History of Annandale

Whites Creek Aquaduct by Joel Tarling
Aquaduct by Joel Tarling

In 1793, the land between Paramatta Road (Great Western Highway), Johnston Creek, Whites Creek and Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), was given to George Johnston, who had supervised the transportation of convicts in the First Fleet. Johstone re-named the area Annandale after his birthplace Annan, Scotland. A century earlier, another emigre had named Annandale, Virginia, USA.

Annandale, NSW would have been covered by Turpentine and Ironbark forest. Over the subsequent decades the forest was felled for its valuable timbers and cleared for farming.

By 1876, the estate was being sub-divided. In 1877, John Young acquired North Annandale for £121,000. The following year his company offered a prize of £150 for the best design for Annandale. Ferdinand Reuss Junior put forward a plan, to subdivide the land into a grid pattern. A grand 100 foot wide Johnston Street would be the "location of villas and the better class of houses, as much as possible by themselves"; Annandale St, would be a slightly less grand, with the streets reduced to 80 feet in width; and the rest of the estate would be divided into 66 foot wide streets, with 66 foot frontage blocks, to house artisan's.

Two Steam Tramlines opened in 1883 to service Annandale - one along Parramatta Road and the Balmain line was extended from Glebe, along Taylor and Booth Streets to Balmain Road. The Annandale Public School was opened in 1886.

kookaburra eating a snake carved out of standstone
Kookaburra and snake, carved out of sandstone. Part of the facade of Uniting Church in Annandale

In 1889, The Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church was completed. In 1898, Cardinal Moran laid the foundation Stone of St Brendan's Catholic Primary School. The Methodist church was established in Johnston Street in 1891.

Animal, Bird and Plant motifs decorate the facade of the Methodist (now Uniting) Church - "An 1889 text mentions its stone carvings' which are characteristic of the flora and fauna of the colony"1.

In 1896, the Annandale Sewer Aqueducts over Johnston's Creek and White's Creeks became Australia's first reinforced concrete structure. Between 1898 and 1938, Whites Creek and Johnstons Creek, were concreted as Stormwater Channels 95 and 55.

Henry Parkes, Premier of NSW 1872 - 1892 and "Father of Federation" lived at "Kenilworth" in Annandale until his death in 1896. The Beale Piano factory opened in 1902 by Edmond Barton and Beale and Co. were the first to produce Veneer in Australia. Other factories also sprung up in Annandale.

In the 1990's, local residents sought to reintroduce local provenance plants to encourage native birds to return to Annandale. In 1995, they established The Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery to propagate plants from nearby bushland. Through the efforts and inspiration of Beth Buchannen, in particular, local provenance plants are once again thriving in the public spaces around Annandale. Beth's passion in engaging with numerous government agencies and motivating volunteers was recognised with an OAM in the 2005 Queens Birthday honours.

In 1994, Ted Floyd initiated the Friends of the Earth "Living water Project". In 2001 the Federal Park Tidally-Influenced Salt Marsh Wetland was constructed to filter water before it entered the harbour via Johnston's Creek. The following year a series of ponds were constructed the Whites Creek Wetlands were created on the other side of Annandale. In addition to filtering out nutrients and pollutants from Storm Water, these wetlands provide a habitat for birds, animals and aquatic life.

Marghanita da Cruz

Footnotes & References

Community Bringing Back the Bush - Landcare Australia - City of Sydney - Leichhardt Municipal Council
David and John with wheelbarrow, in front of nursery in Chapman St.

Eco-Annandale 2009 marks 10 years of Annandale on the Web