1946 - 2000 Western Sydney - an outline history

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After the Second World War immigrants & refugees from war torn Europe and Britain were encouraged to make Australia home. Many of these people settled in Western Sydney creating a diverse cultural background. Following the Vietnamese conflict between 1961-1975 many refugees settled in Western Sydney particularly around the Fairfield area.

Manufacturing expanded rapidly following the war and developments in technology. Some of Sydney's main industry areas are located in Western & South Western Sydney. The major business centre in Sydney's west is Parramatta with other main centres at Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith. About a fifth of the labour force in NSW are employed in Western Sydney, largely in areas such as processing, manufacturing as well as business & retail services. During the 1970s the shift from speciality stores to supermarkets began and the establishment of large shopping centres commenced. Shopping centres can be found in all of the major townships in Western & South Western Sydney including Penrith, Blacktown, Castle Hill, Parramatta and Liverpool.

The role of Local Government progressed during the 20th century. The outcome of this fine tuning saw some adjoining councils amalgamate including : Blue Mountains, Katoomba & Blackheath in 1947, Fairfield & Cabramatta/Canley Vale; Lidcombe & Auburn in 1948 and Windsor & Richmond the following year. Some municipalities also proclaimed their status as cities, such as Katoomba in 1946, Penrith in 1959 and Liverpool in 1960. Today Councils are involved in providing a range of services to the community in planning, development, the environment as well as recreation.

The construction of Warragamba Dam which commenced in 1946 and opened in 1960 improved water supply. By the 1970s and following widespread development, the community became concerned with various environmental issues in Western Sydney. Today, under the auspices of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust, the State & Local Government, the government agencies and community groups are anxious to protect the environment and allow ecologically and sustainable use and development. Transport remains a contentious issue entering the 21st century with ongoing conflict surrounding enterprises such as the second Sydney airport, the construction of various new motorways, inadequacy of major roads, public transport and the consequences of pollution.

Following the announcement in 1993 of Sydney hosting the Olympic Games in 2000, large scale development commenced in Western and South Western Sydney. The main site is the Sydney Olympic Park located at Homebush. Other venues include the softball events at Blacktown, canoe & kayak events at Penrith Lakes, cycling at Bankstown & Fairfield and equestrian events at Horsley Park.