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History of the Bankstown Area

By Christina Anceski

Are you new to the Bankstown area? Our area has a lot to offer and has a lot of history as well.

Located just 20km south-west of Sydney CBD and only 30 minutes by direct rail link or road from Sydney Airport.

Covering a total area of 77 sq kilometres Bankstown is home to the picturesque Georges River, Georges River National Park, and more than 350 parks and sporting reserves in Bankstown, there are plenty of parklands and recreational places to enjoy. You can have a picnic with the family at Mirambeena Regional Park, try boating or water-skiing on the Georges River, take a bushwalk, enjoy a social or organised sporting match, or take a leisurely walk along the river foreshores.

The district of Banks Town was named by Governor Hunter in 1797 in honour of botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who travelled to Australia with Captain James Cook in 1770. The area was discovered during an expedition of the Georges River by George Bass and Matthew Flinders. The area of first European settlement along the river has been partially preserved as part of the Mirrumbeena Regional Reserve. Bankstown also includes large areas of the Georges River National Park.

Bankstown became a municipality in 1895, and then declared official city status in 1980 in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The rapid post-war boom in population and development in Bankstown reflected the Commonwealth Government’s immigration policy, making Bankstown one of the most multicultural cities in Australia. Villawood was the first home for many migrants to Australia. The Villawood Hostel opened in 1949 was the largest migrant hostel in Australia.  From the 1970s onwards there was a dramatic shift in the origin of the immigrant population settling in Bankstown. The number of migrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and southern Europe, declined, while those from the Middle East and Asia increased. People from more than 130 nationalities, speaking more than 60 different languages reflect the cultural diversity today.

Today the Bankstown Local Government Area consists of 23 suburbs many with interesting history behind their place names.

Source: Bankstown City Council

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