The suburb of Prospect is located 32 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of the City of Blacktown and is part of the Greater Western Sydney region. The suburb of Prospect takes its name from the prominent nearby landmark of Prospect Hill - from the top of which people could get a prospect of (see a great distance) the surrounding countryside. Initially a settlement for emancipated convicts, it later became a village. Since colonisation, settlers cleared larger areas of land to raise livestock, build churches, inns, schools, shops and a large reservoir. The quarrying of blue metal was abundant in the area. Naturalist Charles Darwin visited Prospect in January 1836, to observe the geology.
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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
This was one of five hotels operating during the construction of the Reservoir. Others were The Fox under the Hill, The Prospect Inn and Buckett's Hotel. In the 1880s, the inn became the family home and dairy farm of Luke Hyland. Westway now uses the building as a youth centre. Holroyd Council donated the land and the Westway organization restored the building. Location: Hylands Road, Prospect.
Built in 1877, the hotel is one of the few remaining roadside inns on the Great Western Highway between Sydney and Bathurst, as well as being one of the last remaining buildings (along with the former village Post Office) of the original Prospect Village. James Manning was issued with the first Publican's Licence in 1881, showing that the hotel may have operated without a licence for a short time. Manning subdivided and sold much of the land around the hotel in 1884.
The Royal Cricketers Arms building is of Victorian and Georgian design, being a two-storey brick and timber building set on a random rubble foundation stone wall on a sloping site. James Manning is thought to have operated a cricket pitch and racetrack on the property, hence the inn's name. The Inn changed hands frequently, until In 1963 when the property surrounding the inn was used as a Drive-In Theatre and the hotel was used as a caretaker's residence. After years of neglect, the Inn was restored and reopened in 1994. Location: Royal Cricketers Arms,385 Reservoir Road, Prospect, NSW.
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
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.
Spain has its Aqueduct of Segovia and Les Ferreres Aqueduct; France has its Pont de Gard; Wales has the longest and highest aqueduct in the world - Pontcysyllte Aqueduct; but very few people know Australia has its verry own aqueduct - at Greystanes in western Sydney. Completed in 1888 as part of the Lower Prospect Canal, it was originally named the Boothtown Aqueduct and built to convey water from Prospect Reservoir across a small valley to Sydney residents. The brick aqueduct measures 225 metres in length. It boasts 22 arches, each with a 9.1 metre span.
Unlike its more famous cousins in the northern hemisphere, Greystanes Aqueduct wasn't built or every used for the carriage of people or goods from one side to the other - only drinking water - which might explain why very few people know about it and why it has generally been forgotten. The aqueduct was only used for 19 years before it was by-passed in 1907 with the construction of the castle-like Boothtown syphon, which might also explain its obscurity. The aqueduct was subsequently blocked with concrete plugs to divert water into the syphon and into a large concrete pipe. The syphon's inlets were built as castlesque towers with steel trash racks and sluice gates to control the water flow.
In the 1990's, ike much of Sydney's forgotten infrastructural heritage, Greystanes Aqueduct came under threat of demolition, but conservation-minded locals objected and the aqueduct stayed. Today it carries a cycleway across it, which is part of the Western Sydney Cycle Network. Location: Macquarie Road, Greystanes, NSW.
St Bartholomew's Church of England stands on the hill for which the district is famous - Prospect Hill. It is a conspicuous landmark from which there are fine views from to the Blue Mountains and the City of Sydney. The St Bartholomew's site is closely linked with the development and history of the surrounding area and contains the graves of a considerable number of prominent families from the area since the 1840s. In 1791 Governor Phillip settled 12 families on small farms around the base of the Hill. These and later settlers were part of the Parish of St John s Church at Parramatta. St Bartholomew s Church was the first church to be built in the Prospect area. Before this time, church services were held in the home of the schoolmaster.
In 1838 William Lawson, through the Australian and the Sydney Herald, called for tenders for the building of the Church. On 2 October 1838 a contract to complete the church and tower within fifteen months was signed with James Atkinson of Mulgoa as the builder and William Lawson as Senior Trustee and Nelson Simmons Lawson and Robert Crawford as Trustees. The witness was Lawson s son-in-law, architect and civil engineer Edward Hallen. The building was not completed within the specified time. On 26 October 1840, the Trustees entered into another contract with James Atkinson to supply the furniture within six weeks. On 17 April 1841, the Sydney Herald stated On Wednesday last the Bishop of Australia laid the foundation of a Parochial Church at Prospect . There is no foundation stone in St Bartholomew s; it is believed that this action of the Bishop signified the foundation of the Church as a group of people.
The Rev H H Bobart was appointed and performed the first services. The first baptisms recorded were of Margaret, Mary and James Goodin, on 2 May 1841. Sadly, Margaret s elder sister, Ann, and Margaret herself were the first burials on 18 July 1841. During 1881-1889 renovations were made and the wooden ceiling was replaced by a metal one, in memory of Robert Crawford. Other memorial gifts included a reading desk, pulpit, new communion rail and handsome font cover.
The Church operated until New Years Eve at the end of 1967, when, due to a second attack of vandalism, it was closed. In 1972 Blacktown Municipal Council took out a fifty-year lease on the property from the Church of England Property Trust, Diocese of Sydney. On 4 November 1989 fire gutted the Church, destroying the 1850s organ and the 1908 furniture. During 2000 restoration work costing $1,374,000 began under the supervision of Graham Edds and Associates, Heritage Architects. This work was funded by Blacktown City Council and the Commonwealth and State governments. In January 2001 Blacktown City Council purchased the property from the Anglican Property Trust. The building is now available for hire for civil wedding services, concerts, exhibitions or any other event that Council considers appropriate.
The Church is of Colonial Georgian design, being a rectangular brick structure with a nave, chancel and two vestries, each vestry having an entrance door. The main entrance is through the bell tower at the front of the building. The tower has a square base with an octagonal belfry. The bell has recently been reinstated to the tower. The church is a plain spacious building comprising a nave chancel and vestry. The tower at the western end had a bell, which was rung from inside the porch. The font, a large shallow bowl on a stone column and base, stood on a slightly raised platform at the back of the church on the left. Six very large kerosene lamps were suspended from the ceiling and there were small wall lamps on the eastern end. A number of marble memorial tablets were on the walls. High box pews provided the seating on the north and south sides, with low backed pews with kneelers in the centre. A hand pumped pipe organ stood at the right hand side. The large windows were of clear glass bordered all around by coloured glass about 13 cm wide.
From 2000 to 2001 the Church was completely restored, including interiors and windows with the use of Federation funding. Today visitors can view William Lawson s vault, along with many other local pioneer graves here. The Church is a must for history enthusiasts; ghost tours are run in the evening once a month. Location: Ponds Road, Prospect, NSW. Phone (ghost tour bookings): (02) 9839 6000
St. Bartholomew s cemetery is located on the same property as the Church. It was once known as the Prospect Cemetery. As the population of the area grew and churches other than Anglican were established in the area, burials from the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist congregations were permitted. The cemetery ontains the grave of Thomas Willmot, the first Shire President of Blacktown, and William Lawson, one of the three who found a way across the Blue Mountains in 1813. Lawson, a local resident, was active in the building of the church. The cemetery is open to the public daily (including weekends) 7.30am - 6.30pm. However, access to graves within the cyclone fence is only available by appointment, through Council (02) 9839 6000.
St Bartholemew's Church, Prospect Hill
Prospect Hill, Sydney's largest body of igneous rock, lies centrally in the Cumberland Plain and dominates the landscape of the area. Very early after first settlement, on 26 April 1788, an exploration party heading west led by Governor Phillip, climbed Prospect Hill. An account by Phillip states that the exploration party saw from Prospect Hill, 'for the first time since we landed Carmathen Hills (Blue Mountains) as likewise the hills to the southward'. Phillip's 'Bellevue' (Prospect Hill) acquired considerable significance for the new settlers. Prospect Hill provided a point from which distances could be meaningfully calculated, and became a major reference point for other early explorers. When Watkin Tench made another official journey to the west in April 1790, probably naming it at that time. He began his journey with reference to Prospect Hill, which commanded a view of the great chain of mountains to the west. A runaway convict, George Bruce, used Prospect Hill as a hideaway from soldiers in the mid-1790's.
During the initial struggling years of European settlement in NSW, Governor Phillip began to settle time-expired convicts on the land as farmers, after the success of James Ruse at Rose Hill. On 18 July 1791 Phillip placed thirteen convicts on the eastern and southern slopes of Prospect Hill, as the soils weathered from the basalt cap were richer than the sandstone derived soils of the Cumberland Plain. The grants, mostly 30 acres, encircled Prospect Hill. The settlers included William Butler, James Castle, Samuel Griffiths, John Herbert, George Lisk, Joseph Morley, John Nicols, William Parish and Edward Pugh. In January 1794 David Collins reported that the Prospect Hill farmers were the most productive in the colony.
The arrival of the first settlers prompted the first organised Aboriginal resistance to the spread of settlement, with the commencement of a violent frontier conflict in which Pemulwuy and his Bidjigal clan played a central role. On 1 May 1801 Governor King took drastic action, issuing a public order requiring that Aboriginal people around Parramatta, Prospect Hill and Georges River should be 'driven back from the settlers' habitations by firing at them'. King's edicts appear to have encouraged a shoot-on-sight attitude whenever any Aboriginal men, women or children appeared.
With the death of Pemulwuy, the main resistance leader, in 1802, Aboriginal resistance gradually diminished near Parramatta, although outer areas were still subject to armed hostilities. Prompted by suggestions to the Reverend Marsden by local Prospect Aboriginal groups that a conference should take place 'with a view of opening the way to reconciliation', Marsden promptly organised a meeting near Prospect Hill. At the meeting, held on 3 May 1805, local Aboriginal representatives discussed with Marsden ways of ending the restrictions and indiscriminate reprisals inflicted on them by soldiers and settlers in response to atrocities committed by other Aboriginal clans. The meeting was significant because a group of Aboriginal women and a young free settler at Prospect named John Kennedy acted as intermediaries. The conference led to the end of the conflict for the Aboriginal clans around Parramatta and Prospect. This conference at Prospect is a landmark in Aboriginal/European relations. Macquarie's 'Native Feasts' held at Parramatta from 1814 followed the precedent set in 1805. The Sydney Gazette report of the meeting is notable for the absence of the sneering tone that characterised its earlier coverage of Aboriginal matters.
From its commencement in 1791 with the early settlement of the area, agricultural use of the land continued at Prospect Hill. Much of the land appears to have been cleared by the 1820s and pastoral use of the land was well established by then. When Governor Macquarie paid a visit to the area in 1810, he was favourably impressed by the comfortable conditions that had been created. Nelson Lawson, third son of explorer William Lawson (1774-1850), built "Greystanes House" as their future family home on the western side of Prospect Hill. Lawson had received the land from his father, who had been granted 500 acres here by the illegal government that followed the overthrow of Governor Bligh in 1808. Governor Macquarie confirmed the grant. The house was demolished in 1928 and the site is now partly covered by the waters of Prospect Reservoir.
By the 1870s, with the collapse of the production of cereal grains across the Cumberland Plain, the Prospect Hill area appears to have largely been devoted to livestock. The land was farmed from 1806-1888 when the Prospect Reservoir was built.