Spotlight On Erskineville

October 22nd, 2021 - by Brad Gillespie

Erskineville’s rich and fascinating history has made it what it is today - a vibrant inner-city neighbourhood with village vibes.

Here are five things you might not know about Erko.

1. The building it’s named after is no longer

Erskineville is named after a house called Erskine Villa, built-in 1830 for the Reverend George Erskine. The house changed hands a few times before spending 80 years as the rectory for the Holy Trinity Church at Macdonaldtown before being demolished in 1961.

The suburb wasn’t even called Erskineville until 1893. Before that, it was known as Macdonaldtown after an 1846 subdivision in southern Erskineville owned by Stephen Macdonald. Amy, Flora, Eve, Coulson and Rochford Streets in Erskineville are named after members of the Macdonald family. Of course, Macdonaldtown station and the neighbourhood of Macdonaldtown, part of Newtown, still exist today. And Erskineville? It’s known by the locals simply as Erko.

2. A growing suburb of young families

Erskineville is a sought-after suburb, so it’s no surprise that it’s growing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2020 Estimated Resident Population for the Erskineville/Eveleigh area is 10,305, up 1,641 from the 2016 figure of 8,664.

Erskineville is popular with young families, and 14.7% of Erskineville/Eveleigh households are made up of couples with children. Erskineville has a higher proportion of children under 18 than the average City of Sydney suburb. With a median age of 34, it also has a lower percentage of residents over 60 than the typical Sydney city neighbourhood. The average Erskineville household consists of 2.1 people, and for families with children, the average number of children is 1.5.

It’s fair to say that Erskineville’s days as a working-class suburb are well and truly in the past with 44.3% of residents identifying themselves as professionals in the 2016 Census.

3. Small-scale, sought-after homes

With terraces and apartments making up the bulk of dwellings, it stands to reason that 95.5% of Erskineville/Eveleigh’s homes are medium or high density. About half the homes in Erskineville feature two bedrooms, with 23% having one bedroom and 20.1% three bedrooms. Homes with four or more bedrooms make up only 4% of Erskineville’s residences. As is common in areas with a higher density of housing, there is a high proportion – 50.1% - of renters in Erskineville.

Erskineville’s Victorian terraces and converted 20th-century factories are highly sought-after homes today, and their historical and aesthetic significance is recognised by the fact that approximately 75% of Erskineville is covered by Heritage Conservation Areas.

4. A vibrant working-class heritage

The Gadigal people of the Eora nation are Erskineville’s traditional owners.

Erskineville’s first European settlers were market gardeners, but it wasn’t long before brick making and tanning became the suburb’s main industries. The Victorian cottages and terraces that are so prized today were built as homes for the workers in these factories. The suburb’s two primary schools, Erskineville Public School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School were established in 1883 and 1887 respectively, and Macdonaldtown Park, later to be renamed Erskineville Oval, was declared in 1885. Erskineville train station opened in 1884, and a tram line followed in 1909.

By the early 20th century, Erskineville was a well-established industrial hub and working-class inner-city suburb. In 1938 the now-heritage listed Erskineville Public Housing Scheme was opened as a response to the slum problem facing the inner city. After World War II the area’s diversity increased as European migrants came to Erskineville to work in the local factories.

From the 1970s, as local factories closed or relocated elsewhere, new residents were drawn to Erskineville’s public transport connections, its proximity to the city and its village atmosphere, and the next chapter of Erskineville’s history as a sought-after inner-city residential neighbourhood began.

5. A flourishing urban neighbourhood

Today, Erskineville’s transformation from industrial heartland continues with the likes of the Ashmore Precinct, one of Sydney’s largest urban redevelopment projects. The 17-hectare site in south-eastern Erskineville is set to become a new neighbourhood complete with shops and cafes, and by its completion in 2025 will be home to around 6,000 residents.

With an incredible array of cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs, top primary schools, excellent public transport links, a growing network of cycleways, charming houses and beloved green spaces, all only 6km from the CBD, Erskineville offers the very best of inner-city living.

Would you like to make the Erskineville urban village your new home? Contact my team today.