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Suburb Profile - Summer Hill

Summer Hill is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Summer Hill is located 8 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Ashfield.

Summer Hill is a primarily residential suburb of the Western Sydney region, adjoining two of Sydney's major arterial roads, Parramatta Road and Liverpool Road. The first land grant was made in 1794 to former convict and jailor Henry Kable, and the suburb began growing following the opening of the railway station on the Main Suburban railway line in 1879.

Before settlement, Summer Hill was the home of the Wangal and Cadigal Aboriginal peoples, and the area was open and inhabited by kangaroos. By the 1920s, the suburb had become relatively upper class, with large estates and mansions built throughout the suburb. Some of these still exist today. Following a transition to a working-class suburb in the mid-20th century, when many of the large estates were demolished or subdivided, the suburb today has a "village" character and a mix of medium-density apartment blocks and federation houses. It is also multicultural, with 35% of the population today born overseas.

The boundaries of Summer Hill are defined by Parramatta Road and Liverpool Road to the north, the rear of the properties on the west side of Prospect Road (with a detour around Trinity Grammar School) to the West, Old Canterbury Road to the south, and the Inner West Light Rail to the east. North of Summer Hill is the suburb of Haberfield, to the east is Lewisham, to the south is Dulwich Hill, and to the west is Ashfield.

Summer Hill features a mix of Federation-era houses, as well as medium density apartment blocks near the railway station. Local independent business people run most of the shops. The local council has defined a village character for the suburb. Summer Hill is a suburb rich in heritage. More than one hundred properties are heritage listed, and the strong feelings of some residents of the suburb towards protecting the local architecture has seen the introduction of a heritage review, which is expected to add more properties to the heritage register.

Despite formerly being working class, Summer Hill and many of the surrounding suburbs have gradually undergone gentrification over recent years. Culturally, Summer Hill is a blend of medium-density European Sydney suburbia, with Italian influences (which are most evident in Leichhardt to the east and Haberfield to the north), Eastern influences (which are most strongly evident in Ashfield to the West), and smaller influences from many other cultures.

Prior to the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in 1788, the area of Summer Hill and its surrounds was the home of the Wangal and Cadigal Aboriginal peoples. What is now called the Hawthorne Canal (originally Long Cove Creek) appears to have marked the boundary between the Cadigal and Wangal aboriginal group lands. Today there is a small park in Summer Hill, called Cadigal Reserve, located at 1-4 Grosvenor Crescent. A bronze plaque placed by Ashfield Council names the reserve after the Cadigal (Eora) group of Koori people. Iron Cove and the mangrove-lined estuaries of the Long Cove and Iron Cove Creeks would have provided a good source of fish and molluscs, the most common food of the coastal tribes in the Sydney basin.

In the early days of the colony, the stretch of land between Iron Cove and the Cook's River was known as the Kangaroo Ground. This name suggests that the land was open terrain favoured by kangaroos, that they were common in the area and may have formed a significant part of the Aboriginal diet.

No record is known to exist relating to the demise of the Aboriginal population from the district. It seems likely that the well-documented outbreak of smallpox among local Aboriginal people in early 1789 had a major impact. Governor Phillip not only recorded that half of the local Aboriginal population was estimated to have died from the disease, but he also noted that the Aboriginal people always "retired from where the diseases appeared" as well.

The first land grant in this area was for a farm in 1794, to former convict and jailor Henry Kable. The land in the eastern corner of Summer Hill was an additional grant of 30 acres (12 ha) made to Henry Kable in 1804. This eastern corner would subsequently become part of the estate of James Underwood. Underwood died in 1844 and left a will so complicated that it required special legislation before it could be subdivided.

The earliest known use of the name "Summer Hill" was in 1876, for a land subdivision adjacent to the present-day St Andrew's Anglican Church. The name Summer Hill is thought to be a name chosen by the land sub-divider, presumably based on an attachment for England. Local historians regard the suggestion that the name is a derivation of "Sunning Hill" as a dubious story which has no substance.

Summer Hill's largest mansion, Carleton (now the Grosvenor Hospital's main building), was built in the early 1880s on Liverpool Road for Charles Carleton Skarrat. The suburb boomed with the opening of the railway station in 1879, and was followed by subdivision of much of the surrounding area. Between 1880 and 1910, the area became an upper-class suburb, and was a popular choice for professionals in banking and insurance who worked in the city. Subdivision of gardens for housing continued in the 1920s and 1930s, and socioeconomically the suburb changed as some of the wealthier inhabitants moved to the North Shore. Demolition of most of the surviving mansions in the 1970s allowed erection of home units, especially within walking distance of the railway station

Recent sales for Summer Hill

9 Short Street, Summer Hill

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