Jennifer Aaron


Conveniently located only 6.5 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD, Leichhardt is a suburb in Sydney’s Inner West, and is well serviced in terms of public transport, with regular buses to the city in around 20 minutes, with light rail stations at Leichhardt North and at nearby Lilyfield, or the train from Stanmore and Petersham train stations. Leichhardt can be accessed by several main roads including Parramatta Road, Norton Street, Balmain Road, Marion Street and Catherine Street. The City West Link Road – a major arterial road – runs along the northern border of Leichhardt and crosses the ANZAC Bridge to the CBD. The suburb is bordered by Haberfield, Annandale, Lilyfield, Petersham, Lewisham and Stanmore. Leichhardt is well known for its combination of vibrant retail and residential life. Although the Italian population is decreasing in Leichhardt there is still a very strong Italian influence, and the suburb is often known as Sydney’s “Little Italy”. Norton Street and Marion Street – the two main streets of Leichhardt – boast a huge variety of restaurants, cafes, food shops, bookstores, homewares stores and lifestyle stores. There are two main shopping centres in Norton Plaza anchored by a supermarket and surrounded by eateries and specialty shops and Leichhardt Market Place (formerly Market Town), is located towards Haberfield on the main cross street of Marion Street. Parramatta Road features a lot of traditional stores still operated by the old Italian families. Leichhardt was originally called “Piperston” after the Piper family was granted land there in 1811. In 1846 the area was renamed “Leichhardt” after the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. Like many other inner city suburbs, Leichhardt has a mix of housing from the Victorian era, alongside Edwardian semi-detached homes, character terraces, and contemporary houses and apartments. Many old public buildings still remain, including the Leichhardt Fire Station, the Norton Hotel, the Former Leichhardt Hotel and the Former Leichhardt Post Office. Being situated close to the city, Leichhardt is an area for great capital growth as it is very central and has a lot to offer, so housing is not cheap and is highly sought after. The suburb is also home to many parks and recreational amenities including the renowned Bay Run, Leichhardt Aquatic Park and Leichhardt Oval. Leichhardt has a number of primary schools and one secondary school, making it popular with young families. Leichhardt is the yearly host of the Norton Street Festa where local traffic is temporarily closed on Norton and neighbouring streets transforming surroundings into a huge European style outdoor cafe, celebrating Leichhardt's cultural diversity with an International Food Fair, gift stalls, community expos and live entertainment throughout the day and has rapidly become the biggest Street Fair in Sydney. Leichhardt is also known for its café culture with cafes in abundance. The very popular Palace cinema complex has been redeveloped and now has 8 cinema whilst the Royal Hotel has just re-instated the heritage the balcony on the front of the building which was removed in the 1920's. This has added a vibrancy to Norton Street and increased the opportunity for alfresco dining in the area. Over the past few years street dining has become a welcomed and well patronised feature of Leichhardt.
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