I have been working in real estate in Winston Hills for a few years now, having grown up nearby and with mates and school friends who have lived in Winston Hills, it is an area I have known well all my life. I have recently moved into the suburb myself and know it to be one of those lesser known but much loved, hidden gem suburbs of Sydney. With great proximity to so many places, direct access to major transport routes, well-regarded schools, an excellent local shopping centre, parks around every other corner, a rich history, a safe, vibrant community and a great pub, what's not to love !
The purpose of this blog is to provide information about Winston Hills, its history, the characters that made it, the people who are here now and the activities that are going on in our community. Naturally, I’ll spice all that up with information about real estate and the market as well as interesting industry information that may be of interest to home owners, investors, renters and those planning to move in or move on.
If you live in Winston Hills now, have lived here previously or are planning to live here in the future, I hope that this will be a resource for you to visit to learn about our great suburb and stay in touch with what is happening here.
Much of what I have to share comes from the local people I speak to when I knock on their door to talk about real estate. This is a very friendly and knowledgeable community and each of the snippets of information that has been shared with me is another treasured piece in knowing as much about the suburb as possible. I am sure there are many of you who know far more of the story of Winston Hills and I would love to hear from you about it. The recording of this rich oral history is critical and I invite you to share what you know so it can be shared with others.
In the telling of stories there will be times when more or better information will improve their accuracy. The writer's dilemma is whether to fact check every detail until proved inconclusively or to reveal what has been learned so far and if better information comes in then make the alteration. I shall opt for the latter and invite your contributions, comments and corrections. All care is taken but no responsibility is taken for the information provided. You have to check for yourself anything you may rely on; I will do my best to be accurate, tell the stories I have heard and share any interesting facts or information that come to hand. It is very much a two-way street; so I cordially invite and will very warmly welcome your engagement, I look forward to hearing what you know and trust you will enjoy the process of coming to know more about “Wonderful” Winston Hills.
Here's what the Domain Liveable Sydney survey had to say:
revealed some good performers in western Sydney.. Winston Hills (ranked 296) scored well because of its low crime rate, good telecommunications and open space .. enough to rank one place higher than leafy St Ives Chase (ranked 297) (my emphasis)
Interestingly Castle Hill ranked 312, Turramurra 336 and Oatlands 340 from 555 Sydney suburbs.
Let's begin with a brief introduction and a look at the history and topography of the area, then on to how Winston Hills was developed, how it got its name, why the streets have the names they do and who they were named for. There are stories of some streets that I don't know yet but we shall cover the ones we can and learn more along the way. Do you know the story of your street ?
Winston Hills is in the north west of the Sydney Basin and in a direct line it is just 24 kilometres from Central Station in Sydney. It is 35km to the Sydney CBD on the M2 and with a good run you can be there in 25 minutes. The 'Hills' in the name describe the landscape and are the first hills rising off the Cumberland Basin that makes up much of the western Sydney landscape. The prized blocks in Winston Hills are those overlooking the historic second and third settlements of Australia at Parramatta and Toongabbie, a view that has been enjoyed by local residents since the Dreamtime.
There were Aboriginal clans living in this area for many thousands of years, latest research suggests around 25,000. It was home to the indigenous Toogagal people of the Eora Nation who spoke the Dharug language. There is, to this day, evidence of their mark on the landscape. Can you find it ?
The area was first settled in the very earliest days of the colony of NSW in 1792 when the Third Settlement was established at Toongabbie with the creation of a farm for feeding the new colony on the southern side of Toongabbie Creek. The homes of some of those first farmers of the area were in simple huts on the northern side of the creek around the area that is now Goliath Avenue.
In the early part of the 1800s the nearby area was established by Governor Lachlan Macquarie as the “Model Farms” where the land was put to practical use teaching both convicts and free settlers the practice of farming, from where they were sent off to create the agricultural expansion of Australia. The local Model Farms High School follows this history and teaches agricultural subjects to this day.
From those early days the area was developed with orchards and the roads in the area reflected the names of the farm owners in the district. Barnetts Rd was named after local orchard farmers, the Barnett brothers, who built a number of homes in the area and their own original home exists today.
The agricultural heritage of Winston Hills is rich and lengthy. The Model Farms were a launching pad for the broader agricultural expansion of the new colony and over time those farms were intensified with more orchards and following World War II with an influx of Italian and Maltese migrants who continued the agricultural tradition, creating market gardens. If you want a family home where you can grow some of your own fruits and vegetables and create your very own 'model farm' you know this area has been doing it well for more than 220 years !
You may have noticed the Model Farms Siding Reserve which was a place on the railway line where cars were loaded with farm produce including fresh fruits and vegetables and taken to Parramatta and on to the city. The rail link between Parramatta and Baulkham Hills opened in 1902 and was extended to Castle Hill in 1910. It was originally a steam tramway and carried produce and people.
By 1919 the government wanted to encourage the development of the district for residential real estate development and so converted the tramway to a railway line. The operation of the railway line which only carried passengers and was not a success without the produce and was closed in 1932. The opening of the NorthWest rail link with stations nearby and bus links sure to come will put Winston Hills ever more at the epicentre of so many handy transport links.
The modern development of Winston Hills began in earnest in the 1960s. Australia was in a post war boom, the demand for a home of your own and a nice backyard was pushing development in the newly opening suburbs of Sydney and place by place the farms moved further out as transport modernised and product could be quickly moved to market.
The desire for land, a home of one's own and the possibility of development was driving the Sydney property market even back then and in the mid-60s the development of Winston Hills was approved.
Many of the residential blocks in Winston Hills were sold to the first owners as vacant land and for most, building commenced within the first year or so. Other areas had homes builders and other developers building a number of homes in and around the suburb.
I was fascinated to learn from some of our treasured original Winston Hills residents that Latona Street was a street full of display homes and each of them is unique. Just like now people came and spent their weekend going through a new house and then imagining it on their block of land.
Many of those were modified as they were built and those with an interest in architecture will notice that there are very few homes in Winston Hills that are the same. Every home carries a character of its own and as each keeps reinventing itself through alteration, addition or renewal they create value for their owners and provide secure homes in a suburb known for its convenience, community, safety and history.
It is only 6km as the crow flies from Winston Hills Mall to Parramatta Railway Station and to get to Toongabbie Station just 4.5km if you walk or drive.
Winston Hills is in the local government administration of the City of Parramatta Council. In the NSW state parliament Winston Hills resides in the seat of Baulkham Hills currently held by David Elliott MP and federally it lies in electorate of Mitchell currently held by Hon Alex Hawke MP.
The boundaries of Winston Hills are most simply defined by three major roads and a creek. To the north runs the M2, Windsor Road to the East, Old Windsor Road to the west and Toongabbie Creek to the south.