There are four suburbs within West Ward:
- Chatswood (Yellow)
- Chatswood West (Pink)
- Lane Cove North (Grey)
- Roseville (Green)
There is a story about the naming of the suburbs:
The Naming West Ward’s Suburbs
Prior to 2006 there were no defined suburb boundaries in the City of Willoughby.
Around 2004 the Geographical Names Board of NSW directed Council to gazette suburb boundaries. The outcome was that West Ward is now comprised of parts of four suburbs: Chatswood, Chatswood West, Lane Cove North and Roseville. (Prior to the gazettal of suburb boundaries the names in common use were Chatswood, Chatswood West, West Chatswood, Lane Cove West and Roseville).
In the lead up to gazettal Willoughby Council officers started publishing documents where they showed the whole area west of the Pacific Highway was to be known as Chatswood West and east of the Pacific Highway was to be Chatswood. A simple bureaucratic approach perhaps, but not community referenced.
The Geographical Names Board published guidelines for mapping the boundaries. These included running boundaries at the rear of properties so that houses in the same street are not in two separate suburbs. Alternatively, they suggested using natural features such as a creek to define suburb boundaries.
Traditionally, Chatswood extended on both side of the Pacific Highway. There is still (2018) an old locality sign in front of the Great Northern Hotel in Mowbray Road West that proclaims ‘Chatswood’. Similarly the public schools to the west of the highway are named ‘Chatswood’. At one stage, there was a small Post Office in the Greville St shops call Chatswood West Post Office. Further west, is the Chatswood West Bowling Club. Many people who lived in houses between Boundary St and William St referred to themselves as living in Roseville. The south western end of the ward was traditionally called Lane Cove West whereas the north western section was known variously as Chatswood West or West Chatswood.
The first decision was to propose the boundary between Chatswood and Chatswood West. The initial thought was that the boundary might go roughly across Fullers Rd before Greville Street (this would acknowledge the location of the former Chatswood West PO and give the proposed suburb of Chatswood West some scale. In public submissions, it was not unusual to observe that people living next to each other claimed to be living in different ‘suburbs’. There were many in the community who were interested in maximising their property investment and wanted to be included in Chatswood (from a real estate perspective, Chatswood property was more highly valued than Chatswood West property). With this in mind, the boundary, although first proposed at Greville Street, was drawn up using natural features behind the Acoustics Laboratory (now Church of Scientology) and all the way around to Mowbray Rd West.
Residents of the proposed Chatswood West were given the option of having the name West Chatswood which some had used. At the time, land on the Ryde side of the Lane Cove River was known as West Chatswood. The majority preferred Chatswood West.
It was originally decided to confirm the traditional boundary for Roseville at William Street. However, local residents between William and Ashley Street petitioned that the boundary be extended to Ashley Street (against the wishes of one Councilor who said the area had always been called Chatswood).
The area extending to the Epping Highway, traditionally known as Lane Cove West was offered a number of alternatives including Lane Cove River, The Cliffs or Lane Cove North. Lane Cove Council was in the process of suggesting that their area near here to be called Lane Cove North and that was what the majority of Willoughby residents preferred. The boundary for the Lane Cove North suburb was the boundary between the 2066 Lane Cove and 2067 Chatswood/Chatswood West postcode. (Roseville is in the 2069 postcode whilst Chatswood and Chatswood West are within the 2067 postcode).
So, that was that.
There are other spatial boundaries that cover West Ward. As mentioned above, we include three postcodes – 2066, 2067 and 2069. However, 2066 and 2069 are shared with neighbouring Councils.
The West Ward boundary itself can change from time to time due to fluctuating population numbers and the need to keep ward numbers within 10% of each other. As the Chatswood CBD grows in population, we have seen a ‘shrinking” of the ward boundary towards the Pacific Highway. It should also be noted that the suburbs of Chatswood and Roseville extend into neighbouring wards.
Generally, suburbs cover relatively large areas. People on the other hand tend to identify with an area near where they live, often termed their ‘neighbourhood’. In West Ward, the Progress Association had (c. 1995) defined localities to assist with the distribution of their newsletter Now that the suburb boundaries have been gazetted, we could have a new look at identifying neighbourhoods.
Another aspect of the West Ward geographically is that it is the only Ward with a single Progress Association covering the entire area. Most other Wards have two (or more often three Associations) active within their boundaries.
Did formally naming suburbs achieve anything? One wonders, when after boundaries were established Council officers named the new Library and community spaces along Mowbray Rd West the ‘West Chatswood Library’ (even though it is within Lane Cove North).
Terry Fogarty, Chatswood West Ward Councilor 1995 – 2012