History overview

History of the Randwick area

Large numbers of Aboriginal people were recorded in the Long Bay and Coogee areas at the time of the Endeavour's entry into Botany Bay in 1770. In 1788 it was estimated that approximately 1500 people lived between Broken Bay and Botany Bay. Those living south of Port Jackson to Botany Bay spoke the language Dharug and were part of the Eora nation.

Within two years of the European landings at Botany Bay and Port Jackson in 1788, the Aboriginal population along the coast had been devastated by shootings, starvation and diseases carried by the colonists.

By the mid-19th century, most of the original coastal Aboriginal groups had been forced from their traditional lands, through bloody confrontation with the settlers, or had died from European diseases. Many were rounded up and placed on reserves, far from their traditional lands, by successive governments.

White settlement was sparse in the area for many years, owing to the poor soil and swamps. However, in 1838 Coogee was pronounced a township, and in 1855 the new village of Long Bay was established. In the same year, the Destitute Children's Asylum was set up. In 1859 the Randwick Municipality was proclaimed and the first council elections held.

By 1900, almost ninety per cent of the population lived in Randwick, with the remainder mostly in Coogee, and a few people living in the new suburb of Kensington. By 1911, the population had reached more than 18,000, rising to 50,000 in 1921.

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