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Suburb Profile - Hornsby

Hornsby is a suburb on the Upper North Shore of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia 25 kilometres (16 mi) north-west of the Sydney central business district. It is the administrative centre of the local government area of Hornsby Shire.


The name Hornsby is derived from Convict-turned-Constable Samuel Henry Horne, who took part in the apprehension of bushrangers Dalton and MacNamara on 22 June 1830. In return he was granted land which he named Hornsby Place.

The first European settler in the area was Thomas Higgins, who received a grant of land in Old Mans Valley. A railway station named "Hornsby Junction" opened on 17 September 1886 to the north of the town of Hornsby, which had developed on the site of Horne's grant. It formed the junction of the Northern Line and the North Shore Line which were yet to be completed at that time. Hornsby station was one stop further south on the Northern Line. Due to confusion by commuters alighting at the incorrect station expecting to transfer to a connecting train, the old Hornsby station was renamed Normanhurst on 17 November 1898 after prominent local activist and engineer Norman Selfe, while the Hornsby Junction station assumed the current name of Hornsby.

The first Hornsby Post Office opened on 1 August 1864, and was renamed South Hornsby on 1 May 1900, the same day Hornsby Junction office near the railway station (open since 1887) was renamed Hornsby. The latter office remains open; the South Hornsby office was renamed Normanhurst in 1905.

The Hornsby Shire Council was established in 1906. In 1961, The Westfield Group built a shopping mall at Hornsby, making it one of the first suburbs in Sydney with a modern-style shopping centre. A competing shopping centre, Northgate, opened in 1979 but was eventually bought by Westfield. In late 1999, the two sites were amalgamated when the original Westfield was demolished and Northgate was renovated to create the new Westfield Hornsby which opened in November 2001.


Hornsby is 25 kilometres (16 mi) by train from the Sydney central business district and is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi) by road. Hornsby railway station is a junction of two branches of the North Shore, Northern & Western Line of the Sydney Trains network. There are frequent railway services to the central business district via Macquarie Park or via Gordon. Hornsby is also a major transport junction of Northern Sydney with Intercity and Express trains stopping here on the way to the Central Coast, Newcastle and further north.

Bus services operate from Hornsby Station Interchange. Services are operated by both Transdev & Hillsbus to local residential areas such as Hornsby, Westleigh, Normanhurst, Thornleigh, Wahroonga and Turramurra. Services also operate to Macquarie Park, Macquarie University, Castle Hill and the Metrobus M60 to Parramatta via Cherrybrook, Castle Hill & Baulkham Hills

The Pacific Highway, which passes through Hornsby, was formerly the main road link between Sydney and north-eastern Australia. The completion of the Pacific Motorway (F3), which has its southern end at the neighbouring suburb of Wahroonga, means that the heavy traffic now bypasses the already busy Hornsby town area.

Commercial areas

Hornsby Shire Council Chambers

Hornsby remains a busy commercial centre, just as it was a century ago. Over the years, the town centre has developed distinct characteristics on either side of the railway line.

The western side consists of a traditional high street shopping village along the Old Pacific Highway. A short section of the highway north of the shops still has several antique lamp posts preserved. On the eastern side of the highway from south to north are the police station, the court house and the historic Hornsby Shire Council chamber (built in two stages in 1915 and 1930). On the western side is Hornsby Park with the new Hornsby Aquatic Centre complex currently under construction and also Hornsby TAFE. A large war memorial and the adjacent RSL Club is located at the southern end of the shops.

The eastern side is dominated by Westfield Hornsby, a shopping centre, which features two department stores a Myer & David Jones, an Event Cinemas multiplex, 335 stores, a food court and several restaurants. The intersection of Florence Street and Hunter Street became a pedestrian mall in the early 1990s. At the centre of the pedestrian mall is a large water clock sculpture, designed by Victor Cusack. The public library is also located in this area.

The north-western side of the suburb is occupied by various industries and the northern end of Hornsby features a major Cityrail railway workshop.

Residential areas

Residential areas, consisting of low-to-medium density housing, are located on both sides of the railway line. Many of residential areas on the western side of the train line enjoy bushy surrounds and close proximity to Regional and National Parks, as well as the beautiful Lisgar Gardens.

In recent years, high-rise apartments have been constructed adjacent to the train line as part of the NSW state planning policies to allow medium to high density development along transport corridors.


Hornsby is home to a number of schools, including primary schools Hornsby North Public School, Hornsby South Public School and Clarke Road Special School and the secondary schools Barker College and Hornsby Girls' High School, which is a selective school. There is also a TAFE College at the north-western side of Hornsby.


Hornsby has long been associated with Ginger Meggs, a cartoon by Jimmy Bancks who grew up in Hornsby, which has appeared in Australian newspapers since 1921.

The local newspaper that serves the area is the Hornsby Advocate, owned by the Cumberland Newspaper Group.

Hornsby Aquatic Centre

Hornsby Aquatic Centre, which was built in 1962, had reached the end of its safe working life, and was closed on Friday 24 December 2010. Hornsby Shire Council is currently constructing a new centre on the site to be opened in early 2014.


In the 2011 Census, there were 19,863 people in Hornsby (State Suburbs) of these 48.8% were male and 51.2% were female. The median age of people in Hornsby (State Suburbs) was 35 years. The most common ancestries in Hornsby (State Suburbs) were Australian 19.1%, Iranian 17.6%, Chinese 13.8%, Irish 5.5% and Indian 5.0%.

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