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Holsworthy is a suburb in south-western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia 31 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Liverpool.
Holsworthy is most notable for a large Australian Army reserve, Holsworthy Barracks, where training exercises are frequently carried out. The reserve is adjacent to Heathcote Road, which connects to Bankstown, Liverpool, Lucas Heights, Engadine and Heathcote. Signs on the perimeter warn potential trespassers of the use of laser guided and conventional gunfire.
The residential area is located north of the railway station. Anzac Village is a locality in the northern part of the suburb and the adjacent suburb of Wattle Grove. A new development called ‘Mornington’ has recently been built in this region. A shopping center has also been built in this area.
The area was named after Holsworthy, Devon, England, where Governor Lachlan Macquarie married Elizabeth Campbell, on 3 November 1807. It was originally spelt as Holdsworthy until after World War II, when the ‘d’ was dropped.
This land was occupied by the Tharawal people. With the arrival of the First Fleet, indigenous people were pushed back from their traditional lands in the area surrounding Sydney. In 1795, explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders explored the Georges River and in 1798, grants of land for farming were made in the area. The soil was good and crops of corn, wheat and vegetables were soon being harvested.
However, tensions developed with the Tharawal. In 1801, Governor King ordered soldiers to fire on the aborigines to keep them from settler’s properties. By 1815, Governor Macquarie declared a state of open warfare against aborigines in the Georges River area and forbade them carrying weapons within a mile of any British settlement. Ultimately, the British prevailed.
A settlement named Eckersley was established in 1835 on what is now military land. By the 1880s a number of vineyards were established in the area. The land was acquired by the army in 1913. During World War I it was home to a large internment camp for civilians of German or Austro-Hungarian background, the camp absorbed prisoners from the infamous Torrens Island Concentration Camp in 1915. The modern village of Holsworthy evolved after World War II to the north, with the barracks to the south. The streets are named with a military theme, such as Tarakan, Bardia, Wewak, Lae, Brunei, Finschhafen, Madang, Gona, Anzac, Light Horse, Infantry, Cavalry, Sabre, Gunners Row and Trooper Row. In Anzac Village, Australian Generals are remembered with Birdwood, Monash, Bridges and Blamey.
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