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Kogarah derives its name from an Aboriginal word meaning a place of reeds or rushes, which characterised the land on which Kogarah was to be built. Part of a grant of land which was given to Robert Townson in 1808, settlement in Kogarah was initially slow due to the areas thick woodlands and the Cooks River which cut off the area from the rest of Sydney. The mid 1800s proved an important time in Kogarah's history with a dam at Cooks River quelling the rivers flow and a number of tracks linking Kogarah with other nearby settlements improving accessibility of the area. A significant amount of land clearing had the area had the area build a distinct agricultural profile with market gardens attracting a high number of Chinese migrants who had settled in Sydney following the gold rush. The extension of the railway line through Sutherland in 1884 would have wildly positive effect on the suburb by adding an accessible and reliable trade route through the area and over the following decade a village would form around the railway station to include key town amenities such as a post office, food merchants, real estate offices and a hotel. The small eight bed St George Cottage Hospital opening in 1894, was one of the state's first hospitals and continues to service the publicm, serving as one of the states major teaching hospitals. Since a boom in housing development in the area in the 1990s, which included a number of high density housing complexes, Kogarah continues to be a popular residential suburb with the highest residential population in the Kogarah council region.