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Ryde Local History

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Ryde is a suburb located in the north-west of the city of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Its history dates back to the 18th century, when in 1788, the first fleet arrived in Sydney Cove and Captain Arthur Phillip, the Governor of New South Wales, explored the area surrounding the Parramatta River. The Ryde area was originally inhabited by the Wallumedegal people.

The name 'Ryde' originated from 'Rhode Island' in the United States of America, one of the early settlers named William Shepherd was from this location. The area was initially known as Wallumetta, which means "the place where the wallabies lie down", and it wasn't until 1870 that the suburb was officially named Ryde.

The early settlers farmed the land and established orchards and vineyards, growing produce such as oranges, lemons, and grapes. These farmers would transport their goods to the markets in Sydney via the Parramatta River.

The Ryde Wharf was established in 1879, which enabled goods to be transported from the area to Sydney more easily. The wharf was used primarily for the transport of produce, but also provided passenger services to Circular Quay.

In the late 1800s, Ryde was known for its market gardens, which dominated the area due to its fertile soils. As the population grew, the orchards and vineyards were replaced by housing developments, which still exist today. The Ryde Council was established in 1906, giving the local community a greater voice in the development of their area.

During World War II, Ryde was home to a munitions factory, which produced explosives for the war effort. The factory was located on the site of the current Eastwood Plaza shopping centre.

One of the most notable landmarks in Ryde is the Top Ryde City shopping centre, which was developed in the 1950s by Lend Lease. At the time, it was the largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere and included a rooftop pool, a cinema complex, and indoor gardens.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a significant growth in high-density housing in Ryde, which continues to this day. The area is now characterised by a mix of residential, commercial and retail developments.

Ryde's strong community spirit is reflected in the many local events and festivals held throughout the year. These include the Ryde Festival of the Arts, the Granny Smith Festival (named after the variety of apple grown in the area), and the Ryde Aquatic Centre's Splashfest.

Today, Ryde is a thriving multicultural hub with a diverse range of cafes, restaurants, and shops. The suburb is also home to many schools, parks, and sporting facilities.

Ryde's rich history and cultural heritage is celebrated by the local council and community through various initiatives, such as the Ryde Heritage Centre and heritage trails, and the rehabilitation of the Ryde River Walk which showcases the natural beauty that drew early settlers to the area.

In conclusion, the history of Ryde is a colourful tapestry of agriculture, industry, and development that reflects the changing face of Australia. Its proud heritage and strong community have shaped its character and continue to enrich the lives of those who call it home.

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