North Sydney



North Sydney is both a suburb and commercial district on the Lower North Shore of Sydney. It sits across the waters of Sydney Harbour opposite Millers Point, 3 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district.

The commercial district of North Sydney now includes the second largest concentration of office buildings in New South Wales, with a large representation from the advertising and information technology industries. Advertising, marketing businesses and associated trades such as printing have traditionally dominated the business life of the area though these have been supplanted to a certain extent by information technology businesses. Unlike other major suburban hubs within the Sydney metropolitan area, North Sydney has limited shopping facilities and almost no Sunday trading.

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About North Sydney


After the first purchase of land here in 1794 by a white settler, North Sydney developed slowly as a farming and residential area. By the time the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932, North Sydney was a densely populated area, but was still predominantly residential. It was not until the late 1960s, where useable land to build skyscrapers in the Sydney Central Business District across the harbour was running out, that developers looked to North Sydney for space to extend which the business centre of the city. North Sydney underwent a dramatic transformation into a commercial hub in the late 1960s. In this period no less than 27 skyscrapers were built, and hundreds of North Sydney s residences were replaced by office buildings.



During the building boom of the 1960s, North Sydney was aggressively promoted as the Twin City  to Sydney. Cheap rents encouraged smaller firms to lease office space in the commercial centre. Between 1968 and 1973, 138 million dollars worth of office and bank building was commenced in North Sydney, causing the State Planning Commission to move to limit further growth in 1973. These developments had attracted insurance, advertising, computing and banking businesses to North Sydney.

Directly to the east of this burgeoning commercial district, the Warringah Expressway was built. Opening in 1968, construction involved the demolition of nearly 500 houses and shops. North Sydney was split in half and many long-time residents forced out of the area. The completion of the expressway coincided with intense development in the central business district. With this, North Sydney came to resemble a Twin-City  rather than a suburban locality with a local shopping centre.
Don Bank Museum

Don Bank Cottage is the oldest wooden house in North Sydney. Built in the first half of the 19th century, it was acquired by North Sydney Council in 1979 and converted into a local history museum. Don Bank is one of Council s premier historical sites open to the public. It is a rare example of an early timber slab house nestled in a remnant Victorian garden. Featuring the history of the house and its former occupants, Don Bank s displays focus on social history and our changing times.
Hours: Wednesdays 12-3pm and Sundays 2pm-4pm (closed public holidays)
Address: 6 Napier St, North Sydney, 2060. Phone: 9936 8400
St Thomas Rest Park


Dedicated in 1848, St Thomas  Cemetery was the first burial ground on the North Shore. It was converted to a Rest Park in the 1970s. The Park contains interpretative signage for self-guided walks. Download walking guide
Sexton's Cottage Museum


Sexton s Cottage, once used for laying out bodies prior to burial, was restored and turned into a museum in 1984. It houses resources for researching the history of the cemetery and those buried there. The Rest Park itself is open every day.
Address: 250 West St, Crows Nest. Phone: 9936 8400
Old Post Office Column


Originally at Sydney s main post office, it ended up in Elizabeth Plaza, at the foot of Denison Street, North Sydney in 1988. It was one of six columns added to the Old Sydney Post Office in 1847. The building was demolished in 1863. It was re-erected first at the Crows Nest House, then moved to Bradfield Park in 1937, before moving to its present site when the Harbour Tunnel s construction necessitated another move Only one other column from the old Post Office has survived. It stands just offshore at Bradleys Head, Mosman, marking a measured nautical mile from Port Denison.
North Sydney's Markets


North Sydney Market
220 Miller St,North Sydney NSW 2060, Australia
Trading: 2nd Saturday of the Month (except Jan)  9am  3pm Type: General
Phone: (02) 9922 2299

Northside Produce Market
220 Miller St, North Sydney
Trading: 3rd Saturday of the Month  8am  12noon
Type: Farmers,
Produce Phone: (02) 9922 2299

The North Sydney of Henry Lawson


It is a little known fact that Australian poet Henry Lawson had a long association with North Sydney. Lawson lived in and visited North Sydney many times between 1885, when he stayed with Emma Brooks in East Crescent Street overlooking Lavender Bay, and 1921, when he was incapacitated by a stroke before his death in 1922. Lawson was never in one place for long.

There were numerous abodes in Euroka Street, a house called Strathmere in Lord Street where he lived in 1899 and rooms above the Coffee Palace, which sat in the middle of North Sydney, a small but bustling commercial centre in Miller Street. That was run by Isabel Byers who cared for Lawson for many years. He followed her to William and Euroka Streets. And there was Chaplin Cottage in Charles Street, where Lawson s second child Bertha was born in 1900.

The local hotels no doubt saw a lot of Henry, as a patron if not a resident. He described the Fig Tree Inn at the bottom of Blues Point Road  next door to the present site of Blues Point Tower. And the pub at the bottom of Alfred Street, Milsons Point was the subject of the very funny poem Dinds Hotel . The span of Lawson's association with North Sydney coincided with great change.

The population grew from just over 12,000 in 1886 to 48,000 in 1920. Around 1910 Lawson expressed his annoyance at the changes taking place around him. The poemOld North Sydney  is an early and significant expression of community and loss in the face of the development that many welcomed as progress. More >>


Lavender Bay


Lavender Bay is a harbourside suburb on Syedney s lower North Shore. It sites between Milsons Point and McMahons Point. Lavender Bay was named after the Boatswain (bosun), George Lavender, from the prison hulk Phoenix , which was moored there for many years. The bay was originally called Hulk Bay and sometimes Phoenix Bay. George Lavender lived on 14 acres (57,000 m2) adjacent to the property of Billy Blue. On 30 May 1915 Lavender Bay railway station was opened to take the place of Milsons Point railway station, which was a little further around the bay.

The station, at the foot of the Walker Street steps, only lasted for seven weeks, as passengers refused to alight here and demanded that trains stop at Milsons Point. During the harbour bridge's construction, Lavender Bay Station was resurrected and became the terminus for the North Shore Line (some of the the construction sheds for the bridge were built on the original station site). The area is now railway storage sidings.

A wharf is located in the bay which provides access to private vessels. The Lavender Bay Baths (1910) were once popular with swimmers, located in the area beside the ferry wharf. Lavender Bay has had its fair share of notable residents. Sir Donald Bradman lived in the harbourfront Bay View Street, and was one of the first few Australians to get a private telephone number while living in Bay View Street. Artist Norman Lindsay lived at Heidelberg at 9 Bay View Street; another artist, John Firth-Smith, occupied this same house many decades later. Sydney-born artist Brett Whiteley also lived in Lavender Bay for a while.

Lavender Bay is a 10 minute walk from North Sydney railway station or a 5 minute walk from Milsons Point ferry wharf. Limited parking is available in Lavender Crescent and surrounding streets.
Lavender Bay Parklands


The parklands comprise Clark Park, Watt Park, Quibaree Park, the Lavender Bay Foreshore and a number of smaller green spaces dotted throughout the area. You can spend a couple of hours exploring them all in one day, or take your time to visit each spot one by one. Watt Park is a little bit quieter and more secluded than the rest, it has a nautical-themed childrens  playground.

Quibaree Park, on the harbour side of the railway tracks and reached by an underpass. Here you will find an historic slipway, a small boat ramp and a jetty with stairs and Sydney s smallest beach. Bring you camera, the views across Lavender Bay to the city are excellent. Wendy's Secret Garden (see below) is part of the Parklands.
Wendy's Secret Garden


After returning to Australia after a long period overseas, artist Brett Whiteley moved to Lavender Bay in November 1969, with his then wife Wendy, and painted in a studio downstairs in the house from 1975 to 1981. The ambience of the house and its views of the harbour offered a perfect vehicle for Whiteley s gift at composing works with large, empty spaces, and evoked strong feelings that at last he had come home. Today, the public area at the foot of the house, between Clark Park on Lavender Street and the Lavender Bay railway lines is known as Wendy s Secret Garden .

After the death of her husband in 1992, Wendy channelled her grief and sorrow by transforming a neglected space below their property into a beautiful garden at her own expense. In 2001, she was devastated over the death of her only child, Arkie from cancer. The ashes of Brett and Arkie are buried in the garden at a location that was never disclosed by Wendy.

She continued her work in beautifying the garden as a tribute to her greatest loves in life, Brett and Arkie, as well as her new life of recovering from drug addict. Wendy has also placed some tables and benches for visitors who wish to have picnic with friends or maybe to do some work there like drawing and writing. There are many interesting sculptures in the garden. Some a little artistic and some made of recycled materials. Wendy s garden is filled with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees which are of different shapes, colours and sizes. The stone stairways opposite Walker Street on Lavender Street lead down to the garden.
The Long Jumping Jeweller of Lavender Bay


Lavender Bay entered popular culture when Hugh Atkinson wrote a book called The Jumping Jeweller of Lavender Bay A short film based on a book inspired Glenn Shorrock, lead singer of the Litttle River Band, to write a song about it. The band recorded the song, which is featured on their 1976 album After Hours . Listen to the song >>

. Atkinson's book tells the story of a little man, living his humdrum life, who works as a jeweler in the Sydney CBD. To get to work he takes the ferry from - you guessed it - Lavender Bay. One day, lost in thought, he almost misses his ferry. On an impulse he runs and jumps the gap to land on the deck, to the acclaim of his fellow passengers. Pleased by their reaction but more by the feeling he got while jumping, he makes this a regular thing, and lets the ferry get a little further away from the wharf before he does his leap every day. And every day the passengers wonder and bet on if this will be the day he does not make it.

Then he starts to notice something. As he jumps, while he is in the air, he glimpses a paradise and a beautiful woman, somewhere above the ferry s roof. And as he jumps longer and higher, he sees more of the paradise and the woman, who is beckoning him. And soon he is jumping for the woman, not for the ferry. The jump gets longer and longer, he gets higher and higher and one day, inexplicably for his fellow passengers, he disappears: no thud on the deck, no splash in the water. The Long-Jumping Jeweler of Lavender Bay is never seen again.
Forsyth Park


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.
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.
History of North Sydney


After the first purchase of land here in 1794 by a white settler, North Sydney developed slowly as a farming and residential area. By the time the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932, North Sydney was a densely populated area, but was still predominantly residential. It was not until the late 1960s, where useable land to build skyscrapers in the Sydney Central Business District across the harbour was running out, that developers looked to North Sydney for space to extend which the business centre of the city. North Sydney underwent a dramatic transformation into a commercial hub in the late 1960s. In this period no less than 27 skyscrapers were built, and hundreds of North Sydney s residences were replaced by office buildings.

During the building boom of the 1960s, North Sydney was aggressively promoted as the Twin City  to Sydney. Cheap rents encouraged smaller firms to lease office space in the commercial centre. Between 1968 and 1973, 138 million dollars worth of office and bank building was commenced in North Sydney, causing the State Planning Commission to move to limit further growth in 1973. These developments had attracted insurance, advertising, computing and banking businesses to North Sydney.

Directly to the east of this burgeoning commercial district, the Warringah Expressway was built. Opening in 1968, construction involved the demolition of nearly 500 houses and shops. North Sydney was split in half and many long-time residents forced out of the area. The completion of the expressway coincided with intense development in the central business district. With this, North Sydney came to resemble a Twin-City  rather than a suburban locality with a local shopping centre.
Walks in and Around North Sydney
History Walks (self-guided)

North Sydney - A Place to Work and Play (786KB)

North Sydney - All the conveniences of town (341KB)

Milsons Pt: Art of Lavender Bay (624KB)

Waverton/Wollstonecraft: Boatsheds all Around (925KB)

Neutral Bay: Building a Marine Suburb (199KB)

Cremorne Point (458KB)

Neutral Bay: Far Enough Away (589KB)

Neutral Bay: Federation Faces and Places (1MB)

Cammeray: From Bushland to Parkland (621KB)

Crows Nest: From Federation to Filigree (515KB)

Wollstonecraft: From Land Grant to Subdivision (1MB)

Kirribilli: From Milson to Medium Density (242KB)

MacMahons Pt: From Track to Tarmac (756KB)

Neutral Bay: Gem of the Harbour (243KB)

North Sydney: Henry Lawson's North Sydney (361KB)

MacMahons Pt: It was a very close community (989KB)

North Sydney: Premier Place to Live (1MB)

Crows Nest: Sailors Soldiers &Civil Servants (408KB)

North Sydney: Set in Stone (377KB)

North Sydney: That's the way we did medicine (599KB)

Waverton Peninsula (660KB)



North Shore Historical Society Walks

Kirribilli from Milsons Point Railway Station (749KB)

Lavender Bay to Blues Point (907KB)

Nth Syd PO to Waverton (852KB)

Waverton Stn to Balls Head (574KB)

Waverton Stn to Berry Island & Wollstonecraft Stn (738KB)

Neutral Bay - NS Railway Stn to Kurraba Pnt & Military Rd (584KB)

Nth Syd PO to Ridge Street and Victoria Cross (892KB)

Neutral Bay PO to Cremorne & Military Road (838KB)

Crows Nest - old Mater Hospital to St Leonards Park (872KB)

Cammeray - St Thomas Park (Cemetery to Old Tram Depot) (626KB)



Heritage Plaques Walks

McMahons Point to Waverton (350KB)

Cammeray to Lavender Bay (793KB)

Neutral Bay to Kirribilli (468KB)

Military Road to Cremorne Point (628KB)

North Sydney Circle Walks

Milsons Point to Waverton (810KB)

Waverton to Wollstonecraft (751KB)

Wollstonecraft to Suspension Bridge (802KB)

Suspension Bridge to Cremorne Junction (1MB)

Cremorne Junction to Shell Cove (875KB)

Shell Cove to Milsons Point (769KB)




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    North Sydney is directly linked to the Sydney CBD by road and rail across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. North Sydney railway station is on the North Shore, Northern and Western Line of theSydney Trains network. Bus services by Sydney Buses are heavily present in Blue Street, connecting services towards North Sydney s neighbouring suburbs. The Warringah Freeway links North Sydney south to the Sydney CBD and north to Chatswood, New South Wales. High Street, North Sydney is a wharf stop on the Neutral Bay ferry service, which is part of the Sydney Ferries network. It is possible to walk from parts of North Sydney to the city centre in less than 30 minutes, by way of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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