and cycleway.
More information on the walk and the bridge >>
Public transport: train to Oatley, walk south from Oatley Pde.
The concept of Pleasure Grounds was introduced onto the Sydney landscape during the Victorian era. Pleasure Grounds were landscaped areas, general beside the harbour or a river, where families could come and spend a day of relaxation together. The Grounds incorporated a swimming facility (a beach, tidal baths or built pool), boat hire, a cafe, a picnic area and a children's play area. Sometimes there was a small zoo, fun rides or a vessel on which people could cruise the river or harbour. Como Pleasure Grounds offered all these facilities, except for the zoo.
Essentially all those services are still available at Como except for river cruises, but with the addition of BBQs, a bike track and walking loop path. There are panoramic views of the Georges River and surrounding bushland from the top of the knoll. The Como Swimming Complex, which is a free seasonal recreational facility, is additional to the tidal baths of the original Pleasure Grounds, which are on the Georges River and contain a bathing area with a shark net.
Facilities: picnic facilities, boat launching ramp, boat hire, cafe and restaurant, swimming pool and river baths.
Bonnet Bay, located on the eastern bank of the Woronora River, which flows north into the Georges River, shares its 2226 postcode with neighbouring Jannali and Como. The original name proposed for the area was Kirkby. A cave in the area was known as 'The Bonnet' because it was shaped like a bonnet and this was adopted for the name of the bay on the Georges River. Bonnet Bay is well known for its extensive displays of Christmas decorations and lights during the festive season, though the tradition reached its peak in the mid-1980s and has since spread to other areas throughout the Sutherland Shire. All of the streets of Bonnet Bay are named after American Presidents. Washington Drive runs through the length of the suburb and is twice split into one-way 'Upper' and 'Lower' sections due to the steep hills it runs across. Nixon is the last President a street is named after.
Burnum Burnum Sanctuary is a small bush reserve on the edges of Sutherland and Bonnet Bay in the Sutherland Shire. It lies between Bonnet Bay, Como, Jannali, Sutherland and Woronora and extends for about two kilometres. The reserve effectively surrounds Bonnet Bay, with the only two roads leading into the suburb, cutting through it. Burnum Burnum Reserve hosts some plants that are almost extinct and are protected. There are a number of walking trails through the Sanctuary.
The Reserve is named after Burnum Burnum (11936 - 1997), an Australian Aboriginal activist, actor, and author. He may be best remembered for planting the Aboriginal flag on the white cliffs of Dover on the Australian Bicentenary Day of 26 January 1988. This was his tongue-in-cheek way of claiming England, as Arthur Phillip had done to Burnum Burnum's homeland in 1788 when arriving with the First Fleet. Burnum Burnum lived in nearby Woronora in his later life and was active in the local community.
A tributary of the Georges River, the Woronora River has its origin from Waratah Rivulet, near Darkes Forest, and generally flows north for approximately 36 kilometres (22 mi) into its mouth at the Georges River, between Como and Illawong. The river is dammed by Woronora Dam, which forms part of the water supply system for Sydney. : The river's name is from the Aboriginal Dharug language meaning 'black rocks'. Still Creek, Heathcote Creek and Forbes Creek are its tributaries.
The southern Sydney suburb of Jannali is situated between Como and Sutherland. The majority of land in Jannali is residential with numerous bushland reserves, the suburb is bisected by the north-south railway line. Shops and commercial businesses provide a broad range of services to the Jannali community. Most are centred on the main transport hub of the railway station and the bridge over the railway line. This bridge provides the only link for both automotive and pedestrian movement between the eastern and western portions of the Jannali community. Jannali is an Aboriginal word, meaning the Place Of The Moon, originating from the people of the Northern Territory. It is also used as a female given name. The area began to develop with the arrival of the railway line in 1884. Jannali saw its biggest growth after World War II when blocks of land were offered to returned servicemen.
Before the railway line was built, the area was in originally known as Woronora with the first local post office opening on 16 May 1883 followed quickly by the local school on 16 April 1884. The original single-track Como Railway Bridge spanning the Georges River began service with the opening of the railway station at Como on 26 December 1885. Upon opening of the railway bridge, Como immediately became a popular weekend retreat for city folk with the natural beauty making it particularly popular with holiday makers with trains reported as being overcrowded on their first day of service.
The historic Como Hotel was constructed by the German railway workers in 1878, and was a German workers club for years throughout the duplication of nearby railway lines and construction of the dual rail bridge. It was ravaged by fire in 1996 (after surviving the infamous and largely destroyed as a result of an unattended gas cooker in the kitchen. The hotel was later rebuilt in 2001, featuring a more modern intrepretation of the original historic design. Como was again severely affected by bushfires in 1994, with upwards of 70 houses burnt down. Como West Public School was also destroyed by the fires and a new school was built on the original land.
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