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North Shore
New South Wales
Chatswood NSW skyline.jpg
Population: 207,241 (2007) [1]

The North Shore is an informal term used to describe a primarily residential area of northern metropolitan Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The term usually refers to the suburbs located on the north shore of Sydney Harbour between Middle Harbour and the Lane Cove River, although it is often used to include the suburbs along the North Shore railway line. Since it is not clearly defined, it has been used to refer to suburbs further west to the Ryde Bridge, although this wider description encompasses what is also known as the Northern Suburbs.



Before British settlement, the Lower North Shore was home to the Gorualgal (Mosman and southern Willoughby) and Cammeraygal (North Sydney and Eastern Lane Cove).

After the establishment of Sydney in 1788, settlement of the North Shore of the harbour was quite limited. The first settler was James Milson. The north shore was more rugged than the southern shore and western areas of the harbour and had limited agricultural potential. The early activities in the area included tree felling, boatbuilding and some orchard farming in the limited areas of good soil. The North Shore Line was built in the 1890s. Access to the Sydney CBD, located on the southern shore of the harbour remained difficult until the completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. This led to commencement the development of suburbs on the North Shore.

Cumberland County mapping from 1792 to 1894 indicate that the six local governments that stand today were derived from two: the Parish of Willoughby and the Parish of Hunters Hill. From Hunters Hill came the modern-day Municipality of Hunters Hill and the City of Ryde. From the Parish of Willoughby came the City of Willoughby and the municipalities of Mosman, Lane Cove and North Sydney. North Sydney was formerly known as St. Leonards and at one time the entire North Shore went by the name of "Huntershill".


The suburb of Chatswood lies in the centre of the North Shore
Lavender Bay Wharf
Tunks Park, Cammeray

Most of the North Shore suburbs are part of the Hawkesbury Plateau, a large sandstone plateau overlaid by a system of ridges and gullies. The Plateau begins north of the Port Jackson and runs up until the Hawkesbury River. Thus much of the North Shore is hilly with many steep valleys running down into the harbour and the rivers on either side. These ridges and valleys were originally populated with dry sclerophyll forest, much of which still remains. There are many small parks and areas of the sclerophyll forest adjacent to and within residential areas, earning the area the nickname "the leafy North Shore". The Lane Cove National Park and the Garigal National Park include many areas of remnant bushland adjacent to the Lane Cove River and Middle Harbour. There is excellent bushwalking, abseiling and bouldering around Lindfield. Gordon houses one of Sydney's largest bat colonies in a Bat reserve leading to Middle Harbour.

Upper North Shore

The Upper North Shore is commonly referred to as all the Suburbs North of Chatswood and Middle Cove on the North Shore, this area is mainly residential. The "Upper North Shore" usually refers to the suburbs north of Chatswood encompassing the Kuringai Council area and reaching up to Hornsby, including suburbs such as Asquith, Mount Colah and Berowra.

Lower North Shore

The Lower North Shore is over 80 square kilometers (20,000 acres) in area and encompasses all of the North Shore's northern shore of Sydney Harbour stretching from the Lane cove River in the west to Middle Head (Mosman) in the east and includes Hunters Hill, Mosman, Kirribilli and Longueville.

The Lower North Shore usually refers to the suburbs adjacent to the harbour such as Neutral Bay, Waverton, Mosman, Cremorne, Lavender Bay, Milsons Point, Cammeray and North Sydney. The Lower North Shore has an eastern boundary adjacent to Middle Harbour, or at the Roseville Bridge at Castle Cove and Roseville Chase. The term Lower North Shore can include the local government areas of Municipality of Mosman, City of Willoughby, Municipality of Lane Cove and North Sydney Council.

The region is home to hundreds of parks and reserves, including Sydney Harbour National Park and the Lane Cove National Park. Local sportsgrounds include North Sydney Oval, the region's largest in capacity, followed by Chatswood Oval and Christie Park. Major waterways in the region include Port Jackson, the Lane Cove River, the Parramatta River, Middle Harbour and the many creek systems that branch out from these main aquatic lifelines.


The main transport routes on the North Shore are the Pacific Highway and the North Shore Line which provide access to downtown Sydney over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Commercial areas

The Forum, St Leonards
North Sydney from the air

Significant commercial and retail centres on the North Shore include North Sydney, Crows Nest, Chatswood, St Leonards, Neutral Bay and Gordon.

The North Shore has two large commercial centres located at North Sydney and Chatswood with many international companies have their Australian or Asia Pacific Headquarters in this part of Sydney. The region's largest central business district at North Sydney, is home to a modern urban skyline of skyscrapers. Although North Sydney has none of Sydney's major shopping centres, it is home to scores of speciality stores and cafés. Chatswood is one of the largest retail areas on the Lower North Shore. It is home to large shopping centres such as Westfield Chatswood, Chatswood Chase and apartment towers such as The Sebel. St Leonards is another large commercial area featuring mostly office space and apartments.


Taronga Zoo

The Lower North Shore has many unique landmarks such as: The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo in Mosman, Kirribilli House (Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia), Luna Park and Balmoral Beach. At a Sydney or local level however, landmarks are more plentiful and include: The Lane Cove Azalea Beds, Blues Point Tower, Eden Gardens, the Balmoral Rotunda, the Stanton Library in North Sydney, Lane Cove Mall, Zenith Towers at Chatswood, Northpoint Tower in North Sydney, Cammeray suspension bridge at Cammeray, Echo Point Park in Roseville Chase, the Royal North Shore Hospital, the Hornsby Water Clock, the 'Forum' in St Leonards and North Sydney Oval.

Landmark churches in the area include St Mary's in North Sydney, Christ Church in Lavender Bay, the Gladesville-Macquarie Chapel and St Paul's in Chatswood.

Events and celebrations

The Willoughby Spring Festival is held throughout the Willoughby local government area, in September each year. The festival lasts for a month and features over 40 events including live music/entertainment, exhibitions, cultural celebrations, business events and many more community activities. The highlight is the annual Willoughby StreetFair where the Chatswood CBD is taken over by market stalls, performers, dancers and musicians. The StreetFair features the Willoughby Street Parade which included over 1,000 participants in 2007.

The Lower North Shore's other main festivals/events include: Tartan Day at Lane Cove, the Guringgai Festival honouring northern Sydney's Aboriginals, the Moocooboola Festival at Hunters Hill, the Mosman Festival, Lane Cove's Cammeraygal Festival, Chinese New Year at Chatswood. Mosman, North Sydney, Willoughby also holds an annual art prize. All local government areas in the region and around the country celebrate Australia Day, which is the 26th of January.


The local newspapers are the Hornsby and Upper North Shore Advocate and the North Shore Times.

List of suburbs

Upper North Shore
Lower North Shore




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