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Bexley

Location

Bexley is located 14 km south of the Sydney’s CBD. Bexley is bounded generally by Stoney Creek Road, the Bardwell Creek, George Street and Sackville Street in the north, generally by Villiers Street, Forest Road, Frederick Street, Watkin Street and Harrow Road in the east, generally by Warialda Street, Henry Street, Willison Road and Ethel Street in the south and Croydon Road in the west.

Snapshot

Bexley, named by James Chandler after his birthplace village in Kent, England, contains a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial developments. Its main shopping strip is located on Forest Road and is characterised by its original 1930’s art deco buildings including the former Commonwealth Bank building and the Forest Inn Hotel.

The shopping centre, along Forest Road, includes a community bank, restaurants, a supermarket, health services and has become a popular precinct for wedding and christing services. Commercial developments extend some distance down Stoney Creek Road towards Kingsgrove and are also scattered along Forest Road, south towards Hurstville and north towards Arncliffe.

The light industrial developments are located on Forest Road between Bexley and Hurstville, but are slowly being replaced by medium-density residential. A small group of shops, including a post office, is located on the intersection of Forest Road and Willison Road, sometimes referred to as Bexley South. There are also a small number of commercial developments on Queen Victoria Street towards Kogarah.

Landmarks

Major features of the area include five schools, St Mary & St Mina Coptic Orthodox College & Church, Bethany College, Marist College, Bexley Swimming Centre, Bexley Golf Club, Dolls Hospital, Bexley Park and Seaforth Park.

History

James Chandler was granted 1200 acres of land in 1822 which stretched from what is now Bexley North to most of Rockdale and Kogarah. The estate was heavily timbered and a track that ran through the centre, used by timber-getters, is today called Forest Road. Chandler was a well respected citizen and became known locally as the ‘Squire of Bexley’. Unfortunately, his property also attracted bushrangers, escaped convicts and other unsavoury types and Chandler, not happy with his ill-assortment of neighbours, sold the land to Charles Thompson in 1836.
Several farms were established during the 1830’s and some housing was built from the 1840s, with residential subdivision in 1856. Growth, especially of large homes built by wealthy merchants, occurred from the 1880s, with development spurred on by the opening of the railway line in 1884. As with other areas around Bexley, significant growth occurred in the interwar period and continued through to the 1940s.

Dick Stone sold meats in Bexley and Rockdale from 1868. Stone’s Slaughterhouse in Stoney Creek Road began operations in the 1890s. Cattle, sheep and pigs were driven from Homebush to the abattoirs in Kingsgrove until they closed in 1920.

An upsurge in development began after the railway line to Hurstville was opened in 1884. A two-tier wagonette and hansom cab conveyed train travellers to their homes and in 1909 a steam tram ran between Bexley and Arncliffe. Many inns opened in the area including the Man of Kent, the Robin Hood and Little John Inn and the Highbury Barn. Bexley Council was merged with Rockdale Council in 1948 to form the City of Rockdale.

Bexley has experienced an increase in population between 1996 and 2001, a result of new dwellings being added to the area.

Bexley Stamps and the Barber Shoppe in Forest Road featured in an episode of television series, Two Twisted. The episode, titled Von Stauffenberg's Stamp, starred Sam Neill and Wendy Hughes.

Who lives there now?

These statistics are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest Census for the suburb of Bexley.

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