The story of Rouse Hill is one marked with abject failure and probably 200 years of neglect by state governments because of a few historical events. Richard Rouse for whom the suburb is names after moved to the area in 1802, but it is the events of two years later which thrust this place into Australian history.
In 1798 Irish Catholic Republicans who were probably inspired by the American and French Revolutions rose up in bloody conflict against British Rule in Ireland. One such battle was the battle of Vinegar Hill in county Wexford and perhaps some of the veterans who were in that conflict eventually found their way to Australia as a result of being transported; most notably a Mr Phillip Cunningham who would lead a band of rebels.
Having settled in their new land, they were able to mobilise maybe a thousand convicts and between March 4 and about March 14, as many as 120 of them were killed by British troops once a state of martial law had been declared. Eventually nine would be sentenced with rebellion and summarily executed.
The place and the event would become known as the Second Battle of Vinegar Hill and probably took place where the current Mean Fiddler Hotel (which was also designed by an ex-convict Francis Greenway).
Rouse Hill was named in plans for an expansion of a railway line to service Castle Hill in 1932 to replace the existing tram service, however neither the trams were replaced and nor did the railway ever come to fruition.
In 1998 a proposed North West railway line was supposed to drive through the suburb, finally linking it to any sort of transport under the then transport minister Carl Scully, however the railway never came to fruition.
In 2008 a proposed North West Metro project would have linked the suburb to the city via Ryde, Gladesville and Drummoyne, however the project was cancelled forever and the railway never came to fruition.
Under the current O'Farrell government, plans are supposed to exist which would see the railway built by 2017, however given Infrastructure Australia's snubbing of the project and current transport minister Gladys Berejiklian's insistency to want to sell off te ferry network, I seriously doubt whether the current plan will ever come to fruition.
Rouse Hill is on the Windsor Road and grew up as a rest point for coaches and bullock trains servicing Windsor; hence the reason why the church and coachhouse in the area were built at all. However what really makes Rouse Hill interesting is a sterling piece of urban development that almost never happened at all.
It was only after repeated lobbying over a period of almost 25 years and the completion of the M2 that Windsor Road was improved from a narrow two lane road to a four lane arterial road. Trucks which used to travel down the road would often pass each other with only a few inches to spare and it was not uncommon to hear of cars which had been wiped out whilst trying to overtake.
Rouse Hill Town Centre is built on what used to be a 27 hole golf course. The first stage opened in 2007 and was finally completed in 2008.
Unlike any other shopping centre I have ever seen, the carparks are all under the facility and there is a criss-cross of streets meeting at a plaza on top. Quite literally the place has been designed as a fully functioning town centre where previously there was nothing. Unlike previous shopping centres which enclose everything inside a building, Rouse Hill Town Centre has streets open to the sky and proper fountains.
I'd go so far as to say that Rouse Hill Town Centre is probably the only embodiment of some of the ideas put forward for "the future" in the Life Science Library series book "Wheels" published in 1967. Admittedly Rouse Hill Town Centre exists purely because of the motor car, which I guess can't be helped that much.
Up the road is Rouse Hill Regional Park which is a portion of land which has been set aside for a time when the area is developed further. Currently it looks like open fields but I imagine once the bush has reclaimed some of the land and it starts to return to what it may have done in times past, that it will provide a nice contrast to the encroachment of housing which is inevitable.
The suburb of Rouse Hill generally gives you an idea of the potential of Sydney's suburbs; whilst sharing the flaws of the lack of inrastructure which is common of so many suburbs. I can only hope that proper investment happens which will turn the suburb into what it can truly be.