Olympic Games at Fairfield City

The Sydney 2000 Olympics Games in Fairfield were held between 15 September - 1st October 2000. The City of Fairfield was home to the Sydney 2000 Equestrian and Mountain Bike Events. Local Olympic festivals included the Torch Relay, Moon Festival, Big screens to watch Olympic events in Cabramatta and Fairfield suburbs.

Fairfield City Farm &  Fairfield City Leisure Centres http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au


SPORTS: During the 1920's the Cabravale district produced some outstanding sportsmen, particularly in wood chopping and cycling. Before World War II, several district football clubs came into prominence, including the Cabramatta Rugby league Club. Known as "The Two Blues", it was formed in 1939 through the efforts of a group led by Mr. Patrick Dixon. 

In the Depression of 1929 the number of unemployed had increased. Relief organizations were set up, including the Fairfield Unemployed Committee, a group which arranged concerts and boxing tournaments at the Plaza and other functions as benefit nights. Local theatrical groups also played their part in raising funds, notably the Fairfield Players Club and the Revusicals. 

The sporting organizations continued to thrive during the Depression, and each week the BIZ devoted several columns to the results of the Southern Districts Tennis Associations' competition. The tennis clubs were also the center of social activities and organised dances, hikes, picnics and similar functions in the area. Many young people of the district joined groups like the Fairfield Fun-seekers or the Smithfield Wanderers for a fee of about a shilling a year.

Cricket also featured prominently in the local sporting scene and in the mid-thirties the Southern District Cricket Association had four organised grades and premierships were keenly pursued by local teams such as Fairfield Districts, Rosina, Lansvale, Pals, Ionic and Fairfield West, a Club whose history goes back to the turn of the century

The football codes were still developing, although Rugby League had a substantial district competition and the famous foot-balling brothers, Vic and Dave Hey came from local teams. Both later played with the champion Western Suburbs Club and Vic went to represent Australia and, in later years, became the national coach.
Wood chopping was a major sporting activity throughout the district as there were many local timber-cutters. Members of the Heckenberg family became world champion axe-men as well as excelling in boxing and athletics. 

Another popular pastime of the late twenties and thirties was cycling, and bicycle racing was enthusiastically taken up in the Fairfield area with many local riders going on to Win State honors 

FAIRFIELD CITY FARM   http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au

HOTELS: During the nineteenth century inns were very important to the community. Providing shelter and refreshments for the traveler was only part of their function; they were also commercial centers where business deals were negotiated and settled; meeting places for the sporting fraternity and in their backyards entertainers set up their props or bare knuckled antagonists settled their differences. The first inn in the Fairfield district was the Greyhound Inn, owned and run by the Bowler family. It stood near the rough timber bridge, which carried the Southern Road across Prospect Creek. This was an ideal position, as all travelers bound for Sydney passed over the bridge and just a stone's throw away was the Dog Trap Road, where wayfarers passed on their journey to and from Parramatta. The Bowlers had been running the business for a number of yars when, in August 1833, they received the first in a series of land grants that amounted to 120 acres on the Southern Road, adjacent to the bridge on the southern side.

Sailors Return Inn at Smithfield was built by Mr. Guest in 1845 and is believed to have been so called because Guest had bought a second-hand sign from the Jolly Sailor at Parramatta. The inn was on Smithfield Road, as was the Woodmen's Arms, which was opened by John Smith in 1847 and subsequently sold to Elijah Brown.

The owner of the Jolly Bushman, built in 1850 and onSmithfield Road was Sidney Brown, well known in the district for his 'pranks'. Children on their way to school were subjected to 'the unmerciful pranks of this stout gentleman, whose per prank was to pinch them till they cried. Brown later moved his business to Albert Street (now the Horsley Drive) renaming it the Victoria. It became the largest pub of the district and in 1922, was rebuilt on the corner of the Horsley Drive and Smithfield Roads. 

The Victoria was associated with sporting interests particularly wood chopping and contests were conducted under the hotel's patronage and held in the paddocks directly opposite. The Hotel was demolished early in 1982.


Wood chopping event in paddocks opposite Victoria Hotel, Smithfield

A very popular inn of the Smithfield district was the Cricketers Arms, on Smithfield Road built in 1865 by Abraham Williams. De-licensed in 1907, it was typical of the Smithfield inns, built of brick and weatherboard with the entrance at the center and a full-length bar parallel to the street. Usually there was a saloon (with tables) approached from a side door with a large yard with stables at the rear.
When John Ryan Brenan outlined his ambitious scheme for the Smithfield Meat Markets, he also planned an inn to be called the Ram Inn. The nearest public houses were in Parramatta on the one side and Mr. T. Beard's on the other side. However, there are no records to say that the Ram Inn was ever built.

In 1883 a large camp was built to the west of Smithfield to accommodate the men working on the Prospect reservoir project. Pubs built there include the Commercial Hotel, opened in 1884 by Nelius Radburn and later the nearby Reservoir Hotel built by Mr. Beckett.

For many years, Fairfield's only hotel was the Railway, opened by Henry Cain in 1881. It has stood in the Crescent for more than a century and has seen the town change from rural quiet to a thriving commercial center. A citizen of yesteryear, Mr. R. Bartlett described it as 'a tin shanty standing on a block which was thickly covered with gum trees and scrub'. In November 1890, it passed into the ownership of Mr. W. Hancock.

The first hotel that was built in the Fairfield district was at Cabramatta in 1888 by Mr. Thurgood. He invested heavily in the land boom of the 1890's and was forced to conduct an Art Union with the hotel as the prize. It was won by Mr. Hearne who managed the business for a short time before selling it to the Toohey family. At the outbreak of World War II, the district had only three hotels: the Railway at Fairfield suburb, the Victoria at Smithfield and the Cabramatta, but a dramatic change came about in the 1950s. The question of later closing of hotels had been put to referendum in 1916, 1928 and 1947, and each time there had been a massive majority vote for 6.00 pm closing. In the referendum of November 1954, however, the public gave 10.00 pm a narrow margin.

The early 1950's had brought a large influx of people to the Fairfield area, and already several new hotels had opened. The Civic Hotel in Ware Street, Fairfield, opened for business in September 1953, and in January 1954 the license of the historic Petty's Hotel was transferred from the city to become the Hotel, on the corner of the Crescent and Hamilton Roads.

The change in trading hours meant that people forced to commute long distances to work were now able to patronize a local hotel instead of being restricted by trading hour to City pubs. A drastic decline of trading caused the transfer of many licenses from City pubs to the suburbs, and many new hotels were opened.

The Villawood Hotel opened in November 1958, the Kookaburra Hotel at Canley Vale in December 1959, the Stardust Hotel at Cabramatta in December 1961; the Sunnybrook Hotel at Warwick Farm in May 1968, and the Stop and Rest at Mt Pritchard in November 1968.

Ample parking facilities came to be a major consideration in choosing sites for hotels, with notable examples the Brown Jug at Fairfield Heights, which opened in November 1967, the Yennora Hotel (October 1968) and the EL Cortez at Canley Heights (August 1970).
A different style of public house came to the district in 1979 when the Cambridge Tavern opened on the site of the former Cambridge House fronting Alan Street. The following year, the Horsley Park Tavern began trading near the entrance gates of the Horsley Homestead.

Source: George, Vance. Fairfield: history of the district.
Fairfield, NSW: Fairfield City Council, 1991