The suburb is named after surgeon William Redfern, who was granted 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land in this area in 1817 by Lachlan Macquarie. He built a country house on his property surrounded by flower and kitchen gardens. His neighbours were Captain Cleveland, an officer of the 73rd regiment, who built Cleveland House and John Baptist, who ran a nursery and seed business. Sydney's original railway terminus was built in Cleveland Paddocks and extended from Cleveland Street to Devonshire Street and west to Chippendale. The station's name was chosen to honour William Redfern. At that time, the present Redfern station was known as Eveleigh. When Central station was built further north on the site of the Devonshire Street cemetery, Eveleigh station became Redfern and Eveleigh was retained for the name of the railway workshops, south of the station. The remains of Cleveland Paddocks became Prince Alfred Park.
Redfern Post Office, early 1890s
Redfern has been characterised by migrant populations that have lived in the area. In the late 19th century many of the businessmen in the area were from Syria such as George Dan 1890, Stanton and Aziz Melick in 1888 and Anthony and Simon Coorey in the 1890s. As waves of immigrants arrived in Australia, many made Redfern their first home.
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