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History of Agriculture and Industry in the Penrith Region


From early settlement beside the Nepean River agriculture has played an important role in the development of the entire Penrith region. From growing early crops such as wheat, corn and maize or cultivating vegetables, fruit orchards or vineyards to cattle breeding, beef production, dairy farming and milk production or other livestock concerns such as sheep and wool, pigs, poultry or horses, agriculture was very significant in the Penrith region and continues in importance today. The history of European development in the Penrith district was shaped by three important factors: the Hawkesbury-Nepean River and its surrounding waterways, the Great Western Road and the Great Western Railway. Without these three, the economic and industrial development of the area would have been very different indeed.

Although intensely agricultural in its initial development, the Penrith and St. Marys districts eventually had direct access to major markets and traffic travelling along both the Great Western Road and Railway. This enabled the area to expand and develop into other industries besides agriculture, a few of which included quarrying, tanneries, brick works, timber and saw yards, mills, cattle sale yards to munitions factories, canneries and more. The development of industry in the region is diverse and continues to thrive as we move into the future.

Currently, the Library has a display which uncovers interesting highlights from our agricultural and industrial development showcasing local history photographs held in our Penrith City Library Photographic Collection. Like to know more? Please see our Library staff to access other photographs in our collection or email our Research Services Team for further information email

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