A pocket history of leafy Terrey Hills

Along with North Narrabeen, Narrabeen, Elanora Heights, Ingleside and Warriewood, Terrey Hills is one of the leafy suburbs that we love.

The pretty little suburb is soaked in just as much history as the rest of the area so let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this best-kept secret.

Where is Terrey Hills?

Terrey Hills is on the outskirts of the region known as the Northern Beaches and sits adjacent to the neighbouring Upper North Shore. Only 25 kilometres from the Sydney CBD, Terrey Hills is far enough away from the hustle and bustle while still being close enough to work in the city.

Terrey Hills is the very definition of a leafy suburb and, in some areas, is even classified as semi-rural, with many people having room on their properties for stables and horses. You will find some magnificent estates as well as comfortable family homes.

The suburb has a fantastic community feel and is popular with mountain bikers, who head up to visit the local trails.

The early history of Terrey Hills

Terrey Hills is Guringai Country, with the Indigenous peoples of that name being the original inhabitants. There is still evidence of the original Guringai people in Terrey Hills, including ancient rock carvings that depict whales, kangaroos and fish. The nearby Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is actually considered to be one of the most concentrated sources of Aboriginal heritage sites in Australia.

Despite what you may assume about the name because it sits high above the seaside, Terrey Hills is named after two original landholders, Samuel Hills and Obediah James Terrey.

The area’s modern history dates back to 1881, when Obediah Terrey acquired 2.6 square kilometres of land in 1881. Samuel Hills owned 0.4 square kilometres nearby. The suburb became official with the opening of the post office on the 17th of June 1935.

The laterite capital

One of Terrey Hills’ claims to fame is that it is known as the ‘laterite capital of the Sydney basin’.

Laterite is a soil and rock form rich in iron and aluminium. Laterite from the area was used extensively in building roads in the early days of Terrey Hills, as well as for building rock sea walls at Collaroy Beach.

Two laterite quarries in Terrey Hills are now heritage listed. This original main quarry is now the Terrey Hills playing field, and a smaller quarry at the unusually-named location of Tumbledown Dick (more on that in a moment) is now a heritage-listed site.

Notable sites in Terrey Hills

Tumbledown Dick is the name of a spur on Mona Vale Road, where the landscape rises for a short stretch. The colourfully named road has an equally colourful story behind its naming. Local legend has it that there was either an old horse or an old bullock named ‘Dick’ that would always collapse at that part of the road. Sadly, this tale is likely apocryphal as the name Tumbledown Dick has precedent as a pub in England and as the name given to Oliver Cromwell’s third son, Richard Cromwell, by Richard’s enemies.

McCarrs Creek Road Drive: Terrey Hills is the starting point for McCarrs Creek Road Drive. This scenic drive takes you through bushland and rainforest gully before popping you out by the waterside at Church Point. On the way, you can stop off at Upper Gledhill Falls on McCarrs Creek for a picturesque spot or take the kids for a swim at the Duck Holes, a series of swimming holes in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Watch out for bush turkeys and for cyclists, who love to test themselves on this winding and steep stretch of road, particularly on weekend mornings.

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park: Speaking of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, a visit to the Terrey Hills area would not be complete without a visit to this stunning national park. The Duck Holes are just one of many amazing spots to check out in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, including the Terrey Hills Perimeter Trail, an 11.9 km loop that takes you through some glorious local bushland. You can stop in and enjoy the impressive vistas at Akuna Bay, or head right up to West Head Lookout, where you can see across to Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Lion Island, and spot a goanna or two.

Schools: Terrey Hills is home to several international schools, including a Japanese school and a German school, as well as the Northern Beaches Christian School and the top-quality Terrey Hills Public School.

Dining: You can’t go past Kaiser Stub’n, a local institution. Book a table for traditional Austrian schnitzels or sausage, and come hungry because you simply can’t say no to schnapps and apfel strudel at the end of the meal.

The final benefit of Terrey Hills is the affordable property options and bushland setting within an easy drive to Warriewood Square, Belrose Bunnings and Super Centre, and of course Mona Vale and Warriewood Beach.

Looking for a home in this area? Contact us today.

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