Our Local History
The Marrickville area is a unique locality with a rich and varied history.
The original residents of Marrickville were the Cadigal people, who lived in the area for more than 40,000 years. The Cadigal were a clan of the Darug people and spoke the coastal Eora language. Other clans of the area included the Wangal, the Kameygal and the Bediagal. They did not settle in the Marrickville area, but for thousands of years roamed through territory that stretched from Port Jackson to Botany Bay. Aboriginal artefacts found around Cooks River and Alexandra Canal area indicate at least 7,000 years of occupation.
Marrickville has, from the earliest days of European settlement, been distinguished by its multicultural nature. European settlement of the area commenced with the first land grant in 1789. By 1809 all land within the district had been granted. By the 1830's Marrickville had been consolidated into five great estates. The area was not heavily populated. Only several hundred people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including English, Scottish, Italian, German, Dutch and Chinese, lived here. With just a small proportion of the land having been cleared and cultivated, the principal occupations were rural - grain-growing, market gardens, timber cutting, dairy farms, pig and poultry farms.
In 1861 the Municipality of Marrickville was proclaimed. It was soon followed by Newtown (1862), then St Peters (1871) and Petersham (1872). Camperdown was proclaimed in 1861 but did not function until 1868.
From the 1880s to the 1920s Marrickville grew from a sparsely settle rural area to a densely populated industrial region. By 1948 the combined population of the original municipalities peaked at over 113,000 people. The 1996 Census indicates that this has decreased to 76,000.
Following the introduction of the Local Government (Areas) Act of 1948, there was an amalgamation of Marrickville, Petersham and St Peters Municipal Councils. They became the enlarged Marrickville Municipal Council on 1 January, 1949. Camperdown Municipal had been amalgamated into the City of Sydney in 1908 and Newtown followed in 1948. In 1968 there was a readjustment of local government boundaries and parts of Camperdown and Newtown were added to the Marrickville local government area (LGA) to form the present Council area.
Migration has been paramount in the history of Marrickville. Each wave of migration has added to its character. The peak of migration occurred from the 1950s to the late 1970s when very large numbers of migrants arrived from southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The area has continued to become a new home to a diverse array of cultural groups. In the 2006 Census, 33% of Marrickville residents spoke a language other than English at home, with Greek, Vietnamese, Arabic and Portuguese being most common.