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Bondi History

"Bondi" or "Boondi" is an aboriginal word meaning "water breaking over rocks" or "noise of water breaking over rocks." The Australian Museum records that Bondi means "place where a flight of nullas took place."

Between 1855 and 1877 Francis O'Brien of the Bondi Estate made the beach and the surrounding land available to the public as a picnic ground and pleasure resort, but for many years threatened to stop public access to the beach. In 1859 the Municipal Council asked the Government to establish an area at the beach as a public reserve but without success. It was not until June 1882 that the Government acted and Bondi Beach opened to the public.

In the mid 1850s buses begun to run to the edges of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Transport beyond there was either on foot, horse or cart. Within a few years a number of private bus operators such as Old Steve, Joe Smith and M. Macnamara provided transport up to Bondi Junction. Generally speaking the buses ran about every half hour.

In 1933 the State Government took over the running of bus services to Bondi Junction. A year later Bondi Beach had a regular bus service with the main stop at Lamrock Avenue.

In the early 1870s the New South Wales Parliament introduced the Tramway Bill and by 1902 there was a sub-station at Bondi Junction. The electric tram service between Bondi Junction and the city of Sydney was established in 1905.

The first electric tram service down to Bondi Beach began late in 1906 and was extended to North Bondi in 1929. Prior to 1906, steam trams were used. These had a locomotive that looked like a small tram pulling trailer cars that usually seated 70 passengers.

The last trams to North Bondi and Bronte ran in the early hours of Sunday 28th February, 1960, and the huge Sydney tram network finally closed at the end of February 1961. At its peak in 1945, the tram network had carried 404 million pasengers, but it was gradually replaced by buses during the 1950's.

Whilst the Sydney trams were mainly burned and only a handful have survived into preservation, Melbourne is still one of the great tram cities of the world, and they are even extending their network.

The increased popularity of Bondi Beach in the 1920s meant that some days up to 1000 cars would be parked near the beach. The Municipal Council introduced parking fees in 1926 and within the same year it introduced timed parking (3 hour periods).

As for now, well buses run better than every ten minutes, and if you drive down, you might spend a long time looking for parking.


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