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Mosman Travel Guide

Mosman: History, location and things to do

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Mosman, which is located on Sydney’s lower north shore about 8 kilometres northeast of the CBD, was originally occupied by the Borogegal tribe. Many of the Borogegal people died shortly after the Europeans began to settle in the area and brought with them smallpox and other diseases against which the Aboriginal people had no natural immunity. The site, which is now known as Mosman Bay, was determined to be an ideal location for defense. A battery was built at George’s Head in 1801, and a decade later, the land further inland began to be cultivated.

Whalers arrived in the 1820s, and land grants were issued to John Bell and Archibald Mosman in order to establish whaling stations. When whaling began to decline, the bay was used to overhaul ships instead. Although more land grants were issued, settlement was slow. The bay was rugged and largely inaccessible but for a foot path. A road was not built through the area until 1860. Over the next several decades, public transportation services were expanded, and the foreshore was developed to provide enhanced entertainment for tourism.

In the late 1800s, a sandstone quarry was established, which produced much of the sandstone for many of Sydney’s historic buildings. The area experienced tremendous growth during this time. Public schools opened, postal services were established and the suburb became a separate municipality. In the early 1900s, development began in earnest. Homes, shops and public buildings dotted the horizon, and the new residents of Mosman carried strong opinions about Mosman: They wanted to preserve the park-like landscape and residential nature of their new suburb. Although development slowed during the Depression, construction continued. Restrictions were placed on high-rise developments in order to maintain the character of the area and natural beauty of the environment.

Taronga Park Zoo, which continues to be a top attraction in Mosman today, was opened in 1916. Shopping is also a favourite activity here. Military Road is one of the main shopping districts and features dining, boutiques, bookshops and markets. Mosman’s parks and natural surroundings continue to be a top attraction. The lovely natural bays, rugged sandstone cliffs and wild bushland make an attractive backdrop to the public playgrounds, sporting facilities and nature reserves. Mosman is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Sydney, including Balmoral. The Mosman Swim Centre is located here, and Bradley’s Head and Middle Head are part of Sydney Harbour National Park and include guided walks through historic tunnels and fortifications.

The Mosman Art Gallery is a public art gallery that features activities and exhibitions, and the suburb itself displays public art, such as fountains and monuments, by established artists. The Mosman Village Art and Craft Market takes place on the first Saturday of the month and features 150 stalls with arts, crafts, gourmet foods and entertainment.

Visitors and residents of Mosman can take advantage of the Mosman rider, which is a community bus service. This free service operates from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and travels past the Taronga Zoo, Balmoral, the library, art gallery and Mosman’s other top venues and attractions.

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