Randwick Local History
Randwick, a suburb located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, has a rich local history dating as far back as 1788. The indigenous people of the area, the Dharawal and Bidjigal clans, lived there for centuries before the arrival of the European settlers.
Captain Cook was the first European to lay his foot on Australian soil, in Botany Bay on April 29, 1770. However, it wasn't until 1788 that the first fleet arrived, led by Governor Arthur Phillip, and established a penal settlement on the shores of Port Jackson. The area that is now known as Randwick was initially part of the land granted to the British Army in 1789 and was named after Randolph, the Duke of Cumberland.
During the early years of the colony, Sydney was the main focus of development, and the eastern suburbs were still considered remote and sparsely populated. The first land grant in the Randwick area was given to Captain Francis Marsh in 1822, which led to the establishment of a few large estates. One of the most notable of these estates was the St Marks Estate, which was owned by James Norton. The estate covered an area of 500 acres and extended from Belmore Road to Coogee Beach. Norton built a large mansion called 'Blenheim' on the estate, which still stands today and is a popular tourist destination.
In 1859, the Randwick Racecourse was established on land owned by Simeon Pearce. The Randwick Races are still held annually and are considered one of the premier horse racing events in Australia. The racecourse also served as a temporary military camp during World War II and housed American soldiers.
Randwick began to undergo significant development in the early 1900s with the advent of the electric tram line, which connected Randwick to the city of Sydney. This made it easier for people to move in and out of the suburb, and the population began to grow rapidly. In the 1920s and 1930s, large numbers of immigrants settled in Randwick, mainly from Italy and Greece, as well as Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. This led to the establishment of many new shops and businesses catering to the needs of these immigrant populations.
During World War II, Randwick became a center for the military, with the Prince of Wales Hospital (now known as the Prince of Wales Private Hospital) being converted into a military hospital. The hospital treated many injured soldiers, including prisoners of war.
In recent years, Randwick has continued to evolve and develop, with new shops, restaurants, and cafes opening up alongside the old established businesses. The suburb is now a popular destination for tourists, who come to explore its rich history and beautiful beaches. The local council has also worked to preserve many of Randwick's landmarks and historic buildings, such as the St Marks Estate and the Randwick Racecourse, ensuring that the suburb's past remains a part of its future.