Scroll sideways on the timeline to view. 

Events in the History of Newtown


Theatre lost

Elizabethan Theatre, which had housed the Australian Opera during the construction of Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, destroyed by fire.


Demolition of Mary Reiby’s house

1962: Mary Reibey’s house is demolished for inexpensive flats.

South Sydney Council

Part of Newtown under Marrickville Council; South Sydney Council formed.


End of Newtown Council

1949: Newtown is incorporated into the City of Sydney.

Population decline

1947: The population of the municipality declines to 24933 people.


First woman Mayor

1938: Lilian Fowler is Newtown’s and Australia’s first woman Mayor.

Town Hall update

1935: Additions are made to facade of Town hall.

Declining population

1933: The population of the municipality declines to 25290 people.

Premiership to Newtown

1933: Newtown Rugby League Club wins premiership.

‘Black Friday’ evictions

19th June 1931: The ‘Black Friday’ eviction battle between police and tenants in Union Street.


Part of the city

1927: Real estate agents Hardie & Gorman classifies its Newtown properties as being part of the ‘city’ rather than suburban.

Bridge widened

1927: The railway is expanded with two island platforms demolished, the bridge widened and the Hatte’s drinking fountain removed.

Salvation Army Hall

3rd June 1922: The Salvation Army builds hall in Brown Street.

Diamon Jubilee

1922: Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Peak population

1921: The population of the municipality peaks at 28168 people.



1919: Influenza Epidemic.


1917: Majestic Theatre opens in Erskineville Road, renamed as the Elizabethan in 1955.

Last drinks at 6

1916: Local hotels have ‘six o’clock closing’ until 1955.

Barracks at Marrickville

1913/14: Army Barracks are established at Addison Road Marrickville; it is said that one sixh of lovcal eligible men were called up for service.

Eastern suburb?

1913: A Royal Commission into electorates proposes Newtown be included with the city and eastern suburbs

Jubilee murder

1912: A murder in Gowrie street. Jubilee Celebrations.

26498 people

1911: The population of the municipality is now 26498 people.

Electric street lights

31st December 1910: The municipality’s gas streetlights are disconnected and replaced with 418 electric lamps, there will be 465 lamps in 1922.

‘Drab industrial suburb’

1910s: Residents at Sydney University’s Women’s College in Carillon Avenue describe Newtown as a ‘drab industrial suburb’.


1910: The Victoria Palace and Clay’s Picture theatres in operation; the Stadium opens in 1912.


New rail proposed from Erskineville

1909: Royal Commission on Sydney Improvement proposes two branch rail lines to Randwick and Botany branching off just south of Erskineville station.

Newtown Rugby League

8th January 1908: Newtown’s Rugby League Club is formed.  Known as the “bluebags” they are only the 2nd rugby league club in Australia.

Newtown markets

1906: The Newtown Markets are in operation on Newman Street opposite the school.

Camperdown amalgamation

1905: Camperdown ratepayers petition to join Newtown this year but it is amalgamated within Sydney City in 1908.

22640 people

1901: The population of the municipality is 22640 people.


1st January 1901: The Commonwealth of Australia established.

Tram depot

1st April 1900: Tram depots open at Newtown and Tempe.


Post Office

14th August 1893: The Governor, His Excellency and Lady Duff opens Newtown post office; it carries more mail than any other office in the state that year apart from those at King Street in the city and Haymarket.

Baby farmer caught

20th June 1893: Dead children are found in the garden of baby farmer John Makin of Macdonaldtown.


March 1893: There is great unemployment in the area and council staff are asked to work on alternating weeks on half-pay.

4668 houses

1897: There are 4668 houses and 22 miles of streets in the municipality.

South Sydney

February 1893: A plan to rename the municipality as South Sydney is discussed (North Sydney was created in 1890 when two smaller muncipalities amalgamated).

Fire station

1892: The fire station building opens in Australia Street; their manual fire engine will be replaced three years later with a steam engine. Prominent shop-owner Mr Hatte pays for an ornamental fountain at Newtown bridge.

Bankstown railway line

1895: Opening of the Bankstown railway line.

Populous Newtown

1892: Newtown is the fourth most populous of Sydney’s suburbs. Marie Ryan, p 4.

Mayoral shooting

13th February 1894: Burwood’s Town clerk William Redfearn shoots Mayor William Paisley in Burwood Council chambers.


1892: Francis Crago, of Cavendish Street Stanmore, builds the Federal Flour mill on a siding adjoining the old railway station.


1893: Erskineville separates from Macdonaldtown Municipality[?].

Macdonaldtown Station

10th January 1892: The new Newtown and Macdonaldtown railway stations open as part of the two-year long quadruplication of the line.

John Vickars Wool mills

1893: The John Vicars Wool spinning mills is established near Edgeware Road on the site that would eventually become Marrickville Metro shopping centre.

Last of the estates

1891: The population of the municipality is now 17870 people; only three of the mansions, Stanmore House, Thurnby and Linthorpe retain a semblance of their formerly large gardens.

Steam Tram

1891: A steam tram operates between Newtown and St Peters station; it will later be replaced by a horse tram.

Shopping Mecca

10th July 1890: Newtown is considered as a shopping Mecca serving all the south western suburbs; a newspaper report in the Echo (and/or W. Freame (?) claims 612 were business houses. Compare Marie Ryan (p.63) – ” As Newtown produced very few of her own basic necessities, shops were the very foundation of the suburb. 413 shop residences are recorded in 1892, and 20 buildings served solely as shops. Of this 413, all but 57 were found on Enmore Road or King Street, hailed as “another Oxford Street”.The remaining 57 were scattered in more distant parts of the borough and were mostly corner shops”.

Alexandra canal

March 1890: St. Peters Council writes asking for Newtown’s assistance in campaigning for the Alexandra navigation canal; the former nightsoil dump is to be converted into useful factory sites alongside Shea’s Creek which is to be dredged and channelled for barges; the Department of Public Works will extend the canal to Buckland Street Redfern over the next decade.


Local newspapers

2nd July 1889: Two local newspapers commence publication, the 4-page ‘Newtown Chronicle’ and ‘The Independent’ (which closes in 1911). There are thirty hotels in district.

Erskineville highest mortality in the State

2nd January 1889: Alderman O’Connell draws attention to the typhoid fever in Gowrie Street in Camden ward. The Herald reports that William Jones, aged 34, of 53 Gowrie Street succumbed to the attack on the 21st, son Edward died on the following day; on Monday daughter Maggie died too; and the mother alone is left. Mrs Charlotte Jones, 31, is now recovering from the fever at Prince Alfred Hospital but does not yet know of the loss of her husband and children. On 24 May 1889, the NSW Board of Health names Erskineville as the suburb where the highest mortality has occurred in the state; the problem of faulty cesspits is made worse by the new railway viaduct impeding drainage to Shea’s Creek.


26th March 1889: The Trocadero amusement hall and skating rink opens in Kings Street; the minutes for April this year mention a swimming club.


23rd April/21st May 1889: Sections of Newtown east of Liberty Street are to be connected to the sewer being built to serve the Royal Price Alfred Hospital.

Smokey brickyards

4th December 1888: Petitioners complaining of large volumes of smoke from the brickyards.

Swimming Baths on King

25th February 1888: The swimming baths have opened on King Street just west of Brown Street, this building will be later converted to Marcus Clarks ‘cash store’, a cinema and a dance hall.

St Georges Hall as Town Hall?

February 1888: Pharmacist Richard Thomas Bellemey is elected mayor and prompts more discussion on resuming St Georges Hall as a Town Hall.

Varieties Theatre

11th October 1887: Mr Bartlett’s Varieties Theatre is i operation in King Street

St Georges Hall

June 1887: Henry Parkes lays the foundation stone for Newtown’s new St. Georges Hall; it is designed in what is described as the ‘modern Italian style’ and the subject of resumption plans in 1890 and 1911.

Quadruplication of the railway line

1886-1892: Quadruplication of the railway line commences. Local streets are being paved with asphalting, the Council transfers its account to the Bank of Australasia after 23 years with the Australian Joint Stock Bank and Stanmore Fire Station opens,

Enmore Park

4th May 1886: Enmore Park is proclaimed within the Marrickville’s municipality but controlled by an independent trust until May 1909.

The Gadigal People

The Gadigal (or Cadigal) people lived in the area of Newtown long before it was known by that name. 
Their land south of Port Jackson stretches from to South Head to Petersham.