Bankstown is named after English botanist and naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, who was quite an influential chap in the area of Pacific exploration. Apart from mapping areas and studying flora on his travels with Captain James Cook, he was the greatest proponent of convict settlement in New South Wales (he proposed Botany Bay).
Banks remained influential for about twenty years after colonisation, being in close contact with governors Arthur Phillip, John Hunter and Phillip Gidley King. Banks was also the one who recommended William Bligh be appointed governor. He was so influential that New South Wales was almost named ‘Banksia’ but that name was given to lots of flora (Banksia is a genus of around 170 species in the plant family Proteaceae and he gave his name to around 80 other species).
Banksia is also a suburb in Sydney, along with Bankstown and Banksmeadow plus the suburb of Banks in Canberra and the electoral division of Banks are named after him . His name also turns up on islands, straights and peninsulas in New Zealand, Vanuatu and Tasmania. If you’d like a handy reference to his modest good looks, you will find him on the five dollar note.