Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Penrith area was home to the Mulgoa tribe of the Darug people. They lived in huts and hunted native animals such as kangaroos, fished in the Nepean River. Most of the Mulgoa were killed by smallpox shortly after the arrival of the Europeans in 1788. Located 54km by road west of Sydney, the City of Penrith is home to more than 178,467 residents.
Penrith sits on the western edge of the Cumberland Plain, a fairly flat area of Western Sydney, extending to Windsor in the north, Parramatta in the east and Campbelltown in the south. The Nepean River forms the western boundary of the suburb and beyond that, dominating the western skyline, are the Blue Mountains. Penrith is one of the major commercial centres in greater western Sydney. Penrith have a number of shopping complexes, the largest being Westfield Penrith. The shopping centre features over 250 stores ranging from department stores to specialty shops.
Penrith Railway Station is a major railway station on the Western Line of the City Rail network. It has frequent services to and from the City and is also a minor stop on the intercity Blue Mountains Line. Also included is the city of Penrith Buses and Nightride, various Taxi ranks in and around Penrith.
Penrith can easily be accessed from St. Marys and Mt. Druitt via the Great Western Highway. Access from further east is best obtained by the M4 Western Motorway using either The Northern Road or Mulgoa Road exits. If travelling east from the Blue Mountains, access is best obtained by the Great Western Highway. Access from the south can be obtained by The Northern Road and Mulgoa Road, north from Castlereagh road or Richmond road, or from north and south via Westlink M7 and the M4 Western Motorway.
Penrith Public School and Penrith High School are two public schools in High Street. Jamison High School is in South Penrith. The Penrith campus of the University of Western Sydney is located in nearby Werrington. The University of Sydney has a campus near Nepean Hospital in Kingswood, for research into the basic biomedical sciences and educating medical students at the hospital.
The Penrith Panthers represent the suburb in the National Rugby League competition and the club, Panthers World of Entertainment, has to be seen to be believed. Amongst other activities it offers adventure and aqua golf (hit a target and win), wakeboarding pool, family arcade, live shows, outdoor cinema, hotel, nightclub and 27 screens to watch your favourite sport. Penrith Nepean sports incorporates teams from the Blue Mountains, St Clair and Windsor/Richmond areas. Just west of Cranebrook is the Penrith Lakes Scheme, a system of flooded quarries that are now recreational lakes. One of these lakes hosted the rowing events of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. This facility is rated as a Level One course which can be used for international events. The course itself is fully buoyed and can be modified to accommodate swimming and kayaking events. North of the rowing lake is the Penrith Whitewater Stadium, the only pump-powered and artificial whitewater slalom course in the Southern Hemisphere. It was built for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and it continues to host international competitions on a regular basis.
The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Complex is in High Street next to the Council Chambers. Named after opera singer Joan Sutherland, the building was designed by architect Philip Cox and opened in 1990. It incorporates the Penrith Conservatorium of Music and the Q Theatre, which had been operating in Railway Street for 30 years before moving to the complex in 2006.