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Lidcombe is located 18 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government areas of Cumberland Counciland City of Parramatta. Lidcombe is located west of Rookwood Cemetery, the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere.

Samuel Haslam owned various grants beside Haslams Creek from 1804. A railway station called Haslam's Creek was opened in this area in 1859, on the railway line from Sydney to Parramatta. Haslam's Creek is sometimes referred to as Haslem's Creek.

Although it had not been intended to construct a station at Haslam's Creek, the then owner of the land where the station now stands, Father John Joseph Therry, together with nearby landholders Potts and Blaxland, agreed to pay £700 to enable its construction. When the necropolis opened in 1867 it was known as Haslam's Creek Cemetery. Residents disliked the association with the burial ground and in 1876 the suburb was renamed Rookwood from a title of a novel by William Harrison Ainsworth (1805–1882). The name of the railway station was changed to Rookwood in 1878 and by the 1880s shops were established in the area. In 1891, the municipality of Rookwood was incorporated. Over time, the necropolis had become known as Rookwood Cemetery and by 1898 residents were again agitated about the association of their suburb with the cemetery. In 1913, a new name was suggested to honour the previous mayor Mr Lidbury and the current mayor Mr Larcombe. Syllables from the name of each alderman (Lidbury and Larcombe) were combined to form the name Lidcombe on 1 January 1914. The municipality amalgamated with Auburn local government area in 1949.

Haslam's Creek was the site of the first railway disaster in New South Wales in July 1858 which resulted in two deaths. Sydney Buses runs one route, Transdev NSW runs three routes and NightRide runs three routes via Lidcombe station. For full details of these services see Lidcombe Station. Lidcombe has a mixture of residential, commercial and industrial developments. The main commercial area is clustered around the station. Lidcombe Shopping Centre (formerly Lidcombe Power Centre) is a medium-sized shopping centre located about 2 km from Lidcombe railway station. The centre features two mini-majors and approximately 60 specialty stores.