Heritage Plaques

The first of the Civic Heritage Commemorative Plaques was unveiled at the Civic Centre on 22 November 2003. Since then many more plaques have been installed around the city in order to commemorate the heritage of Willoughby. The plaques provide a short description of the history of the site which you can read below.


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Corner McClelland & Warrane Roads, Willoughby East

The hall was opened on 3 July 1954 to honour the Victoria Cross winner Albert Chowne who died on active service in New Guinea. Eric Nicholls, an honorary architect of Willoughby Council and a former partner of Walter Burley Griffin, designed the hall. Due to war shortages its construction was delayed from 1945 to 1950, and even then a modified version was built. The hall was extended and refurbished several times in 1958, 1970 and again in 1981.

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476 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood

Built by Edmund Arthur Crispe, a local baker, the theatre opened in 1915. It was the grandest cinema in Willoughby. The staff dressed in formal wear. In 1921 it was remodelled in a Classical Roman style and in 1936 in the Art Deco style. Initially, entertainment before and between films was provided by a piano, then an orchestra, and in 1925 a Wurlitzer Organ. The organ was donated to Willoughby Council in 1961 when the theatre closed. The building was then used as a rehearsal and recording hall for the ABC orchestra. It was sold for commercial development in 1988.

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3 Broughton Road, Artarmon

Martha Sloan bought the land in 1908 on which the Drill Hall was built. In 1918 Herbert Sparrow Hart purchased the property and leased it to the Trustees for the Artarmon School of Arts. The School provided a lending library and recreational facilities for its members. The property was acquired by the Church of England in 1926 and renamed St Basil’s Institute and continued the work of the School. Later it became the Church Hall and was also used as a Community Centre. The Hall played an important role in the social life of local residents as a venue for activities such as regular local theatrical productions. In 1980 the Hall was sold for redevelopment.

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McMillan Road, Artarmon

The Infants School opened in 1910 with Miss Eliza Cowan as the first teacher. In 1917 primary classes were added and in the same year a permanent Headmaster, Mr John Pugh, was appointed. In 1928 a new building was erected on the western side of Abbott Road. A class for gifted children was added in 1936 and in 1947 it was classified as a school for special purposes.

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Hampden Road, Artarmon

Artarmon Station opened on 6/7/1898 with a single platform on the down side of a single line from St Leonards to Hornsby, 624 metres north of its present position. It was replaced with a new island platform in the current location on 7/10/1900 as the trains had difficulty starting on the 1 in 52 grade at the old station. The original timber building was re-erected on the platform. In 1908 the building was improved and signals were installed. On 15/7/1916 the standard type brick station building that we see today was opened. The electrification of the line started in 1927 and took five years to complete.

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234 Boundary Street, Castle Cove

Robert Henry and Rhoda Louise Williams, members of the Anthroposophical Society of Australia, ran a one acre biodynamic farm on land purchased from The Greater Sydney Development Association in 1938. In 1939-40 they built a brick home called Hawana (aboriginal for wildflowers) on the property which was designed by Eric Nicholls. Robert worked on the farm after his regular working hours and at week-ends. Goats, poultry, herbs and vegetables were grown. There was a laboratory on the farm to make biodynamic preparations. Robert lectured widely on aspects of biodynamic farming and suitable pastures to grow in different areas. When Robert died in 1984, supporters started The Robert Williams Biodynamic Agriculture Foundation.

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98 Sailors Bay Road, Northbridge

This private school catered for up to 65 local children to early high school level. It  was established about 1922, probably at St. Marks Church of England at its original site in Sailors Bay Road. In 1924 the school was relocated to 100-110 Sailors Bay Road and included ”Moama” (now no.98), the residence of Mrs Blanch Bailey the principal. Bailey’s Hall was part of the house, and was used by the school and the community for meetings and social events. It is believed to be the first school in Northbridge and existed to the middle 1940s.

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Pyalla Street, Northbridge

W J Canning’s purchase of a three-acre site at the end of Pyalla Street in 1914 led to the establishment of perhaps the largest of several sandstone quarries in the Northbridge area. Canning’s quarry, which was bounded by Pyalla and Nulgarra streets, was said to have supplied stone to almost every home in Northbridge during the early development of the suburb. The site was sold to Edward Gillham and Joseph Green in 1919, with Gillham retaining sole ownership from 1929. The quarry remained in operation until around the time of his death on June 30, 1940. Long since returned to its native state, the disused quarry now forms part of Flat Rock Gully.

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Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag

The south side of the shopping centre contains the Griffin Centre, designed by Walter Burley Griffin and built in 1924. Lot 2 contains two shops, built in 1926, and a shed built in 1928 which was converted to an Esso Service Station in 1952 by the owner, John Henry Foster Bennett. In 1956 an Ampol Petrol Station opened on the site of the timber sheds of T J Warner’s Waratah dairy. In 1979 the petrol station sites, together with the Commonwealth Bank, became the Quadrangle.

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265 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood

Quarry Lodge was built in 1898 for J J Perry and was subsequently acquired by Dr W R Oliver who bequeathed it in 1925 for use as a community hospital. The Ku-ring-gai Community Hospital opened as a private hospital in 1927. It became a public hospital admitting private patients in 1955. The name was changed to Chatswood District Community Hospital in 1965. The hospital closed in June 1989, becoming a nursing home on 23 March 1990.

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