Balmain

Cafe culture, village shopping, stunning water views and minutes from Sydney CBD. Balmain boasts an enviable lifestyle.

Named after surgeon William Balmain who was given a grant of 500 acres in 1800. The settlement was sluggish until the introduction of ferries 30 years later. 

Reliance on steamers and coastal vessels for travel and trade resulted in the establishment of shipyards. With a growing population came churches, schools, police, a hospital, and a Council formed in 1860 and later amalgamated with Leichhardt and Annandale.

By the 1800's Balmain claimed to be the leading social suburb in Sydney with clubs such as the Balmain Working Men's Institute. Overcrowding, factories built next door to houses and schools, and haphazard inappropriately laid out street design saw an eventual decline.

By the Depression, 38% of residents were out of work, twice the State average. Post W.W.2 saw large-scale industry with a coal loader, power station, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Monsanto and Caltex, with the accompanying noise and pollution. 

It wasn't until the mid-1960's when much of this industry moved out, that tertiary education people started to be attracted to the architecture, the foreshore and the close proximity to the CBD. Fifty years of gentrification later, Balmain and Birchgrove are considered amongst Sydney most desirable waterfront locations. 

At its hub, Darling Street is a popular shopping strip with many coffee shops and eateries.

There are a number of parks and reserves, high school and primary schools, and a private Catholic school. Clubs include sailing, rowing, bowls and tennis and an RSL. A salt water harbour side pool was named after one of Balmain's local heroes, swimmer Dawn Fraser. There's a post office, many hotels in heritage buildings and a public hospital. 

Transport is provided by private and public ferry services and an RTA buses.