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Inner West Sydney
New South Wales
Leichhardt Town Hall corner.jpg
Population 293,301 (2016 census)
  • Burwood
  • Canada Bay
  • Canterbury Bankstown
  • Inner West Council
  • Strathfield
  • Sydney
State electorate(s)
  • Balmain, Canterbury
  • Drummoyne, Newtown
  • Strathfield, Summer Hill
Federal Division(s)
Localities around Inner West Sydney:
Northern Sydney Northern Sydney
(Parramatta River)
North Shore
(Sydney Harbour)
Greater Western Sydney Inner West Sydney Sydney CBD
South-Western Sydney (Cooks River)
Sydney Airport

The Inner West of Sydney is an area directly west of the Sydney central business district, New South Wales, Australia. The suburbs that make up the Inner West are predominantly located along the southern shore of Port Jackson (Parramatta River), stretching south to the shores of the Cooks River. The western boundary of the Inner West is approximately the A3 arterial road (Homebush Bay Drive / Centenary Drive), which divides the Inner West from the Greater Western Sydney region. The Inner West is much larger than the Inner West Council local government area. The Inner West roughly corresponds with the Parish of Petersham and Parish of Concord, two cadastral divisions used for land titles.


The Inner West is an imprecise geographical region. The Australian Government Bureau of Statistics, the New South Wales Government Department of Planning and Infrastructure, and local media variously describe the Inner West region to include the local government areas of:


Based on the distribution area of the Inner West Courier local newspaper and various Inner West Courier and media articles, the Inner West generally includes the suburbs:


Indigenous land

Prior to the arrival of the First Fleet, the Sydney region was home to the Darug people. This nation was broken up into a number of Aboriginal clans who tended to live in a certain geographic area. Each clan contained about 50 to 100 people and, to avoid genetic problems, the men would marry women from other clans. So the clans were interrelated and members from one clan would frequently travel in the territory of others, including to hunt, trade and perform ceremonies. They didn't consider themselves owners of the land, rather custodians.

What is now the Inner West was formerly home to two clans, the Cadigal, whose land stretched along Port Jackson from South Head to Lewisham, and the Wangal, whose land was immediately to the west of the Cadigals and stretched to about Homebush Bay. Other clans that would have been regular visitors to the area would have included the Birrabirragal and Muru-ora-dial in what is now the Eastern Suburbs, the Bediagal and Kameygal from the Cooks River area to the south, the Burramattagal from the Parramatta area to the west, and the Wallumattagal, Cammeraigal and Gorualgal from the northern shores of the Parramatta River.

House in Marrickville a suburb of Sydney's Inner West


The topography of the Inner West reflects rolling hills intersected by shallow valleys through which waterways including Iron Cove Creek, Hawthorne Canal (formerly Long Cove Creek), Whites Creek and Johnstons Creek flow. These waterways have been drastically altered since the late 19th century by the means of concrete lining. For example, in the 1860s Iron Cove Creek was a freely flowing waterway which in places broadened into ponds that made excellent and picturesque swimming holes. It is now barely a trickle lined by residential areas, parkland and fast-food restaurants.


RiverCat Marlene Mathews
Sydney Ferries RiverCat services connect the waterfront suburbs of the Inner West with Parramatta, northern Sydney and the Sydney CBD.
Further information: Public transport in Sydney

Public transport in the region includes trains, buses, ferries and light rail.

A number of Sydney Trains commuter rail services run along the Main Suburban railway line from Central station to Strathfield, largely running south of Parramatta Road. From Strathfield, these lines proceed in different directions, including the Inner West & Leppington Line which proceeds to Macarthur via Granville, the Northern Line which branches off at Strathfield to the north to Hornsby, and the North Shore & Western Line which proceeds towards Emu Plains or Richmond via Parramatta. The separate Bankstown Line follows a more southerly alignment, and provides train services to suburbs such as Erskineville, St Peters, Sydenham, Marrickville and Dulwich Hill. The Sydney Metro West rapid transit rail line is under construction. When completed, it will provide a further connection for suburbs in the north of the Inner West, to Sydney CBD in the east, and to Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta in the west.

There are various bus routes provided largely operated by Transit Systems.

Sydney Ferries operates services in the inner harbour and Parramatta River, with a number of wharves serving suburbs in the northern part of the Inner West. The Sydney RiverCat services in particular are designed to navigate the relatively shallow waterways on the Parramatta River route, connecting the Inner West with northern Sydney across the river, Parramatta in the west, and the Sydney CBD in the east.

The Inner West Light Rail connects to Central to the Inner West via Pyrmont, with stops in Glebe, Lilyfield, Leichhardt, Lewisham and Dulwich Hill, where it connects to the Bankstown railway line.

Parramatta Road is a major arterial road that runs through the middle of the Inner West, connecting it with the major centres of Sydney City in the east and Parramatta in the west. At Summer Hill, Liverpool Road (the Hume Highway) branches from Parramatta Road and proceeds in a southwesterly direction towards Melbourne. The M4 road largely runs as a motorway tunnel under the western part of the Inner West, parallel to Parramatta Road. At the eastern end of the tunnel in Ashfield, it branches north to become the A4 road which runs to the Sydney CBD, while another branch joins Parramatta Road. The ongoing WestConnex project will eventually extend the tunnel further east to bypass the surface road section of the A4 and also to connect with the M8 motorway.

Although still playing only a small part in the overall transport task, use of bicycles for transport has increased significantly in the Inner West since the 1990s. Denser populations and shorter distances mean cycling is often quicker and more convenient than driving or taking public transport. A network of bicycle paths, signed bicycle routes on local streets and other aids to safe and convenient cycling is developing. Main bicycle routes include two north-south routes: one located in the western part of the Inner West called the Cooks River cycleway or "Bay to Bay" cycleway, which connects Ryde to the north with the Cooks River valley and Botany Bay to the southeast, and another located further east called the Greenway which connects Iron Cove in the north to the Cooks River valley where it joins the Cooks River cycleway, an east-west route from Five Dock to the Anzac Bridge cycleway, a northwest route from Gladesville Bridge to Anzac Bridge, and a southwest route from Marrickville to the city via Newtown. Groups of local bicycle user groups (BUGs) provide help for new cyclists, under the parent banner of Bicycle New South Wales.


ChineseLionDancing Ashfield
The Inner West is a culturally diverse area. Here, Chinese lion dancing entertains a crowd at Ashfield.

According to the 2016 census, the Sydney Inner West statistical area (which, as noted above, covers most but not all of the Inner West by most customary definitions) had a total population of 293,301 people. 50.7% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were mainland China 8.9%, India 3.5%, England 2.9%, Italy 2.8% and South Korea 2.8%. The most common ancestries were English 16.1%, Australian 13.7%, Chinese 12.6%, Italian 7.5% and Irish 7.5%, with 55.7% of people having both parents born overseas. 51.8% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 9.0%, Italian 4.6%, Cantonese 4.2%, Korean 3.1% and Greek 2.3%.


The Inner West is represented in the National Rugby League by the Wests Tigers, a merger of the Balmain and Western Suburbs clubs. The Region also has another team that represents the region, they're the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. In the tier below known as the New South Wales Cup, the area is represented by the Newtown Jets and Wests Magpies.

In rugby union, the area is represented by Sydney Uni (the University of Sydney) and West Harbour in the Sydney grade competition.

In soccer football, Leichhardt Oval is the home of the A-league team Sydney FC. The Inner West also has many semi-professional soccer teams playing in the various divisions of the NSW State Leagues. The most high profile club is NSW Premier League side APIA Leichhardt Tigers.

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