Rockdale is named for the rocky landscape surrounding the area. Rockdale was previously known as Frog Hollow.
Rockdale City is located in Sydney's southern suburbs - about 12 kilometres from the Sydney GPO. Rockdale City is bounded by Wolli Creek, the Cooks River, Canterbury City and the Marrickville Council area in the north, Botany Bay and the City of Botany Bay in the east, the Georges River in the south and Kogarah City and Hurstville City in the west.
European settlement dates from 1804 when the first land grants were made, with land being used mainly for farming. Growth was minimal until the 1880s when the Illawarra railway line was extended, making the area more accessible. Many large homes were built by wealthy people in the late 1800s, especially in the northern areas closest to Sydney and the eastern areas closest to the beach. Some growth occurred in the inter-war period, spurred by the extension of the East Hills railway line to Kingsgrove in 1931. The most significant growth occurred during the post-war years, especially in the southern part of the City. In the 1950s and 1960s there was a surge in the building of medium-density housing and the City became a popular area for migrant families to settle. In more recent years tourism around the beach areas and high density housing in previously industrial areas has fuelled growth, with an increase in population from 84,000 in 1996 to 97,000 in 2011. The population is expected to continue to increase, with many areas located around the City's public transport routes, such as Wolli Creek and Arncliffe, being redeveloped from industrial land use to mixed use developments.
Rockdale City is predominantly a residential area, but also has substantial industrial areas, parklands/reserves and some commercial areas. The City encompasses a total land area of about 28 square kilometres.
Rockdale City is served by the Princes Highway, the South Western Motorway (M5) and the Illawarra and East Hills railway lines, with stations at Arncliffe, Banksia, Bardwell Park, Bexley North, Carlton, Kogarah, Rockdale, Turrella and Wolli Creek.
Major features of the City include Sydney International Airport (Terminal 1), TAFE NSW Sydney Institute (St George College), Rockdale Plaza Shopping Centre, Bexley Swimming Centre, Bardwell Valley Golf Club, Bexley Golf Club, Kogarah Golf Club, Barton Park, Riverine Park, Scarborough Park, Brighton-Le-Sands Beach, Lady Robinsons Beach and Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor. Other features of the area include Cameron Street Lookout, Rockdale Park, Rockdale Bicentennial Park, White Oak Reserve, Ador Avenue Reserve, McCarthy Reserve, historic Lydham Hall and one school.
St George Girls High School, Kogarah Public School, Kogarah High School, Rockdale Public School, St George Hospital School, Rockdale Train Station, Rockdale Plaza, Rockdale Library
The original inhabitants of the Rockdale area were the ‘Cadigal' Aboriginal people.
Rockdale City includes the suburbs of Arncliffe, Banksia, Bardwell Park, Bardwell Valley, Bexley, Bexley North, Brighton-Le-Sands, Carlton (part), Dolls Point, Kingsgrove (part), Kogarah (part), Kyeemagh, Mascot (part), Monterey, Ramsgate, Ramsgate Beach, Rockdale, Sandringham, Sans Souci (part), Turrella and Wolli Creek.