City of villages II

Some of Sydney’s regions were separated out by geographical features, and the biggest was Sydney Harbour itself.

The Lower North Shore was Cammeraygal country bef0re the arrival of the Europeans and their diseases, and its scenic beauty was much admired by the settlers. A maritime history unites the harbourside suburbs of Milsons Point, McMahons Point, Cremorne Point, Neutral Bay, Kirribilli and Kurraba Point, while business was key up the hill at North Sydney. Waverton and Artarmon remained mostly residential.

Sydney's lower north shore from Artarmon, looking south, courtesy of Airview 0805-1922-88

Further north, on the Upper North Shore, timbergetting and fruitgrowing gave way to residential and industrial development once the railway went through. Transport was key to these healthy elevated northern suburbs, from the time the road north was built, with the construction of the railway line, and again when the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened 1932. Mooch around Killara, Pymble, Lindfield, Gordon and Warrawee, as well as the other suburbs ‘up the line’.

Ryde, like Sutherland a region with a council district that corresponds roughly to the mental maps of its denizens, contains many suburbs now, all cut out of the bush country known to the Wallumedegal as Wallumetta, and first known to the Europeans as the Eastern Farms. As well as East, West and North Ryde, this area encompasses MarsfieldDenistone and Denistone East, Putney and Meadowbank on the Parramatta River, and Eastwood, among others. Like the Upper North shore, the area has timber and orchards in its past, and suburban development in its present. Locals remember the apple-growing past every year at the Granny Smith festival, commemorating Maria Ann Smith and her hybrid green apples, bred in Eastwood.

Parramatta River by George Penkivil Slade, from the National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an6452950

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About Emma Grahame

Emma Grahame has been Editorial Coordinator of the Dictionary of Sydney since May 2007.
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