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Arncliffe Suburb Profile

Arncliffe is located 11 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD, a mainly residential area featuring low density detached and semi-detached houses, some medium density townhouses and blocks of units. There are also some areas of commercial and light industrial developments. Arncliffe exhibits much evidence of the diversity of its population, including architectural styles ranging from Victorian through Federation cottages to latter day “statement mansions’.The Al-Zahra Mosque, St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church, St David’s Anglican Church and St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church reflect the multicultural community.

History

dowling-st-houseArncliffe’s name comes from a small village of the same name in North Yorkshire, England. An early land speculator, William Hirst, who gave Arncliffe its name, created a subdivision in 1840 Originally Alderman E G Barton worked to develop the district, including the reclamation of 120 acres of swampland where Barton Park and Kogarah Golf Links now stand. James Beehag also owned land in the area. He later became one of Rockdale’s early mayors. Arncliffe Hill was originally known as Cobbler’s Hill. This area became the vegetable garden for Sydney. When the land was subdivided, many small holdings became farms. Allotments in the village were between 10 and 20 acres.

Notable homes in the district were Athelstane, owned by W G Judd. This later became the site of Athelstane Public School. Another main street, Barden Street, was named after Frederick Barden whose house, Highbery Heights, stood nearby. Dappeto on Wollongong Road built in 1885 by oyster merchant Frederick Gibbins now house a Salvation Army chapel. Belmont and Fairview are identical Federation homes built by two Irish brothers, Thomas and Alexander Milsop, who made their fortunes in the goldfields. Arncliffe Post Office is a Federation style building opened in 1906 and originally contained the Postmaster’s residence upstairs. Arncliffe had many grand and gracious Victorian era houses. In recent years there has been some attempt to preserve those that are left as part of the local heritage.

The Arncliffe to Bexley steam tramway opened in 1909 and connected with trains at Arncliffe Station, an important station on the Illawarra Line. The station building was of elaborate Victorian Italianate style. The platform buildings, footbridge and stairs are remarkably intact. Following the opening of the railway station land sales were brisk. On Saturday, 14th and 22nd November 1884 Richardson & Wrench then located in Pitt Street, Sydney were appointed to sell a large subdivision named “Grand View Estate” adjacent to the railway station.

Commercial Area

Arncliffe’s main shopping centre is centred around Firth Street and Belmore Street, beside the railway station. Commercial and light industrial developments are located in the northern parts of the suburb and along the length of the Princes Highway and surrounding streets. Rockdale City Council and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority are planning the redevelopment of Cooks Cove. The proposal includes an advanced technology Centre, plenty of open space and a variety of recreational facilities.