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Timber-getters had contracts to take timber from the Holt-Sutherland township area before the railway line was completed to Sutherland. Supplies for the railway line could have been milled at the site, in addition to being used for general building purposes. Sutherland Brickworks was established by a Mr Cartwright in part of the grounds of the present day Woronora Cemetery. The brickworks provided sandstock bricks for some early residences By the end of 1887 the Intercolonial Investment Land and Building Company declared that their Sutherland Township subdivision was being settled and the shopping/commercial area was growing. The majority of families were 'labouring men' in transient occupations, however the growth was thought to be sufficient to warrant and 'maintain a small public school' which opened that year. William Bramley purchased three blocks in the Intercolonial Investment Land and Building Company subdivision on the eastern side of the railway station and built the first brick general store and a hotel, which he named the Railway Hotel.
On the western side of the railway line, in addition to the Royal Hotel run by Katherine Kitt, a congregational church had been erected in a location which was seen to be the centre of the township. Numerous denominations attended this church as it was the only religious building in use. Later, other religious denominations such as the Catholics (1892) and the Church of England (1894) opened purpose-built churches for their congregations. A limited postal service was available at the railway station from 1 July 1886 and at a separate building on railway land from 1891. In 1893 a brick house was rented for the postmaster, Charles Powell.
During the 1890s depression men were given relief work in the nearby national park. Some Sutherland shopkeepers, such as William Bramley, suffered financial loss and were forced to sell. However it was also a time for community-minded residents to establish community facilities. Daniel Lobb was responsible for building a community centre known as Lobb's Hall which replaced a very early building referred to as a school of arts.
Woronora Cemetery was gazetted on 2 April 1895. Charles Fripp was the first superintendent. A short railway link between Sutherland Station and the cemetery was opened on 28 July 1900. The cemetery provided the town with a source of employment and, later, fostered associated light industry such as stonemasonry. By 1890 the township had grown sufficiently to require a police presence. Later, in 1899, the residents united to form a progress association to assist with further development of the town. Issues of general concern were transport from Sutherland railway station to outlying farms and properties, and promotion of the area to the wider community. By the time the southern communities were ready for incorporation as a shire in 1906, Sutherland Township was the most likely candidate to become the centre for local government. There was some uncertainty about Sutherland's supremacy as the centre of the shire when the location of the first purpose-built council chambers was decided in 1913–14. By this time other suburbs of the shire had grown sufficiently to challenge the autonomy of the township of Sutherland. However the council voted that Sutherland should remain the location for the chambers and the die was cast. Today Sutherland continues to be the administrative centre.
The railway line to Sutherland was electrified in 1926 and nearby suburbs, including Sutherland, received a power supply. As time went on, improvements continued in proportion to the growth in population and stability of the local community. By 1928 the Sutherland school had grown sufficiently in numbers to become the first high school in the shire – it remained the only one until 1959. In the 1930s, Sutherland, like everywhere else in Sydney, suffered the Depression, with many families in trouble and in need of assistance. It was not uncommon to see unemployed people selling flowers along the road to the cemetery. Despite this, Sutherland was the first township to have a baby health centre. The work of Father Thomas Dunlea, Roman Catholic parish priest at Sutherland, was notable at this time. He took in homeless boys and later rented a small cottage in the centre of town to accommodate the growing number. Due to overcrowding and insufficient space, it later moved to Engadine and became the well-known Boys' Town. In 1939 a railway line from Sutherland to Cronulla was opened and completed the network of links between the shire suburbs with Sutherland as a hub. As Sutherland was so close to the national park, residents used parts of the park closest to the township for recreational purposes. In 1939, it was proposed that a courthouse be built in Sutherland as the closest one was at Kogarah. Land was purchased in 1945 and the courthouse opened in the 1950s. In the 1960s attention turned again to the civic needs of the shire. This included a new council chambers and civic hall. The new council chamber was opened on 22 October 1965 and a separate civic centre was opened in 1976. Since the 1990s the development of Sutherland has largely been determined by its proximity to public transport. Other infrastructure improvements, including office space, roads and parking have been prominent in planning strategies aimed at maintaining Sutherland's identity as the central transport hub and administrative centre for the Shire.
City View Estate Sutherland, close to railway station : auction sale on the ground Sat. 6th January 1912 at 3
Holt-Sutherland Estate subdivisions, Georges River and Illawarra Railway Line. Township of Sutherland
Sutherland Centre Estate : for auction sale on the ground at 3 o'clock on Saturday 8th December 1923
Sutherland Township, Diston's Subdivision : 2 cottages and home sites : one minute from station on Illawarra Railway Line : sale on the ground Easter Monday 8th April 1912 at 3.30
Marshall Russack's Motor Garage on the Princes Highway at Sutherland , with view of Blacksmith's Lane at the right, ca. 1925
Sutherland Railway Station, view of overhead signal bridge at the left and the Railway Hotel on the right, ca. 1926
Sutherland, view from Brinsley's Joinery works with the Princes Highway on left and railway line on right, ca. 1900s
Cyclists gathered outside Boyle's Hotel, Sutherland for start of cycling race to the Royal National Park, ca. 1899-1905
Sutherland, view looking from Brinsley's Joinery Works at the old Council Chambers and the Princes Highway, ca. 1900s
Sutherland Railway Station, view looking from verandah of the Railway Hotel with horse-drawn vehicles and people gathered out front, ca. 1899-1905