On the shores of Botany Bay in southern metropolitan Sydney about 12km from the CBD, Rockdale is a city of some 88,000 people contained within about 50 square kilometres, which includes the international terminal of Kingsford Smith Airport.
Rockdale was declared a city in 1995, a year before the area celebrated 125 years of local government. The city’s diverse multiculturalism - 42% of its residents speak a language other than English at home - is reflected in the myriad ethnic restaurants in the area, especially paralleling Lady Robinsons Beach on the shores of Botany Bay.
Before white settlement, the Rockdale area was an important resource for the Aboriginal people, called Cadigal, who were often referred to as the ‘water people’. They lived in rock shelters and caves, and in huts or lean-tos known as gunyahs made of grass and bark.
After Sydney Cove was settled, development began in this area in 1805, with small farms predominating. But, later in the century, Rockdale was seen as an ideal location for the establishment of country villa estates, although few remnants of these remain today.