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Penrith

Penrith is a city in New South Wales, Australia, located in Greater Western Sydney, 55 kilometres (31 mi) west of the Sydney central business district on the banks of the Nepean River, on the outskirts of the Cumberland Plain.

Details

  • Area:12.202 km2
  • Elevation:36 m
  • Population:13,295
  • Local Government Area:Penrith City Council

Description

Penrith is a city in New South Wales, Australia, located in Greater Western Sydney, 55 kilometres (31 mi) west of the Sydney central business district on the banks of the Nepean River, on the outskirts of the Cumberland Plain. Its elevation is 32 metres (105 ft). Penrith is on Darug Aboriginal Country and then is the administrative centre of the local government area of the City of Penrith. The Geographical Names Board of New South Wales acknowledges Penrith as one of only four cities within the Greater Sydney metropolitan area. # History ## Indigenous settlement Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the Penrith area was home to the Mulgoa tribe of the Darug people. They lived in makeshift huts called gunyahs, hunted native animals such as kangaroos, fished in the Nepean River, and gathered local fruits and vegetables such as yams. They lived under an elaborate system of law which had its origins in the Dreamtime. Most of the Mulgoa were killed by smallpox or galgala shortly after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Early British explorers such as Watkin Tench described them as friendly, saying, "they bade us adieu, in unabated friendship and good humour". ## European exploration The recorded history of Penrith began on 26 June 1789. Eighteen months after the landing of the First Fleet, an exploring party led by Captain Watkin Tench set out to further discoveries made by Governor Arthur Phillip earlier in the month. In the daylight hours of 27 June, Tench and his party discovered the broad expanse of the Nepean River. Tench's party became the first Europeans to see the site of what is now the City of Penrith. Tench later wrote ‘we found ourselves on the banks of a river, nearly as broad as theThames at Putney and apparently of great depth’. Phillip later named the river after Evan Nepean, the under-secretary of state in the Home Office, who had been largely responsible for the organisation of the First Fleet. From this point, European settlement began in earnest, firstly on the Hawkesbury River, and later southward up the Nepean. ## European settlement Governor Phillip Gidley King began granting land in the area to settlers in 1804 with Captain Daniel Woodriff's 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) on the banks of the river the first land grant in the area. The first government building in the district was the military depot built (at the present Penrith police station) by William Cox, in mid-1815 near the new Road (Great Western Road) on unassigned Crown land, set well back from the river. It represented the formalisation of law and order in the district. Its placement seems to have been a practical decision by Cox, placing it on flood-free Crown land on the new road to Parramatta, just east of Woodriff's Rodley Farm. Governor Lachlan Macquarie paid Cox £200 for ‘erecting a Depot for Provisions, Guard House, erecting necessary Enclosures for cattle and Garden Ground, Frame for a Well … on the newnear Emu Ford’.At this time, Emu Ford was one of the few locality names that would indicate the depot's position. In 1816 Cox mentioned the lockup at ‘Penryhn’, among a list of expenses. There appears little doubt that he was referring to the depot that was later referred to as Penrith. The name for the new depot, Penrhyn, may have simply been misinterpreted by others.Penrhyn was possibly named after the First Fleet ship that carried women convicts, the Lady Penrhyn. There is no historical evidence to prove Macquarie's hand in naming the depot, especially considering he often endowed and recorded benefactors with that favour. Furthermore,Macquarie would have ensured that a plan of the town would have been drawn up.No documentary evidence has shed any light on Macquarie'sreasoning for the placement of this depot and its connection with his vision for a township at Castlereagh.What is clear is that the origin of the name, Penrith is steeped in mystery. Penrith was possibly named after Penrith in Cumbria by someone who knew the old town and who noted geographical similarities. By 1819, the name Penrith was in use with its first reference in the Sydney Gazette on 8 December 1821 appointing John Proctor as keeper of the new gaol and court house. The lockup at Penrith placed government law and order in the centre of the Evan district. This group of buildings became the point of contact for local administration for anything ranging from issuing publican's licences, holding inquests and church services. Although a magistrate had been appointed to Castlereagh in 1811, the Penrith lockup increased in importance with its promotion to a court house in 1817. A bench of magistrates was appointed: Sir John Jamison, the Reverend Henry Fulton, John McHenry and a military officer from the regiment stationed there. In 1814, William Cox constructed a road across the Blue Mountains which passed through Woodriff's land at Penrith. Initial settlement in the area was unplanned but substantial enough for a courthouse to be established in 1817.The post office was established in 1828, the Anglican church, St Stephens, was opened and consecrated 16 July 1839 followed by the Catholic Church, St Nicholas of Myra, in 1850. Two other prominent Penrith pioneers were Irish-born Thomas Jamison (1752/53-1811), a member of the First Fleet and surgeon-general of New South Wales (after whom Jamisontown is named), and his son, the landowner, physician and constitutional reformer Sir John Jamison (1776–1844). In 1824, Sir John erected the colony's finest Georgian mansion, Regentville House, near Penrith, on a ridge overlooking the Nepean River. Sir John established an impressive agricultural estate at Regentville and became a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. His grave can be seen in St Stephen's graveyard. Regentville House burned down in 1868 but most of its stonework was salvaged and used for building projects in and around Penrith. The first bridge, financed by local business James Tobias (Toby) Ryan was opened over the Nepean in 1856 and was washed away the following year in a flood. The railway line was extended to Penrith in 1863, a school was established in 1865 and in 1871 the area became a municipality. It officially became a city in 1959. # Weather # Things to do

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