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Bankstown
SydneyNew South Wales
Bankstown 13.jpg
Bankstown CBD
Population: 30,572
Established: 1795
Postcode: 2200
Location: 20 km (12 mi) west of Sydney CBD
LGA: Canterbury-Bankstown Council
State District:
  • Bankstown
  • Lakemba
  • East Hills
Federal Division:
Suburbs around Bankstown:
Yagoona Chullora Greenacre
Condell Park Bankstown Mount Lewis Punchbowl
Revesby Padstow Riverwood

Bankstown is a suburb of south-western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is 20 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district and is located in the local government area of Canterbury-Bankstown Council, having previously been the administrive centre of the City of Bankstown prior to 2016.

History

Prior to European settlement, Cumberland Plains Woodland occupied much of the area. Turpentine ironbark forest covered much of what is now Bankstown. The land was occupied by the Bediagal people. Their land bordered the Dharawal and the Darung people. The Aboriginal inhabitants strongly opposed the European settlers. The resistance ceased after a number of their leaders were killed or imprisoned in 1816. In that year an epidemic broke out amongst the native people which reduced the Aboriginal populations, this also contributed to the end of their resistance. Bankstown is also culturally diverse

In 1795, Matthew Flinders and George Bass explored up the Georges River for about 20 miles beyond what had been previously surveyed, and reported favourably to Governor Hunter of the land on its banks. Hunter examined the country himself, and established one of the pioneer colonies there, called Bank's Town, today written as one word Bankstown.

Hunter named the area Bankstown after Sir Joseph Banks, who travelled to Australia with Captain James Cook in 1770. The area of first European settlement along the river has been partially preserved as part of the Mirambeena Regional Park.

The first town hall and Council Chambers were built in 1898 on the northern side of the Hume Highway (Liverpool Road), near Rookwood Road (site of the Three Swallows Hotel). The council chambers were relocated to a new building in South Terrace (now Old Town Centre Plaza) in June 1918. The building still stands and now has a shopping arcade running through it.

World War II

Rwaybridge1946 in Bankstown
Bankstown Plaza 1946.

In 1939, local residents were made privy to the events of World War II. Conscripted residents were required to report for duty at a drill hall on Canterbury Road, Belmore. Camps were set up in and around Canterbury Racecourse and local parks in the district. Residents with foreign names were sent to internment camps as there was growing suspicion about residents with foreign names. A portion of these folk were Australian citizens who served with the Australian armed forces during World War I.

During World War II, Bankstown Airport was established as a key strategic air base to support the war effort. After the arrival of Douglas MacArthur in Australia, control of Bankstown Airport was handed to US Forces, becoming home to US 35th Fighter Squadron and the 41st Pursuit Squadron of the United States Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces who occupied the airport from 1942 to 1944. In 1945 operations became the responsibility of the British Fleet Air Arm, known as HMS Nabberley, until 1946, when it was handed back to the RAAF.

Bankstown town hall hdr
Bankstown's Town Hall

During this period an RAAF unit known as No. 1 Fighter Sector RAAF took control of the Capital Hall in Bankstown. This unit was formed in Bankstown, on 25 February 1942. Their living quarters were located next door and down the road from the hall & the staff were housed in galvanised iron barracks. Operations were handed over to the United States Army Air Corps on 10 April 1942 before they were transferred to a disused railway tunnel at St James railway station in Sydney. The unit was renamed, Air Defence Headquarters Sydney (ADHQ) on 21 January 1945 and moved into a three-storey semi-underground purpose built operations and plotting facility at Bankstown, known as the Bankstown Bunker.

World War II began Bankstown's industrial revolution. Few factories or industry of any consequence were located in Bankstown prior to 1945, this was changed dramatically between 1942 and 1954, especially when the Department of Aircraft Production gave approval for aircraft manufacturer Hawker De Havilland, to operate a factory at the airport for the production and manufacture of de Havilland Mosquito bombers. There are now over seven-thousand businesses operating within the Bankstown district.

Post World War II

Bankstown's population increased dramatically after World War II by people relocating from the inner-city areas and incoming migrants, mainly from Europe and towards the end of the 20th century from Asia, Middle East (especially Vietnamese and Lebanese ) and the rest of the world.

Bankstown Council relocated to its third premises in 1963 when the Civic Centre that is located on the corner of Chapel Road and The Mall was constructed. It included the Council Chambers or 'Roundhouse', as it's called and is still in use today as an administration building. The current town hall was built in 1973. The administration building was destroyed by fire on 1 July 1997. Council offices relocated to Bankstown Civic Tower (the blue tower) in 1999 and on 13 June 2000 Bankstown's now popular Central Park, where the former administration building once stood, was officially declared Paul Keating Park.

On 27 May 1980, during a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Bankstown was accorded city status.

Bankstown Bunker

The Bankstown Bunker is a disused RAAF operations facility, located on the corner of Marion and Edgar Street, Bankstown. The specially constructed bunker became an important Royal Australian Air Force headquarters from 1945 until its closure in 1947.

The Bankstown Bunker is of similar design to the underground Ops rooms of wartime England, which directed Britain's air defence fighter plane attacks on the invading German Luftwaffe. Entrance to the bunker was obtained through a concrete passageway which was well screened by a grassy slope, a stairway led to a maze of corridors and hallways leading to various sections.

The Bankstown bunker is currently buried under a public park which lies at the end of Taylor Street.

Transport

Bankstown's new rail bridge under construction
Bankstown's new rail bridge under construction, completed in April 2011

Bankstown railway station is on the Bankstown line of the Sydney Trains network. The rail line was built to Belmore in 1895 and then extended to Bankstown in 1909. The line was electrified in 1926. In 1928, the line was extended westwards from Bankstown to join the Main Suburban railway at Lidcombe and the Main South line to Liverpool. Bankstown is a major bus interchange for a number of bus services.

The Sydney Metropolitan Airport, more commonly known as Bankstown Airport, was established in 1940 and is constructed on 313 hectares. It has three runways, an extensive taxiway and includes a large business park containing over 170 businesses.

Parks and recreation

Major parks within Bankstown include McLeod Reserve, Bankstown Oval, Paul Keating Park and Bankstown City Gardens.

'Bankstown City Gardens' were opened to the public in 1973. These gardens consist of many unusual types of flora found in Bankstown and the surrounding area. The park consist of different areas, native, tropical, rose garden and Perennial.

'Paul Keating Park' was built on the site of Bankstown Council's former administration building, after it was destroyed by fire on 1 July 1997.

Bankstown gardens
Botanical gardens, Bankstown

Population

Bankstownabodes1
Contemporary apartments in South Terrace, Bankstown.

Demographics

Bankstown has one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Australia. Bankstown is considered as one of the most multicultural areas in the country with over 60 different languages spoken by the people of this suburb.

In the 2011 census, Bankstown recorded a population of 30,572 people: of 50.5% female and 49.5% male.

The median age of the Bankstown population was 31 years, 6 years below the national median of 37.

38.2% of people living in Bankstown were born in Australia. The other top responses for country of birth were Vietnam 12.7%, Lebanon 7.3%, China 5.5%, Macedonia 1.7%, Pakistan 1.5%.

16.9% of people spoke only English at home; the next most common languages were 23.5% Arabic, 17.3% Vietnamese, 4.7% Mandarin, 3.6% Cantonese, 3.3% Greek.

The religious make up of Bankstown is 26.2% Islam, 21.5% Catholic, 12.2% Buddhism, 8.7% No Religion, 8.6% Eastern Orthodox.

Notable residents

The following people are residents or former residents of Bankstown:

  • Blake Ferguson, current Sydney Roosters player
  • Paul Keating, former Prime Minister of Australia
  • Brett Holman, former Socceroo
  • Casey Donovan, winner of the second Australian Idol
  • Paulini Curuenavuli, finalist from the first Australian Idol
  • Melanie Roche, Olympic Medalist
  • Brett Emerton, former Socceroo
  • John and Ilsa Konrads, siblings and world record-breaking swimmers

Climate

Bankstown has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). Similarly to most of Western Sydney, it features warm to hot summers and mild winters. The average summer temperature range is from 17.6 °C (63.7 °F) to 27.8 °C (82.0 °F), although hot north-westerly winds can cause temperatures to rise up to +40 °C (104 °F). On average, Bankstown sees 8.8 days per year where the temperature rises above 35 °C (95 °F), as opposed to only 3.0 days for Sydney Observatory Hill., The average winter temperature range is from 5.9 °C (42.6 °F) to 18.0 °C (64.4 °F). On average, 1 night per year sees a minimum temperature drop below freezing (0 °C).

The highest temperature recorded at Bankstown was 46.1 °C (115.0 °F) on 18 January 2013, and the lowest temperature recorded was -4.0 °C (24.8 °F) on 26 July 1968. Bankstown's annual mean rainfall is 869.0mm, slightly less than the Sydney CBD, which is affected more by coastal showers which do not penetrate very far inland.

Climate data for Bankstown Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 46.1
(115)
43.3
(109.9)
41.6
(106.9)
36.9
(98.4)
28.5
(83.3)
25.4
(77.7)
26.7
(80.1)
30.2
(86.4)
35.6
(96.1)
39.7
(103.5)
43.1
(109.6)
43.6
(110.5)
46.1
(115)
Average high °C (°F) 28.2
(82.8)
27.8
(82)
26.2
(79.2)
23.7
(74.7)
20.5
(68.9)
17.7
(63.9)
17.2
(63)
19.0
(66.2)
21.7
(71.1)
23.8
(74.8)
25.3
(77.5)
27.3
(81.1)
23.2
(73.8)
Average low °C (°F) 18.1
(64.6)
18.1
(64.6)
16.2
(61.2)
12.7
(54.9)
9.5
(49.1)
6.7
(44.1)
5.1
(41.2)
6.0
(42.8)
8.7
(47.7)
11.8
(53.2)
14.4
(57.9)
16.6
(61.9)
12.0
(53.6)
Record low °C (°F) 10.4
(50.7)
10.0
(50)
7.8
(46)
2.4
(36.3)
1.3
(34.3)
-1.9
(28.6)
-4.0
(24.8)
-0.7
(30.7)
0.0
(32)
4.4
(39.9)
6.8
(44.2)
6.3
(43.3)
-4.0
(24.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 90.8
(3.575)
107.0
(4.213)
100.3
(3.949)
83.8
(3.299)
67.9
(2.673)
75.3
(2.965)
44.1
(1.736)
49.9
(1.965)
43.8
(1.724)
60.2
(2.37)
78.6
(3.094)
68.8
(2.709)
869.0
(34.213)
Humidity 54 57 55 54 55 55 50 44 45 48 52 51 52
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 11.0 11.0 11.3 9.0 9.6 9.5 8.0 7.2 7.5 9.1 11.0 9.9 114.1
  • Sue Rosen 1996, Bankstown, a Sense of Identity

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Bankstown Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.