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Randwick Travel Guide

Randwick: History, location and things to do

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Named after Randwick in Gloucestershire, England, Randwick, NSW, is just 6 kilometers southeast of Sydney’s CBD. The area was heavily populated by Aboriginal people at the time of the First Fleet’s arrival. An estimated 1,500 people who were part of the Eora nation were believed to have lived in the area between Botany Bay and Broken Bay. Starvation and smallpox wiped out many of the Indigenous people, and the few who remained were largely driven out of their ancestral homes by the newcomers. Many were placed on reserves.

European settlement in this new land was initially sparse. Swamps and poor soil made farming difficult for the new arrivals. Simeon and James Pearce, who migrated to the Randwick area in 1842, began to develop the area more extensively. Simeon built a home, Blenheim, which still stands today. It was not until 1859, however, that the municipality of Randwick was officially established. The population gradually expanded until 1900, and by 1911, there were 18,000 people living in Randwick. The population continued to boom over the next decade.

The area has many buildings of historic interest, including Ventor House, which is owned by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church and was designed by Edmund Blacket, who also designed the University of Sydney, and is currently listed on the Register of the National Estate. The nearby Randwick Town Hall was built in 1886. Also on the Register of the National Estate is the Prince of Wales Hospital, which was once a children’s hospital. After a stint as a military hospital, it later opened as a public medical facility. Randwick features beautiful examples of Victorian Gothic architecture with elaborate details, colourful stained glass and rich mahogany and cedar features inside. Many of its homes have been restored and are listed on the National Registry.

The cultural heritage of Randwick is equally rich. Poet Henry Kendall and impressionist painters Arthur Streeton, Charles Condor and Tom Roberts all found inspiration here. In fact, the painters have been immortalized in “The Impressionists’ Seat” sculpture created by Eileen Slarke in 2009. The arts community continues to thrive today and includes sculptors, writers, painters, musicians, performers, actors and film makers.

Today, visitors to Randwick can explore its beautiful beaches, ocean pools, playground, bike trails and picturesque parks. Its Aquatic Centre features a heated Olympic pool, training pool, competition pool, wading pool and toddler pool as well as barbecue facilities, café, lawns and kiosk. The coastal walk provides incredible views of Randwick’s coastline and provides access to some of its most attractive beaches, including Clovelly Beach and Maroubra Beach, and meanders past the lovely Gordon’s Bay, Grant Reserve and Trennery Reserve. Apart from the sights, the Coastal Walk also features interpretive signs to teach visitors about the historical and environmental significance of the area.

Botany Bay National Park is also located here. Botany Bay National Park stretches across the coastline and includes magnificent bushwalks, beaches, forts, monuments, historic buildings, beaches, picnic facilities, colourful sandstone cliffs and conservation areas. Visitors can also learn about the story of Comte de La Perouse, who first landed at Botany Bay just days after the first fleet arrived, at the La Perouse Museum.

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