At the time of Arthur Phillips’ arrival at Port Jackson in 1788 the area now known as the City of Willoughby was known as the North Shore (of Sydney Harbour).
According to Russell (p.15) the earliest land grants on the North Shore were made in 1794. On the 30th October grants of 30 ac (12 hectares) were made to four settlers to:
- Henry Hacking;
- Robert Watson;
- Obadiah Ikin, and
- Thomas Whittle)
in what is now the Municipality of Lane Cove. At the time the area was part of the District of North Willoughby .Shortly after, on the 19th November, 1794 land grants of 25 ac (10 hectare) each were made to 14 settlers:
- William Walker
- George Loder (or Loader)
- Daniel Carr
- Charles Robinson
- John Roberts
- Daniel Currey
- George Tilley
- Gilbert Goodlet
- Thomas Baker
- Henry Lamb
- John Sawyer
- John Darks
- George Whitfield, and
- John Taylor
in what was described as being the North Side of the Harbour of Port Jackson. These grants were all within current day Willoughby. Three of the grants (which three?), appear to lie within the current suburb of Chatswood (citation). The others are within current day Artarmon.
A circa. 1880 map shows the location of John Fleming’s allotment next to two other blocks owned by William Hall and Benjamin Johns (it is assumed that the original grantees would have sold their allotments to those two).
It appears that in 1795 the area to rge south of Mowbray Rd (extending toward present day Artarmon) was known as the District of Hunter’s Hill.
The outline of these early land grants are shown on the map (p.14 Russell, 1965).
There is reference to a 1799 map with a note besides references to grants saying “The whole district deserted“.
The area east of the Land Cove River was also part of the District of Hunters Hill. Later the western part of the District of Hunters Hill was known as Lane Cove.
On 18th December, 1805 a grant of 200 ac (80 hectare) in the District of Hunter’s Hill was given to Isaac Nichols. Nichols called this grant “King’s Plains”. This grant straddles the present-day railway station and part of the Chatswood shopping centre. In 1806, Nichols offered for sale 500 acres in the District of Hunters Hill. It is unclear when/how Nichols acquired that land (although he appears have received another grant of 380 acres on 1st January, 1810.
In 1835, NSW was divided into counties. The area of what is now greater Sydney was called the County of Cumberland. Within the County of Cumberland were thirteen distinct and separate ‘Hundreds”.(areas of approximately one hundred square miles. The ‘Hundred’ covering the North Shore was the ‘Hundred of Packenham’. This was further divided into five Parishes, including the Parish of Willoughby. This encompassed present day Willoughby and Lane Cove Council areas.
In May 1865, sixty-seven citizen residents in the rural District of Willoughby petitioned, praying for the incorporation of the Municipality of Willoughby. The Municipality of North Willoughby was proclaimed on 23 October 1865.
In 1866, North Willoughby had been divided into two Wards: North Sydney and Lane Cove River. In 1879 these became East Ward and River Ward. In 1895 River Ward became the separate Municipality of Lane Cove, and Willoughby was re-subdivided into Naremburn, Chatswod and Middle Harbour Wards
At some time Willoughby was divided into five Wards: Middle Harbour, Northbridge, Naremburm, East and West Wards. (???????)
Later still, East Ward was eliminated (to reduce the number of Councillors and tyhe Wards became Middle Harbour, Saliors Bay, Naremburn and Chatswood, West Ward, (??????)
25 ac = 10 hect