Strathfield Council history
As the population of the Strathfield district (then known as Redmire) grew, local people wished to form their own council so they could have a say in how their district developed and was managed.
After many petitions were tabled with the State Government, approval was granted to form local government. The Municipality (or local government area) of Strathfield was incorporated on 2 June 1885 covering the localities of Redmire, Druitt Town and Homebush. The locality of Redmire was renamed Strathfield in 1885 and Druitt Town was renamed Strathfield South in the 1890’s.
At the time of incorporation the population of the Strathfield Council area was estimated at 600 and the net revenue was £1,210. The area at that time was only about 1/3 of the size of today’s Council area with boundaries at Homebush Crescent and the railway in the north, the Boulevarde in the east, Liverpool Road and the Cooks River in the south and undeveloped land in the west.
The name ‘Strathfield’ was derived from the house of jeweller John Hardy, which was originally built c.1868 for Walter Renny, a Mayor of Sydney. The house has since been demolished but a plaque is located on the footpath indicating the approximate location of the former house. This house was originally named ‘Stratfieldsaye’, which was also the name of a ship which brought many migrants from England to Australia including future NSW Premier Henry Parkes. Stratfieldsaye is also the name of the Duke of Wellington’s Estate in England.
The first Mayor of Strathfield was George Hardie, an auctioneer and mining agent, who lived in a house called ‘Torrington’. The first Strathfield Council Chambers were located in a private home called ‘Steephurst’ 22-24 Albyn Road Strathfield. The Strathfield Council Chambers were built in 1887 and designed by the architectural firm of John Sulman and C E Blackmann. The Council Chambers have had many additions including a first floor and Town Hall, built in 1923.
Addition of other areas to the Council area have expanded the size of the Council over time. In 1947, the Municipality of Homebush was abolished and added to Strathfield Council. The former Homebush Council was located north of the Railway line and included areas such as Mason and Bressington Parks. In 1949, the west ward of the former Enfield Council was added to Strathfield Council. This area was bounded by Liverpool Rd, Coronation Parade, Roberts Rd and Punchbowl Rd. The addition of these areas included large amounts of parks and commercial and industrial sites such as Parramatta Road where the Stockyards were located. This site is now Sydney Markets. In 1992, a section of the northern part of the Municipality was transferred to the Auburn Council area. In return, the area of and between Boundary Creek and the railway line, occupied by the former Ford factory building, was transferred from Auburn to Strathfield Council.
Following the introduction of the Local Government Act in 1919, Strathfield Council was one of the first to proclaim the major part of its area a residential district by proclamation in 1920. The proclamation excluded any trade, industry, shop, place of amusement, advertisements or residential flats and largely stayed in place until 1969 when the proclamation was suspended by the Strathfield Planning Scheme Ordinance.
While Strathfield is known for its parklands, the first public park, Strathfield Park, was not dedicated until 1914. Many parks were acquired in the 1920s and 1930s to provide open space for increasing populations. Strathfield now has a wide variety of parks and reserves ranging from large areas such as Hudson Park and Airey Park to smaller local parks such Boden Reserve and Pilgrim Reserve.
Strathfield is also known for its’ many schools and churches. Strathfield has many primary and secondary schools, both private and public including Santa Sabina, Meriden, Trinity Grammar, St Patrick’s, Strathfield Girls High and Homebush Boys High. The Australian Catholic University also has a campus in Strathfield. The earliest Church built in Strathfield was St Ann’s Catholic Church at Strathfield South in 1859-64 but there are many historic churches including St Anne’s Anglican Church (Beresford Road), Homebush Uniting Church (Meredith Street Homebush) and Strathfield Uniting Church (Carrington Avenue).
Strathfield Council is made up of seven Councillors, who are elected every four years. The Mayor is periodically elected from and by the Councillors. Councillors decide on major decisions and policies, while Council staff implement these decisions and administer the activities of the Council.
Strathfield remains primarily a residential district. Since the 1960s the population of Sydney has continued to grow with increasing demand for housing. Since the 1960s, home units and town houses have been built in Strathfield, particularly around railway stations to provide more housing accommodation. Homes and streets in Strathfield, which are considered significant and valuable to current and future generations, have been heritage listed to assist their long-term preservation.
Since World War II, Strathfield has become highly multicultural. The last Australian Census indicated that over 50% of the population were born in countries other than Australia. Today the Strathfield Local Government Area includes the suburbs of Strathfield, Strathfield South, Homebush, Homebush West, part of Belfield and part of Greenacre.
Fox and Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study Vol. 1 and 2, Strathfield Municipal Council, 1986.
Jones, Cathy, ‘A short history of Strathfield’, Strathfield District Historical Society Newsletter, January 2005.
Jones, MA, Oasis in the West: Strathfield’s First One Hundred Years, Allen and Unwin, 1985.
Strathfield Municipal Council, Strathfield Information Sheet: some notes on the Municipality of Strathfield, 1974.