Skip navigation links
About Rockdale City Council
About Rockdale
News & Events
Online Services & Payment
Contact Us
Site Disclaimer
Council Elections
Our Town Centres

Arncliffe, Wolli Creek and Turrella


Arncliffe, Wolli Creek and Turrella are located 11 km south of the Sydney’s CBD. Arncliffe is located south of the Cooks River and Wolli Creek, close to Sydney’s International Airport. Wolli Creek was previously part of Arncliffe.

Arncliffe and Wolli Creek are bounded by the Wolli Creek in the north, the Cooks River in the east, generally by the Spring Canal, Spring Street, Godfrey Street, Gardiner Park and Carlton Street in the south and Sackville Street, Wolli Creek Road, a line running between Lorraine Avenue and Fairview Street, Hirst Street, Dowling Street and generally by Denison Street, Bonar Street, Thompson Street and the pipeline in the west.

Turrella is bounded by the Wolli Creek in the north, generally by Thompson Street in the east, generally by Bonar Street, Hirst Street, Denison Street, Dowling Street and Lorraine Avenue in the south and George Street and a line running between Princes Street and Sackville Street in the west.


Arncliffe's name comes from a small village called Arncliffe in North Yorkshire, England. The name appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, as 'Arneclif', meaning Eagle Cliff. It is a mostly residential area featuring low density housing and some medium density town houses and blocks of flats. There are also some areas of commercial and light industrial developments.

Arncliffe's main shopping centre is centered around Arncliffe railway station.

Arncliffe borders an extremely important piece of remnant bushland, the Wolli Creek Valley, beside Wolli Creek. There have been very active movements fighting for its preservation in the face of demands for land. The most successful of these prevented the building of a toll way through the valley, resulting in the road being built as a tunnel under the valley. Nevertheless, community concern remains over what is seen as the release of unfiltered particle pollution from exhaust emissions into the atmosphere in the Bardwell Valley.

Wolli Creek was named after the waterway on its northern border. The creek was originally known as Woolly Creek, quite likely because the reeds in the water gave it a thick, woolly appearance. The area became predominantly industrial until a redevelopment was planned in the late 1990s.

The new suburb was to be called North Arncliffe, but residents in the area petitioned the council to conduct a vote to select a better name. Wolli Creek was the most popular choice. Wolli Creek railway station opened in 2000. Wolli Creek was officially declared a suburb in 2002.

Turrella is an Aboriginal word meaning 'reeds growing in water'. The name was not officially applied to the district until after the opening of the East Hills Railway Line in 1931.

Turrella is a mostly residential area. Some light industrial developments are located around Turrella railway station and north along the railway line.


Major features of the area include three schools, Kogarah Golf Club, Al-Zahra Mosque & College, Arncliffe Park, Cahill Park, Riverine Park and the Community Centre.


The original inhabitants of the area were tribes of Indigenous Australians. There is evidence to suggest that these people belonged to the Gweagal, Bidjigal and Cadigal clans. Valleys of local creeks, Wolli Creek and Bardwell Creek contain evidence of Aboriginal presence in smoke-blackened caves.

Reuben Hannam, a brickmaker, was granted 100 acres of land in 1825 along the banks of Wolli Creek. His son, David Hannam, obtained a 60 acre grant near the Cooks River in 1833 directly behind the Tempe estate. Alexander Brodie Spark purchased the estate on the Cooks River in 1826 and built Tempe House in 1828. This part of the suburb is today known as Wolli Creek.

Originally, Arncliffe Hill was known as Cobbler's Hill and the area became the vegetable garden for Sydney. When Hannam's land was subdivided, many new small holdings became farms, spreading towards Black Creek or Muddy Creek. In 1843, newspaper advertisements declared that there was 'money to be made by woodcutters and farming men and persons about Cook's River’.

The railway line which cut through Arncliffe Hill opened in 1884. Arncliffe Park was originally the property of Kim Too and cultivated as a market garden. The garden was officially proclaimed a public park in March 1889.

Over the years, Arncliffe has hosted a stinking boiling-down works (1870s), a sewerage farm (1886-1916) and various factories and workshops throughout the 20th century, particularly after WW2.

Multicultural Heritage

Arncliffe, Wolli Creek and Turrella were settled by people from a variety of backgrounds. Original settlers in the area included British, Irish, German and Chinese from the goldfields.

From the 1960s Arncliffe has become home to many immigrants from around the world. The first wave included Greeks and Italians who began moving south from Sydney's inner-city suburbs. In 1963, after an earthquake devastated much of Macedonia in northern Greece and parts of southern Yugoslavia which is now known as the Republic of Macedonia, more southern European families arrived in the area.
From the late 1970s, they were joined by many families from Lebanon, who sought asylum from the civil wars and ongoing conflict in the Middle East and Lebanon. Sixty percent of Arncliffe's residents now come from backgrounds other than the predominantly Anglo-Saxon and Irish origins of the earlier immigrants.

The Al-Zahra mosque is an important feature of the community, as is the recently established olive grove, in an area now known as Bardwell Valley. It is in recognition of the contribution made to the City of Rockdale by citizens who have their origins in Lebanon.

Historic Buildings

Arncliffe had many grand and gracious Victorian era houses. Unfortunately many have been demolished, fallen into disrepair, or been subdivided, but in recent years there have been attempts to preserve these as part of local heritage.

The two storied Gladstone and Wentworth on Forest Road, were built by Hurstville builder Robert Newell for rental to 'well to do' tenants. Dappeto on Wollongong Road built in 1885 by oyster merchant Frederick Gibbins, later became a home for children and now houses a Salvation Army chapel, as part of a nursing home and retirement village.

Belmont and Fairview are identical Victorian homes built in 1884 by two Irish brothers Thomas and Alexander Milsop, who made their fortunes in the goldfields. Meryton was erected by building contractor Alexander Fell in 1885. Coburra was built in 1905 but was more typical of the earlier Victorian era.

Arncliffe Post office is a Federation style building opened in 1906 and originally contained the post master's residence upstairs.

Arncliffe railway station is on the Illawarra line of the City Rail network. The station is serviced by an 'all stations' service from Hurstville to the Sydney CBD, terminating at Bondi Junction.
Arncliffe is also serviced by the 471 government bus route which runs from Rockdale, Bexley, Arncliffe, Earlwood, Canterbury, Ashfield, and on to Five Dock.

Who lives here now?

These statistics are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest Census for the suburbs of Arncliffe, Wolli Creek and Turella.

© Copyright 2018 Rockdale City Council. All right reserved.