Bordered on the north by the Cooks River and its flanking green belt, Earlwood is a well-established, residential area on the inner south-western fringes of Sydney.
Its solid old homes testify to the orderly development and lifestyle typical of this part of the metropolitan area, but the locals did get a little heated a few years back when the developers of the huge shopping complex at Birkenhead Point just a few kilometres north on the inner harbour tried to filch Earlwood’s historic, 1856-model post box.
Earlwood resolve won the day and the distinctive, bell-shaped post box remains collecting local mail just down the road from the local library.
The Cooks River is one of the most important waterways in urban Sydney and, from its rise in Bankstown to its entry into Botany Bay, it drains an area of 103sq km - an area in which almost half a million people live and which hosts 20,000 commercial and industrial premises.
More than 150 years of thoughtless dumping has also left it one of the most polluted and degraded river systems in the land.
The big clean up, however, has already begun with the 13 councils which border the river together with the State Government and a host of volunteer organisations all committed to improving and filtering the stormwater and to policing industrial and commercial housekeeping.