Social Life

The residents of Western Sydney enjoyed a variety of social activities in their leisure time. The more well to do members of society hosted balls, tea parties and lavish dances in homes that were built to reflect the stately homes of Europe. With the advent of the radio, families all over Western Sydney gathered around the radio of an evening to listen to serialised dramas such as Blue Hills. In recent decades local community radios, run and managed by the local community, have been in operation throughout Western Sydney.

Life in Western SydneyLife in Western SydneyLife in Western Sydney

Not all leisure activities were frivolous. Much charity work was performed in leisure time particularly during the world wars, when Red Cross committees and church committees made and gathered food and clothing for the troops. Dances were often held to raise funds for the needy, throughout the wars, during the Great Depression, or for specific charities such as Legacy.

Life in Western SydneyLife in Western Sydney

Films became the great Saturday afternoon attraction for generations of Australians, with suburban cinemas spreading all over Western Sydney. Many cinemas became the meeting place and were often aptly named 'meccas'. Most are recalled fondly by older residents of Sydney, who spent their youth with mates and later 'Sweethearts' watching such epics as Smiley Gets a Gun (filmed on location at Camden Park) and From Here To Eternity. Cinemas were often converted to dance halls for Saturday Night dances when youths came from miles around to dance the night away. The Kings Theatre in the Blue Mountains also doubled as a roller skating rink! It was not until the last decade of the twentieth century that suburban cinemas have been revived in Western Sydney with cinema complexes often being attached to shopping malls as at Liverpool and Campbelltown. Penrith Panthers lodged an application late in 1997 to build a 13 screen complex on its site including an IMAX Theatre to seat 3600 people. (Penrith Press 25.11.97 p.1)

Life in Western SydneyLife in Western Sydney

Agricultural shows were primarily a means of showcasing the produce and livestock of the district but over time became an integral part of the social life of the district. Camden Agricultural Show and Campbelltown Agricultural Show, celebrating its centenary in 1998, have long been organised by the 'who's who' of the local society with many committee and 'ladies committee' members having links to the district dating back generations. Parramatta and Liverpool Shows also have long traditions and provide a forum for local entertainment and leisure.

Life in Western Sydney Life in Western SydneyLife in Western Sydney

Churches were often the focal point for leisure activities for local youth up until recent decades. With tennis parties, dramatic clubs, Sunday Schools and youth fellowship groups, many a Sunday picnic was organised for the youngsters of the district.

Life in Western Sydney Presbyterian Sunday school class, with teacher Mrs. Lyneham, standing in front of Minto Public School building (at former location on corner of Campbelltown Road and Redfern Road, Minto).







Modern day concepts of 'total leisure' have seen complexes such as 'Panthers' at Penrith incorporate many leisure activities into the primarily 'football' theme. RSL Clubs and Leagues Clubs such as Parramatta and Wests and Catholic Clubs such as the Campbelltown Catholic Club provide recreational facilities for their local communities whilst being very committed donors to local charities, schools and community groups. The face of leisure in Western Sydney will also benefit by the fast approaching Sydney 2000 Olympics at Homebush Bay.