Redfern, New South Wales

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New South Wales, Australia

Redfern Post Office
Redfern Post Office (1882), designed by James Barnet
Population: 11,482 (2006 census)
Density: 9568.3/km² (24,781.8/sq mi)
Postcode: 2016
Area: 1.2 km² (0.5 sq mi)
Property Value: AUD $629,500 (2007)
Location: 3 km (2 mi) south of Sydney CBD
LGA: City of Sydney
State District: Marrickville, Heffron
Federal Division: Sydney
Suburbs around Redfern:
Chippendale Central Surry Hills
Darlington Redfern Moore Park
Eveleigh Alexandria Waterloo

Redfern is an inner-city suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Redfern is located 3 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney. Strawberry Hills is a locality on the border with Surry Hills

Redfern is subject to extensive redevelopment plans by the state government, to increase the population and reduce the concentration of poverty in the suburb and neighbouring Waterloo (see Redfern-Eveleigh-Darlington).


The suburb is named after surgeon William Redfern, who was granted 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land in this area in 1817 by Lachlan Macquarie. He built a country house on his property surrounded by flower and kitchen gardens. His neighbours were Captain Cleveland, an officer of the 73rd regiment, who built Cleveland House and John Baptist, who ran a nursery and seed business. Sydney's original railway terminus was built in Cleveland Paddocks and extended from Cleveland Street to Devonshire Street and west to Chippendale. The station's name was chosen to honour William Redfern. At that time, the present Redfern station was known as Eveleigh. When Central station was built further north on the site of the Devonshire Street cemetery, Eveleigh station became Redfern and Eveleigh was retained for the name of the railway workshops, south of the station. The remains of Cleveland Paddocks became Prince Alfred Park.

Early 1890s redfern

Redfern Post Office, early 1890s

Redfern has been characterised by migrant populations that have lived in the area. In the late 1800s many of the businessmen in the area were from Syria such as George Dan 1890, Stanton and Aziz Melick in 1888 and Anthony and Simon Coorey in the 1890s. As waves of immigrants arrived in Australia, many made Redfern their first home.

The notorious Redfern Mail Exchange was built in 1965, after 300 people were evicted from their homes on the 2.15 hectare site. It became the scene of many industrial disputes when the automatic mail-sorting machinery which was supposed to sort efficiently, actually destroyed many letters. It became known as the Redfern Mangler.[1]

The 2004 Redfern riots began with a riot on 14 February 2004, at the end of Eveleigh Street outside Redfern station, sparked by the death of Thomas 'TJ' Hickey. The teenager, riding on his bicycle, was allegedly being chased by a police vehicle, which led to his impalement on a fence. Members of his family were then reported to have started grieving for TJ around Eveleigh Street with a crowd gathering commiserating with the family. Fliers were distributed blaming police for TJ's death. The police closed the Eveleigh Street entrance to the railway station, but youths in the crowd became violent, throwing bricks and bottles; this escalated into a riot. A subsequent inquest found that although the police were following Hickey, they had not caused the accident, a verdict that caused controversy in Redfern's Aboriginal community. The riots sparked fresh debate into the welfare of Australian Aborigines and the response of the police to those living in the Redfern area. See also: The Block

Commercial AreaEdit

Redfern Railway Station

A historic view of Redfern railway station


Redfern railway station

The main shopping strip is located on Redfern Street, east of Redfern railway station. There are also commercial developments nearby, along Regent Street and surrounding streets. The Redfern skyline is dominated by two office towers located between Regent Street and Gibbons Street, beside Redfern railway station.


Redfern railway station, located on the western edge of the suburb is a major station on the CityRail network. Redfern is the first station south from Central Sydney terminus on the edge of the city. Redfern station is the closest station to the main campus of the University of Sydney at Camperdown and Darlington. A near-constant stream of commuters, mostly students, flows from Redfern station along the south side of Lawson Street towards the university in the morning, and back towards the station in a largely hourly rhythm in the afternoon.

Churches and SchoolsEdit

St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church is on Redfern Street. St Saviour's Anglican Church (which is also known as Redfern Anglican Church) is on Young St. St George Antioch Orthodox Church is on the corner of Walker Street and Cooper Street. The Greek Orthodox Church in Cleveland Street is called the Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady and the St Andrews Greek Orthodox Theological College sits beside it.


The population of the suburb spans a broad spectrum of socioeconomic characteristics. This may be partly due to the geography of the suburb, which is long, narrow, and centrally located. Eastern Redfern has become increasingly gentrified, with many medium and high density developments replacing low density and industrial developments.


According to the 2006 census, Redfern has a population of 11,482 people, with indigenous people making up 2.4% of the population. 35% of the population was born overseas. 55.9% of the population only spoke English at home, with the most important other languages being Chinese languages (5.5%), Russian (2.4%), Greek (2.4%) and Arabic (1.7%). 25.0% of the population identified with no religion/atheism, higher than the national average. Of the remainder, 19.9% were Catholic, 10.9% Anglican, 4.4% Eastern Orthodox, and 3.9% Buddhist. Furthermore, 41.6% of the population lived in public housing.[2]


Redfern Court House

Redfern Court House

'The Block' is an area in the immediate vicinity of Redfern station bounded by Eveleigh, Caroline, Louis and Vine Streets. The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) was set up as the first urban Aboriginal community housing provider, using grant money to purchase the houses on the Block. As a result the area is important to the Aboriginal community, and remains so despite the fact that infiltration of the drug trade by the wider community increased their vulnerability, more so than the non-Aboriginal community who had stronger resources to withstand its impact.

Eveleigh Street, which is part of 'The Block', is well-known for its community. In 2004 much of the housing here was demolished with plans for redevelopment, but it is still an area around which many people congregate. The AHC's plans for redevelopment are known as the Pemulwuuy Project. The plans were approved in 2009.

The local police boys club (PCYC) has artwork painted on the outside walls of the building which was completed in the early 90s. The front wall has a mural of a picture taken at Cleveland Street High School of a day when Dwayne "the D Train" McClain former Sydney Kings player visited the school. The picture has local sports stars such as Richard Bell, Bruce Swanson, Rossie Symmans, Nicholas Murray, Nathan Denzil and the one and only Jamie Sharpe. The mural was painted by probably the most notable artist of the 90s in the Redfern district, Sir Joseph Phillips.

Redfern has many fine examples of Victorian terraced housing similar to other inner suburbs, such as Surry Hills and Paddington. Also, like some other inner-city suburbs, some parts of Redfern have been gentrified, whilst other areas still project an image of "mean streets", with some public housing.


Commercial areaEdit

Houses and parksEdit



  1. ^ The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Redfern (State Suburb)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 

External linksEdit

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Redfern, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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