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Emu Plains
SydneyNew South Wales
Emu Plains Railway Station
Population 8,421 (2016 census)
 • Density 1,063.3/km2 (2,754/sq mi)
Established 1814
Postcode(s) 2750
Elevation 27 m (89 ft)
Area 7.92 km2 (3.1 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Penrith
State electorate(s) Penrith
Federal Division(s) Lindsay
Suburbs around Emu Plains:
Emu Heights Castlereagh Penrith
Glenbrook Emu Plains Jamisontown
Glenbrook Leonay Regentville
Emu Hall
Former Arms of Australia Inn
St Paul's Anglican Church

Emu Plains is a suburb of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is 58 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Penrith and is part of the Greater Western Sydney region.

Emu Plains is on the western side of the Nepean River, located at the foot of the Blue Mountains.


Aboriginal culture

Prior to European settlement, what is now Emu Plains was on the border of the Western Sydney-based Darug people and the Southern Highlands-based Gandangara people, whose land extended into the Blue Mountains. The local Darug people were known as the Mulgoa who lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle governed by traditional laws, which had their origins in the Dreamtime. They lived in huts made of bark called 'gunyahs', hunted kangaroos and emus for meat, and gathered yams, berries and other native plants.

European settlement

The first British explorers to visit the area surveyed Emu Plains in 1790 and named it Emu Island after emus they sighted on the land and in the mistaken belief that the land was actually on an island in the Nepean River. It was first referred to by its current name by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1814 when William Cox started building his road over the Blue Mountains from there. A government farm with convict labour was established in 1813 with 1326 convicts working on growing local agriculture. It closed down in 1833 and the land was Gazetted and sold to establishment the village of Emu Plains.

Emu Ferry Post Office opened on 1 April 1863 and was renamed Emu Plains in 1882.

The removal of river-stones from the Nepean River for concrete and road-base was begun by the Emu and Prospect Gravel and Road Metal Company in the 1880s. A railway siding, which was to be ultimately expanded into a short branch, was first laid in from the Main Western Line at Emu Plains in 1884. Railway operations, which included their own locomotives, continued until 1967, after when only a siding, shunted by Government trains, remained. All railway operations ceased in 1993.

Emu Plains has a number of landmark buildings:

  • The railway station is a notable building of brick and sandstone, with Tudor chimneys, built in 1883. It is unusual for railway stations because it has two storeys; it has a Local Government Heritage Listing.
  • Emu Hall is a substantial home by the Nepean River. It was built in 1851 by Toby Ryan (1818–1899), who occupied the house until 1875. The house has a Local Government Heritage Listing.
  • St Paul's Anglican Church was built in 1848 and has a cemetery.
  • The former Arms of Australia Inn was built in 1833 to service the roads through the area. It has been restored by the Nepean District Historical Society with government funding and is used as a historical museum. It has a Local Government Heritage Listing.
  • At the corner of Russell Street and the Great Western Highway is the original Emu Plains post office, a sandstone Gothic cottage.


Emu Plains railway station is situated on the T1 (North Shore & Western Line) of the Sydney Trains network. It is the last station on the suburban line with Lapstone, the next station to the west, considered part of the Intercity network. While a long distance from Sydney city, there are many express services from Emu Plains to the city. Emu Plains is also serviced by Blue Mountains Transit.

Emu Plains can easily be accessed from Penrith via the Great Western Highway. Access from further east is best obtained by the M4 Western Motorway. If travelling east from the Blue Mountains, access is best obtained by the Great Western Highway.

Cultural attractions

Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest is an art gallery established at the former property of artists Gerald and Margo Lewers. It is at 86 River Road Emu Plains. The property was bought by the Lewers in the 1940s and in 1950 it became their permanent home and studio. Gerald died in 1962 and Margo continued to live and work there until her death in 1978. In 1980 the Lewers' daughters donated the site, buildings, gardens and a substantial collection of art to Penrith City Council. The Gallery was opened in August 1981 by the New South Wales Premier, Neville Wran. Every year tens of thousands of visitors inspect the gallery’s exhibitions and use the gardens and café.



At the 2011 census, there were 8,097 residents in Emu Plains. Most people (79.7%) were born in Australia and the top other countries of birth were England 5.7%, New Zealand 1.4%, Scotland 0.8%, Germany 0.6% and Netherlands 0.6%. The top responses for religious affiliation were Catholic 30.4%, Anglican 28.5% and No Religion 14.3%. The top ancestries were Australian 31.8%, English 29.1%, Irish 8.6%, Scottish 6.9% and German 2.7%. 88.9% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Greek 0.8%, Italian 0.4%, German 0.4%, Arabic 0.4% and Dutch 0.3%.

Notable residents

  • Edwin Evans (1849–1921), Australian cricketer
  • William Carter (1902–1952), Australian silent film actor, lived at Westbank House, a substantial estate and orchard now subdivided and facing Nepean Street
  • Toby Ryan (1818–1899), early landholder, sportsman and politician


The local government primary school is Emu Plains Public School and the high school is Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School. There is also a Catholic primary school, Our Lady of the Way, and high school, McCarthy Catholic College.

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