Homebush Bay

Homebush Bay is a bay on the south bank of the Parramatta River, in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. The name is also sometimes used to refer to an area to the west and south of the bay itself, which was formerly an official suburb of Sydney, and has now become the suburbs of Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Point and part of the neighbouring suburb of Lidcombe. Homebush Bay is located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of the Sydney central business district, and is split between the local government areas of City of Parramatta and City of Canada Bay. Homebush and Homebush West are separate suburbs.

Homebush Bay
Sydney, New South Wales
The hull of SS Ayrfield in Homebush Bay
Location16 km (10 mi) west of Sydney CBD
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)Reid
Suburbs around Homebush Bay:
Melrose Park Meadowbank Rhodes
Wentworth Point Homebush Bay Liberty Grove
Sydney Olympic Park Homebush North Strathfield

The bay has natural and artificial shoreline on the southern side of the Parramatta River between the former suburb of Homebush Bay and the suburb of Rhodes. The bay was contaminated with dioxin and other chemicals by Union Carbide group which led to commercial fishing bans in most of Sydney Harbour and health advisories about limiting the quantity of fish eaten from the Parramattta River. Fishing is prohibited in Homebush Bay for health reasons. Other contamination includes phthalates, lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, DDT and heavy metals.[1] The eastern shore of the bay was remediated starting in 2008 to remove about 75% of the dioxin from the bay. Remediation was completed in mid-2010.


The region is a part of the traditional land of the Wann-gal people who lived in Homebush Bay thousands of years ago and survived on the resources offered by the estuary. The first European settlers arrived here in 1793 and declared the land as 'Flats' whose grants were given to free men. For this reason, it came to be known as the 'Liberty Plains'. The land was dominated by two families during this period - the Blaxlands and the Wentworths.[2]

Homebush was established in the 1800s by the colony's assistant surgeon D'arcy Wentworth.[3] According to local government historian Michael Jones, "Wentworth is popularly credited with having called the area after his 'home in the bush', although Homebush is also a place in Kent."[4]

In the 20th century, Homebush Bay became a centre of heavy industry, with large scale land reclamations to accommodate industrial facilities. When industrial operations scaled down, the bay became a dumping ground for a large range of unwanted material - from waste to broken up ships, even toxic industrial waste. Union Carbide had manufactured chemicals, including Agent Orange, on the site and dioxins produced as a by product were buried in landfill or left in drums.[5]

A drive to regenerate and rehabilitate the bay began in the 1980s. This led to the construction of Bicentennial Park, including a program to regenerate some of the mangrove wetlands and saltmarshes which existed around the bay pre-development. In preparation for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, it was decided to site Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay, which spurred the further regeneration and rehabilitation of the bay. A range of residential and commercial developments also began around the bay, including the development of a large shopping centre and residential district at Rhodes on the eastern shore.

Suburb name change

The former Auburn Council sought public comment on a proposal to rename the suburb of Homebush Bay, as well as removing connotations and confusion with its namesake suburb Homebush. The waterfront residential area was renamed Wentworth Point on 2 October 2009,[6] consistent with the gazetting of the northern part of the peninsula in 1976.[7] The area encompassing Sydney Olympic Park was given autonomy as a suburb and the Carter Street industrial precinct was absorbed by the neighbouring suburb of Lidcombe. This effectively brought the official suburb of Homebush Bay to an end.


Homebush Bay is located on the southern shore of Parramatta River. Immediately to the east is Bray Bay, which is separated from Homebush Bay by a narrow peninsula (considerably expanded through land reclamation) that forms the suburb of Rhodes. It is across the Parramatta River from Meadowbank. It is the westernmost of the major bays on the Parramatta River.

Several tributaries enter Parramatta River at Homebush Bay: Powells Creek and the smaller |Boundary Creek flow into the bay from the south, while Haslams Creek joins the bay further to the north.

The shoreline of Homebush Bay is in large parts artificial, with large scale land reclamations for industrial purposes occurring throughout the 20th century. Its history of use for industry and as dumping ground has left the bay heavily contaminated, including with dioxin and other chemicals produced by Union Carbide operations. Fishing is prohibited in Homebush Bay for health reasons. Other contamination includes phthalates, lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, DDT and heavy metals.[8] Remediation from 2008-2010 removed about 75% of the dioxin from the bay.

A number of ships' hulls are visible in Homebush Bay, remains of the ship-breaking operations in the bay during the mid-20th century. These are the steam colliers SS Ayrfield and SS Mortlake Bank, steam tugboat SS Heroic, and boom defence vessel HMAS Karangi, all broken up in the early 1970s and now lying near the south-western shore of the bay. Remains of a number of smaller abandoned or broken up vessel lie nearby.[9]


Bicentennial Park is located on the southern shore of the bay, and contains an area of rehabilitated mangrove wetland representative of the native state of the bay.

Sydney Olympic Park is a 640 hectares (1,600 acres) area to the south west of Homebush Bay (and within the former suburb of Homebush Bay) which was notable as the site of the 2000 Olympic Games. Since then, there has been much development in the area including office buildings and apartments in the centre of Sydney Olympic Park. Three completed residential developments in the area are Newington, The Waterfront and Mariners Cove.

The Sydney Showground relocated from Moore Park in 1998, in preparation for the Olympic Games. The Sydney Showground provided Olympic venues along with Stadium Australia, Sydney Super Dome, Athletics Centre, Aquatic Centre, Tennis Centre, Hockey Stadium and multiple sports halls.

On the eastern shore, within the suburb of Rhodes, lies the large Rhodes Waterside shopping centre.

The Novotel Hotel features cafes, restaurants and bars with outdoor facilities that cater for special events held at Sydney Olympic Park.

Bennelong Bridge, a bridge open to pedestrians, cyclists and buses but not to cars, crosses the bay near its mouth (between Rhodes on the east bank and Wentworth Point on the west bank). The bridge opened on 22 May 2016. Between 2014 and 2016, during construction, the low bridge was protected by a "maritime exclusion zone", meaning that watercraft was not able to enter or leave Homebush Bay. [10]


Two stations on the Sydney Trains metropolitan passenger rail network sit near the shores of the bay. To the south-west, Olympic Park railway station was built to cater for large crowds to the precinct during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and is especially heavily used for special events in the Olympic Park precinct. It is serviced by a shuttle connecting Olympic Park to Lidcombe railway station. On the eastern shore, Rhodes railway station is on the North Shore, Northern & Western Line.

Sydney Ferries' Parramatta River ferry services run to the Sydney Olympic Park ferry wharf on the bay. Originally designed to service Sydney Olympic Park, the wharf now mainly serves the residents of Wentworth Point. Sydney Buses run a number of regular bus services to the area around the bay, as well as special services for sporting events, concerts and other major events at the Sydney Olympic Park precinct such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A light rail line is proposed to run alongside the parkland on the southern shore. The line will serve the Olympic Park precinct and provide an interchange with the railway station.




For more information see Stadium Australia

Pop culture

The Brickpit at Sydney Olympic Park was used as a location for the filming of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.[11]

See also


  1. http://www.rhodesremediation.nsw.gov.au/index.html
  2. "Sydney Olympic Park and Homebush Bay – A Brief History". Parramatta Heritage Centre.
  3. The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 124
  4. Jones, Michael (1985). Oasis in the West: Strathfield's first hundred years. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin Australia. ISBN 0-86861-407-6, page 15
  5. Perry, Michael (10 February 2006). "Toxic Waste Ends Sydney Harbour Commercial Fishing". Reuters, Planet Ark. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  6. http://www.auburn.nsw.gov.au/page.aspx?id=3946
  7. Leaflet, A New Suburb Name For Homebush Bay
  8. http://www.rhodesremediation.nsw.gov.au/index.html
  9. Blaxell, Gregory (May 2008). "The Wrecks of Homebush Bay". Afloat. AFLOAT Publications Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  10. A new bridge to connect growing communities Homebush Bay Bridge
  11. http://www.madmaxmovies.com/making/madmax3/Bartertown/Bartertown.html

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