Jennifer Aaron


A popular suburb on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, Willoughby is located only 8 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD and is a peaceful, leafy suburb that consists of predominantly Californian bungalows, with some Federation homes, Art Deco semis and modern apartments. The period charm of its architecture is one of its appealing factors. Willoughby has many Victorian and Edwardian homes such as the historic sandstone ‘Tyneside’ and ‘Rosewall’ on High Street. Both were built in the 1880s by the sons of James Forsyth, a wealthy landowner who pioneered the tannery industry in Willoughby and became mayor in 1875. Shortly after the 1850s gold rush, 600 acres were subdivided, auctioned and named ‘The Township of North Sydney’. Willoughby was filled with orchards, Chinese market gardens, dairies, farms and a number of locally and international renowned tanneries. In 1932, when the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened, Willoughby experienced rapid expansion as direct access to the city, western and southern suburbs became easier. These days it is popular with young families and professionals who are attracted to its proximity to the city as well as the enviable range of amenities and education opportunities in both Willoughby and nearby Chatswood. Within the immediate Willoughby area there are some of Sydney's best retail food outlets and restaurants, including Italian, Armenian, French and modern Australian restaurants and cafés on Willoughby Road and Penshurst Street. There are several small groupings of shops, most of which are on Mowbray Road, Willoughby Road, Penshurst Street and High Street. Willoughby is also home to some of the finest parks and sporting facilities, including Willoughby Leisure Centre at Bicentennial Park, and Willoughby Park, which offers the Community Centre, play areas, pavilions, bowling club and two ovals. Willoughby is also the headquarters of Nine Network Television in Artarmon Road. Picture theatres became popular after the First World War and Willoughby had two grand, Art Deco theatres. The façade of the old Gothic Theatre on Penshurst Street is still visible. Although Willoughby is not situated on one of Sydney’s train lines, it is however well serviced by Sydney Buses, with a number of bus routes heading into the City, or to nearby St Leonards, Artarmon and Chatswood Railway Stations. The Gore Hill Freeway, which runs along the southern border of Willoughby, offers a direct route into the Sydney CBD.
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