You are in: North SydneyTo Places
The land across the water from Sydney's Harbour that would become North Sydney was home to the Cammeraygal people when the First Fleet arrived in 1788 and despite the area's remoteness, would be one of the first settled areas in the greater Sydney region.
The first settler to establish himself on the land across the harbour was radical Scottish political reformer Thomas Muir who was transported to Australia for sedition in 1794. Unlike other convicts, political prisoners were given special rights in the Sydney colony and Muir was able to purchase a harbour fronted property and establish a small farm that he named Hunterhill after his childhood home in Scotland. Following Muir’s daring escape from the colony two years later, the lower North Shore, like Sydney, would be named St Leonards after Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney of St Leonards with this new name applying to the entire area north of the shoreline up to Gore Hill.
Frequent ferry services from Circular Quay to McMahons Point in the 1850s and the extension of the railway line down the coast from Hornsby to what was then called St Leonards Station in 1890 would make access to area easier and settlement in the picturesque suburb increased aided in part by the development of ship building yards along the shoreline. Along with a boom in residential development, schools and churches were built to cater for the growing population in 1870 and, after much discussion, the large area known as St Leonards would be broken down into smaller areas and St Leonards Post Office would change its name to North Sydney in 1890.
Despite these early years of development, the population of North Sydney remained fairly small when compared to the suburbs across the harbour. It would be a further 50 years until significant settlement occurred in the area when the opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1932 would truly redefine the North Shore. With a railway line extended across the bridge to North Sydney and a road crossing the harbour complementing the ferry services already available to residents, the underdeveloped suburb was quickly built up with the popular Californian bungalow style complementing the suburbs existing Victorian era mansions.
The period following World War II would see residential development in the area increase yet it would be a development boom in the 1980s which would result in the areas most significant growth as North Sydney furthered its position as the commercial centre for the North Shore. High density sky-scrapers have seen North Sydney second only to Sydney city for concentration of office buildings, with Information and Technology businesses the biggest employers in the area. North Sydney also contains a very high number of prestigious educational institutions, including four private secondary schools, a TAFE campus, the main campus for the Australian Catholic University and two selective state schools. The combination of these institutions with its business district has seen North Sydney move away from that of a purely residential suburb, instead developing into a vibrant hub of learning and knowledge.
SSC11741: North Sydney