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.