The suburb takes its name from the area of Dulwich in London. The name Dulwich Hill appears in Sand's Directory of 1892. It had been known by several different names prior to this. Following European settlement, it was called Petersham Hill. It later took the name Wardell's Bush, a reference to Dr Robert Wardell, one of the area's early landowners. Other names the area was given were South Petersham and Fern Hill.
Gladstone Hotel, Dulwich Hill
The area became part of Sydney's expanding tram network in 1889 and, like many suburbs in the inner-west, experienced rapid growth in the early twentieth century. As a consequence, the suburb has a large number of examples of Australian Federation architecture. It also features examples of Edwardian, Gothic and Italianate architecture. The tramway ran up until 1957.