Darlington Village Official Opening

(12pm, Abercrombie Street, Darlington)

Hello, everyone, welcome to Darlington Village!

One of the city's smallest and most historic localities, Darlington is bounded by City Road and Cleveland Street to the north, Abercrombie Street to the east, the old Eveleigh railways yards to the south, and Golden Grove Street to the west.

Blackwattle Creek once ran near its eastern border, and local Aboriginal people fished its waters and lived among the turpentine and ironbark trees which then flourished in its rich soils.

In European times, Governor Phillip set aside the Crown reserve he called Grose Farm and the part of this reserve that is now Darlington was given to the trustees of the Female Orphan School, who leased it to timber-getters.

After 1819, the land was doled out to colonists including William Hutchinson and William Chippendale. This coincided with Sydney's westward spread and brewer Robert Cooper was one granted a large estate along this route.

By the 1830s, Abercrombie Street was formed, stretching originally from Parramatta Road to Cleveland Street. Robert Cooper built a row of houses abutting it, in an effort to stop its use as a roadway, but the road was eventually extended to Golden Grove Street.

The street was possibly named for one of several generations of Abercrombies who were British politicians and military men.

The work done here has made the section of Abercrombie Street between Shepherd and Lawson Streets safer and more inviting. Wider footpaths and traffic-calming measures will make it more pleasant for pedestrians, and there are also garden beds, new lighting and street furniture. And we've moved the overhead power-lines underground. We've also upgraded the stormwater drainage.

We also installed smart poles at the Lawson and Abercrombie Streets intersection and rebuilt the road pavement there. Shepherd Lane has become a shared zone and raised pedestrian thresholds at Ivy Street and Shepherd Lane. There is also new brick paving to replace the old asphalt and concrete surfaces.

As I mentioned, there is new street furniture, including specially designed sandstone seats. One of those seats has a memorial plaque to remember Trevor Davies, who died in 2011, aged 55. I'd like to welcome his family today.

Trevor lived in Redfern and then Darlington from 1979. He was a local character and was active in the Uniting Church, and in Labor politics, and in community groups like RedWatch and he was involved in the South Sydney Herald.

So we were pleased to be able to include this tribute to him as part of the improvements to his much-loved Darlington neighbourhood. It was still as a reminder of the great work that he did.

I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to these improvements, including:

  • Our designers, Group GSA
  • Sydney Civil, who were responsible for construction and
  • Our City staff, especially project manager Anton Leddin and design manager, Jacqueline Ong

And once again, welcome to Darlington Village - and welcome to the family of Trevor Davies.

Trevor, as a great community activist, and a committed democrat, would be appalled by the State Government's latest efforts to take control of the City of Sydney through amalgamation with Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and Botany - none of whom want the amalgamation either.

It would give the City a population the size of Tasmania, and would diminish the voices of our local communities partly because of the sheer size of the new LGA, and also because the government plans on giving every business -whether the owner lives in Sydney or in Shanghai - two votes to your one.

They're calling this "Fit for the Future" but you have to ask yourself what sort of future will it mean for you and your families. Will a state-controlled City of Sydney provide the parks and child-care and strong local villages that we have been developing since 2004?

Will you get cheaper or more efficient services? Will you get carefully planned, well-designed developments that also bring benefits to the local community? Or will you get the sort of ad hoc, overblown, look after the big end of town development that's now taking place at Barangaroo?

If you know the answers to those questions, make your voices heard and help put a stop to it.