Location: Where is Leonay?

Leonay, New South Wales, Australia is located on the western side of the Nepean River, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. This suburb is bounded by the M4 Motorway, the western railway line, and the Nepean River. Once the vineyard of Leo Buring, Leonay is now a residential suburb nestled on the Blue Mountains Escarpment. The landscape rises sharply from the river which has fostered the development of individually designed homes. A main feature of Leonay is the golf course which meanders through the suburb. The shrill sound of bellbirds echoes over this secluded suburb to create a harmony of modern living and nature.

33 46’00″S 150 39’00″E

Postcode: 2750 Population: 2,518 (2016 Census) Distance from Sydney: 57 km
Area: 2.24 km2 or 224 ha Density: 11.69 people per ha (2016 Census) Leonay NSW on Google Maps


Leonay Public School: Buring Avenue, Leonay, 2750
Ph: (02) 4735 5999.


  • Leonay Parade is the main street in the suburb. Named after the home of Leo and
    Nay Buring.
  • Buring Avenue cuts through the suburb from Leo Buring’s home to River Road.
  • River Road runs the full length of Leonay and Emu Plains suburbs alongside the
    Nepean River.
  • Bunyan Road is a street close to the M4. Named after the Bunyan family who were early pioneers of Emu Plains.
  • Nepean Street was a continuation from the street in Emu Plains. Has now been cut off by the M4 Motorway.
  • Other streets in this suburb reflect the panoramic views and natural beauty of the area

Origin of the place name – Leonay

The suburb of Leonay situated on the western banks of the Nepean River to the south of Emu Plains, takes its name from the riverside property of the well-known Australian wine grower Hermann Paul Leopold Buring – better known as Leo Buring – and his wife Ida –nicknamed Nay. They built a house on this 376 acre property in 1920 and combined their names to call it Leonay. Here they developed a commercial vineyard most of which was sold for housing development upon the death of Leo Buring in 1961. Nay however continued to live in the house until her death.

Although the area was known locally as Leonay it wasn’t officially gazetted as such by the NSW Geographical Names Board until ca 1974 after a poll of residents in 1973. The alternative suggestion by the Emu Plains Progress Association of Emu Ridge was rejected.

Historical Timeline

181815 NovemberSir John Jamison, Lieut. Johnston, John Wentworth and Thomas Jones discovered and named Glenbrook Creek at its entrance into the Nepean River at Leonay
18266 OctoberLand grant to Francis Forbes, Chief Justice of the colony of 120 acres at Emu Plains (now Leonay) which he named Edinglassie
185130 hectares of the Jamison estate at Emu Plains (now Leonay) sold to W. Russell. House from on the estate is now located in Bunyan Road
191418 JuneLeo and Nay Buring purchase the Edinglassie Estate (376 acres) for 2200 pounds
1920Leo and Nay move into their home naming it Leonay
1923First wine produced at Leonay
1931First commercial vintage wine produced
19408 FebruaryNepean Times reported that the Leonay Golf Club had been formed at a meeting in Penrith, with the support of the Buring's who had a 19 hole golf course designed on their property
1946Golf Club reforms after the war
196129 SeptemberLeo Buring dies aged 85 and the bulk of the property is sold to developers Barnay Pty Ltd
1961OctoberA development application was lodged for the residential development of the land
19631 NovemberThe whole area named Emu Plains is transferred from Blue Mountains Council to Penrith City Council
1964The Golf Club now renamed Penrith transfers to new premises
1965MarchLeonay subdivided for residential development
1968Leonay Golf Club reformed
1969AprilThe Emu Plains Sporting & Recreation Club began trading
1973Leonay rather than Emu Ridge is chosen in a poll of local residents to be the name of a new neighbourhood within Emu Plains
1974Geographical Names Board officially gazettes the neighbourhood
name Leonay
19874 AprilLeonay Sporting Complex opened

Historical People

Leo Buring (1876-1961)

Hermann Paul Leopold (Leo) Buring was born 7 October 1876 in Adelaide South Australia. In 1896-7 he studied at Geisenheim Viticulture College, Rhine Germany and in 1898 attended the Viticultural College at Montpellier in France. From 1898 to 1930 he was successively manager of Alex Prentice Wine Cellars, Rutherglen Victoria, Hans Irvine Cellars Victoria, Minchinbury Wine Cellars, NSW and governing director of Lindemans Ltd. In 1930 he set up his own business at Ye Olde Crusty Wine Cellars in George Street Sydney. In 1931, he formed Leo Buring Pty Ltd. This company was later made a subsidiary of Lindemans Ltd.

In 1902 he married Ida Sobels and in 1920 they moved into their home of Leonay near the Nepean River at Emu Plains, NSW. They described their home as so ‘beautiful here with the Nepean River in front and the mountains at our back door, with an abundance of emus and wallabies’. Around 1936, the Buring’s built a 19-hole golf course on their property. Between December 1837 and May 1939 Leo Buring was an alderman on the Blue Mountains Council. In 1961 the bulk of land surrounding the Leonay house was transferred to Barnay Pty Ltd. a housing development company, of which Leo Buring was a director.

Leo’s work in the wine industry was renowned worldwide and he was well-respected throughout Australia. Over the years the Buring’s entertained many well known guests including on 1 August 1948 Sir Laurence Olivier and wife Vivian Leigh. He died 29 September 1961 at the age of 85 years and was cremated at Northern Suburbs Crematorium.


Norrie, P. Vineyards of Sydney: Cradle of the Australian Wine Industry,
From First Settlement to Today, Sydney, 1990.
‘Leonay’s Grand Namesake’, Penrith Press 15 January 1986,
pp. 12-13.

‘Leo Buring Pty Ltd.’, Wine and Spirit News and Australian Vignernon,
20 September 1956,
pp. 19, 47.

Penrith City Library, Penrith Local Area Biography File.

Sir Francis Forbes (1784-1841)

Francis Forbes was born in Bermuda. He was Bermuda’s most distinguished native-son jurist. After serving as Bermuda’s Attorney-General, he was appointed Chief Justice of Newfoundland. He served there from 1816-1821, before he became the first-ever Chief Justice of the Colony of New South Wales, Australia. Forbes and his family arrived in New South Wales on the Guildford on 5 March 1824. He was entrusted with determining in court how the law should be applied. He was a member of the Legislative and Executive Councils and served under the governorships of Brisbane, Darling and Bourke. He participated in the many legal issues of the day including freedom of the press, disposal of Crown lands, treatment of convicts and trial by jury. Sir Francis Forbes was a major figure in the colony of New South Wales serving as Chief Justice for twelve years. He helped shape colonial New South Wales from a penal settlement to a burgeoning free colony.

Of the several homes Forbes owned, Edinglassie was one of his favourites. He had named it after one of the Scottish estates owned by his family. It was small and unpretentious, but a retreat where the family were able to pasture their horses and tend an orchard of pear and apple trees and grape vines. Before leaving on a visit to England in 1837, Forbes gave strict instructions to Ambrose Wilson, the caretaker, on the management of the estate while he was away. Upon his return Forbes was pleased with a letter from Wilson regarding Edinglassie which he called ‘my little favourite spot’. Lady Forbes also enjoyed her stays there; especially excursions along the river in a boat loaned to her by Sir John Jamison and rowed by four of his men.Forbes died at Newtown on 8 November 1841.

Historic buildings & places

Leonay: Leo Buring and his wife Ida moved to Emu Plains in 1920 and his house, Leonay, dates from this period. Its simple detailing is enhanced by its multigabled roofline over changing roof levels, verandahs and porches. The estate was planted with a small vineyard, but the major part was utilised as a golf course.

photo by Chapman Real Estate

leonay2photo by Chapman Real Estate

Edinglassie: Edinglassie was located near what is now Lapstone Place, Leonay and was the home of Sir Francis and Lady Amelia Forbes. The stones from the house were used in the construction of the Methodist Church in 1860. Edinglassie was demolished in 1920.
watercolour by Conrad Martens. Courtesy of the Dixson Library, State Library of NSW


For photos and more information on Leonay, search Penrith City Library’s catalogue using an All Resources search.

  • Nepean District Historical Society, From Castlereagh to Claremont Meadows: Historical Places of Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1997.
  • Currey, C.H. Sir Francis Forbes, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1968.
  • The Nepean-Illawarra District Associates Golf Association Golden Jubilee 1933-1983, Camden, 1983.
  • Norrie, P. Vineyards of Sydney: Cradle of the Australian Wine Industry, From First Settlement to Today, Sydney, 1990.
  • ‘Leonay’s Grand Namesake’, Penrith Press 15 January 1986, pp. 12-13.
  • 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.
  • Penrith City Library, Local Subject File: Leonay and Emu Plains
  • Stacker, Lorraine, Pictorial History: Penrith & St Marys, Kingsclear Books, 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, 1984.