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Rockdale is a suburb in southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Rockdale is located 13 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and is part of the St George area. Rockdale is one of the administrative centres for the local government area of the Bayside Council.
Rockdale was known by Europeans as Frog Hollow, then White Gum Flat and later as West Botany. The name Rockdale was suggested in 1878 by the first postmistress, Mrs. Mary Ann Geeves. The name for the district gained more credence when the local railway station on the new Illawarra rail line, opened on 15 October 1884, was also given the name Rockdale. The West Botany Municipality, declared on 13 January 1871 with two wards, West Botany and Arncliffe, was renamed “The Municipality of Rockdale” on 17 May 1888.
A council chambers for the West Botany Municipality was built in 1872 on Rocky Point Road, Arncliffe and was used until 1888 when a new building was erected on the site of the present Rockdale Town Hall, which was then demolished and rebuilt in 1940.
There was a suggestion that the area become the Municipality of Scarborough but the name Rockdale was suggested by pioneer Mary Ann Geeves, postmistress and tollgate keeper and was officially adopted in 1887. Her husband, Yeoman Geeves, was a ganger on the construction of Rocky Point Road and the demolition of Cobbler’s Hill (later called Arncliffe Hill). The Geeves family, including eldest son Frederick lived on the corner of today’s Princes Highway and Tramway Arcade. Their general store adjoined the cottage and operated the first post office between Arncliffe and Kogarah in 1882. Residential development began with the opening of the railway in 1884. Perhaps the most significant property developer during the 1880s was Frederick Jamison Gibbes (1839–1888), a Member of Parliament, who is commemorated by Gibbes Street in Banksia. Until 1949, an electric tramway operated between Rockdale Station down Bay Street to Brighton-Le-Sands. In 1948, Rockdale and Bexley councils amalgamated as Rockdale Municipal Council. The City of Rockdale was declared in 1995 and it was merged with City of Botany Bay in 2016 to become Bayside Council.
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