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Lakemba is a suburb south west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Lakemba is located 12 kilometres south west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Canterbury-Bankstown. It is the easternmost suburb in Greater Western Sydney.
Lakemba is in the Cooks River watershed. This river is tidal up to the edge of Lakemba. A bike and walking trail takes walkers and cyclists all the way from nearby Belfield to the east along the Cooks River, to where it flows into Botany Bay. In the opposite direction the bike and walking trail goes north to Olympic Park and Homebush Bay on the Parramatta River.
Canterbury Road winds its way high along the ridge, which is the boundary of the watersheds of Cooks River and Wolli Creek to the south. The Lakemba railway station is on the Bankstown Line of the Sydney Trains network. It is near the shopping centre on Haldon Street.
The area was at an early time in its colonial history originally known as Potato Hill because potatoes were cropped there. Land grants by the new colonial government began in Lakemba about 1810. Samuel Hockley was granted 50 acres (200,000 m2), which he called Essex Hill Farm, after his home county in England. The suburb was known as Belmore South until 1910.
Benjamin Taylor had a 22 hectare property in the 1880s. He named his property “Lakeba” (pronounced Lakemba) after the Lakeba island in the Lau Islands group of Fiji, where his second wife’s grandparents, Rev and Mrs. Cross, were missionaries from 1835. One of the original streets is Oneata Street, named after another small Fijian Island, close to Lakeba. Benjamin Taylor was variously an entomologist, town clerk, Alderman and Mayor of Canterbury Council. The railway line was built to the neighbouring suburb of Belmore in 1895 and extended to Lakemba and beyond, in 1909. The station was built on Benjamin Taylor’s property and was named after his ‘Lakemba Cottage’.
The first school opened here as Belmore School in April 1869 and became known as Belmore South in September 1907 until it was changed to Lakemba Public School in June 1910. The post office opened on 1 July 1879.
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