The backdrop to the beach, in the Junction business reigns supreme. With the impressive Westfield precinct at one end of the spectrum and the local street market at the other, at either end of a long pedestrianised shopping strip, each functions as a different aspect of the character of this diverse and successful area.
The development of Bondi Junction was largely controlled by transportation routes; in order to service the thriving hub of Bondi Beach, roads, trams, trains and buses have developed over time. The terminus at Bondi Junction acts as a support system for the busy streets of the beach, but in turn has become a business and entertainment hub in its own right, Sydney’s fifth largest business district behind the CBD itself, North Sydney, Parramatta and Chatswood.
As early developers constructed stately mansions on the hills above the beach, shops and services sprung up around them, in the natural junction that the roads and trams created. In 1854 the Waverley Tea Gardens, at the corner of Oxford Street and Bronte Road, were opened, “laid out with gardens, summer houses, quilt pitches and other games” and it quickly became the place to be.
Bondi Junction has continued in this trend, as a popular commercial and residential hot spot.
The razzmatazz of the Westfield Shopping Centre development, known colloquially as WBJ, (Westfield Bondi Junction) capped a long history of commercial dominance in the area. Bondi Junction was a bustling shopping precinct in the late 19th century, and as early as 1939 sported a large department store on the site of a former picture theatre on Oxford Street, a precursor to the powerful hub that exists today.
Bondi Junction has a long association with sports, fitness and health, in part due to its proximity to both the beach and Centennial Park, a favourite spot for joggers, walkers, horse-riders, skaters and athletes.