Neutral Bay

Neutral Bay is one of the inner Lower North Shore suburbs, situated around 5 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district. Neutral Bay remained dense bushland, except for a military road which passed through it, until the turn of the 20th century when subdivision and development commenced. Neutral Bay and Cremorne became alternative society suburbs , populated by the kind of people who were attracted to the Arts and Crafts architectural style that was in vogue at the time. This style was an attempt to get away from mass production and give homes the human touch . Notable examples soon appeared in the area. Brent Knowle, in Shellcove Road, was designed by Bertrand James Waterhouse and built in 1914.

The main shopping district of Neutral Bay, known as Neutral Bay Junction, is along Military Road, which is the main road that runs through Neutral Bay, Cremorne and Mosman. It features many quality shops, restaurants and cafes. The Oaks Hotel is an iconic and popular venue located on the corner of Military Road and Ben Boyd Road. It has been a popular meeting place in Sydney since 1885. The Oaks Hotel features a number of restaurants, bars, function rooms and an impressive beer garden with the main focal point an old oak tree that provides plenty of shade to patrons in summer.

MacAllum Pool is a clean, protected swimming area. Beyond the beach at the head of Shell Cove is a waterfall that has somehow managed to survive. The creek which feeds it is now a stormwater drain that flows under a house before dropping its water over the falls. Being fed only by run-off, the waterfall only functions after rain, but when it does it is quite a picture.

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    There are two operating ferry wharves at Neutral Bay, serviced by both public Inner harbour ferry services and private ferries. The Neutral Bay wharf sits at the end of Hayes Street and the Kurraba wharf on Kurraba Point can be accessed by Kurraba Road.

    The Name

    The name Neutral Bay  originates from the time of the early colonial period of Australia, where different bays of Sydney harbour were zoned for different incoming vessels. This bay was where all foreign vessels would dock, hence the name neutral. Neutral Bay was far enough away from Sydney Cove to discourage convicts from escaping on these vessels and to keep possible enemy ships at a distance from the main settlement. The Aboriginal name for the area was Wirra-birra.

See and Do

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Forsyth Park Reserve

Name another big city anywhere in the world that has an untouched piece of natural vegetation like this just 3km from its central business area. An oasis of bushland just a couple of minutes drive from the harbour bridge, Forsyth Park Reserve is wedged in the gully between the Ben Boyd Road ridge and Bent Street.

The vegetation remains in the same virgin state as when the Aborigines used to hunt and gather here, long before white men arrived. Wildlife Watch volunteer sightings indicate that there is a diversity of owl species in the area. The White-throated Nightjar, Barn Owl and Tawny Frogmouth have all been seen in the bushland of Forsyth Park. The Park's's bushland pocket is on the corner of Bent St and Yeo St, Neutral Bay, however access is best from Montpelier St.
Forsyth Park's bushland pocket is on the corner of Bent St and Yeo St, Neutral Bay, however access is best from Montpelier St.

UBD Map 7 Ref M 4.
Anderson Park

It's only small, but there is a ribbon of beach at the head of Neutral Bay near Anderson Park. It's just big enough for the kids to paddle in. But on 19th October 1934, pioneer aviator and adventurer Air Commodore Charles Kingsford-Smith and Captain P. Gordon Taylor took off from it, at the commencement of what was to become the first flight across the Pacific from Australia to the United States of America.

Their aircraft was the Lady Southern Cross, a Lockheed Attair Monoplane VH-VSB, the plane in which Kingsford-Smith and Tommy Pethybridge would die a year later. After their historic flight, they had the Lady Southern Cross shipped to England in order to be the first to make the flight from England and Australia. They left England on 6th November 1935 and arrived safely in Singapore the next day. After an overnight stay they continued their epic journey and were last seen flying over the Bay of Bengal 320 km south of Rangoon, Burma. They never arrived at their destination. Small pieces of wreckage were found washed up on a nearby beach a year later but the wreck of the plane and the bodies of the aviators were never found.

HMAS Platypus

This waterfront site was once a gasworks providing gas for street lights, homes and businesses on the North Shore of Sydney. In 1942 and as part of the war effort, the site was resumed by the Commonwealth Government and became a torpedo manufacturing and maintenance factory as well as a service facility for the naval vessles of the Pacific Fleet. In 1967 the site was commissioned as the base for the Royal Australian Navy's Oberon Class submarines and was named HMAS Platypus. By 1983 closure and removal of the upper level of the Neutral Bay Gasworks and Oyster Cove Works had commenced. The upper level of Neutral Bay was sold for residential development completed by 1992. During the 1990's the decision to re-equip the RAN with Collins class submarines led to the strategic decision to relocate the facility. The submarine base was closed in 1998. Management of the Platypus site was transferred to the Harbour Trust in 2005. Platypus has been remediated.

Neutral Bay Gasworks: the gasworks was established in 1877 on waterfront level, the third in Sydney. A bank of horizontal retorts and a small gas holder were installed first, followed by a Retort House in 1886-88 along with new a Gas Holder, Exhauster house, boiler House, and Coke Plant. The plant was upgraded again in the 1890s. In 1913 site works commenced for new gas works at Oyster Cove (Oyster Bay), Waverton and began operations from 1917, gradually increasing output until superseding the Neutral Bay works in 1932. In 1935 the office building was remodelled and let as flats.

Kurraba Point

Kurraba Point, which offers views across Sydney Harbour to Garden Island, is a great starting point for a pleasant walk through the suburbs of Neutral Bay and Cremorne. Catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Kurraba Point, and then walk along Shellcove Road and Honda Road to the Cremorne Reserve. An easy walking path follows the shoreline to Robertsons Point and Cremorne Wharf where you can catch a ferry back to the city.
UBD Map 8 Ref D 14.

Neutral Bay Foreshore Walk

Enjoy a pleasant harbourside walk from Kirribili to Neutral Bay and Cremorne. Take the ferry to Kirribilli Wharf. Walk along Carabella, left into Peel St, right into Elamang St, right into Clark Rd and Kurraba Road. Return by ferry from Kurraba Wharf. Along the way see Milsons Park and Careening Cove, HMAS Platypus, Anderson Park, Nucote.


Historic home dedicated to the memory of May Gibbs, creator, illustrator and author of the famous Snugglepot and Cuddlepie classics of Australian children's literature. Entry fee applies. UBD Map 8 Ref B 10. 5 Wallaringa Avenue, Neutral Bay. Open Wed - Sun 11.00am, 3.00pm.
Public transport: ferry to Kirraba Wharf, Neutral Bay. Walk up steps, left into Kurraba Rd, left into Spains Wharf Rd, right into Wallaringa Ave.

Hodgson Lookout

This lookout and its neighbour, Spains Lookout, boast magnificent views across the waters of Sydney Harbour to Kirribilli, Fort Denison, Garden Island Naval Base and the city of Sydney. They are on a popular foreshore walk around Cremorne Point. On the way you'll pass Kurraba Point Reserve which is the site of a quarry from which 8,000 tonnes of sandstone was extracted and used to build Fort Denison. The quarry site was later used as a shipbuilding yard. UBD Map 8 Ref D 13. Kurraba Road, Thrupps Point.

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