Jennifer Aaron

Five Dock

Located approximately 10kms from the Sydney CBD, Five Dock is a picturesque suburb of the Inner West which lies between Parramatta Road and the City West Link Road, and adjoins Haberfield, Croydon, Ashfield, Burwood and Iron Cove. It is said that the suburb originally got its name because of the shape of the bay along the Parramatta River. At the north east point of the bay there were five water-worn indentations, similar to docks. Five Dock’s population began to increase in the late 19th century, though not quite as rapidly as many of the nearby suburbs, which offered better transport. But the needs of a fast growing city saw huge estates divided, ferries and horse-buses added, public schools built, and solid brick bungalows constructed. The area was also linked to Hunters Hill by bridge in 1881 with the construction of the original Gladesville Bridge. Extensive industrial and residential development took place during the first half of the 20th century in both Five Dock and neighbouring Drummoyne. Eventually, as land values increased, industry moved away. In recent years several large former industrial sites have been redeveloped as residential housing. While Five Dock is now a densely populated inner city suburb, many of these houses from the 1920s remain, together with apartment buildings and townhouse complexes dating from the 1960s through to the present day. Like the nearby suburbs of Haberfield and Leichhardt, Five Dock has a large population of Italian immigrants, as well as Greek. This Italian influence is reflected in the restaurants, cafes and delis, and Five Dock Public School even offers Italian Language classes. Five Dock is also the host to ‘Ferragosto’ – the annual street festival based on the tradition Italian festival of the same name. The major roads which run through Five Dock include Parramatta Road, Lyons Road, Queens Road, Great North Road and the City West Link. The suburb is easily accessible from the city and surrounding suburbs and is well served by buses. The closest train stations are Ashfield, Strathfield and Croydon Station – which was originally called Five Dock Station when it opened in 1875 but was renamed shortly afterwards. Ferry services run to the city from nearby Drummoyne, Chiswick and Abbotsford. Along the Great North Road, between Lyons Road and Queens Road, is Five Dock’s commercial hub, which features a vast array of shops, banks, restaurants, cafes, delis, bakeries, butchers, fruit shops, hairdressers, florists, dentists and hardware stores. Due to Five Dock’s early development as a family suburb, there are plenty of state and private schools in the area. There are also several public parks located around Five Dock, including Timbrell Park, Halliday Park and Five Dock Park – which consists of a skate park, bowling club, tennis courts, an oval, childcare facilities and an off-leash area for dogs. In addition, there is Barnwell Park Golf Course, and two separate stretches of publicly accessible foreshore on the Parramatta River – one includes a small section of the Bay Run (a popular 7km cycling and walking track), and the other lies on Hen & Chicken Bay and Kings Bay, and also features a cycling and walking track which heads around the bay towards Abbotsford. Housing in Five Dock is predominantly freestanding dwellings. Like many other Inner West suburbs, Five Dock has some well-preserved examples of Federation Architecture and Californian Bungalows, most which have since been renovated. Recently, there has also been a significant increase in apartment construction.
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