Blacktown Showground Precinct

Blacktown: A day walk in a Sydney Suburb

Earlier this year, when I came to Blacktown for an Urban Theatre production, I passed an Ethiopian restaurant. That’s when I decided I had to find out more about Blacktown. And so here I am on the train feeling more than a little bit anxious. Blacktown is quite foreign to me.

At the station, Police Officers are checking tickets. Only twice in 27 suburban discoveries have I seen police at a train station. The last time was when I went to Redfern. I wonder what that says about a suburb.

Blacktown Mural

Part of “When we moved, we learn”

Exotic drinks in Blacktown

What language?

Following signs to Boys Drive, I walk past a mural “When moved we learn” created by local youth. The Indian Sweet shop, Royal Sweets, is not yet open. No sweets for me this time.

Good Luck Plaza

Over the road, a steady stream of cars enters the car park of Good Luck Plaza, home of the Good Luck Fish Market, Good Luck Bakery, Good Luck BBQ (with a string of BBQ ducks in the window), Good Luck Hair Salon and Good Luck Butchery. Lucky cats in windows and on shop counters wave their paws.

The written characters on the range of products in the G&L Supermarket appear to my untrained eye to be from different alphabets. It turns out the supermarket caters to people from all over Asia.

Blacktown Street Art

Blacktown mural

Blacktown Mosque

Blacktown Mosque

Further along the street, another mural makes an otherwise dull wall inviting. The colourful birds are naive in style. The building, the Sargents Centre is a facility for people with disabilities.

Blacktown Mosque

The minaret on the corner of a modern building makes the Blacktown Mosque easy to find. A sign on the fence advertises the Afghan Community Support Association.

Over the road in the corner of a large park a small group of turbaned men are sitting on chairs. I suspect they are having a prayer meeting. Overcoming my anxiety, I approach them only to find that they are from Southern India, “having a gossip” in the sun. We chat a little while a woman in a sari and her husband and friend watch on.

Enjoying the sun in Blacktown

Enjoying the sun in Blacktown

Friendly people in Blacktown

Friendly people in Blacktown

On the way to the Radhe Indian Grocery a woman in a salwar kameez acknowledges me with a smile. The friendliness of local residents is warming. Inside the grocery store, garlands of flowers hang from the corners of rows of produce. In India, the flowers are real. Here they are plastic.

Blacktown Showground Precinct

The entrance to The Blacktown Showground Precinct is across a large intersection. A few young men play touch footy, mums enjoy the outdoor area with their children and a group of older people are picnicking. I press a button at the water play area.

Water sprays from the coloured shapes and poles. A little girl runs towards the water, desperately chased by her carer. I am hungry, but am too late for breakfast and too early for lunch at The Grounds Keeper Café and keep going.

Blacktown Water Park

Water Park

Community Garden

Community Garden

On the Southern side of the station, the shops are many and varied. Restaurants, like the many small grocery stores, reflect different cuisines and cultures. There are Indian, Arabic, African, Asian, Afghani and more. I can buy a colourful sari or get a henna tattoo.

I venture into a couple of African stores that supply a range of goods from hair extensions to brightly coloured fabric and traditional clothing. The cans of Koo food products remind me of my youth. Hairdressers cater to African women. I poke my head into one. A client seems to be grimacing as her hair is pulled and braided. I’ve read this hair treatment is harsh.

Ethiopian Lunch

Two Ethiopian restaurants sit almost side by side. This is why I came to Blacktown. To experience Ethiopian food for the first time. I decide on Blue Nile. Next time I’ll give Abyssina (correct spelling) a go. (Update February 2022: Gursha is the only Ethiopian Restaurant here now. There’s a Sudanese one two doors down).

I am the only white person there. I watch and learn that I am supposed to eat with my right hand after washing in the basin provided.

African Print Fabric for sale

Fabulous Fabric

Ethiopian Cuisine in Blacktown

Blue Nile

A man walks in and goes straight to the basin at the back of the restaurant. He paves the way for me. A woman wearing a striking yellow top and long braids apologises to me after doing a jig to the music in her seat. Laughing, she explains that she lets go when in the company of other Ghanaians. I love her lack of inhibition.

I choose Yetakelt Beainetu, a combination of Ethiopian vegetarian dishes with injera (Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour). My lunch arrives on a large round plastic plate. What looks like a thin beige sponge (the injera) lines the plate.

On top of the injera are seven different vegetarian dishes including split peas, lentils, cabbage, spinach and salad. The injera tears easily and I deftly roll it around my chosen food with my right hand. The flavours are delicious.

Historic Blacktown Public School

Original Blacktown Public School.

Aboriginal presence in Blacktown

Blackown was named for the large Aboriginal presence

After lunch, I drop into The Model Railroad Craftsmen. Parts for railroad hobbyists line the shelves. A man sits at a desk painting a train carriage. A woman explains that much of their business is online these days. Customers tend to come in only when they need advice.

At the Blacktown Arts centre, a wall garden of herbs greets me. A painted caravan is parked near the steps. The door is locked and there is no obvious exhibition hanging on the walls. The new exhibition starts in a week.

View from Cucina Revolving Restaurant

View from Cucina Revolving Restaurant

The Village Green

The Village Green

At the Workers Club, I can’t avoid the colourful lights of the pokies on my way to the lift. At least half of the machines are occupied. I can’t help but feel sad for the punters. Like many locals, they probably don’t even know that there is a revolving restaurant on the fifth floor.

ANZAC Street Art in Blacktown

ANZAC Street Art

ANZAC Street Art

More ANZAC Street Art

Cucina Locale (temporarily closed March 2021) serves Modern Australian cuisine as well as high tea. I can clearly see the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance and can make out Chatswood and North Sydney. While I savour my tea, the room revolves and the blue mountains come into view.

Final thoughts on Blacktown

I walk past the restored Blacktown Public School on my way back to the station. I have had a great day out West and I can’t wait to bring my friends here. Oh… and I needn’t have worried. I felt quite welcome in Blacktown.

Harris Park and Penrith are also very interesting suburbs well worth exploring.
Next stop: Marrickville

Useful information:

A suburb of Sydney’s Greater West, Blacktown is 34km west of the Sydney CBD

Plan your trip at

Blacktown Mosque: 15 Fourth Avenue, Blacktown

Radhe Indian Grocery: Unit 8/ 40 Third Ave, Blacktown

The Grounds Keeper Café Blacktown: Blacktown Showground Precinct, 49 Richmond Rd, Blacktown

The Blue Nile African Cuisine: 3a/115 Main St, Blacktown

Abyssina: 5/115 Main St, Blacktown

Model Railroad Craftsmen: 2/64-70 Main St (First Floor)

Cucina Locale Revolving Restaurant is temporarily closed (March 2021. Level 5/55 Campbell St, Blacktown.

Blacktown Arts Centre: 78 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown

And a map to assist you: (You can download it here) (NOTE that the time indicated on the map does not allow for any stops. I take an average of 4-5 hours when I explore):

Blacktown Walk Map


  1. I love Ethiopian food but have never managed to find any in Sydney so perhaps I need to head out to Blacktown. Sounds like you had a lovely day.

    1. Author

      Yes, Paula I had a great day. I’m looking forward to going back with friends. And the train is a good way to get there. I tend to people watch or read a book.

    1. Author

      Yes, it is a long way from where I live, but I actually returned today to see an exhibition at the Art Centre. And to have another Ethiopian meal. I am so enjoying getting to know suburban Sydney.

    1. Author

      Thanks. Yes, I am rather partial to street art in general but this is special.

  2. A brilliant personal view of a suburb that in my opinion is highly underrated. I am a Westy through and through and appreciate your comments of an area very close to my heart. I should take you on a day trip around the historical sites of Rooty Hill and my home suburb of Mount Druitt sometime.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your comments, Mike. I really enjoyed my day out in Blacktown and wish more Sydneysiders would head out west to see it for themselves. So far I’ve mosty used the train to reach places I explore but as I use busses more I am venturing further afield. So I’ll get to Rooty Hill one day.

Leave a Comment