Land and suburbs

History of the inner west

Inner West Council was formed by the merger of the former Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville councils. The history of the inner west is diverse, comprising of the rich history of 27 inner city suburbs. We acknowledge that this land area traditionally belonged to the Gadigal and Wangal peoples of the Eora nation.

From the working harbour of industrial Balmain to Leichhardt on the margins to the city to the rural outpost of Marrickville, to the garden suburb of Haberfield and the eclectic suburb of Ashfield, the area is a truly host to a history of a dynamic social, political, architectural and environmental history. It is an area undergoing significant change in development to the urban landscape.

The development of suburbs such as Marrickville, Petersham, St Peters, Annandale, Haberfield and Balmain was mainly developed through estates and villa sites sporting grand houses and orchards on acreages. Increased demand for housing in the 1870s and 1880s lead to the major developments of the suburbs we live and work in today. Developers, architects and prominent land owners played an important role in the creation of the Inner West suburbs. Some 61,630 permanent dwellings were constructed in Sydney between 1861 and 1891 including Haberfield, the first comprehensively planned ‘garden suburb’ in Australia and the model township of Annandale.

History and elegance can be observed throughout the inner west with a display of architectural character and richness in house styles enhanced by rich green parks and sporting fields.

The current population of the Inner West area is 185,000 over 36 square kilometers.

The Inner West Council area historically comprises the former municipalities of:

  • Annandale 1894-1948
  • Ashfield: 1871-2016
  • Balmain: 1860-1948
  • Camperdown: 1862-1908
  • Leichhardt: 1871-2016
  • Marrickville: 1861-2016
  • Newtown: 1862-1948
  • Petersham: 1871-1948
  • St Peters: 1871-1948

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Page last updated: 15 Sep 2021