Street History of Green Square

You may drive these streets or visit these places every day, but do you know the stories behind their names?

We look at the historical origins of some prominent local street and place names.

How did Green Square acquire its name?

Green Square takes its name from the small park that used to exist at the heart of the area, which was named in 1938 after Frederick Green who was then the Labor MP for Redfern. The park stood near the “square”, where the Green Square railway station is located, at the junction of Bourke Road, Botany Road and O’Riordan Street. And new buildings in the wider Green Square precinct are certainly giving new meaning to the “Green” in its name.

Meanwhile, adjacent Waterloo, as history buffs will know, takes its name from the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, when Allied and Prussian forces under the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon Bonaparte’s French forces.

The streets in our area also have fascinating name origins, many stemming from the early days of the colony.

Botany Road was named by Governor Macquarie as the main road leading to Botany Bay. It was constructed to access the water-powered flour mill in Waterloo around 1818. Captain James Cook actually originally named Botany Bay ‘Stingray Harbour’ but the name was changed due to the wide variety of new plants discovered there.

Bourke Street was named in honour of Sir Richard Bourke, an Irish born Army officer who was Governor of NSW from 1831-38. Bourke encouraged the emancipation of convicts and helped bring forward the ending of penal transportation to Australia.

Crystal Street’s name comes from the street’s former association with glass manufacturers, Australian Consolidated Industries (ACI).

Danks Street takes its name from one Mayor Thomas Danks. Born in Staffordshire, England, Danks was a Freemason and member of the Redfern Lodge for about 40 years. He was an alderman on Waterloo Council in 1896-1917 representing East Ward, and mayor in 1899, 1904, 1906-07 and 1915.

Thinking of selling?

Just researching the market?

The Drying Green – Green Square’s central park, The Drying Green, is a nod to its industrial past. Wool washing was one of the first industries associated with the area. Fluffy white fleeces were spread across acres of ground to dry naturally, where they lay looking like snow.

Elizabeth Street – This street, which runs all the way through to the CBD, was named by Governor Macquarie in 1810, for his second wife, Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell (1778-1835).

Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre in Green Square is a fabulous local facility and the largest pool complex built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics. ‘Gunyama’ means ‘wind from the south-west’ in the Aboriginal language of Sydney and refers to the strong southerlies that blow through the area.

Raglan Street originally ran between Abercrombie Street and Alma Street (once Maze Crescent). It was named after Lord Raglan, Commander-in-Chief during the Crimean War in 1854.

Wellington Street was named for Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The street originally ran between Morehead and Pitt Streets but was later extended over the western end of Buckland Street to Botany Road.

Want to know more about our local area or need a new street to call home? Contact our team today.

Photo credit: City of Sydney website

Article by Brendon Clark
‘The details matter - through every part of the process.’ With decades of runs on the board alongside a fresh outlook, Brendon is co-director of Clark - and one half of one of Sydney’s most dynamic and successful real estate duos. Having carved out a reputation for results in the… Read More
Previous Post
Green Square and Waterloo Real Estate Update: December 2021
Next Post
Looking Back: Rosebery And Waterloo In 1917