Belonging in the local government area of the City of Blacktown, Prospect is a suburb of Sydney located 32 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. The suburb is part of the Greater Western Sydney region. It has a humid subtropical climate and is usually a few degrees warmer than the Sydney CBD on most spring and summer days.
According to Philip Gidley King, the landscape of Prospect is “a very pleasant tract of country.” Trees grew from each other. The gentle hills and dales, and rising slopes covered with grass, appeared like a vast park. According to him, the soil from Rose Hill to Prospect-Hill is nearly alike, being of loam and clay. Trees were mainly eucalypts, grey box, and forest red gum while spotted gum is also known to have been abundant in the area. In 1836, naturalist Charles Darwin visited Prospect in order to observe the geology.
As one of the oldest suburbs in Sydney, Prospect assumes its name from the prominent Prospect Hill nearby. From the top of the hill, people could get a “prospect” of the surrounding countryside. It was initially a settlement for emancipated convicts which later became a village.
Prior to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Prospect was home to different groups of the Darug people including the Warmuli. Captain Arthur Phillip called the area ‘Bellevue’. In 1789, Captain Watkin Tench climbed to the top of the hill and gave it the name Tench’s Prospect Hill. Later, this was shortened to Prospect.
By July 1791, thirteen grants of land at Prospect had already been given to emancipated convicts. Roughly three years later, the Prospect Hill farmers were reportedly the most productive in the entire colony.
The aboriginal people’s already limited ability to pursue their traditional lifestyle disappeared as European settlement expanded over time. Prospect is the first, and perhaps the only area where large-scale organised resistance by aboriginal people took place. It became the boundary between colonists and indigenous Australians.
Led by Pemulwuy, a member of the Bidjigal tribe who occupied the land, regular raids occurred against the colony of New South Wales in the 1790s. By 1797, the war had escalated with guerrillas raiding the settlements on Parramatta and Prospect Hill. Locating and capturing Pemulwuy proved difficult.
In 1808, William Lawson was appointed aide-de-camp to George Johnston and was granted 500 acres of land at Prospect. Along with Gregory Blaxland and William Charles Wentworth, he explored a route across the Blue Mountains. Lawson built a 40-room mansion which he named Veteran Hall in the 1820s. The property was acquired by the Metropolitan Water Board with the house being demolished in 1926. Presently, most of the property is submerged in what is now Prospect Reservoir. Sir Joseph Banks is buried in the cemetery on the hill.
In early 2004, the eastern part of Prospect became a new suburb called Pemulwuy. It hosts the new housing estates of Lakeside and Nelson’s Ridge. The industrial area within the oval-shaped ridge of Prospect Hill is also contained in Pemulwuy. As such, most of Prospect Hill is technically no longer within the suburb of Prospect. Quarrying companies also gradually took over with dolerite being mined for use as roadstone until it was almost all gone. Much of the hill went with it.
According to the 2016 census, the most common ancestry in Prospect is English at 15.8%. It is followed by Australian 15.7%, Indian 6.4%, Maltese 5.3% and Irish 4.8%. The majority of the people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were India 4.6%, Philippines 3.1%, Fiji 3.0%, Malta 2.1%, and Sri Lanka 2.0%.
Aside from English being largely spoken at home, other languages spoken at home included Arabic 4.7%, Hindi 4.1%, Greek 2.9%, Maltese 2.5%, and Cantonese 1.8%. The most common responses for religion were Catholic 38.4%, Anglican 12.0%, No Religion 10.2%, Eastern Orthodox 5.7%, and Hinduism 5.6%.
Housing and Community
Prospect is known to be a safe and friendly neighbourhood. Many of the residents originally lived there, opting to knock down and rebuild rather than move elsewhere. The parks and streets are also well maintained by Blacktown City Council.
The median house price in Prospect is roughly $812,500 whereas the median unit price is at $548,500. Real estate investors could potentially earn a rental income of $430 per week and with a gross rental yield of 2.75%.
In 1845, a Catholic school opened in Prospect with fifty-five children enrolled. The school closed in 1867 as the school population declined. Around this time, a public school began with lessons being held in a house. In 1871, the first official school building was erected on land that was bought from the government. In 1933, this building was replaced with the present one, which was built by the Department of Education. The new school had three classrooms. The school was closed in December 1988, having only fourteen pupils. The bell was given to the Meadows School and a plaque has been attached to the bell commemorating the Prospect School.
Presently, Prospect hosts several Christian schools. These include Bethany Christian School and Ebenezer Christian College. The latter is an initiative of the Ebenezer Foundation and a child-safe organisation with a biblical focus. It is open to enrollment for grade levels kindergarten up to Year 10. The curriculum integrates ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) and the more traditional classroom teaching modes to give the students a holistic education.
Through the Great Western Highway and the M4 Motorway, Prospect provides road access to the western side of the city and eastward to the Sydney CBD. The suburb is linked to central Blacktown and the Hills District through the Prospect Highway. Via the Blacktown Road, several bus companies also provide connecting services between Prospect and Blacktown. The nearby Blacktown railway station provides access to the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink networks.
Built in 1877, the Royal Cricketers Arms Hotel is one of the few remaining roadside inns located on The Great Western Highway between Sydney and Bathurst. It is also one of the last remaining buildings of Prospect Village. With an apparent Victorian and Georgian design, the two-storey brick and timber building is set on a random rubble foundation stone wall on a sloping site.
Within the Western Sydney Parklands is the Prospect Reservoir in Prospect Nature Reserve. The reserve was created in February 2007 and covers an area of 325 ha. Surrounding the reserve are recreational picnic areas with BBQ and playgrounds perfect for young children.
Formerly known as Wet’n’Wild Sydney, Raging Waters Sydney is a large water park that opened in December of 2013. It features 25 hectares of family-friendly fun with its over 30 rides, slides, and attractions.