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The land along the Georges River just south of Sydney would be among the first land explored following the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Travelling in their boat the Tom Thumb, Matthew Flinders and George Bass were looking for suitable farming land when they came across the land that would become Holsworthy in 1795. Named after the town Holsworthy in England, Holsworthy quickly became a thriving farming area with large estates supporting livestock farms and the smaller land grants made to emancipated convicts in 1798 who went on to cultivate grain crops, establish vegetable farms as well as poultry and pig breeding.
Well positioned alongside the Georges River, Holsworthy would become the site for many of the colony's earliest industrial ventures including a water mill in the 1820s and a paper mill in the 1860s which over time also housed a wool wash and flour mill. The area also became a popular settlement for European migrants in the 1880s who transformed the local agricultural landscape through experimenting with olive trees, vineyards and almond trees.
Although a flourishing farming community with the successful Grodno Vineyard within its borders, Eckersley was acquired by the military in 1914 and chosen for the site of the Holsworthy Training Area. Housing predominantly German and other European prisoners of war and Australian enemy aliens during World War I, the entire site was constructed by the internees and would become the largest internment camp in Australia, holding over 6000 prisoners in 210 buildings. With the site demolished following the release of all prisoners in the 1920s, the only remaining physical legacy of this time are the remains of the corporals club, mess hall and the powder magazine which is still used for training purposes today and is considered a site of national significance.
With World War II over and the Italian enemy aliens discharged, Holsworthy Village would emerge in the northern fringes of the Holsworthy Training Area and the barracks remained in the Southern half of the suburb, with the suburbs military heritage evident in the names of the streets many of which are taken from military objects and people. Today the Holsworthy Barracks are home to many of the army reserve units along with various aviation and army units and is one of the major bases for the Australian Army. Despite the early European influence on the area, the prominent migrant groups in Holsworthy are from Asia with Indian and Pilipino communities amongst the largest in the suburb.