Campbelltown is a suburb in south-western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales Australia. Campbelltown is located 51 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre for the local government area of the City of Campbelltown.
The area that later become Campbelltown, among other suburbs, was inhabited prior to European settlement by the Tharawal people.
The history of Campbelltown began with former Governor of New South Wales Lachlan Macquarie who ordered a town to be built on the site in 1820 with the name Campbell-Town in honour of his wife whose maiden name was Elizabeth Campbell. However, the area had been settled long before 1820.
Not long after the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney in 1788, a small herd of six cattle escaped and weren't seen again by the British settlers for seven years. They were seen, however, by the Tharawal people whose territory covered the Campbelltown area. In a rock art site called Bull Cave near Campbelltown, they drew a number of cattle with pronounced horns. The Tharawal described the cattle to British explorers in the area and in 1795 the British found a herd of around 60 cattle grazing in the area now known as Camden.
The colonial administration was keen for the herd to establish itself so forbade killing of the cattle or settlement in the area. But John Macarthur, who wanted to establish sheep in the colony, took a liking to the prime grazing land. He convinced the British government to overrule the local administration and grant him 5000 acres just south of the Nepean River in 1805. Four years later a number of other grants were made to farmers between Camden and Liverpool.
The Tharawal initially worked with the local farmers but a drought in 1814 led to large numbers of neighbouring Gandangara people moving into the area in search of food. Tensions developed between the British and the Gandangara leading to skirmishes and a number of deaths on each side. Governor Macquarie felt a permanent settlement would lead to order in the area and so Campbell-Town (to be simplified later as Campbelltown) was born in 1820.
Development of the town was slow at first, particularly after the departure of Macquarie, and it wasn't until 1831 that residents took possession of town land. However, it was during this period that Campbelltown's most famous incident occurred. In 1826, local farmer Frederick Fisher disappeared. According to folklore, his ghost appeared sitting on a fence rail over a creek just south of the town and pointed to a site where his body was later found to be buried. In memory of the incident, the Fisher's Ghost festival is held each November in Campbelltown.
Campbelltown's population increased steadily in the decades following. The southern rail line was extended to Campbelltown in 1858, leading to further development, and in 1882, Campbelltown Council was established allowing municipal works to occur in earnest. Campbelltown became the first country town in New South Wales to have piped water in 1888 and in the period between the World Wars, a local power station was built to supply electricity to residents.
Campbelltown was designated in the early 1960s as a satellite city by the New South Wales Planning Authority, and a regional capital for the south west of Sydney. There was extensive building and population growth in the intervening time and the government set aside land surrounding the township for public and private housing and industry.
Macarthur Square is another large shopping centre on three floors which is located close to Macarthur railway station. It features an outdoor entertainment and restaurant precinct known as "Kellicar Lane" which opened after the most recent expansion in November 2005. It features a food court that has large glass windows that look over Kellicar Lane, Campbelltown and the surrounding countryside.
Campbelltown lies on the main road and rail links from Sydney to the south-west. The M5 South Western Motorway links Campbelltown north to Liverpool, Sydney Airport and Sydney CBD and south to Goulburn and Canberra.
Campbelltown railway station and Macarthur railway station are on the Southern line of the CityRail network. Campbelltown also services the Airport and East Hills Line and is the main terminus of the Cumberland Line and the intercity Southern Highlands Line.
Campbelltown is also well serviced by buses. Busways provides a number of services from Campbelltown Station to virtually all the surrounding suburbs of Campbelltown as well as to Camden. Interline provides a service from Campbelltown to Glenfield and Picton Buslines provides a service from Campbelltown to Picton via Camden.
Another tenant of Campbelltown Stadium is the Macarthur Rams soccer team which plays in the New South Wales Premier League competition. Campbelltown is also represented in the Sydney Grade Cricket competition by the Campbelltown-Camden Ghosts who play their home games in Raby. The Campbelltown District Netball Association, based in Minto, plays in the third division of the Netball NSW State League.