History & 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.