Strathfield is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia.
- Area:6.572 km2
- Elevation:18 m
- Local Government Area:Strathfield Council
Strathfield is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 12 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre of the Municipality of Strathfield. A small section of the suburb north of the railway line lies within the City of Canada Bay, while the area east of The Boulevard lies within the Municipality of Burwood. North Strathfield and Strathfield South are separate suburbs to the north and south, respectively.
The Strathfield district lies between the Concord Plains to the north and the Cooks River to the south, and was originally occupied by the Wangal clan. European colonisation in present-day Strathfield commenced in 1793 with the issue of land grants in the area of "Liberty Plains", an area including present-day Strathfield as well as surrounding areas, where the first free settlers received land grants. In 1808, a grant was made to James Wilshire, which forms the largest part of the current suburb of Strathfield. This grant was bounded by present-day The Boulevarde, Chalmers Street and Liverpool Road. Wiltshire's 1 square kilometre (0.39 sq mi) grant by Governor Macquarie in 1808 [regranted 1810] followed representations from Lord Nelson, a relation by marriage of Wilshire.
In the west, Wiltshire's grant neighboured an area that was granted in 1823 to the Church of England, to support clergy in the colony, which covered the western part of present-day Strathfield and Flemington (Homebush West). The church lands were sold in 1841Ownership of Wiltshire's grant was transferred in 1824 to ex-convict Samuel Terry. The land became known as the Redmire Estate, which Michael Jones says could either be named after his home town in (Redmire) in North Yorkshire, England, or could be named after the "red clay of the Strathfield area".
## Birth of Strathfield
The railway came to Strathfield in 1855, with Homebush station built as one of the initial four stations on the railway line between Sydney and Parramatta. A station was sited here because of the presence of Homebush Racecourse north of Parramatta Road. The arrival of the railway spurred residential development. Subdivision of the "Redmire Estate" began in 1867, which led to residential development forming the village of "Redmire" or "Redmyre". An early buyer was one-time Mayor of Sydney, Walter Renny who built in 1868 a house they called Stratfieldsaye, possibly after the Duke of Wellington's mansion near Reading, Berkshire. It may have also been named after the transport ship of the same name that transported many immigrants – including Sir Henry Parkes – to Australia, though the transport ship was probably also named after the Duke's mansion as it was built soon after his death and was likely named in his honour. A plaque marking the location of Stratfield Saye can be found in the footpath of Strathfield Avenue, marking the approximate location of the original house [though some of the wording on the plaque is incorrect]. According to local historian Cathy Jones, "ownership of [Stratfieldsaye] was transferred several times including to Davidson Nichol, who shortened the name to 'Strathfield House', then 'Strathfield'." In 1877, development had progressed sufficiently to justify the addition of a halt on the railway line at Redmyre, east of existing Homebush station. The Village of Homebush Estate, part of which forms the northern part of today's Strathfield, was subdivided in 1878.
By 1885, sufficient numbers of people resided in the district to enable incorporation of its own local government. "Strathfield" as a geographical name was first established when Strathfield Council was proclaimed on 2 June 1885 by the Governor of NSW, Sir Augustus Loftus, after residents of the Redmire area petitioned the New South Wales State government for the establishment of local government. The new local government area included parts of the three established residential areas of Redmire (now central Strathfield), Homebush (now Homebush South and northern Strathfield) and Druitt Town (now southern Strathfield). Residents in Homebush and Druitt Town formed their own unsuccessful counter-petition. It is likely that the region was named Strathfield to neutralise the rivalry between Homebush and Redmire. The railway station was also renamed "Strathfield" in 1885, and it became an important interchange station when the Great Northern Railway was opened the following year, between Strathfield and Hornsby.
## Strathfield Council
Strathfield Council was incorporated in 1885 and included parts of the then-established suburbs of Redmire, Homebush and Druitt Town. The part of Redmire incorporated into Strathfield Council included the central part of today's suburb of Strathfield, the part of Homebush incorporated into Strathfield included the southern part of today's suburb of Homebush as well as the northern part of today's Strathfield (Village of Homebush or Homebush South), and the part of Druitt Town incorporated into Strathfield included the southern part of today's Strathfield. In directories, addresses in all three areas were included under "Strathfield" after the council was established.
The adjoining areas of Flemington, North Homebush and southern Druitt Town was unincorporated. The southern part of Flemington was annexed to Strathfield Council in 1892 (now the southern part of Homebush West and the western part of Strathfield), which increased the size of the Council area by about 50%. The Council formed three wards – Flemington, Homebush and Strathfield – and Aldermen was elected to represent their ward at Council. Wards were abolished in 1916. Today's suburb of Strathfield encompasses the entire Council area as enlarged in 1892, except for a small area immediately to the south of Homebush and Flemington stations. When the separate Municipality of Homebush was amalgamated with Strathfield Council in 1947, the former village centres immediately south of Homebush and Flemington stations were carved out of Strathfield and joined with the east and west parts of Homebush Council areas respectively to create the modern suburbs of Homebush and Homebush West.
Meanwhile, the southern part of Druitt Town which was not incorporated into Strathfield became part of Enfield Council, then was amalgamated into Strathfield Council in 1949 and renamed "Strathfield South".
The eastern part of former Redmire - renamed Strathfield - became part of Burwood Council. The boundary between Strathfield and Burwood was a straight line running north-south aligned with the Boulevarde, and as a result there was a small portion to the north of Strathfield Council boundaries and west of Burwood Council boundaries that was not part of either council. This portion became part of Concord Council (later combined into the City of Canada Bay). This has resulted in the modern suburb of Strathfield being split between the three councils.
## Residential and commercial development
The suburb of Strathfield became a popular residential suburb in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The building of Strathfield station, and its expansion into a major suburban, intercity and interstate station, with direct services to Sydney Central, Melbourne and Canberra, helped to make the suburb one of the most accessible in Sydney by rail. It was also close to major road and water transport routes. Members of Sydney's business elite, such as the family of William Arnott and David Jones, built various large homes in Strathfield. After federation, Strathfield continued to be favoured by business and political leaders, with prime ministers Earle Page, George Reid and Frank Forde all having lived in the suburb, and Billy Hughes lived in the part of "Strathfield" which is now Homebush South. Page, for example, chose to live in Strathfield because of its direct rail services to Melbourne, then the seat of federal parliament, and his electorate on the north coast of New South Wales. Some of the large homes built in this period were purchased by private schools, and the unusually large number of private and public schools in the one suburb further increased residential demand.
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. Strathfield underwent suburban subdivision in the early 20th century, with more suburban houses on smaller lots being built rather than the substantial mansions with expansive grounds built in the earlier period. Nevertheless, it remained a popular residential area. In 1977, Strathfield was the most expensive suburb in metropolitan Sydney measured by median house price.More significant commercial development took place in the last quarter of the 20th century, with a "modern" shopping centre, Strathfield Plaza, opening in 1981, accompanied by the first high rise residential apartment building in the suburb. More towers followed in the next few decades, concentrated around the station.
## Strathfield Murders
On 17 August 1991, seven people were killed, when Wade Frankum stabbed a fifteen-year-old girl to death, before running amok with a rifle in the Strathfield Plaza shopping mall, and then turning the weapon on himself. This is commonly known as the Strathfield Massacre. A Memorial plaque is located at Churchill Avenue, Strathfield.
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