Location: North Shore
A suburb on the north side of the Parramatta River, Ryde is the third oldest European settlement in Australia, after Sydney and Parramatta. Located 13 km to the north west of Sydney central business district, Ryde is the administrative centre of the local government area of the City of Ryde and part of the Northern Suburbs area.

As Ryde was located at the top of the hill (from whichever way you approached it) it also became known as Top Ryde . Top Ryde is now an unofficial locality within Ryde, which contains the commercial area of the suburb, centred around the intersection of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road. Top Ryde City is a major shopping centre there. The original Top Ryde shopping centre on this site was the second of its type to be built in Australia.

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Parks and Gardens

Santa Rosa Park is located between Quarry Road and Bridge Road. It features a separated pathway for walking and bike riders. Shrimptons Creek runs through the park in a north-easterly direction flowing into the Lane Cove River. The park is used for football and cricket. Gannan Park was once a quarry and brickworks and is accessed from Buna Court, Minga Street and McAuley Park. Ryde Pool was home to water polo events for the Sydney Olympics, held in 2000. The pool is now owned by Ryde City Council.

Aboriginal rock art

Some 43 Aboriginal sites are recorded within the Ryde region. The building of roads and residences has seen most destroyed. Cave paintings were once common, but were few in number compared to other areas of Sydney. Few rock engravings have been found or recorded in the Ryde district though it is believed more existed before recording of them first began in the 1860s. A site at Settlers Park near Ryde bridge has a carving of a single flying duck which is rare for the Sydney area, and another carving representing a throwing weapon.

Historic buildings

The suburb contains the oldest settler's cottage in Australia, Addington, on Victoria Road. Addington was built by the emancipist James Stewart, circa 1800. James Shepherd bought the property in 1810 and added a six-room house to the original sandstone cottage. Other historic buildings in the area include the police station on Victoria Road and Willandra, Willandra Street. The police station, a simple sandstone structure, was designed by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis and built in 1837. Willandra is a two-storey Georgian home built by the Devlin family circa 1845, and more recently used as an art gallery and headquarters for the Ryde and District Historical Society. Both Willandra and the police station are listed on the Register of the National Estate.

The public school at 2 Tucker Street was opened in 1892. The building, which still survives, is the Infants Department, a two-storey, sandstone building which is heritage-listed. The cottage Riversdale, in Wade Street, was the home of a well-known riverboat captain by the name of Robert Gascoigne, who lived in the area circa 1900.

St Anne's Anglican Church

St Anne's Anglican Church in Church Street, was built in 1826 and extended in later years. It was a central feature in the early life of the area and is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. St Anne s Anglican Church cemetery, opened when the church was erected in 1826, contains the graves of many of its earliest white settlers. These include first fleeters James Bradley and Edward Goodwin. Bradley was transported for 7 years for stealing a handkerchief with a value of 2 shillings. He arrived aged about 23 and died in 1838, a free man and farmer in the Ryde district. Goodwin was sentenced to transportation for 7 years, aged about 22, for stealing material with a value of 100 shillings and was a fellow passenger with Bradley on the transport ship Scarborough. He died in January 1839, also a free man and resident of the Ryde district.
Others people of note buried at St Anne s include family members of explorer and pioneer local settler Gregory Blaxland; Lady Eleanor Parkes, the wife of statesman Sir Henry Parkes; Emma Oxley, the wife of explorer and Surveyor-General John Oxley; Maria Ann Sherwood Smith, known as Granny Smith, who developed a hybrid apple tree which produced the now famous Granny Smith apple named in her honour. Every year, in the suburb of Eastwood, the Granny Smith Festival is held in her honour. Church Street is also the location of Ryde Wesley Uniting Church.

Ryde Road Bridge

From around 1800 there was a punt/ferry crossing the river at Ryde Road between Meadowbank and Rhodes. It began operating in 1898 and continued until the Ryde Road Bridge was opened in December 1935. The Rhodes ramp can be seen on the south bank just east of the Meadowbank Rail Bridge. The original road bridge, erected further downstream at Uhrs Point, had an opening span which lifted to allow larger craft to pass under. The lifting span enabled timber boats to deliver their cargoes to the State Timber Yards at Rhodes. It was a toll bridge and the toll was not removed until June 1949. In the 1980s a new bridge was built parallel to it but it has no opening span. The machinery associated with the original lifting span was dismantled when the new bridge was opened.

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