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Hornsby Shire

About the area

Name origin

Hornsby is named after Police Constable Samuel Horne.

Location and boundaries

Hornsby Shire is located in Sydney's northern suburbs - about 25 kilometres from the Sydney GPO. Hornsby Shire is bounded by Gosford City and the Hawkesbury River in the north and north-east, Cowan Creek in the east, the Ku-ring-gai Council area, the City of Ryde and Parramatta City in the south and The Hills Shire in the west.

Included areas

Hornsby Shire includes the suburbs and rural localities of Arcadia, Asquith, Beecroft, Berowra, Berowra Creek, Berowra Heights, Berowra Waters, Berrilee, Brooklyn, Canoelands, Carlingford (part), Castle Hill (part), Cheltenham, Cherrybrook, Cowan, Dangar Island, Dural (part), Epping (part), Fiddletown, Forest Glen, Galston, Glenhaven (part), Glenorie (part), Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Laughtondale, Maroota (part), Middle Dural (part), Milsons Passage, Mount Colah, Mount Kuring-gai, Normanhurst, North Epping, Pennant Hills, Singletons Mill, Thornleigh, Wahroonga (part), Waitara, Westleigh, West Pennant Hills (part) and Wisemans Ferry (part).

Land use

Hornsby Shire is a predominantly rural and residential area, with some commercial and industrial land use. Hornsby Shire encompasses a total land area of 510 square kilometres, of which two-thirds is National Park and reserves. Most of the land in the northern section is rural. The Shire has three major centres, with Hornsby being the major centre and Epping and Pennant Hills being secondary centres. There are also many suburbs, villages, islands and river communities. Most residential areas are established suburbs, except for Castle Hill, Cherrybrook and Dural, which have developed in more recent decades.


Hornsby Shire is served by the Pacific Highway, the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, the Hills (M2) Motorway, Pennant Hills Road and the North Shore and Newcastle & Central Coast railway lines with stations at Asquith, Beecroft, Berowra, Cheltenham, Cowan, Epping, Hornsby, Mount Colah, Mount Kuring-gai, Normanhurst, Pennant Hills, Thornleigh and Waitara.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1794 when the first land grants were made along the Hawkesbury River, with land used mainly for farming. Development was slow, due to limited access. Some growth took place in the 1820s and the 1830s, following the opening of the Great North Road and other tracks. Early industries included citrus and stone fruit farming, salt production, flour mills and boat building. Growth continued in the 1880s and 1890s, especially in the south-eastern section, spurred by the opening of the Newcastle and North Shore railway lines. Hornsby CBD developed as a railway town, becoming the major centre of the Shire. In the 1920s poultry and egg production replaced citrus and stone fruits as the main industry. The most significant development took place in the post-war years. Substantial growth occurred between 1945 and 1981, when the population more than trebled from 30,500 to 111,000, with the most rapid growth during the 1950s and 1960s. From the 1970s population growth began to slow down. The population rose from about 127,000 in 1991 to nearly 155,000 in 2011. Much of the growth in the 1990s was in Castle Hill, Cherrybrook and Dural, with urban consolidation in and around the Hornsby CBD. In the last ten years there has been considerable medium and high density development (apartments) in Waitara and the Hornsby CBD.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Hornsby area were the Dharug, Kuringgai and Darkingung Aboriginal people.

Regional labour force

The Hornsby Shire labour force region is defined by an area in which a significant percentage of workers travelled into the Hornsby Shire to work at the 2011 Census. Details of this calculation and a list of areas included can be found in the data notes.