Our History

As we delve into the past, we honour the pioneers and visionaries whose footsteps paved the way for the vibrant present we cherish today.

Join us as we embark on a nostalgic voyage, celebrating the cherished memories and remarkable milestones that define our collective heritage. Mural now installed on Ground Level. 


Bennelong (who also went by the name Woollarawarre) was from the Wangal people and is regarded as one of the most significant and notable Aboriginal people in the early history of Australia. 

Woollarawarre Bennelong was the first Aboriginal man to visit Europe and return. He was born on the south shore of the Parramatta River around 1764. In late November 1789, Governor Arthur Phillip had orders from King George III to use “every possible means” to open dialogue with the natives. Since none had ventured into Sydney Cove, he resorted to abduction. Bennelong was about 25 years old when he was taken from Manly Cove and rowed across to Sydney Cove. Governor Phillip hoped to learn from him more of the natives’ customs and language. Bennelong took readily to life among the white men, relished their food, acquired a taste for liquor, learned to speak English and became particularly attached to the governor, in whose house he lodged. 

 At the time, Bennelong was described as strongly made, with a “bold intrepid countenance, which bespoke of defiance and revenge”. Within three months he was communicating well with the Governor, but in May he escaped.Bennelong soon adopted European dress and ways, and was taught the English language. He is known to have taught the Sydney Aboriginal language to George Bass. He gave the Aboriginal name Wolawaree to Phillip to locate him in a kinship relationship in order to enable communication of customs and relationship to the land. Bennelong served the colonisers by teaching them about Aboriginal customs and language. 

In 1790 Bennelong asked the governor to build him a hut on what became known as later known as Bennelong Point, the site of today’s Sydney Opera House. 

Bennelong died at Kissing Point on 3 January 1813. 

SS Ayrfield 

The SS Ayrfield was built in Scotland and sailed to Australia, then used as a transport supply boat to US troops in the Pacific in World War II. 

It was then retired from Military use and adapted to run coal from Newcastle to Sydney. 

In 1972 the SS Ayrfield was decommissioned and sent into Homebush Bay, to the old marine wrecking yards, where vessels were winched out of the water and stripped of anything of value to be melted down and repurposed. Sometimes they were left with just a keel. 

Whilst the SS Ayrfield was floating in the bay, the value of scrap metal plummeted and the wrecking yards went out of business. The SS Ayrfield was one of several vessels due never wrecked, and which have now become part of the harbour seascape, as much a part of Homebush Bay as the mangroves that grow from within it. 

Tulloch Pheonix Iron Works 

Following the death of Alfred Llewellyn Bray, the first Mayor of Concord, his home “Braygrove” was purchased by R. Tulloch & Company and in 1915 the Iron Works transferred from its original site at Pyrmont to Rhodes. Only the replicas of the original gates to “Baygrove” now stand on Concord Road as a reminder of what was once a grand nineteenth century estate. 

During the Second World War, Phoenix produced a number of ships, and in the 1960s, manufactured CityRail’s rolling stock of train cars. The company built railway carriages of many types. They were most noted for the design and construction of the first double-deck carriages for Sydney and the first powered double-deck train in the world. 

The Phoenix Iron Works closed in 1974. 

Tulloch’s Phoenix Iron Works stood on what is now the HP building at Rhodes Corporate Park. 

Rider and Bell 

Local manufacturer of metal products and light engineering tools, including the metal fireman’s hat for the NSW Fire Brigade from 1941 – 1964 

Malvern Star and Speedwell 

Malvern Star, the home-grown Australian icon, was created in 1903 by Tom Finnigan. 

For several years from 1974, Philips Industries, manufactured Malvern Star and Speedwell bicycles opposite the Tulloch’s site, on the eastern side of Concord Road, Rhodes. 

Kokoda Walkway Rhodes

Walkway is a peaceful memorial in recognition of the sacrifices made during key battles which took place in 1942-43 along the Kokoda Track and other locations in Papua New Guinea.

The Walkway conducts commemorative services and also hosts individuals, schools and community groups in the state-of-the-art Ralph Honner Kokoda Education Centre.

CSR Chemicals 

CSR-Chemicals Pty Ltd launched on the eve of the Second World War, in 1939, when they pioneered a number of chemical processes, creating acetone from ethanol, Vitamin C from sugar and power alcohol in specially built grain distilleries. 

In 1946 CSR developed its’ site at Rhodes, for the manufacture of cellulose acetate for the newly established rayon spinning industry and of other chemicals which CSR had pioneered. 

Bergers Paint 

In 1917, the joint venture between the English firm of Lewis Berger & Sons and the Sherwin – Williams Companies of Canada and the United States purchased land at Rhodes and the factory started production. 

During the 1920’s Berger Paints firmly established itself in Australia, increasing the range of its products and opening branches in other states, sponsoring the Buy Australian’ campaign, in which, for the first time in Australia, an aeroplane was used for advertising. The Berger biplane toured New South Wales dropping leaflets urging people to invest in Peace Bonds and `Buy Australian’. 

During the depression, the company was contracted to supply the 272,000 litres of paint needed to finish and protect the Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened in 1932. 

John Whitton Bridge 

The John Whitton Bridge, named after the original designer of the lattice truss bridge, is a Railway bridge over the Parramatta River between Rhodes and Meadowbank. From 1974 to 1980, a replacement for the 1886 vintage iron bridge was constructed. It adapted piers and an abutment built in 1952 for a never-completed duplication project. In 2000 it was refurbished for pedestrian and bike use 

Rhodes Train Station 

In 1886 the Northern Rail line between Strathfield and Hornsby was opened with a railway station at Rhodes. This provided a necessary transport link which gave impetus to industrial development along the rail line, with Rhodes being the base for railway locomotive manufacturer Tulloch. 

With the development of Liberty Grove in the 1990’s changing the landscape of the suburb from industrial to a residential and commercial mecca, Rhodes station underwent a major redevelopment in the 2000’s. 

The Fauna and Flora of Canada Bay 

Today’s indigenous plant and animal communities of the City of Canada Bay (LGA) survive in some of the last strands of remnant native vegetation in inner-western Sydney. The Fairy Wren and Narrow-Leaved Wilsonia are listed as impacted indigenous species to the area that local and state authorities are monitoring rehabilitation of habitats and populations. 

Rhodes development 

Rhodes Central is the first stage of Billbergia’s broader Rhodes Central precinct that’s creating a new high-density community with new homes for over 4,000 people. 

Rhodes Central public facilities benefits: 

  • A new Town Centre with high density residential adjacent to Rhodes rail station 
  • A new Super Neighbourhood shopping centre, with full line Woolworths supermarket, health and medical services, gymnasium, and Asian inspired Bamboo Lane dining precinct 
  • Through site pedestrian links that connect the Homebush Bay foreshore to Rhodes railway station via Annie Leggett Promenade 
  • New $70 million community recreation centre and early childcare learning centre (Stage 2) 

Bennelong Bridge 

As of Monday 23 May 2016, the Bennelong Bridge opened providing a connection between Wentworth Point and Rhodes for buses, cyclists and pedestrians – but not for private cars. 

The $63 million Bennelong Bridge is a public infrastructure project, privately funded and delivered under a voluntary planning agreement by four Wentworth Point landowners, headed by Billbergia Group together with Sekisui House, Homebush Bay Holdings and Homebush Bay Properties. 

The Bridge is 330metres in length, 13.5 metres wides and includes 2 traffic lanes and a shared pedestrian cycle path. 


Rhodes Central’s new heliostat has created both a defining feature on the Rhodes Skyline and a talking point amongst the community. 

The heliostat is designed to capture the sun’s energy using mirrors that tilt towards the sun to continuously reflect sunlight toward a fixed direction. Rhodes Central’s heliostat has been designed and fabricated in Australia through a collaboration by HelioStat South Australia, SJB architecture, Inhabit Technical design and Samaras Engineering, using the latest generation technology 

The heliostat is made up of several parts. The actual ‘heliostat’ itself refers to a set of motorised mirrors that are positioned on the roof of the 39 level Rhodes Central building that point upwards and tilt to follow the sun’s movement during daylight. 

The main steel structure at the top of the building acts as a frame to house a second set of 96 fixed reflector panels that point down towards Union Square. 

Sunlight is bounced from the ‘heliostat’ mirrors on the roof of the building, up to the second set of reflector mirrors in the steel frame, which then directs diffused sunlight back down towards Union Square Plaza.