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History of Artarmon

The earliest land grants in the Artarmon area were made in 1794-1796, by Major Francis Grose of the NSW Corps. In 1810, Governor Macquarie granted 150 acres to the Provost Marshall for NSW, William Gore. Gore bought out his neighbours and by 1815 owned most of the land as far west as the Pacific Highway. Gore named his farm “Ardtermon Castle” in County Sligo, Ireland. However, by 1818, Gore had lost all but a small portion of land on which he built Artarmon House (the site of the Northern Sydney Institute/Crows Nest College).

Artarmon railway station was opened in 1898 and residential subdivision followed immediately after.

Most houses in the suburb were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 was a major catalyst to development in Willoughby and the North Shore generally.

The east side of Artarmon, now the Artarmon Conservation Area (see below), was developed in two stages. The major streets (e.g. Artarmon Road and Muttama Road) were partially developed prior to World War I. Consequently, they are characterised by development from the Federation era. There are also some villas and houses of this period along early transport routes, such as Sydney Road.

The bulk of the area was developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s and is predominantly bungalow development with a few semi-detached cottages on the eastern edge. Some two storey flat buildings, dating from the 1930’s, are located closer to the station.

From the 1980’s to the present there has been another generational change in Artarmon, resulting in a wave of renovations.

The opening of the express way in 1982 has made the city much more accessible from Artarmon.

There are now three main parts to Artarmon: the east (characterised by wide leafy streets and free standing houses), the west (with a combination of units, townhouses, semi-detached and free-standing houses) and the light industrial area.

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Conservation policy

East Artarmon is now a conservation area created by Willoughby City Council under planning law to help protect its distinctive character from unsympathetic development. Developments within the area must now be compatible with surrounding buildings/developments.

East Artarmon’s distinctive architecture and streetscape are still mostly intact. Restrictive covenants have been placed on developments since initial subdivision and sale from 1898 onwards. These covenants maintained single storey dwellings and restricted building materials to substantially brick or stone, with tile or slate roofing. In addition, subdivision has featured streets laid out in a regular, linear pattern with wide nature strips.

In 1989, the Urban Conservation Committee of the National Trust recommended that East Artarmon be placed on its register in recognition of the intactness of its Federation and Californian bungalow style houses. Willoughby City Council followed the National Trust’s decision by listing the Artarmon Conservation Area under its Local Environment Plan 1995 and specifically under Development Control Plan No.19. This gave it statutory control over the type of development in the area.

For more information on the Conservation Area controls, see the Willoughby DCP.
Map of the Conservation Area   arrow

(Information has been drawn from Willoughby City Council. The APA acknowledges and thanks these sources but does not warrant this information.)

February 2009 Gazette Article
Artarmon is outstanding for its early 20thC intact streetscapes. Our Federation and Californian Bungalow houses and the orginal subdivision pattern are distinctive and attractive and relatively unchanged since first laid down.
For more details click here arrow

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Heritage News & Events

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Business in Artarmon in the 1930s - Historical Advertisements from APA Annual Reports arrow
Hampden Road 2007
Hampden Road, Artarmon 2007
Hampden Road shopping centre c1910
Hampden Road Shopping Centre c1910


Artarmon shops, pre 1915
Artarmon Shops, pre 1915
Click on images above for larger view

B & W photos courtesy of Local History Collection at Willoughby City Library
Original Artarmon Shops
Artarmon Shops 2008


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