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North Sydney Travel Guide

North Sydney: History, location and things to do

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a view of Sydney Harbour BridgeNorth Sydney is surrounded by Lavender Bay, Kirribilli, Crows Nest, Milsons Point and Neutral Bay. It is known for having one of the largest CBDs in the country, which serves the entire Sydney region. The North Sydney CBD contains numerous landmarks, including the Stanton Library and the Independent Museum.

Located on the traditional land of the Cammeraygal people, the area began to be settled in the early 1800s when Sir Thomas Mitchell was assigned the task of reporting on the suitability of this land for grants. Mitchell suggested the development of subdivisions, open spaces and road, and although his plan was not accepted, it did reveal the potential of the area. By the mid-19th century, the area that was to become North Sydney was being resurveyed, and the basic road structure had been established. The site of the township, now the CBD, contained just under 50 half acre allotments.

First named St. Leonards in 1838, the name of North Sydney was adopted in 1890 in the hopes that the association with Sydney would bring the newly established suburb popularity and prestige. Lot sales were initially slow until the 1850s and 60s, when housing began to boom, and villas, terraces and cottages sprang up in subdivisions across the township. Beautiful Federation and Victorian homes were built in exclusive subdivisions to house parliamentarians, doctors and businessmen. The population was diverse and included labourers and a solid middle class. The township further grew as schools, churches and entertainment venues, including the Coliseum Theatre, were built.

Growth slowed during the depression, and land values dropped. The town hall was relocated to a residential neighbourhood. New development in the suburb became largely rebuilding and remodeling. Many of the formerly grand homes that had occupied the more exclusive subdivisions were converted into boarding houses and hotels. However, the population continued to decline during the two world wars.

Land prices dropped dramatically, and after World War II, several companies snapped up plots in order to develop their corporate headquarters. MLC Limited opened in 1957, and the AMP built the first high-rise block of offices in the suburb, which substantially influenced later high-rise concepts in the area. Advertising, banking, insurance and other businesses flocked to North Sydney. Many of the original buildings that had dotted the streetscape were demolished as the new development took over. Building began to boom once again, and North Sydney was called Sydney’s “Twin City”. Heritage and resident groups whose goal it was to preserve historic buildings and demand a more balanced approach to development were formed.

Although North Sydney today continues to be largely commercial, it is also home to Luna Park, a family friendly amusement park, on Lavender Bay. Balmoral and several areas along the coastline feature quiet beaches and picnicking. Historic features include Kirribilli House and the homes of the Prime Minister and Governor-General, all of which are located east of the Harbour Bridge. The Museum at Mary MacKillop Place, the Stanton Library and Walker Street Cinema are all popular stops for tourists.

Visitors can reach North Sydney by road, bus or train from Sydney’s CBD. The Neutral Bay ferry service also offers stops at North Sydney.

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Location Facts

Find video and up to date information including the history, distance and transport options to Sydney CBD and things to do in your chosen location or suburb when renting a furnished apartment with Furnished Properties.

The city of Sydney is a sprawling metropolis and with a population of 4.576 million, there are many locations to choose from when searching for your self-catering accommodation for either a long term or short term rental. If you are travelling to Sydney on business or with your family either relocating or on holidays, finding the right location in Sydney for your needs is of high importance.

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