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The North Shore is an informal term used to describe the primarily residential area of northern metropolitan Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The term usually refers to the suburbs located on the north shore of Sydney Harbour between Middle Harbour and the Lane Cove River, up to the northern border of the Ku-ring-gai local government area. Since it is not clearly defined, it has been incorrectly used to refer to suburbs further west to the Ryde Bridge, although this wider description encompasses what is also known as the Northern Suburbs



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


After the establishment of Sydney in 1788, settlement of the North Shore of the harbour was quite limited. One of the first settlers was James Milson (1785-1872) 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 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.


Cumberland County mapping from 1792 to 1894 indicate that the four local governments that stand today were derived 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.



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. These ridges and valleys were originally populated with dry sclerophyll forest, much of which still remains. There are many small areas of the sclerophyll forest adjacent to and within residential areas, earning the area the nickname "the leafy North Shore". There is excellent bushwalking, abseiling and bouldering around Lindfield and North Turramurra. Gordon houses one of Sydney's largest bat colonies in a Bat reserve leading to Middle Harbour.


Upper North Shore

The "Upper North Shore" usually refers to the suburbs north of Chatswood, east of the Lane cove river and south of the uppermost border of the Ku-ring-gai council area. It is made up of the handful of suburbs encompassing the Ku-ring-gai council. The area is known for its clean leafy streets, stately homes and high property prices. Ku-ring-gai was rated as having the number 1 quality of life in Australia (there are 590 Australian Local Government Areas) in the Bank West Quality of Life Index 2008.


Lower North Shore

The Lower North Shore encompasses all of the North Shore's northern shore of Sydney Harbour stretching from the Lane cove River in the west to Middle Head (Mosman) in the east and includes Mosman, Kirribilli and Longueville.


The Lower North Shore usually refers to the suburbs adjacent to the harbour such as Neutral Bay, Waverton, Mosman, Cremorne, Lavender Bay, Milsons Point, Cammeray and North Sydney. The Lower North Shore has an eastern boundary adjacent to Middle Harbour, or at the Roseville Bridge at Castle Cove and Roseville Chase. The term Lower North Shore can include the local government areas of Municipality of Mosman, City of Willoughby, Municipality of Lane Cove and North Sydney Council.



The main transport routes on the North Shore are Military Road, the Pacific Highway and the Warringah Expressway, and the North Shore Line and the Northern Line, which provide 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.


Commercial areas

Significant commercial and retail centers on the North Shore include North Sydney, Crows Nest, Chatswood, St Leonards, Neutral Bay and Gordon. The North Shore has two large commercial centers located at North Sydney and Chatswood with many international companies have their Australian or Asia Pacific Headquarters in this part of Sydney. The region's largest central business district at North Sydney, is home to a modern urban skyline of skyscrapers. Although North Sydney has none of Sydney's major shopping centers, it is home to scores of specialty stores and cafés. Chatswood is one of the largest retail areas. It is home to large shopping centers such as Westfield Chatswood, Chatswood Chase and apartment towers such as The Sebel. St Leonards is another large commercial area featuring mostly office space and apartments.


Events and celebrations

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 Street Fair where the Chatswood CBD is taken over by market stalls, performers, dancers and musicians. The Street Fair 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 honoring 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 the 26th of January.




Artarmon Gore Hill Longueville Northbridge
Boronia Park Greenwich McMahons Point Northwood
Cammeray Henley Middle Cove Osborne Park
Castlecrag Hunters Hill Milsons Point Riverview
Chatswood Huntleys Grove Monash Park St Leonards
Cremorne Kirribilli Mosman Waverton
Cremorne Point Lane Cove Naremburn Willoughby
Crows Nest Lavender Bay Neutral Bay Wollstonecraft
Gladesville Linley Point North Sydney Woolwich

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