Chatswood (Willoughby) was settled from the west with early settlers venturing up the Lane Cove River. Exploration of the river started soon after first settlement at Sydney in 1788. However, it was not until 1794 that the first land grants were made in the vicinity of Mowbray Rd, Pacific Highway and Beaconsfield Road.
The first permanent settlement in West Ward (and possibly the city – check Artarmon history) was along the Lane Cove River in 1829 by William Henry who had a grant of 1,000 acres from Blue Gum Creek to Burns Bay along the river and up to the Nicholls land (more precision required). in 1807, Henry had already been granted 1,000 acres of land between Blue Gum Creek to Fiddens Wharf where he had established Millwood Farm. (Henry created the track from Millwood Farm to the Gordon Road now known as Fullers Rd).
was at Millwood Farm, 1,000 acres stretching from Blue Gum Creek (a current boundary of Willoughby City) t
In these early days of settlement the northern side of Port Jackson was known as the North Shore. Later the area east of the Lane Cove River came to be known as the District of Hunter’s Hill. Still later, the name Lane Cove was given to the western part of that District.
The process of bringing ‘local government’ to the Colony progressed when in 1836 New South Wales was divided into a number of Counties. What is now the greater metropolitan area of Sydney became the County of Cumberland. Within the County there were thirteen districts and separate Hundreds. A large part of the North Shore lay within the Hundred of Packenham. A subdivision of the Hundred of Packenham produced five parishes – Broken Bay, Gordon, Narrabeen, Manly Cove and Willoughby.
In 1865, sixty-seven citizens resident in the Rural District of Willoughby petitioned the Governor to incorporate the Municipality of Willoughby. It was incorporated the same year but as the Municipality of North Willoughby. The first municipality on the North Shore to be incorporated.
In 1866 North Willoughby had been divided into two Wards (North Sydney and Lane Cove River – the boundary was the old Gordon Road (Pacific Highway). This sub-division would have reflected the distribution of the population with roughly equal numbers in each of the Wards. In 1879 the North Sydney Ward was renamed East Ward and the other Ward named River Ward. In 1895 River Ward became the separate Municipality of Lane Cove. East ward was divided into Naremburn, Chatsworth/Chatswood and Middle Harbour Wards. Subsequently, Chatswood Ward was divided into East and West )thus creating four Wards).
in 1906 the Local Government Act abolished the Borough and Municipal Districts creating instead Municipalities and Shires (need to introduce the term borough earlier above)
The the term of Mayor Muston (1890-91) the ‘North’ of North Willoughby was changed so the ‘borough’ became Municipality of Willoughby.
In 1896 there was a proposal to separate Chatswood Ward (but did not proceed).
Willoughby became a city in 1996.
In 1997 there were five Wards: West, East,
At the 2001, after a poll taken with the election, it was agreed to reduce the city to four Wards (East Ward was dropped).