The North Shore, Sydney


North Shore History

When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, the Cammeraygal and the Wallumedagal people were described by Governor Phillip as living on the North Shore. Others included the Boregal in the Mosman - Willoughby region, the Gorualgal in North Sydney and Eastern Lane Cove, and the Birrabirragal. All were part of the larger Kuringgai clan.

Then, as now, the Harbour provided an abundance of food as well as a means for transport. Middens and rock etchings can be found around the shores.  However the ships brought disease and the loss of their lands and by 1860 the Cammeraygal returned only occasionally, visitors to their traditional home.

The first resident settler was James Milson who, in 1825, was farming 50 acres in one North Shore lot, 5 acres in Neutral Bay, and land in other areas. For a time he was the Keeper of Government House.  In 1832 he built a reservior to provide water for ships and harbour vessels, and was himself a skilled yachtsman.

Early settler activities on the North Shore included boat building, orcharding and tree felling.  In the 1890s the North Shore Line was built.  It was opened on 1st January 1890 as a single track line from St Leonards to Hornsby, then in 1893 was extended to Milsons Point, with ferry transport across to Central Sydney.

In 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened and the North Shore Line was linked with Sydney Central.  North Shore suburbs began to develop rapidly.  Today, local governments are the City of Willoughby, the municipalities of Mosman, North Sydney, Lane Cove and Hunters Hill,  the Shire of Hornsby and the Ku-ring-gai Council.

Native Flora of the North Shore

Among the many plants native to the region are the Sydney Redgum, Red Bloodwood, Coastal Banksia, Coachwood, Lilly Pilly, the Sydney Peppermint, and many more.  North Sydney Council runs a Native Havens Program, and people who register for this can receive free native plants.  The current selection includes Sweet Scented Wattle, Flax-leafed Wattle,  Coastal Banksia, Flax Lily, Pink Spider Flower and more.


Native Fauna of the North Shore

Native land animals listed by the North Sydney Council include the long nosed bandicoot, the  grey headed flying fox, brush tailed and ring tailed possums, bentwing bats, the antichinus (a mouse sized marsupial), and the common bush rat. There are reports of echidnas in the area and an occasional kangaroo or wallaby near reserves.  Also listed are various lizards, skinks and snakes, and the Eastern Water Dragon.  There are about 75 species of native birds, as well as sea and shore birds.  There are also native bees, butterflies and amphibians.


The Upper North Shore

The Upper North Shore generally includes those suburbs North to North-West of Chatswood and Middle Cove. This is a predominantly residential area and extends to the upper reaches of Ku-ring-gai.  The Upper North Shore includes local government areas of Ku-ring-gai Council and Hornsby Shire.


The Lower North Shore

The Lower North Shore encompasses the northern shore of Sydney Harbour from Lane Cove River in the west to Middle Head - Mosman, in the east.  It includes Hunters Hill, Mosman, Kirribilli and Longueville.  There is an eastern boundary adjacent to Middle Harbour, or at the Roseville Bridge at Castle Cove and Roseville Chase.  Main Lower North Shore government areas are Mosman, North Sydney, Lane Cove and City of Willoughby.


Features of the North Shore

Parks and Reserves are found throughout the North Shore and include Sydney Harbour National Park and Lane Cove National Park. Waterways extend from Port Jackson and Middle Harbour to the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers, with creeks flowing from these.  There are high quality sports grounds, including North Sydney Oval, Chatswood Oval and Christie Park.  Other main features are Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, Balmoral Beach, Kirribilli House, and the Royal North Shore Hospital,  as well as landmark buildings, parks and gardens.


Commercial Centres on the North Shore

The North Shore has two central commercial areas,  at North Sydney and at Chatswood.  Many international companies have their regional headquarters in this part of Sydney.   North Sydney alone has more than 45,000 registered businesses currently operating, from large corporations to micro enterprises. Chatswood is centrally placed on the border of Upper and Lower North Shore and is one of the largest retail areas, with shopping centres such as Westfield and Chatswood Chase as well as many hotels and restaurants.  Crows Nest, St Leonards, Neutral Bay and Gordon are also significant commercial and retail centres.


Travel and Transport on the North Shore

The Pacific Highway and the North Shore Line provide transport to Sydney City across the Harbour Bridge.  Options for road travel include buses, coaches and taxis, car, motor cycle and scooter rental, and even bicycle hire. Then there is water transport:  ferries and water taxis, cruises, and boat and kayak hire.  Day sailing is available, as well as fishing, diving or whale watching with experienced crews.  There is even a seaplane flight.


North Shore Dining

The North Shore offers outstanding Restaurants and Eateries. Many have water views or are close to the water. The vistas together with diversity of cuisines, freshness of ingredients and the talent of many of the chefs, combine to present an irresistible attraction for diners from elsewhere in Sydney and from around the world.   International visitors have reported that their dining experiences here are among the best in the world.