It's Putney Down Under

Published: 10/01/2023 By Allan Fuller

On a recent trip to Sydney to see his daughter and grandchildren, Putney Society vice president Hugh Thompson visited nearby Putney New South Wales. He reports on his findings. 

The fifty-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay by Harbour Bridge takes you through Chiswick and Mortlake. So familiar names and a similar length river ride from both Putneys to the centre. You get off the ferry two stops after Chiswick at Kissing Point. The long jetty gives a clue to the name. For it was here that the ocean-going tall ships felt their keels kiss the Parramatta river mud.

After the jetty there is a mile walk along spacious leafy boulevards passing luxury villas some with Doric columns, some being rebuilt, all with two or more cars. And then the village. Putney NSW is a suburb of a suburb (Ryde) not a fully grown parliamentary constituency.

Dinky, delightful and perfectly formed it is. It may have only a few shops cluttered around the junction of Charles and Morrison Roads but one is a flower shop. A giveaway of class and style. A large garage and liquor store show other interests. But the few shops are dominated by delis, bistros and cafes. On the Saturday morning I went brunching in the boulevards was in full swing.

Kissing Point is two ferry stops from Chiswick

So somethings remind of our Putney. More in common with Lower Richmond or Putney Bridge Roads than our High Street and Exchange. While Putney SW15 boasts six supermarkets the Putney NSW has none.

I chatted to a few residents. Standard suburban smiles born of solid pleasures and financial security. Children cycling up and down unattended told the story. A story of safe, open spaces, less people, bigger plots and a less intensive lifestyle. 

One or two complained (as they always do) of change, too much building and development, a new sort coming in. Australia’s population has more than doubled through immigration in the last fifty years. As in our Putney those working in the finance sector have grown in profile.

The town is a mile walk from the jetty

At my bistro, the Patio (an omelette since you ask) the waitress told that during the week a ghost town but at weekends it was surprising how many lived locally.

Try an omelette at the Patio in Putney

So, a wealthy, dormitory suburb, despite no train station reasonably well connected. And pretty well named.