Bexley is located 14 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. It is part of the St George re and, formerly located within Rockdale and Canterbury Council areas, it is now part of the local government area of Bayside, being the merged councils of Rockdale and Botany Bay.
In 1812 one Thomas Sylvester was granted land in the area of what is now Bexley and upon which he established a farm. It became known, not unsurprisingly, as Sylvester’s Farm. Yen years later he sold his farm to a young Englishman named James Chandler, who was granted a further 485 hectares/1.200 acres of high land in its virgin state. It stretched from what is now Bexley North to Rockdale and Kogarah. Chandler named the area after his birthplace, Bexley in the south-east of London.
- Chandler became known locally as the Squire of Bexley.
- Chandler’s estate was heavily timbered. A track through the centre of the estate, used by timber-getters, is today called Forest Road, the main road in Bexley and the location of the commercial area.
- Queen Victoria Street, Gladstone Street and Beaconsfield Street commemorate the British Queen and two of her prime ministers.
- Chandler sold his land in 1836 to Charles Thompson, unhappy that his landholding had attracted bushrangers, escaped convicts and other odd types. Thompson subsequently sold the land to Charles Tindell, who began subdividing the land by 1856 for home sites. An upsurge in development began after the railway line to Hurstville was opened in 1884
Forest Road, Bexley 1951
Bexley School, 1914
Original Bexley Public School, 1892
Arncliffe to Bexley steam tram, date unknown
A Forest Road view today
Bickley Vale is a rural locality located 54 kilometres west from Sydney and 2 kilometres west of Camden, is part of the Camden area and, to be honest, I hadn’t heard of it until now. It was assigned the status of a suburb in October 1991.
The name Bickley Vale was taken from the property owned by the Sidman family, and later became the name of their residence at 69 John Street in Camden. It was demolished in 1984 for the erection of the Camden Senior Citizens Centre. Prior to 1952 the Sidman family owned the newspapers that have today evolved into the local newspaper the Advertiser.
- Bickley Vale is located within an area of land granted by Governor Brisbane to John Macarthur, soldier, entrepreneur and pastoralist. This 1823 grant consisted of 2,023 hectares/5,000 acres and adjoined Macarthur’s Camden Park Estate, which had been granted in 1805. It was here that Macarthur established his flourishing wool, wine and wheat industries, founding the Australian wool industry and giving rise to the identification of the area as ‘The Birthplace of the Nation’s Wealth’ as suggested on the Camden sign on Camden Valley Way.
- In 1885, 1,500 hectares/3,600 acres of Camden Park Estate was subdivided into small farms of up to 53 hectares/130 acres each.
- Bickley Vale is the only location in the Camden municipality to remain virtually untouched by residential development, with only a handful of occupied dwellings. Much natural forest and many wooded areas remain.
- Another notable fact: friends and Byters Steve M and Diane M reside in the area, in a locality named Razorback, population 1,082 (census 2016). Razorback is the name used to describe the mountain range since the earliest days of the colony but there is no definite explanation for the origin. It has been suggested that it looks sharp-edged and flat-topped, like the edge of a razor but it might equally be named after wild pigs. (Apparently the term “razorback”, also used in the US for pigs, refers to domestic pigs which have escaped into the wild and the offspring thereof, not to native pigs.)
A house on Burragorang Road, Bickley Vale,
Dowles Lane, Bickley Vale
Bidwill is located 48 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Blacktown.
Bidwill is named after John Carne Bidwill (1815-1853) appointed as botanist in charge at the Botanic Gardens in 1847.
Bidwill was dominated by the development of public housing in the 1960s and 1970s. In recent times, Bidwill has been associated with social and economic problems. These have resulted in an increase of crime and such trouble as riots.
Bidwill is primarily a residential suburb with extremely limited commercial activity. It is quite close to the suburbs of Mount Druitt and St Marys, which have larger shopping centres, banking facilities and railway stations.
Limited commercial facilities such as supermarkets and service stations are available at Emerton and Plumpton rather than in Bidwill itself. A small supermarket complex existed at Bidwill in the 1990s, but failed due to competition from larger facilities nearby. There have been ongoing attempts to reopen the shopping complex.c
According to the 2011 census of Population, there were 4,588 residents in Bidwill. 72.7% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were New Zealand 4.1%, Samoa 2.7%, England 1.8%, Philippines 1.1% and Fiji 0.8%.
Housing is very heavily dominated by public housing built throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with large numbers of freestanding fibro houses and extensive terrace-style complexes. The houses are gradually transferring to private ownership and as this continues these government-built premises are being replaced with privately built, modern homes, similar to those being built in other areas of Sydney.
Most local housing is owned by either the Department of Housing or Aboriginal Housing Office.
Bidwill shopping complex, opened in 2009, remains closed despite government attempts to have it reopen.