- This article is for the suburb of Leichhardt. For the local government area, see the Municipality of Leichhardt.
Leichhardt is a suburb in the inner-west of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. Leichhardt is located 5 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district (CBD) and is the administrative centre for the local government area (LGA) of the Municipality of Leichhardt. The suburb is bordered by Haberfield to the west, Annandale to the east, Lilyfield to the north and Petersham, Lewisham and Stanmore to the south.
Leichhardt contains a mix of residential and commercial developments and is best known as Sydney’s “Little Italy”. Leichhardt residents and businesses live and work next to the Sydney CBD, a global city and Australia’s most thriving business and cultural centre.
The history of Aboriginal
people in the Leichhardt area is, without doubt, a hidden one. What we today know as Leichhardt was once the area inhabited by the Wangal
band of the Dharug
) language group. The 'Eora people' was the name given to coastal Aborigines around Sydney
- Eora means from this place
- local Aboriginal people used this word to describe to Europeans where they came from, and in time the term became used to define Aboriginal people themselves. Wangal country was known as 'wanne' and it originally extended from the suburbs of Balmain and Birchgrove in the east to Silverwater and Auburn in the west.
The northern boundary was the Parramatta River. Neighbouring Darug bands were the Cadigal
to the east, the Wallumattagal on the northern shore of the Parramatta River
and the Bediagal
to the south. How long the Wangal had lived around Leichhardt is unknown, but we do know that the Dharug were living in the Sydney area for at least 10,000 years before British
Settlement in 1788
Leichhardt is named after the Prussian
explorer Ludwig Leichhardt
, who in the 1840s was feted for his 4,800 km
(c. 3000 mi) expedition in search of an overland route from southern Queensland
to Port Essington
, a British settlement on the far northern coast of Australia (some 300 km to the north of the modern city of Darwin
). He later famously vanished without trace on his attempt to cross the continent from the Darling Downs
to the Swan River Colony
on the Western Australia
Leichhardt was proclaimed a municipality in 1871. In 1949, it was merged with the municipalities of Annandale and Balmain. In 1967, the municipal boundary was altered to include Glebe and parts of Camperdown. In 2003, the municipal boundary was again changed, to exclude Glebe and Forest Lodge, which are now part of the City of Sydney.
The main commercial area in Leichhardt is located on Norton Street
, north of Parramatta Road
and parallel to Balmain Road. The Norton Street commercial area contains a mix of residential buildings, restaurants
(Italian and others), cafés
and individual retail outlets, including several bookstores and grocery shops. There are also hotels, a Palace Cinema and two of the suburb’s three shopping centres
— Norton Plaza
and the Italian Forum
. Commercial developments are also found along the length of Parramatta Road.
The Italian Forum, located just off Norton Street, is notable for its design which seeks to emulate the feel of a Mediterranean town piazza. A pedestrian-only central courtyard featuring outdoors and indoors restaurant dining as well as Leichhardt Library is surrounded by small shops and boutiques on the level above, and all overlooked by residential apartments. Nearby Norton Plaza is a shopping centre anchored by a supermarket and surrounded by eateries and specialty shops. The third shopping centre, Leichhardt Market Place (formerly Market Town), is located towards Haberfield on the main cross street of Marion Street.
Leichhardt can be accessed by several main roads including Parramatta Road
, Norton Street
, Balmain Road, Marion Street and Catherine Street. The City West Link Road
runs along the northern border of Leichhardt and is a major arterial road, which is part of Metroad 4
and crosses the ANZAC Bridge
to the CBD.
Leichhardt is well serviced by Sydney Buses through city and cross regional services. Leichhardt Bus Depot is located on the corner of William and Derbyshire Street. The following list provides the bus routes in Leichhardt:
- 480, 483, 461 all travel from the City (QVB) to Strathfield Station via Parramatta Road (Leichhardt) and Ashfield shops
- 440, L40 travels from Circular Quay to Rozelle via Railway Square, Parramatta Road, Leichhardt Town Hall, Rozelle (Terry Street)
- 435, 436, 437, 438 all travel from Circular Quay, Railway Square, Parramatta Road, Leichhardt Town Hall (435), Haberfield, Five Dock shops (437), Rodd Point & Chiswick (436), Abbotsford (438)
- L38 travels at limited stops along the 438 route
- L39 travels at limited stops from Haberfield to Wynyard via Leichhardt, Rozelle, and Anzac Bridge
- 470 travels from Circular Quay, Forest Lodge, Annandale, Lilyfield, Leichhardt Market Place (9am-3pm)
- 445 travels from Balmain East Wharf (Darling Street), Rozelle, Leichhardt, Lilyfield Light Rail Stop, Petersham, Dulwich Hill, Hurlstone Park, Canterbury Station
- 370 travels from Leichhardt to Coogee
Petersham railway station is the closest CityRail train station for Leichhardt on the Inner West Line and Bankstown Line (purple line) providing access to a range of CityRail destinations. Lilyfield light rail station is a terminus of the Metro Light Rail located close to the north-eastern border of Leichhardt.
- All Souls Anglican Church on the corner of Norton Street and Marion Street
- Leichhardt Baptist Church on the corner of Foster Street and Lords Road
- Leichhardt Uniting Church in the old Methodist Central Hall on Wetherill Street
- St Columba and The Holy Souls Parish (Catholic) in Elswick Street
- St Fiacre's Parish (Catholic) in Catherine Street
- St Josephs Catholic Church in Roseby Street
- The Parish of St Gerasimos Church (Greek Orthodox) in Henry Street
Leichhardt has a number of primary schools and one secondary school.
- Kegworth Public School, a primary, co-educational public school, established in 1887, is located on Tebbutt Street.
- Leichhardt Public School, a primary, co-educational public school, established in 1891, is located on Marion Street.
- St Columba's Primary School, a Catholic, primary, co-educational public school, established in 1898, is located on Elswick Street.
- St Fiacre's Primary School, a Catholic, primary, co-educational public school, established in 1894, is located on Catherine Street.
- Sydney Secondary College - Leichhardt Campus, a secondary, co-educational public school (partially selective; 7-10), established in 2002, is located on Balmain Road.
Being situated close to the city, Leichhardt is an area for great capital growth as it very central and has a lot to offer, so housing is not very cheap and is a much sought after. The architecture in Leichhardt ranges from Victorian single fronted brick homes to modern new homes and apartment blocks.
- Leichhardt Fire Station on the corner of Marion Street and Balmain Road
- Leichhardt Hotel (Former) on the corner of Balmain Road and Wetherill Street
- Norton Hotel on the corner of Norton Street and Parramatta Road
- Pioneers Memorial Park on Norton Street
- Bar Italia on Norton Street
- Café Sport on Norton Street
- Palace Cinema on Norton Street
The following buildings are listed on the Register of the National Estate:
- Town Hall, corner Norton and Marion Streets (1888)
- Post Office, corner Norton and Weatherall Streets (1888)
- Public School Buildings, Marion Street (first building 1891, second building 1897)
- Church of England, corner Norton and Marion Streets (1883)
Parks and recreation
- Pioneers Memorial Park is located in Norton Street and features large grassed areas, native and formal plantings, a war memorial and the Bicentennial Rotunda.
- War Memorial Park is situated on the corner of Moore and Catherine St and features large grassed areas as well as shaded areas and a children's playground.
- 36th Battalion Park is situated on the corner of Mackenzie and Hill St and features medium-sized grassed park, electric BBQ, children's play equipment and a half-size basketball court.
- Blackmore Oval is located off Canal Road and is used to play competitive Rugby League and Baseball, amongst others, in the local area.
Leichhardt is home to many creative industry workers and is known for its colourful and inventive mural art, such as the panorama at the Renwick Lane and at the Hawthorne Canal Railway Underpass. Leichhardt has access to many art and cultural organisations. Commercial galleries are found throughout the area and Boomali Gallery, the Aboriginal Arts Organisation is situated in Flood Street in Leichhardt.
The Italian community has a wealth of social and cultural organisations located in Leichhardt, and work is underway everyday to develop the Italian Forum Cultural Centre. Co.As.It. is one of them and they provide a range of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to enhance the quality of life of the community and to promote the Italian language and culture in NSW.
Leichhardt is the yearly host of the Italian Festa on Norton Street where local traffic is temporarily closed on Norton and neighbouring streets transforming surroundings into a huge European style outdoor café, celebrating Leichhardt's cultural diversity with an International Food Fair, gift stalls, community expos and live entertainment throughout the day. Leichhardt is also known for its café culture with café’s in abundance. The oldest café in the area is Café Sport, which is located on Norton Street.
Leichhardt has approximately 12,000 residents and reflects a locale next to the Sydney CBD.
|2006 Census: Leichhardt
|| Australia |
| Median age
| Median individual income (weekly)
| Born in Australia
According to the 2006 census
, Leichhardt had a population of 12,248 people. It did not have the same level of high density housing
found in its neighbours Haberfield
. Approximately one third of dwellings were separate density housing
houses with 22% apartments and 36% terraces
, semis or townhouses
. 63.7% of persons usually resident in Leichhardt stated they were born in Australia. Other common responses within the area were - England
4.4%, New Zealand
0.7% and Ireland
was stated as the only language spoken at home by 72.6% of persons usually resident in Leichhardt. The most common languages other than English spoken at home were - Italian
0.9% and Portuguese
is the primary religion
in the area however, marriage
in the area is lower by both Sydney and Australia standards. The average age of people in the suburb was similar to the rest of Sydney
(35) and a lower percentage of people owned their homes outright (22.4%) than those paying them off (30.7%). Average loan
repayments ($2200 per month) were much higher than the national figure ($1300).).
Since the middle of the 20th century, Leichhardt has been a centre for the Italian community, reflected in the many Italian-owned businesses in the area. Although it has become less distinctively Italian with the increasing gentrification of the suburb and movement of families to suburbs with larger blocks of land, its Italian character is still palpable, particularly in the popular restaurants and cafés of its main street, Norton Street. Many residents moved to suburbs further away from Sydney as the city has expanded and larger housing blocks became available.