The City of Canterbury in Sydney’s south grew from a company town formed in the 1840s to produce loaf and crushed sugar, vinegar, and molasses from raw sugar imported from the Philippines.
The original Australian Sugar Company was funded by the sub-division and sale of land on the banks of the Cooks River for housing to accommodate the workforce.
Within a couple of years, the company was operating three refineries, but in 1854 was forced to close down as its workers joined the gold rush to the west of the Blue Mountains.
After service as an engineering shop, and then a smallgoods factory, the original Georgian-style sandstone sugar refinery survived a 1996 fire to remain Australia’s oldest, private industrial building.
Today Canterbury, which is one of the chain of southern municipalities which border the inner Sydney suburbs, is at the forefront of the new, multicultural Australia, with 45 per cent of the population having been born overseas.
The municipality's dominant geographic feature is Cooks River which, flanked by an expansive green belt of reserve and parkland, cuts through the heart of Canterbury.