• 40,000 BC

    Pre contact – Members of Cadigal, or Gadigal, people inhabit Redfern, Erskineville and surrounds. The Gadigal Traditional Owners who today speak for the Sydney clan area stretched “from the south side of Port Jackson from South Head to Petersham”. The Gadigal people spoke the coastal Eora dialect of the Darug language and are often referred to as the Eora people. Redfern as a site was important to its people because it had a source of water – Shea's Creek, which today is Alexandra Canal, as well as a source of food from the wetlands that drained into the creek. Redfern’s high point on the terrain offered views of the trade route from Circular Quay to Parramatta, on which the colony’s first railway would be built. These trade routes connected with larger routes which linked the north and south, and east and west of Australia. Not only goods, but ideas, songs, ceremonies and news travelled along these routes.

    Indigenous Connections
  • 1788

    The British arrive in January with catastrophic effect on the Aboriginal way of life. The Eora people do not flee, as Captain James Cook predicted, but stand their ground. Governor Phillip attempts to create good relations, but these soon disintegrate due to the persecution of the Aboriginals by the convicts. The Aboriginals are pushed out of Sydney town with fear of being shot, and with the quick pollution of the Tank Stream by tanneries, they are forced to use water sources near Redfern.

    Indigenous Connections
  • 1789

    The smallpox plague devastates the Aboriginal people. Without immunity to the disease brought by the British, a large percentage of the Cadigal clan is wiped out. Following the plague, survivors from surrounding clans join together to survive, and to participate in the guerrilla movement led by Pemulwuy.

    Indigenous Connections
  • 1791

    James Chisholm arrives in the colony of New South Wales aged 19 as a non-commissioned officer.

    The Chisolm Estate and Calder House
  • 1793

    Settler David Collins observes Cadigal people performing a ceremony “between the town and the brickfield”.

    Indigenous Connections
  • Government Paddock prior to the construction of the railway, 1850

    1800

    In the early 19th century, the area that contains Redfern remains undeveloped, labelled as 'government paddocks', and becomes known as Cleveland paddocks after Governor Macquarie’s friend, Major Thomas Cleveland.

    Terminus
  • 1817

    Circa 1817 major land grants are given to Dr William Redfern, William Chippendale and William Hutchinson.

    The Chisolm Estate and Calder House
  • 1818

    Carters Barracks opens, which becomes the Sydney Female Refuge and later the Convent of the Good Samaritan.

  • 1819

    The police barracks in Garden Street opens.

  • 1821

    The Benevolent Asylum opens on the site where Central Station now stands. It is a refuge for homeless older men, deserted women and children, and the mentally ill.

  • 1823

    Between 1823 and 1824, Cleveland House, 51 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills, is constructed for emancipist merchant Daniel Cooper. The design is attributed to Francis Greenway.

  • 1825

    World's first railway, operating with steam locomotives, opens in England.

    The Roaring Giant
  • Calder House Front Façade

    1837

    James Chisholm dies and is buried in the garden of Chisholm Estate and Calder House, until damage to the grave prompts relocation of his body to Camperdown Cemetery.

    The Chisolm Estate and Calder House
  • 1840

    Grange Villa is constructed prior to 1840 at the western end of the North Eveleigh site. It is home to a number of prominent local and colonial figures, including William Beckett, Sir Saul Samuel and possibly Felix Wilson. It is purchased by the Department of Public Works in 1908 to expand the Eveleigh Railway Workshops, and probably demolished shortly thereafter.

  • 1840

    During the 1840s, government legislation is passed ordering polluting industries to move from the Tank Stream. They move into Redfern and Waterloo, establishing industrial suburbs. Redfern develops terrace housing and villas.

    Evolution of Eveleigh - The Railway workshops
  • 1842

    On Hutchinson’s land, one of his sons-in-law, John Rose Holden, builds Eveleigh House. Named after Holden's mother whose maiden name was 'Everleigh', it stood on what is now known as The Block and is remembered by Eveleigh Street, which borders The Block.

    Indigenous Connections
  • 1849

    Sydney Railway Act is passed. Sydney Tramroad and Railway Company is authorised to build the Sydney to Goulburn railway, and starts to build the first railway track in New South Wales, between Sydney and Parramatta – a distance of 22 km. The project runs into financial difficulty and is taken over by the New South Wales colonial government.

    Terminus
  • Turning the turf of the first railway in the Australasian colonies at Redfern, 3 July 1850

    1850

    On 3 July, 10,000 people gather in Redfern to watch Mrs Keith Stewart, the daughter of Sir Charles Fitzroy, turn the first sod of earth for the construction of Australia’s first railway.

    Terminus
  • 1852

    Cora Gooseberry, wife of Bungaree, is buried in the Presbyterian section of the Sandhills (Devonshire Street) Cemetery. Found dead on 30 July, E. Borton (or Berton) pays for her burial and headstone in the Presbyterian section.

    Indigenous Connections
  • James Sinclair Taylor McGowen, former Eveleigh boilermaker, 18th Premier of NSW and the State’s first Labor Premier, undated

    1855

    On 16 August, James Sinclair Taylor McGowen is born aboard the ship Western Bride, prior to his family’s arrival in Melbourne.

    Honest Jim – J.S.T McGowen
  • 1855

    Sydney’s first railway line, from Sydney to Parramatta Junction opens on the 26 September. It runs through the garden of the Chisholm Estate. Parramatta Junction becomes Granville in 1880, named after Granville Leveson-Gower.

    The Chisolm Estate and Calder House
  • School boys and teachers outside Calder House Boys' school, Redfern, Sydney, 1876

    1855

    J.F. Castles takes a lease over Chisholm Estate and Calder House on the Chisholm Estate and opens an exclusive school for boys.

    The Chisolm Estate and Calder House
  • 1855

    Imported English rails, locomotive and carriages arrive in Sydney.

    Terminus
  • 1855

    Railroads are nationalised by the government, after the privately owned Sydney Railway Company fails.

    Terminus
  • The first terminal station in Sydney was known as “Redfern” it was opened in 1855, image dated 1871

    1855

    The first Redfern Station opens, on Cleveland paddocks. It is the first station in Sydney and includes the first Sydney railway workshops, called Redfern Railway Yard.

    Terminus
  • 1855

    The Cleveland Street Overbridge is built.

  • 1856

    Cleveland Street Overbridge is duplicated.

  • John Whitton, photographer Scott Montagu, circa 1870

    1856

    John Whitton is appointed NSW Railways Engineer-in-Chief.

    Evolution of Eveleigh - The Railway workshops
  • 1857

    Newcastle to Maitland railway opens.

  • 1858

    The first national school opens in Redfern.

  • 1865

    On 22 December the eastern portion of the Cleveland Paddocks was dedicated as a reserve for public purposes and named Prince Alfred Park in commemoration of the visit by the Duke of Edinburgh to the Australian colonies at the end of the 1860s.

  • 1867

    J.S.T. McGowen’s family moves to NSW.

    Honest Jim – J.S.T McGowen
  • 1869

    Mortuary Station is established.

  • 1871

    The Metropolitan Workshops at Redfern Railway Yard are extended and planning for Eveleigh Railway Workshops commences.

    Evolution of Eveleigh - The Railway workshops
  • 1873

    J.S.T. McGowen joins the United Society of Boilermakers and Iron Shipbuilders.

    Honest Jim – J.S.T McGowen

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