Killarney Heights


Killarney Heights is a pleasant residential suburb 15 km north of Sydney. It occupies a wedge-shaped area of elevated land which overlooks Middle Harbour. To its east lies Bantry Bay and Garigal National Park. Killarney Heights and neighbouring suburb of Forestville have a number of entry points into the National Park for visitors seeking to explore its pristine bushland on foot. Killarney Heights is part of the North Shore and also considered to be part of the Forest District, colloquially known as The Forest.

Killarney Heights is accessible by road, via the Roseville Bridge and Forest Way. Killarney Heights is about 20mins from the city during non peak hours. The only public transport around this area is through a private bus company, Forest Coach Lines. Routes that go through Killarney Heights include services to and from the City and Chatswood.

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Garigal National Park


Garigal National Park encompasses much of the remaining stands of natural bushland on Sydney s Upper North Shore, particularly those around Middle Harbour Creek and its tributaries. Vegetation varies throughout the park, from the heathlands of the eastern section with year round blooms of wildflowers, mangroves which grow alongside the middle section of the main walking track, to the more heavily forested areas of the south where tall Sydney redgums tower over leafy forest glades. Scribbly gums, thus named because of the patterns left by a burrowing insect, dominate the drier ridges, whilst wattles, tea-trees, boronia, wax flowers, grevillias and Banksias populate areas of poorer drainage.

The Cook Street Track, which commences from Cook Street, Forestville near the Nursing Home, leads into the upper valley of Bates Creek. The Bay and Magazine Tracks take bushwalkers past three smaller races and falls on the Main Creek. The Bay Track can be accessed from the eastern shore of Bantry Bay or from the end of Grattan Crescent. When walking the Bay Track you will come across the Natural Bridge Track. The natural rock bridge to which it leads is nestled deep in the valley and takes the track over Main Creek. The track continues up the steep hill to the Bluff Lookout which offers panoramic views south across Bantry Bay. In the valley is a natural bridge, from which one track leads up the hill towards a lookout not far from the Engraving track. The Magazine Track leads south along the back of the abandoned Historic Explosives Facility on Bantry Bay itself., and Flat Rock Bay at the southern tip of Killarney Heights.


Bates Creek Falls

Bates Creek Falls: A 16 metre high waterfall that flows deep in the relatively untouched bushland of Garigal National Park at the northern end of Bantry Bay. Featuring evidence of Aboriginal occupation in the overhangs nearby, the falls are hard to reach these days as a track to the base of them was swallowed up by regenerating bush after a fire swept through the valley in the 1980s. Access, such as it is, is via the Cook Street Track which has entry points in Cook Street and Currie Road, Forestville. The Bay and Magazine Tracks take bushwalkers past three smaller races and falls on the Main Creek. The Bay Track can be accessed from the eastern shore of Bantry Bay or from the end of Grattan Crescent. When walking the Bay Track you will come across the Natural Bridge Track. The natural rock bridge to which it leads is nestled deep in the valley and takes the track over Main Creek. The track continues up the steep hill to the Bluff Lookout which offers panoramic views south across Bantry Bay. UBD Map 176 Ref G 13


Upper Gledhill Falls

Upper Gledhill Falls: These falls on McCarrs Creek are located on one of the most picturesque drives in the Sydney metro area. McCarrs Creek Road commences in Terrey Hills off Mona Vale Road and winds its way through a series of forests and a rainforest gully before reaching the yachts and waterside homes of McCarrs Creek and Church Point. The falls are near the National Park's south-eastern entrance off McCarrs Creek Road below the first bridge across the creek when approached from Terrey Hills. The valley of the gorge in which the water cascades offers the best view of the falls and the pool, however there is no path down so great care must be taken if attempting a descent into the gorge. UBD Map 117 Ref F 13




Aboriginal Rock Art
The most extensive single group of carvings in the Sydney metropolitan area are located on a rocky outcrop on the hillside above Bantry Bay and accessed via the Engravings Track alongside Wakehurst Parkway 400m south of the end of Bantry Bay Road. There are some 82 figures, including two mundoes, people, animals, fish, shields, a canoe, a basket and bag, boomerangs, circles, stone axes and clubs, snakes and a whale. One group of figures shows two men, one of whom is carrying bark canoes.

As they are on flat open ground, sadly these carvings have suffered greatly from exposure to the weather and many have faded so badly there are only recognisable to the trained eye. The best time to view them is at dawn or dusk. Other engravings occur in the surrounding bushland but they are not easy to find as they are not marked and often in locations where fallen leaves and other bush debris have covered them. Middens and rock shelters can be seen on the shores of the bay. Tool sharpening grooves have been found near the engravings and creek beds.

Casuarina Lookout: Warringah Road, Killarney Heights. Located within Garigal National Park, which winds its way through the ridges and valleys of Sydney s Upper North Shore. Views from the lookout are towards the Roseville Bridge and the upper reaches of Middle harbour. UBD Map 176 Ref A 13
Public transport: train to Chatswood, Bus 278, 280, 281, alight at Roseville Bridge, Warringah Road

Flat Rock Bay and Falls

Flat Rock Beach

At the southern tip of Killarney Heights on Middle Harbour is a beautiful, secluded bay with a small beach that feels as though it is miles from anywhere. On the southern fringe of Garigal National Park, it is one of those places that the essence of can never be fully captured in a photograph. On weekends, families come here for a swim in its calm waters and a clamber over the rocks at the head of the cove, followed by a beach picnic. On weekdays, there is rarely anyone here, so those who do visit generally have the place to themselves.

Historically, the beach was a popular picnic area and serviced by a ferry in the early 1900's. Today, there are no facilities, but some shade is provided by the trees at the back of the beach.

Behind the beach the waters of Flat Rock Creek tumble down the escarpment in a number of spectacular falls and races before entering the bay at the head of the beach. Come after rains for the best flows; in the middle of summer the flow can drop to barely a trickle. The beach and the falls behind it can be accessed via the Flat Rock Walking Track from Killarney Point and from the Magazine Track which passes behind the historic Bantry Bay explosives compound. The beach and the falls behind it can also be accessed via the Flat Rock Walking Track from a track at the end of Killarney Drive and from the Healey Way below the Roseville Bridge which leads south alongside the upper reaches of Middle Harbour. Access to Flat Rock Bay is by boat or on foot only. If coming by car, park at the end of Killarney Drive and walk down the steep but manageable path to the beach. No facilities.
UBD Map 196 Ref K 3


Flat Rock Falls

Flat Rock Walking Track
A very pleasant bushwalking track which links to the many tracks that wend their way around Middle Harbour in Garigal National Park. The Flat Rock walk begins on the plateau at the end of Downpatrick Road, Killarney Heights , and leads down to the Harbour. Upon reaching Middle Harbour, walkers have a choice of turning left and taking the short walk to the reserve at the foot of Roseville Bridge, or proceeding straight ahead around the southern end of Killarney Heights to Flat Rock Bay (see above). Beyond the beach the track continues along the western shore of Bantry Bay to join the Bates Creek Track. The western shores of the Bantry Bay magazine complex are closed to the public because of contamination from the explosives once stored there. However, there are good views of the site from the eastern side of Bantry Bay, which can be accessed from the Timbergetter's track, which starts at Seaforth Oval.

History of Killarney Heights
The suburb was originally part of Forestville and the area was developed from the 1950s as South Forestville and Heidelberg. The suburb east of Starkey Street became the site of considerable development by LJ Hooker in the early 1960s after the second Roseville Bridge was completed. West of Starkey Street was Crown land. In the early part of the 20th century, a picnic ground was developed around the edges of Middle Harbour, on the site where Mosman Rowing Club now stands. Boats would arrive for gatherings, carrying elegantly attired men in red and white striped jackets, pressed white pants and the requisite straw boater hat. Women were often dressed in accompanying white muslin frocks.

The picnic grounds were given the name 'Killarney' after Killarney in Ireland. The suburb later gained its name from this such picnic area. Each street in the development has an Irish placename (e.g. Galway Avenue, Blarney Avenue, Dublin Avenue, Donegal Road, Tipperary Avenue, Ballyshannon Road). In February 1979, a Lithuanian couple who believed they were being chased by Soviet agents were discovered in bushland adjacent to the suburb. Stepan Petrosys (81) and his 68-year old wife were discovered after having lived in a cave for 28 years.

Forestville


The land upon which the nearby suburb of Forestville stands had been soon cleared of timber after colonisation, but remained largely unused until 1915 when large tracts were acquired to create soldier settlement farms. The soil was of poor quality and the area was isolated, which led to the scheme's failure. Even the construction of the original Roseville Bridge, which made access easier, failed to attract settlers.

Only a few farms survived until after World War II when the area became swallowed up as part of the Sydney metropolitan area. Its name, meaning 'home in the forest', was possibly first used as a reference to James Harris French's dwelling. French was a settler who began extensive woodcutting activities in the blue gum forests of the area in 1856.

Belrose

The nearby suburb of Belrose is named after two flowers, the Christmas bell and the native rose. The area remained virgin bush until after the second world war when urban development began. Belrose is primarily a residential area, but contains the Austlink Business Park. Optus satellite communications facility is located in Belrose, where Optus manages its five satellites currently in orbit.



Frenchs Creek Falls: After Oxford Falls, a pair of waterfalls on the upper reaches of Frenchs Creek at Belrose would have to be the most visually stunning of all waterfalls of the inner Sydney metropolitan area after rain. Located off the badly eroded Frenchs Creek Walking Track in Garigal National Park, they consist of a pair of giant steps a hundred or so metres apart over which the creek flows on its way from the top of the escarpment into the valley below.


Upper Frenchs Creek Falls

Access to the top of each falls is good, however for the best view (from the rock pools at their base) one has to struggle down a steep, rugged hillside while pushing through dense undergrowth. This is quite dangerous, especially after rain when the foliage overhead and ground underfoot is damp, slippery and unstable. Unfortunately, this is when the falls are at their most spectacular. Access is via the walking track at the end of Wannita Road, Belrose.
Roseville Bridge


A high-level six-lane road bridge which crosses the upper reaches of Middle Harbour. It features sweeping approaches carved out of the rugged hillside. Built in 1966, the pre-stressed concrete structure replaced a low-level two-lane bridge erected in 1922. Located to the south of the existing bridge, the original bridge's southern approach was Babbage Road. It crossed the river at Echo Point Park.

An original bridge across Middle Harbour at Roseville was built jointly by the Willoughby, Ku-ring-gai and Warringah councils. It was built of reinforced concrete by unemployed returned servicemen and opened on 20 September 1924. It was claimed to be the longest bridge of that type in NSW although the bridge across the Hawkesbury River at North Richmond was longer. It was claimed to be the first bridge supported on reinforced concrete piles. This low-level two-lane bridge was located downstream of the current bridge, and connected Babbage Road to what is today called Healey Way, which is the entrance to Davidson Park within Garigal National Park. The first bridge replaced an earlier ferry service consisting of rowing boats across the narrowest section of water.



The suburbs east of Middle Harbour grew rapidly in the years following the opening of Roseville Bridge and on 2 April 1966 the Liberal Premier Robin Askin, the Member for Collaroy at the time, later the Member for Pittwater, opened the current six-lane, high-level bridge. Along with the bridge, a significant upgrade of the approach roads was completed, which became the six-lane Warringah Road. This upgraded section of road is about 2 kilometres long.

The 1922 bridge survived the opening of the new bridge, and provided pedestrian access only, until it was demolished in 1974, along with Roseville Baths. Almost nothing remains of these structures.

Roseville Chase



The suburb of Roseville Chase is to the north of Middle Cove, 11 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district. Located on Middle Harbour at its uppermost reaches, Roseville Chase is a secluded and bushy suburb. The area is defined by the gully of Moores Creek to the north, Boundary Street to the south and Middle Harbour to the east.



Echo Point Park is situated in bushland on the shores of Middle Harbour. It is Ku-ring-gai's only park with water frontage and boasts a beach, mangroves, Aboriginal heritage sites, fishing, walking tracks, terraced gardens, a playground and remains of the old Roseville Baths and Roseville Bridge. The Two Creek Walking Track leads from the lower picnic area along the shores of Middle Harbour and Middle Harbour Creek. The track passes by post-war cobbled tracks and stonework, Coachwood forests, sweeping water vistas and vegetation communities ranging from moist gullies to Sydney sandstone gully bushland. Location: Babbage Road, Roseville.



Upon the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet in 1788, the area was inhabited by Aboriginal people, who left their mark in the form of hand stencils that can be seen in rock shelters in the area. Captain Phillip's search for "good land, well watered" led to the discovery and colonisation of the shores of Roseville Chase, where Samuel Bates built a farm at Echo Point on the edge of what is now Middle Harbour. During World War I the area was used as a training area for army engineers under the command of John (later Sir John) Madsen. Many people lived in the Sydney bush during the Great Depression. Remains of dwellings can be found in the bush at Roseville Chase, north of Chase Avenue.





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