The dormitory Liverpool suburb of Austral with its neat, geometrically-aligned streets, bears little resemblance to its beginnings which were pioneered in the 1820s by both free and ticket-of-leave settlers.
One of the first, John Gurner, became the prototype for the 'Pitt Street farmer'. Overseeing his farming operation from his office as a Supreme Court clerk, Gurney parleyed a number of land grants into a personal fortune and died a very wealthy man in his Paddington Mansion in 1882 at the age of 89.
His name lives on in Gurner Avenue, but Austral’s fortunes followed a rockier road than its most notable pioneer. A soldier settlement scheme set up in 1920 foundered in the Depression and another generation of troops moved into temporary camps during World War II.
It is only in recent years that Austral has developed. The pace of development has accelerated in recent years and by the end of the 20th century the enclave was a substantial residential suburb housing about 2,500 people.