The southern Sydney suburb of Peakhurst in the St George Area, is located 21 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. Peakhurst has a western border on Salt Pan Creek, on the Georges River. Peakhurst Heights is a separate suburb to the south, which is bordered by Boggywell Creek and Lime Kiln Bay, on the Georges River. Peakhurst Heights is sometimes still considered to be part of 'Peakhurst' by some residents of the area. A very small number of fresh water watercourses exist in the suburb, mostly draining into Salt Pan Creek.
The main roads are Forest Road, Henry Lawson Drive, Stoney Creek Road, Boundary Road, Bonds Road, Broad Arrow Road, Isaac Street, Baumans Road. Forest Road, which links to Henry Lawson Drive at Peakhurst, is the busiest carriageway that extends through numerous other suburbs in Sydney.
Peakhurst's commercial centres are predominantly located along Forest Road and Boundary Road. Various retail shops, restaurants and cafes are located near the Peakhurst Inn Hotel on Forest Road. The hotel contains a pub and drive-through bottle shop. Peakhurst also contains a sizeable industrial area mainly on and around Boundary Road.
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Peakhurst was named after landholder John Robert Peake, who bought 10 acres of land near the junction of the present Forest Road and Henry Lawson Drive in 1838. He gave a block of land on which the Wesleyan Church was built in 1855. The area was originally part of an 1808 land grant to Captain John Townson. John Robert Peake bought his land from William Hebblewhite in 1838. School Inspector Huffer suggested that Peake's name be used to name the suburb when the public school was founded in 1871. The post office opened in 1885. The first industry in the area was timber-cutting, due to the surrounding natural forests being thick with a variety of woods, especially turpentine. The timber was carted to Sydney by bullock teams. As the land was cleared, orchardists followed the timber-cutters.
From as early as 1809, the land surrounding Salt Pan Creek was the site of uprising by Australian Aborigines against colonial settlement. Tedbury, the son of Pemulwuy, an Aboriginal elder, was involved in a skirmish that saw Frederick Meredith, a European settler, injured with a spear and forced to abandon his farm. It is understood that Meredith and another settler, sought to clear and cultivate land surrounding the creek that may have been an important food source for Aborigines. Between 1926 and 1935, lands surrounding the creek became a focal point for indigenous rights, as they set up squatter camps that consisted of refugee families whose traditional lands had been resumed and also those seeking to escape the Aboriginal Protection Board. Salt Pan Creek was named by early colonial settlers, who took salt from the swampland by evaporating the salt water.
Salt Pan Creek rises west southwest of the suburb of Mount Lewis, within the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area, and flows generally south by east through Georges River local government area, before reaching its confluence with the Georges River, at Riverwood. The catchment area of the creek is approximately 26 square kilometres, and is subject to flooding due to vegetation modification and urban development. The creek has a length of around 7 km.
Vegetation in the catchment area consists of three endangered ecological species, including coastal saltmarsh, Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest, and Shale / Sandstone Transition Forest. Vegetation varies substantially throughout the catchment area and includes freshwater environments, estuarine environments, mangroves and saltmarshes, riparian and terrestrial environments, which provide important habitat for native fauna.
The Salt Pan Creek catchment area provides numerous sporting grounds and other recreational activities including bird watching, picnicking, bushwalking, and constructed boardwalks throughout the creek for community use and nature study.
Salt Pan Creek Wetlands: Salt Pan Creek Wetlands have been transformed from a once under-used paddock into a vibrant, interactive parkland for our community to enjoy. Since 2004, work on the Riverwood Wetlands has been steadily transforming what was once an old and under-used paddock into a site that is fast becoming a popular recreation site for people of all ages, from toddlers to seniors.
It is now an ideal place to picnic with your family or take a leisurely stroll around the pond. Our aim was to turn this under utilised open space into a vibrant, interactive parkland for local families to enjoy. The reserve features a wetland with fish, turtles, birdlife and other animals. Enjoy the wetlands and come and have a picnic while you enjoy watching your children playing, riding their bikes and feeding the ducks and other birdlife that is returning to the area.
Families are already enjoying and making the most of the wetlands. Many have taken pleasure from a picnic while watching children playing, riding their bikes and feeding the ducks. Native birds are also making the area their home again, bringing a real sense of natural beauty and serenity to the suburbs. The marvellous work that's been done around the Riverwood wetlands will continue this year with the installation of new BBQ facilities and playgrounds. Location: off Washington Avenue, Riverwood.
Gannons Park occupies the former corridor of Boggywell Creek and forms part of the greater catchment of the Georges River. The site is bordered to the west by the suburbs of Peakhurst and Lugarno, to the east by mixed use commercial and residential development, and to the south by Boggywell Creek. Gannons Park is linked into the Great Kai mia Way which provides for both bike riding and walking.
The land on which Gannon Park was created was once the depot at Peakhurst where they buried the nightsoil before the area was connected to the sewerage system. It is now the picturesque, 5.5 hectare public park fronting Forest Road and Isaac Street and reaching down to Lime Kiln Bay. The park was named in July 1963. Gannons Park is linked into the Great Kai mia Way which provides for both bike riding and walking.
There is a dog off leash area in Lower Gannons Park. Four fitness stations have been placed along the walking/cycle track for public use to incorporate into their training program. The machines will assist in building strength and balance and are suitable for use from 12 years right through to seniors. There is a free golf practise birdie cage to practise your swing in a safe enclosed environment. The park also has barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and a childrens' playground.
The whole area between Arncliffe and Lugarno was originally heavily timbered. Illawarra Road was built by convicts in 1841 and it ran through Gannon s Forest, down to the Georges River. The road from Arncliffe was later known as Gannon's Forest Road and today is known as Forest Road. The name has been retained in Old Illawarra Road, over the river in Menai and Lucas Heights.
What is not generally known is that Forest Road is one of the oldest continuously used thoroughfares in the world. Before the arrival of white settlers in 1788, the Aborigines of the Sydney region had deveoped a system of tracks along which they moved to travel from one area to another within the Sydney Basin. Elsewhere, such tracks were created alongside the watercourses to keep them flat and easy to travel on, but the steep sides of the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour, Port Hacking, and the Georges and Hawkesbury Rivers made this impractical. Instead, the Aborigines formed tracks which followed the tops of the ridges, with minor pathways leading from these high tracks down to the water's edge where they spent most of their time. These paths had been used for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
When white settlers arrived in the Sydney region in 1788, they either discovered or were shown these high tracks by the Aborigines, and began to use them to get from one area to another. They became the main roads connecting towns throughout the colony and this explains why many major roads twist and wind their way along the ridge tops of Suburban Sydney. Forest Road in Sydney's south, Pacific Highway on the North Shore, Hume Highway between Ashfield and Villawood, Blaxland Road (North Shore) and Military Road through Mosman all follow what were originally Aboriginal pathways, making them some of, if not the oldest continuously used thoroughfares in the world.