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Maxi Taxi near Canterbury, Sydney, NSW

Canterbury is a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia approximately located 12.6 kilometers south-western Sydney central business district, located 9.7  km north of Sydney International Airport.

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Canterbury is a suburb extending across south-western Sydney and the Inner West, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Canterbury is located 10.5 kilometres (6.5 mi) south-west of the Sydney central business district in the City of Canterbury-Bankstown. The former City of Canterbury took its name from the suburb, however its administrative centre was located in the adjacent suburb of Campsie, which is also a large commercial centre. The first European land grant in this suburb was of 40 hectares (100 acres) to a “very good, pious, inoffensive man”, the Reverend Richard Johnson (1753-1827), the colony’s first chaplain, in 1793. He called his grant Canterbury Vale, as a tribute to Canterbury in England, and the suburb took its name from the farm. The farm extended over the area of modern-day Canterbury and Ashbury suburbs. By 1800, when it was sold to Lieutenant William Cox, the property covered 240 hectares (600 acres). In 1803, when it covered 360 hectares (900 acres), it was sold to Robert Campbell the elder (1769-1846), who then bought up most of the land north to Liverpool Road. The village of Canterbury was formed after 1841 subdivision of this land, then owned by Campbell.

Sales of the land in the area west of Canterbury Road and north of the railway were successful, and several other sales followed in the 1840s and 1850s. Although the soil in this area was rather poor, there was some farm cultivation, but the main work was wood cutting and carting, and brickmaking. In 1840 the Australian Sugar Company bought 24 hectares (60 acres) of Campbell’s Canterbury estate and a steam engine was installed, but after passing through the hands of several owners, the factory closed in 1856.

Other industries and trades such as boiling down works and tanneries later developed along the river. The Methodists built the first church in the suburb, with services beginning in 1841. The railway line was completed in 1895, encouraging suburban development and leading to the area becoming heavily populated. This was too late for the Sugar Mill, which ceased production in September 1854, but was favorable for horse racing, which informally began in 1871.

After much petitioning of the State Government by local residents, the Municipality of Canterbury was proclaimed on 17 March 1879. A Town Hall was opened in 1889, but eventually Campsie became a more important centre and the city administration was moved from Canterbury in 1962.

The first post office opened in 1858, and the first official public school in 1878, and the district slowly developed. Canterbury Race Course, on the northern bank of the Cooks River has been one of Sydney’s major racetracks since 1871. In 1921, a tram line was extended from Hurlstone Park to Canterbury Station, and in 1927, a through service from Canterbury to the city commenced. The Canterbury line commenced at the Canterbury terminus in Broughton Street where a tram turning loop was provided. Trams travelling towards the City or Balmain headed north-east along Canterbury Road. A service that was provided for by the Darling Street Wharf trams branched off from the main line at New Canterbury Road and connected with lines running along Parramatta Road for Balmain. Services heading towards Marrickville, Newtown, Sydenham and Tempe turned right into Marrickville Road. The line from Dulwich Hill to Canterbury branched off from the Tempe line at Newtown, travelled along Enmore Road, then Victoria Road, before tuning right onto Marrickville Road and all the way through to Canterbury Road to the Canterbury terminus.


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