Suburb Showcase: Zetland

June 3rd, 2021 - by Brad Gillespie

Zetland combines the character and charm of its industrial heritage with innovative and sustainable design to deliver the best of contemporary inner-city living.

The location

Located just four kilometres south of Sydney’s CBD, and within easy distance of both the airport and beaches, Zetland sits at the heart of the best Sydney has to offer.
The newly revitalised suburb is bordered by Epsom Road to the south, South Dowling Street and Southern Cross Drive to the east, O’Dea Avenue to the north, Bourke Street to the north-west and Botany Road to the west.

Along with its neighbouring suburbs Waterloo, Beaconsfield, Alexandria, and Rosebery, Zetland has been given a new lease on life by the major urban renewal of Green Square. Kensington, Moore Park and The Australian Golf Club are a stone’s throw away on the other side of the Eastern Distributor.

As well as being close to just about everything, Zetland itself has a lot to offer residents. The East Village shopping centre, built in 2014, brings supermarkets, gyms, medical centres, eateries, and specialty stores to their doorstep. With plenty of green spaces scattered throughout Zetland, there are ample opportunities to relax with friends and family or take a quiet moment in the sunshine.

Zetland was once part of Sydney’s industrial heartland, and you can soak up some of its history at the Zetland Hotel on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets. There’s been a pub on this site since the Toohey brothers bought it in 1888. The current pub was built in the mid-1930s and is a fine example of a classic Sydney Art Deco pub. The Royal South Sydney Hospital building, dating back to 1936, has been thoughtfully redeveloped as the award-winning Joynton Avenue Creative Centre.

Property Market Update

Zetland is all about contemporary apartment living, and more than 90 per cent of its housing stock is units. Major development in recent years has seen a range of new medium and high-density housing spring up in the Green Square and Victoria Park precincts. The brand new developments have drawn in young singles, couples and families, particularly those who work in the CBD, and the median age of Zetland residents is a young 28. As of May 2021, the median unit price in Zetland was $858,000. Compared to nearby Redfern and Surry Hills, Zetland real estate represents genuine inner-city value.

Alongside the shiny new apartments remain some of the area’s original character-filled terrace houses. Tilford Street is home to some fine examples. Terraces, townhouses and semi-detached dwellings make up almost 8 per cent of homes in Zetland, while there are only eight free-standing homes in the suburb. The median house price as of May 2021 was $1,925,000.

Given that more than 60 per cent of properties in Zetland are rented, the area is also sought after by property investors. Houses lease for $800 per week, with an annual rental yield of 2.2 per cent, and units rent for $600 with an annual rental yield of 3.6 per cent.

Five fascinating facts about Zetland

How it got its name

The suburb was named in the 1870s after the second Earl of Zetland. The name was bestowed by the fourteenth Governor of New South Wales, Sir Hercules Robinson. Accounts vary, but Robinson was either a friend or relative of the Earl.

It has a horse racing heritage

Did you know that Zetland was once the site of the ‘grandest and finest pony horseracing course in Sydney’? In 1908 a lagoon and swamp were drained to make way for Victoria Park Racecourse, bordered by O’Dea Avenue, South Dowling Street, Epsom Road and Joynton Avenue. The racecourse, which also included a track for motor racing, was privately owned and developed by Sir James John Joynton Smith, after whom Joynton Avenue is named.

During the Second World War, the racecourse was used as an aircraft factory and after the war it was turned into a car plant manufacturing Morris, MG and Austin cars. In 1975 the plant closed and the site was used as a naval store until the mid-1990s. Today the site has been redeveloped for residential, retail and commercial use. The racecourse is remembered by the three-storey Tote Building, which has been restored and is available for community hire, and by Tote Park.

It’s one of the best-connected suburbs in Sydney

Zetland enjoys close proximity to the city, airport and beaches, and its excellent walkable public transport links mean residents hardly need to own a car. Green Square Station, on the corner of Botany Road and O’Riordan Streets, is on the Airport and South train line, taking passengers south west to Macarthur or north east to the airport and the city.

Nearby Waterloo Metro Station is currently under construction and expected to be completed by 2024, and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore continues to lobby the State Government for a new Metro station in Zetland itself. The suburb is also well-serviced by bus routes that stretch across Sydney, and there are several new and planned cycleways connecting Zetland with the city, UNSW and the inner west.

It’s home to Green Square

Green Square, one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects, has transformed Zetland and neighbouring Beaconsfield, as well as parts of Waterloo, Alexandria and Rosebery. The Green Square development is Sydney city’s first new town centre in over 100 years, and it includes such world-class community amenities as the innovative Green Square Library and plaza, the Waranara Early Education Centre childcare facility, and the Joynton Avenue Creative Centre.

It is one of Australia’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods, with over 30,000 new homes expected by 2030. The precinct’s population is set to reach 74,200 by 2041. Green Square is revitalising the heritage and character of Zetland and its surroundings to create a vibrant and dynamic place to live, work and play.

It’s got parks a-plenty

The Green Square development has been designed with livability top of mind, and that means Zetland residents enjoy plenty of parks and green spaces. The wide-open spaces of Moore Park are right next door for starters.

Once the site of Waterloo Swamp and then Victoria Park Racecourse, Joynton Park is an open green space with an interactive water feature and off-leash dog area, perfect for picnic gatherings and get-togethers. Nuffield Park boasts open lawns and casual basketball courts, while Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre features a sports field with synthetic pitch and four brand new pools with an aqua play area for kids.

There are plenty of playgrounds in Zetland too. Matron Ruby Grant Park, adjacent to the Joynton Avenue Creative Centre, includes open spaces and a toddler playground, while Mary O’Brien Reserve on Tilford Street features play equipment, BBQ and picnic areas and a water play area. Council is currently planning an upgrade of the play equipment and facilities at Tote Park.

If you’re interested in making dynamic Zetland your new inner-city home, contact us today.