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History & Heritage

ATSI (3)

Aboriginal Heritage

Holroyd was traditionally occupied by people of the Darug Aboriginal Nation, a totem of whom is the Warali Wali, the Darug word for possum.

The Darug nation consisted of many clans. The Cennemegal or Weymaly clan occupied Prospect/Greystanes and the Bidjigal clan occupied Merrylands/Guildford/Villawood/Bankstown. The Bidjigal tribe included the famous warrior Pemulwuy who fought a guerilla war against white settlement from 1797 to 1802. The Burramattagal clan of Parramatta/Granville were the western Eora clan. Eora land extends from Sydney Harbour to Parramatta.

Holroyd Local Government Area includes many areas of historical importance including Prospect Hill, which was the site of the first Aboriginal – European reconciliation held in 1805.

Like all Aboriginal people, the Darug people did not own the land but belonged to the land. They had a strong connection to the land; respected it and referred to the land as their mother. The Darug people had excellent land management skills which meant they did not have to artificially cultivate crops.

The Aboriginal population for the Sydney region in 1788 has been estimated as being between 5000 and 8000 people, of which about 2000 belonged to the inland Darug people: 1000 between Parramatta and the Blue Mountains and 1000 between what are now Liverpool and Campbelltown. The Darug people were thought to have lived in bands or communities of around 50 members each. Each band retained its own hunting district, and each lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle, regularly changing location within this district.

Over the years, Council has steered a variety of projects and initiatives to recognise and celebrate it’s Aboriginal history.

For more information, please contact Council’s Community Development Officer on 9840 9948 or via

Historical sites (9)

Heritage Items

Holroyd is home to over 160 heritage places.

They may be listed in documents such as the Holroyd Local Environmental Plan, the State Heritage Register, or other registers.

Relevant Documents

Useful Links

Historical sites (8)


The City of Holroyd, incorporated on 5 July 1872, and was originally known as the Municipality of Prospect and Sherwood. The name changed to Holroyd on 11 January 1927 to perpetuate the name of Arthur Todd Holroyd, the first Mayor of the Municipality. The Municipality was proclaimed a City on New Years Day 1991.

The first Council meeting was held on Tuesday 3 September 1872 at the residence of Richard Harper, J.P. in Church Street, Parramatta for the purposes of electing a Mayor. Council meetings were then held at Mr Whitworths Cottage in Western Road (now Great Western Highway), Mays Hill. An annual rental of £12 ($24) was paid. Later the house was demolished and the first purpose-built Chambers was built at the corner of Burnett Street and Western Road, Mays Hill.

Property owners paid for, or petitioned for, railway platforms to be built on their estates. The opening of railway stations in the district provided the opportunity for property owners to subdivide their land for housing and small farms. This contributed to the naming and formation of many of Holroyds current suburbs. Guildford Railway Station was built in 1876 and Merrylands Railway Station in 1878.  Toongabbie opened in 1880, with Wentworthville (originally known as T.R. Smiths platform) and Westmead Railway Stations both opening in 1883. In 1886 the population of the Municipality was 1,000 people.

The second Council Chambers, completed in 1914, was located in Arcadia Street, Merrylands (now Merrylands West). This building still exists and is now the Dunrossil Challenge Foundation Activity Centre.

At the 1921 Census the population of the area was 8,737 people. Pendle Hill Railway Station was opened in 1924, primarily for the Bonds cotton mill employees, and Mrs S. McCredie paid for Yennora Railway Station which opened in 1927. By 1933 the population had nearly doubled to 15,914 and the area was described as partly metropolitan, highlighting the areas farming and quarry interests.

By 1946 the Municipality boasted 225 shops, eight post offices, three banks, nine schools, four real estate agents, only one solicitor and three picture theatres. There was 227 km of road in the area.  Less than one third of these were sealed, over a third were gravelled, with the remainder formed, cleared or in their natural state. The population of the Municipality at the 1947 Census was 24,129.

The 1950s and 1960s saw intense road and drainage works in the area, improving the area considerably. In 1962, the present Council Chambers was constructed in Memorial Avenue, Merrylands, formerly known as Chertsey Street.


2016 Holroyd Heritage Awards and Heritage Grants Programs

The Holroyd Heritage Awards and Grants programs are run annually and aim to show Council’s appreciation to those who have an active role in preserving and maintaining Holroyd’s heritage or demonstrate an interest in learning about local history.

The 2016 Holroyd Heritage Programs open on Monday 4 April 2016.

Heritage Awards

There are four categories of the Heritage Awards program that aim to involve a broad range of people who are active in maintaining and restoring their heritage listed properties, those who have a general interest in Holroyd’s history and the young members of our community through the children’s competition. The Awards are run in conjunction with the National Heritage Trust Festival.  The theme for the 2016 National Heritage Trust Festival is “Discovery and Rediscoveries”.

Below are details of the four categories:

Category 1:

Best Maintained Heritage Property – this category awards private owners for maintaining their heritage listed property.

Category 2:

Restoration & Redevelopment – this category awards private property owners of heritage listed items (and those adjoining) for undertaking quality restorations and heritage improvements through development.

Category 3:

HistoResearch: researching our local history – this category is open to anyone of high school age and above who is interested in local history and heritage. Participants are invited to consider the National Trust theme of “Discovery and Rediscoveries” for their entry.  Entrants are encouraged to be imaginative and present their work in either a written or visual format (such as photography, digital media or traditional / mixed media) that utilises a creative technique. Entries must show originality and primary research.

Category 4:

Keeper of the Stone (children’s award) – this category is open to primary school children who are invited to enter the colouring-in competition. This year’s activity is based on the National Heritage Trust Festival theme of “Discovery and Rediscoveries”, and commemorates the State Heritage Listing in mid-2015 of the Boothtown Aqueduct. This category consists of two divisions for Years K-2 and Years 3-6.


Categories 1 and 2

Bronze plaque to the value of $800 that can be affixed to the front of the property.

Category 3

Choice of accommodation at one of three pre-determined heritage listed properties in the Blue Mountains or a BridgeClimb Sydney gift voucher for three people plus 3 tickets to experience The ‘Heart of the Rocks’ Walking Tour. Each prize is up to the value of $1,000.

Category 4

This category has two divisions: Years K-2 and Years 3-6. The overall winner of this category will be the best entry from both divisions. The winner will be titled the “Keeper of the Stone” and receive the Holroyd Heritage Stone for 12 months, a $150 book voucher and framed certificate. The Runner-up will be the winner of the remaining division and will receive a $150 book voucher and framed certificate.

Please refer to the Holroyd Heritage Awards Guidelines below for eligibility and category criteria. If you wish to enter one or more categories, please complete and submit the relevant application form(s) available below.

Entry forms, colouring-in stencil (for Category 4) and award guidelines including entry criteria are available to download under Forms and Guidelines. Entries in the Holroyd Heritage Awards must be accompanied by the official relevant entry form.

The closing date for Heritage Award entries is Wednesday, 11 May 2016.

Heritage Grants

Council offers up to $4,000 to owners of heritage listed items under the Holroyd Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013 who are seeking financial assistance with small restoration and/or maintenance projects on their property. Properties within a heritage conservation area are also eligible to apply if the proposed works will contribute to the heritage significance/character of the conservation area.

Please refer to the Local Heritage Fund Guidelines below for eligibility criteria and examples of types of work that may receive funding. If you would like to apply for a grant, please complete and submit the application form as well as any required supporting documentation.

The closing date for Heritage Grant applications is Friday, 6 May 2016.

You can submit you entry or application by:


The General Manager Deliver: 16 Memorial Avenue
PO Box 42 Merrylands NSW 2160
Merrylands NSW 2160

Email: (except colouring-in competition entries. Please submit colouring in competition entries by post or hand delivery)

16 Memorial Avenue
Merrylands NSW 2160

Forms and Guidelines