Our City, Our History

Borralee Fishermen
The City of Botany Bay has great significance in the history of Australia. For many thousands of years the lands that would become our City were occupied by the First Australians. They are the traditional owners of these lands: the Gadigal and Bidegal people of the Eora Nation.

The original plan to locate the colony of New South Wales in our region led to ‘Botany Bay’ becoming a household name throughout the world. The name ‘Botany Bay’ was given to our area by Captain James Cook who named the Bay after the quantity and quality of botanical specimens collected by Sir Joseph Banks. Banks collected and identified 1,300 new species, and some 80 species of plants now bear his name. Locally, Banks has also given his name to the suburb of Banksmeadow, named after the meadow he described as ‘as fine a meadow as ever was seen.’ Interestingly, the specific location of Banks’s meadow has never been established.

While Botany Bay was very soon rejected in favour of Port Jackson as the location of the first European settlement in Australia, our region went on to play an important role, from the earliest days of the colony right up to Federation. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen periods of urban decay and renewal in our City. In recent years, the noxious industries of the past have been replaced by new high quality development.

In this section you will find some introductory information about our local history as well as some suggestions for further research. The City of Botany Bay is committed to researching and preserving our local history. Since 1994 the Botany Historical Trust has worked to support our local history initiatives, which include the George Hanna Memorial Museum in Mascot.

The Dictionary of Sydney also provides more detail on the history of the City of Botany Bay.