Location: Where is Penrith?

Penrith (suburb), New South Wales Australia, is located on the eastern side of the Nepean River, bounded on the south by Jamison Road, west by Parker Street and north by Andrews Road. The boundaries of this suburb have been defined according to the Geographical Names Board. Therefore, it includes North Penrith, Kingswood Park and Lemongrove. Penrith City Council recognize North Penrith as a separate suburb, however, most residents do not. For the confines of this profile Penrith suburb has its widest boundaries. This suburb is the centre of the City of Penrith, socially, commercially and economically. The Civic Centre and Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, amidst the Central Business District, draw the city’s residents to its active heart.

33 45’01″S 150 41’39″E

Postcode: 2750 Distance from Sydney: 55 km
Land Area: 12.33 km2 or 1233 ha Penrith NSW on Google Maps


Government Electorates

Local Government: Penrith suburb is located in South and North Wards of the Penrith Local Government area. Next elections will be held in 2012. See also: A History of Local Government in the Penrith LGA.

State Government: Penrith suburb is located in the State Government Electorate of Penrith. Next elections are scheduled for March 2015.
Federal Government: Penrith suburb is located in the Federal Government Electorate of Lindsay. Next elections will be held in 2013.
Aboriginal Districts Penrith suburb is located in the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council Area. Next elections will be held in 2011.


Origin of the place name – Penrith

Possibly named after Penrith in the County of Cumberland (now Cumbria), England. It is not known who first introduced the name to the area. The earliest reference to Penrith can be found in the 1819 journal of three Frenchmen – MM. Jean Rene Constant Quoy, Charles Gaudichaud and Alphonse Peilion. In their journal entitled “Excursion to the Town of Bathurst, 1819” they refer to the “military depot” at Penrith. To date, this is the earliest reference found using the name of Penrith. The name may have been in use as early as 1817; however, as records show that a Court-House was operating at Penrith from April, 1817. Whether the name was in use at this earlier date is as yet unknown.

Unlike nearby Castlereagh, Penrith was never a planned town but instead grew up around the early Court House and along the Great Western Highway. In attempting to explain why Penrith was named, the “Australian Encyclopedia” (Vol. VII 1965 edition, P. 52) relates that the English Penrith was also built on one long street, and that “circumstances may have suggested the adopting of the name for the New South Wales town, where the pattern of development, on either side of the Great Western Road, was similar”.

Historical Timeline

1804 1 February Daniel Woodriff granted 1000 acres which covered most of the present Penrith suburb.
1806 12 September Governor William Bligh reaffirmed orders preventing settlers from crossing the Nepean River.
1814 24 January John Best Superintendent of Convicts at Norfolk Island was granted 470 acres south of the Great Western Road, known as Hornesywood Estate.
1815 Jan Great Western Road (from Emu Ford to Parramatta) built through Woodriff grant by William Cox.
1815 25 April Governor Macquarie commenced his tour from Penrith to Bathurst over the newly built road.
1824 1 January First horse race in Penrith was run between Peach Tree Creek and Parker Street.
1828 8 January John Tindale purchased John Best’s grant and built Hornesywood (near Penrith High School).
1828 1 March First Post Office opened at the Court House. Post Master was
Alexander Fraser.
1832 6 April First Royal Mail coach service from Parramatta to Bathurst via Penrith.
1832 8 September John MacHenry died. He owned land north of the railway line.
1832 30 September First Court of Petty Sessions established.
1834 6 September Sarah MacHenry granted 100 acres in neighbourhood area
of Lemongrove.
1837 22 November Foundation stone laid for St Stephen’s Anglican Church.
1838   Provisions for Catholics to worship were provided for by the opening of the Catholic Church Parish of Penrith.
1839 16 July St Stephen’s Church was consecrated and the deeds handed over by John Tindale.
1839 13 December Foundation stone laid for St Nicholas of Myra Catholic Church in High Street.
1844 29 June Sir John Jamison died and was buried at St Stephen’s Anglican Church.
1850 13 November Archbishop Polding opened the St Nicholas of Myra Catholic Church.
1853 6 September St Joseph’s Convent School commenced on the corner of Evan and High Streets.
1856 2 January First traffic bridge over the Nepean River opened. It was washed away in a flood the following year.
1857 25 July Great flood. Washed away the bridge over the Nepean River
1860 28 March Telegraph Office opened.
1862 22 April First account opened at the Bank of New South Wales
1863 18 January Penrith railway station opened.
1865 11 April Formal application for a National School at Penrith.
1867 1 April Victoria Bridge opened. It carried a single line for both rail and
road traffic.
1871 12 May Penrith declared a municipality.
1880 19 April Penrith Post Office built.
1880 4 October Penrith’s third Court House opened. Demolished in 1978.
1882 3 March First issue of Nepean Times newspaper.
1885 26 January New St Joseph’s Convent School official opening which replaced
old school.
1890 11 January Sergeant James Beatty of Penrith police was murdered while on duty in High Street.
1890 30 April Foundation stone laid for Electric Light Station. Penrith was the third country town to have electricity.
1893 2 March First Agricultural and Horticultural Show.
1907 2 May Railway Bridge opened over Nepean River. Victoria Bridge became road traffic only
1911 16 March Nepean Picture Theatre opened in High Street.
1911 4 November William Ewart Hart made the first cross country flight in Australia from Penrith to Parramatta Park, being 18 miles and taking 12 minutes.
1915 9 November “Coo-ee” march through Penrith.
1922 8 July Memory Park opened as a memorial to the fallen men and women during World War I.
1928 11 April Nepean Rowing Club formed.
1934 27 November The Duke of Gloucester’s Royal Train stopped at Penrith.
1938 10 September Explorers’ Memorial erected by the citizens of Penrith.
1944 16 February Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade formed.
1948 19 April An avenue of trees planted along the driveway of Penrith High School to commemorate servicemen of the two World Wars.
1948 6 May Penrith’s first free Public Library opened in the School of Arts.
1947 17 December Penrith Press began.

1 January

Castlereagh, Mulgoa, St. Marys and Penrith Shires amalgamated to form the Municipality of Penrith.
1954 7 March Cardinal Gilroy officially opens St Nicholas of Myra Catholic School.
1955 8 October First electric train to Penrith.
1959 3 June Foundation stone laid for Council Chambers.
1959 14 November Penrith proclaimed a city.
1962 16 November Penrith T.A.F.E College opened.
1963 26 April Penrith Court House opened.
1964 6 March New Penrith Library building opened in Henry Street.
1967 30 April St Nicholas of Myra Roman Catholic Church opened.
1971 30 March Penrith Plaza opened.
1973 4 July Anglican Parish Council considered demolishing St Stephen’s Church.
1973 14 July Humphrey B. Bear visited Penrith!
1974 1 December Last church service in Methodist Church Henry Street.
1976   St Joseph Convent demolished.
1976 20 June Radio station 2KA opened in Borec House.
1981 19 January Penrith Tourist Information Office opened to the public.
1981 20 May Penrith Police Station opened; the fourth station on the site.
1981 10 July Penrith City Council Administrative Centre at 114 Henry Street opened.
1984 17 April Penrith Panthers Club opened.
1985 16 November Penrith Mall officially opened by Premier Neville Wran.
1989 February Penrith High School takes first students as a selective high school.
1993 31 August Grand opening of new Penrith Plaza refurbishment.
1993 7 December Penrith City Council’s New Civic Centre opened for business.
1994 8 January Penrith City Library opened for business in new Civic Centre.
1996 12 September High Street reopened for traffic after the dismantling of the High
Street Mall.
2000 September Penrith hosted rowing, kayaking and canoeing at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
2001 December Horrendous bushfires swept through Wallacia, Mulgoa, Glenmore Park, Emu Heights and Castlereagh.
2002 January Bushfires continue.
2002 24 January $6.4 million grant from the State Government to contribute to the $12 million upgrade of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.

For more information on Penrith:


  • Murray, Robert and White, Kate Dharug & Dungaree: The History of Penrith and St Marys to 1860. Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1988.
  • Nepean District Historical Society, From Castlereagh to Claremont Meadows: Historical Places of Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1997.
  • Parr, Lorna, A History of the Nepean and District Street Names, Nepean District Historical Society, Penrith, 1990.
  • Parr, Lorna, Penrith Calendar, Nepean District Historical Society, 1987.
  • Stacker, Lorraine, Pictorial History: Penrith & St Marys, Kingsclear Books, Alexandria, 2002.
  • Stevenson, Colin R., Place Names and their Origins within the City of Penrith, Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1985.
  • Stickley, Christine, The Old Charm of Penrith, 2nd ed., the author, St. Marys, 1984.