North Shore (Sydney)

The North Shore refers to a group of suburbs within the Northern Sydney region of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The term generally refers to the suburbs located on the northern side of Sydney Harbour up to and including Hornsby and between Middle Harbour and the Lane Cove River.

North Shore
SydneyNew South Wales
Port Jackson Aerial.jpg
Sydney Harbour with the North Shore extending from its northern side (right) with Sydney CBD (left) and Eastern Suburbs (bottom) on its southern shore.
North Shore is located in Sydney
North Shore
North Shore
Approximate centre of the North Shore in Sydney
Coordinates33°47′S 151°10′E / 33.783°S 151.167°E / -33.783; 151.167Coordinates: 33°47′S 151°10′E / 33.783°S 151.167°E / -33.783; 151.167
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST)AEDT (UTC+11)
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)
Localities around North Shore:
Hawkesbury River Central Coast Forest District
Hills District
Northern Sydney
North Shore Northern Beaches
Greater Western Sydney Inner West Sydney CBD


Before British settlement, the Lower North Shore was home to the Gorualgal (Mosman and southern Willoughby) and Cammeraygal (North Sydney and Eastern Lane Cove).[1]

After the establishment of Sydney in 1788, settlement on the North Shore of the harbour was quite limited. One of the first settlers was James Milson who lived in the vicinity of Jeffrey Street in Kirribilli, directly opposite Sydney Cove. The north shore was more rugged than the southern shore and western areas of the harbour and had limited agricultural potential. The early activities in the area included tree felling, boatbuilding and some orchard farming in the limited areas of good soil. The North Shore railway line was built in the 1890s. Access to the Sydney CBD, located on the southern shore of the harbour remained difficult until the completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. This led to commencement the development of suburbs on the North Shore. [2]

Cumberland County mapping from 1792 to 1894 indicate that the four local governments that stand today were derived from one: the Parish of Willoughby. From the Parish of Willoughby came the City of Willoughby and the municipalities of Mosman, Lane Cove and North Sydney. North Sydney was formerly known as St. Leonards. [3]


The suburb of Chatswood is a regional administrative and shopping district in the North Shore

Suburbs and localities that are considered to be in the North Shore can be somewhat amorphous and variable, however suburbs that are generally referred to as the North Shore are East of Lane Cove National Park and West of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Middle Harbour, while sometimes all suburbs neighbouring Lane Cove National Park are viewed as the North Shore.[citation needed]

Most of the North Shore suburbs are part of the Hawkesbury Plateau, a large sandstone plateau overlaid by a system of ridges and gullies. The Plateau begins north of the Port Jackson and runs up until the Hawkesbury River. Thus much of the North Shore is hilly with many steep valleys running down into the harbour and the rivers on either side.

Parks and areas of sclerophyll forest are throughout the area earning it the nickname "the leafy North Shore".[citation needed] The Lane Cove National Park, Garigal National Park and Sydney Harbour National Park contain remnant bushland along the Lane Cove River, Middle Harbour and Sydney Harbour respectively. Bushwalking, abseiling and bouldering opportunities can be found around Lindfield and North Turramurra. Gordon has one of Sydney's largest bat colonies in a bat reserve leading to Middle Harbour.[4]

Upper North ShoreEdit

The "Upper North Shore" usually refers to the suburbs between Roseville and Hornsby, or suburbs residing the upper section of Lane Cove National Park and west of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, north-west of the Sydney CBD. It is made up of suburbs located within the Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby Council areas. Locals of this area often debate its precise boundaries, sometimes excluding Waitara, Hornsby and Pennant Hills.[5]

In 2015, the NSW government proposed merging Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby Councils. In July 2017, the Berejiklian government decided to abandon the forced merger of the Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai local government areas, along with several other proposed forced mergers on the North Shore.[6]

Lower North ShoreEdit

The Lower North Shore refers to the land that is located to the north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The three bodies of water that surround the Lower North Shore are the Lane Cove River on its western border, Sydney Harbour on its south side, and Middle Harbour on its east.

The Lower North Shore encompasses suburbs belonging to the local government areas of Mosman Council, City of Willoughby, Municipality of Lane Cove, North Sydney Council and some suburbs of City of Ryde. The suburbs of the Municipality of Hunter's Hill (Hunters Hill, Woolwich, Huntleys Point, Henley and Gladesville) are often considered to be part of the Lower North Shore.

In 2016, the NSW government proposed merging three of the five lower north shore councils (Mosman, Willoughby, and North Sydney councils). In July 2017, the Berejiklian government decided to abandon the forced merger of the North Sydney, Willoughby and Mosman local government areas.[7]

The Lower North Shore suburbs adjacent to Sydney Harbour are Neutral Bay, Greenwich, Waverton, Wollstonecraft, Mosman, Cremorne, Lavender Bay, Milsons Point, Cammeray, and North Sydney.

Port Jackson, including the Parramatta River, Lane Cove River, Sydney Harbour, and Middle Harbour, defines the region's southernmost extent.


The main transport routes on the North Shore are Military Road, the Pacific Highway, the Warringah Expressway as well as parts of the Pennant Hills Road, Ryde Road, Epping Road and Mona Vale Road. Smaller but major arterial roads on the Upper North Shore include the Eastern Arterial Road at St Ives, East Killara and East Lindfield, the Comenarra Parkway at Thornleigh, Wahroonga, Turramurra, South Turramurra and West Pymble, as well as Lady Game Drive at West Pymble, Gordon, Killara, Lindfield and West Chastwood, providing access to major commercial hubs such as Chatswood. The North Shore & Western Line provides access to the central business district of Sydney over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Many bus routes also serve the area, particularly the lower North Shore, and ferries connect many of the harbourside suburbs with Circular Quay in the central business district[8].

Much of the North Shore is accessible to Railway Transport with the T1 North Shore line providing rail services between Sydney's Central Business District, North Sydney and Hornsby via Chatswood. The T9 Northern Line also serves parts of the Upper North Shore, while the Sydney Metro Northwest which opened on 26 May 2018, serves the suburbs of Chatswood, North Ryde, Macquarie Park, Macquarie University and Epping before continuing to Tallawong in the Hills District, replacing the previous Epping to Chatswood railway line after almost 10 years of service. The remaining Sydney Metro City & Southwest stage to the Lower North Shore and Bankstown, is projected to be completed in 2024. The completed metro line will provide rapid transit between North West Sydney and South West Sydney via the Lower North Shore.

Transdev NSW provide frequent bus services to the Upper North Shore.[9] Busses on the Lower North Shore are mainly serviced by the State Transit Authority.[10]

Commercial areasEdit

Significant commercial and retail centres on the North Shore include North Sydney, Crows Nest, Macquarie Park, Chatswood, St Leonards, Neutral Bay, Gordon and Hornsby.

The North Shore's largest commercial centres are at North Sydney and Chatswood. A number of international companies having their Australian or Asia–Pacific Headquarters in this part of Sydney. North Sydney does not have any of Sydney's major shopping centres, however, it has a number of speciality stores and cafés. Chatswood is one of the largest retail precincts in Sydney, and has a large amount of high density residential buildings. It is home to large shopping centres such as Westfield Chatswood and Chatswood Chase. Nearby Chatswood, Macquarie Park is home to one of Sydney’s largest shopping centres, Macquarie Centre. Macquarie Park also has a substantial amount of high density residential buildings and office space. St Leonards is another large commercial area featuring mostly office space and apartments.


The Lower North Shore has many unique landmarks such as: The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo in Mosman, Admiralty House (Sydney residence of the Governor-General of Australia), Kirribilli House (Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia), Luna Park, and Balmoral Beach. At a Sydney or local level, however, landmarks are more plentiful and include: The Lane Cove Azalea Beds, Blues Point Tower, Eden Gardens, the Balmoral Rotunda, the Stanton Library in North Sydney, Lane Cove Plaza, Zenith Towers at Chatswood, Northpoint Tower in North Sydney, Cammeray suspension bridge at Cammeray, Echo Point Park in Roseville Chase, the Royal North Shore Hospital, the Hornsby Water Clock, and 'The Forum' in St Leonards.[11]

The region is home to hundreds of parks and reserves, including Sydney Harbour National Park and the Lane Cove National Park. Major local sports grounds include North Sydney Oval, the region's largest in capacity, and Chatswood Oval.

Events and celebrationsEdit

The Willoughby Spring Festival is held throughout the Willoughby local government area, in September each year. The festival lasts for a month and features over 40 events including live music/entertainment, exhibitions, cultural celebrations, business events and many more community activities. The highlight is the annual Willoughby StreetFair where the Chatswood CBD is taken over by market stalls, performers, dancers and musicians. The StreetFair features the Willoughby Street Parade which included over 1,000 participants in 2007.

The Lower North Shore's other main festivals/events include: Tartan Day at Lane Cove, the Guringgai Festival honouring northern Sydney's Aboriginals, the Moocooboola Festival at Hunters Hill, the Mosman Festival, Lane Cove's Cammeraygal Festival, Chinese New Year at Chatswood. Mosman, North Sydney, Willoughby also holds an annual art prize. All local government areas in the region and around the country celebrate Australia Day, which is on 26 January.[12]


The local newspapers are the Sydney Observer, Hornsby and Upper North Shore Advocate, The North Shore Times, The Mosman Daily, Northern District Times and the North Shores' local lifestyle publication Northside.


Like the rest of the Sydney basin, the North Shore has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). Turramurra receives one of the highest rainfalls in the Sydney area, with an average of 1,400 millimetres (55 in) per year.[13] The inland parts of the North Shore are somewhat cooler than other areas of the surrounding Sydney basin in the winter months, particularly the CBD, and the further inland the area (particularly the Upper North Shore), the cooler the weather.


List of suburbsEdit


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  5. ^ Carlton, Mike (23 August 2008). "Clean, green ... but deadly boring". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  6. ^ Knaus, Christopher; agencies (27 July 2017). "NSW council amalgamations: plan to merge 14 Sydney councils abandoned". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  7. ^ Blumer, Clare; Chettle, Nicole (27 July 2017). "NSW council amalgamations: Mayors fight to claw back court dollars after backflip on merger". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
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  9. ^ a b c d Upper North Shore timetables Transdev NSW
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  13. ^ Ku-ring-gai Historical Society. "Turramurra". Ku-ring-gai Historical Society.
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  17. ^ Normanhurst amongst most livable Upper North Shore Suburbs Domain
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  19. ^ Thornleigh profiled by local North Shore community North Shore Mums
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