Cabarita: the Inner West’s best-kept secret
From its industrial beginnings, the Inner West waterfront suburb of Cabarita has blossomed into a popular residential area. Cabarita does not lack for things to do with two parks, swimming pools, harbour beaches, playgrounds, restaurants, walking and cycle tracks, despite its small size.
Discover how Cabarita has evolved from its humble beginnings to become what could be described as the City of Canada Bay’s undiscovered secret.
Location – Postcode 2137
Cabarita is located on the Parramatta River and extends from Cabarita Point to Harmony Point and borders the suburb of Breakfast Point. It is 17 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD.
Cabarita was part of the traditional land of the Wangal clan, which were part of the larger Darug language group. Their lives centred around the Harbour foreshore as it was an important source of food. The name Cabarita may be derived from the Aboriginal word for ‘by the water’.
Cabarita Point was first discovered by Europeans when Captain John Hunter as he travelled up the Parramatta River in February 1788. In 1795, part of the suburb was granted to David Anderson, a soldier in the NSW Corps. An area of Cabarita Point was reserved for public recreation in 1856. This area was expanded in 1880 with the addition of 9.7 hectares of adjoining land, known as Correy’s Garden.
In the past, the suburb was home to heavy industry and swampland. Housing developments replaced factories and it now a residential area, with the Bushells Factory the last remaining sign of its industrial past. The swamps were reclaimed to create golf courses. Until 1948, an electric tramway ran down Cabarita Road to connect the suburb with Burwood, Enfield and Ashfield. Today, bus and ferry services are the means of public transport.
According to the 2016 census, 1,957 people call Cabarita home of which 65% were born in Australia. 5.6% were born in China, 3.3% in England, 2.6% Italy, 2% South Korea and 1.7% Hong Kong. 66.0% only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Italian 5.9%, Cantonese 5.3%, Mandarin 5.1%, Korean 3.0% and Greek 2.4%. When it comes to religion, 69.9% identified as Christian of which 38.3% were Catholic, 20.1% nominated no religion, 12.6% were Anglican, and 4.4% Eastern Orthodox.
Cabarita Wharf is located at the northern tip of the suburb within Cabarita park. It opened in 2000, as part of Sydney Transport’s upgraded services to Homebush Bay for the Olympic Games. Today, the single wharf is serviced by River Cat ferries, which run between Circular Quay and Parramatta making it an idyllic way for residents to travel to work. It takes just 30-40 minutes to the city.
This 10-hectare park was one of Sydney’s most popular gardens to visit in the 1880s and that continues to this day. As well as playgrounds and picnic spots, it is home to the Federation Pavilion, which was constructed in Centennial Park in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney as the focal point of the Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901. On that day the ornate pavilion was the site for swearing in of the first Governor-General of Australia, John Hope, the 7th Earl of Hopetoun and the first Prime Minister of Australia, Edmund Barton as well as the first Cabinet as a 60,000-strong crowd looked on. However, it soon fell into disrepair and was bought by the Municipality of Concord and relocated to Cabarita Park in 1903. It was heritage-listed in 2000.
In contrast, the modern Cabarita Park Conservatory was opened on 1 May 2017. It is an arts and cultural facility for artists and the community to undertake creative and cultural pursuits, including workshops, classes and exhibitions as well as youth and health programs.
Located in Cabarita Park, the Cabarita Swimming Centre is nestled beside the harbour and enjoys spectacular views. It has three heated outdoor pools, including a 50-metre pool, the program pool for swimming lessons and a toddler pool, meaning it is ideal for all ages. If swimming is not your thing, take the walk from Cabarita to Breakfast Point or get on your bike. For the golfers two courses border Cabarita – The Breakfast Country Club and Massey Park Golf Club. If you like to sail, the marina of Cabarita Point is the place to moor your runabout or hire a boat to explore the surrounding waters.
A waterfront housing complex called Cape Cabarita was built on Harmony Point in Cabarita, comprising townhouses and five-storey apartments. It won Best Residential Lifestyle Development and Best Community Development at the Urban Development Institute of Australia Awards in 2000. Prince Edward Park sits at the end of the Point on the shores of Hen and Chicken Bay and is a great spot for a picnic.
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