Ten kilometres north of the Sydney central business district on Sydney's North Shore, Chatswood is the administrative centre centre of the local government area of the City of Willoughby. Known for its large Chinese community, second only to Haymarket, it is also a major commercial and retail district.
Transport: Chatswood railway station is on the North Shore Line and the Northern Line of the Sydney Trains network. Rail services run south to the Sydney CBD and continue west to Strathfield and beyond. Rail services run north to Hornsby and peak hour services run to Gosford, Wyong and Newcastle. The Epping to Chatswood railway line, opened in 2009, connects Chatswood to Epping.
Chatswood is a major bus terminus with services to Bondi Junction, Sydney, North Sydney, Mosman, Balmoral Beach, Manly, Warringah Mall/Brookvale, UTS Ku-ring-gai, Belrose, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Eastwood, Gladesville, West Ryde, North Ryde, Macquarie University, Macquarie Park, Parramatta and Dundas. An interstate bus service between Sydney and Brisbane via the North Coast stops at Chatswood. Major roads through Chatswood include the Pacific Highway, Mowbray Road, Boundary Street, Willoughby Road and Eastern Valley Way and Victoria Avenue.The latter forms a pedestrian mall for the section running through the main retail area.
- Bushwalks around Chatswood
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Willoughby Theatre Company (formerly Willoughby Musical Society) is based in Chatswood. It specialises in musical theatre. Chatswood Musical Society also performs musical theatre, but their events are staged in Pymble. The Zenith Theatre stages both musicals and drama. The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra is based in Chatswood. Two dance companies share the Dance and Music Centre. A Chinese Cultural Centre has existed since 1996.
The Willoughby Spring Festival is an annual event in Chatswood. The festival is the second-largest in Lower Northern Sydney and is intended as testimony to a modern, multicultural and prosperous Chatswood. For more information visit Spring Festival.
The Willoughby Historical Society runs the Willoughby Museum in Boronia, a Federation cottage in South Chatswood.
Chatswood Mall Market
Victoria Avenue, Chatswood NSW, Australia
Trading: Every Thursday and Friday - 11am-9pm
Type: Art & Craft, Twilight, Variety, Produce, Fashion, Music, Food
Phone: (02) 9777 1000
Chatswood Organic Food and Farmers Market
Chatswood Public School, Cnr Pacific Highway & Centennial Avenue, Chatswood
Trading: Every Saturday - 8am - 1pm
Type: Farmers, Produce
Phone: (02) 9999 2226
Eating Out: There are a number of Chinese (including Cantonese), Japanese and Korean restaurants and eateries. There are two hotels in Chatswood: The Mantra, near Chatswood railway station and The Sebel, near Westfield shopping centre. The Chatswood Club, located on Help Street adjacent to Pacific Highway, is a venue hall which caters to weddings, birthdays, cocktail parties, and other age-appropriate festivities.
The remnants of Chat's Wood
The northern gully of Chatswood West is home to the lush and peaceful Blue Gum Reserve. This moist tall forest hugs Blue Gum Creek as it flows down to Lane Cove River creating a valuable wildlife corridor and a magical place to explore. Blue Gum Reserve has a varied past. It has been logged, grazed by dairy cows, inundated by weeds, but most significantly, it has provided a sanctuary for plants and animals whilst the North Shore has been developed. Blue Gum High Forest consists not only of the magnificent trees but also is host to a diverse variety of shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns and vines.
Like most of the Lane Cove Valley, the area around Blue Gum creek was logged for its tall, upright trees. Turpentine, (Syncarpia glomulifera) used to build wharves from as far a field as the London Docks. Black Butt (Eucalyptus pilularis) which is still one of Australia's most important commercial timbers and of course Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna), which once supplied the government store in the 1800 s with ships timbers and house planks. The area once hosted three dairies. Each dairy was small by today s standards, only having a few cows each.
Blue Gum Reserve is home for the increasingly rare small insect eating bats including the Little Forest Bat, Lesser Long-eared Bat and Gould s Wattle Bat. Also small mammals that struggle in urban areas such as the Brown Antechinus, Sugar Gliders and Long Nosed Bandicoot. Blue Gum Reserve also provides habitat for six species of frogs. The Stripped Marsh Frog, Peron's Tree Frog, Leaf-green Tree Frog, Common Eastern Froglet and Eastern banjo Frog.
Old Man's Cave on Swaines Creek
Ferndale Park is an important urban forest reserve, preserving Blackbutt forest and the mossy gully rainforest. Most of this original forest was cleared for agriculture and housing in the 19th and 20th century. Most of the reserve is considered part of the Sydney Sandstone Gully Forest. The local indigenous Australian people, the Cammeraygal occupied this area for at least 6,000 years. They were known to shelter in Old Man's Cave on Swaines Creek.
Noteworthy indigenous flora includes the blackbutt, tree heath, celery wood, coachwood, native crabapple and hard corkwood. An impressive number of fern species grow here, including jungle brake, strap water fern, filmy fern, Japanese lady fern, delicate rock fern and the necklace fern. In early winter, waxcap mushroom species in the Hygrophoraceae may be seen. Ring-tail possums, brushtail possums and grey-headed flying foxes are common. Birds such as rainbow lorikeets, Australian king parrots, crimson rosellas, currawongs, koel, tawny frogmouth, pacific baza and powerful owl are some of the many found in the park. Microbats are present, including Gould's wattled bat, Lesser long-eared bat and the Little Forest Bat. Many species of spider and other invertebrates live in the reserve. The Emerald Spotted Frog is known to occur. An important remnant marsupial is the sugar glider.
Ferndale Park has a series of walking tracks. The main Ferndale Walking Track travels along the fern-clad Swaines Creek. Although tucked away behind the suburban streets, the walk shows a quiet and peaceful side of Chatswood.
This 3.5km track from Chatswood Train Station to the Lane Cove River offers a beautiful bush walk with flourishing native wildlife. It passes through streets, gully rainforests, woodland and riverside plant communities. Just follow the signs and discover the beauty of Chatswood and Chatswood West. The track is medium grade with steep bush steps. It is quite a rough track with many rocks, and hardly any paved areas. After rain the track can get quite muddy at certain areas so sturdy shoes are needed.
The remnants of Chat's Wood
Residential settlement of Chatswood began in 1876 and grew with the installation of the North Shore railway line in 1890 and also increased with the opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1932. Chatswood has two major shopping centres, Chatswood Chase and Westfield Chatswood, and numerous smaller ones in the vicinity. The Melody Markets are held each Thursday and Friday in Chatswood Mall, Victoria Avenue and feature food and craft stalls, and live music.
Historic records recall that in 1876 Richard Hayes Harnett opened up the area with a subdivision which he called Chatswood Estate . Chatswood Estate was later purchased by the Department of Railways for the construction of the station, railway line and goods yard . Richard, his wife Charlotte Harnett (Chattie) and their 16 children moved to Mosman after the Chatswood Estate had been subdivided and sold.
Over the years the origin of the name "Chatswood" has been subject to conjecture, but generally taken to have been a derivation of Chattie's wood. It is said that the term "Chattie's Wood" was coined by Harnett because Charlotte, Harnett's second wife, used to enjoy taking walks through a nearby timbered estate, and paint there.
The bushland surrounding the upper reaches Swaines Creek are believed to be the remnants of those "woods". Their exact location is uncertain, but from the recollections of now deceased descendents of Charlotte Harnett, the woods were most likely in the vicinity of present day Ferndale Park at the end of Eddy Road, Chatswood West. Enid Cambridge (deceased), a descendent (niece) of Charlotte Harnett, had recounted that Charlotte had told her she used to take her afternoon walks through woods down the Fullers Road near James, Jenkins and Edgar Streets. The Harnett home stood near where present day Chatswood Railway Station stands. There is further evidence that there was a very early walking track through woods near Fullers and Edgar Roads.