Ku-ring-gai Historical Society Inc
incorporating the
Ku-ring-gai Family History Centre

Wahroonga

With an Aboriginal meaning of ‘our home’, Wahroonga is one of Ku-ring-gai’s delightful residential suburbs – many locals would claim it to be Ku-ring-gai’s finest and certainly one street, Burns Road, has been reported as being one of ‘Sydney’s best streets’.

 
Coonanbarra Road (as in early 1900s : as in June 2008)

Early Settlers

The major original lessee of land within the suburb was Thomas Hyndes, a convict who became a wealthy land owner and timber-getter.  From 1822, he had the lease of 2000 acres, just north of Robert Pymble’s holding, which in 1842 was granted to John Terry Hughes, who shortly afterwards was declared bankrupt.  In 1838 Hyndes received a grant of 640 acres in the area now bounded by the highway, Fox Valley Road and Pearce’s Corner, in present day Wahroonga.  Fox Valley Road was a major early access route for timber-getters and orchardists.  Hyndes’ original 2000 acre holding covers much of North Wahroonga.  He became a man of some substance, with land holdings in other areas, including the wharf on the Lane Cove River which bore his name.

Hyndes’ land was acquired by John Brown, a hard working timber-getter and merchant, known as ‘Squire Brown’.  His holdings ultimately amounted to his goal of a square mile of land, and at one stage he employed one hundred pairs of pit-sawyers for the supply of timber for the Pyrmont and Glebe Island bridges.  Ada, Lucinda and Roland Avenues are named after three of his children.  As his land was cleared of timber, Brown planted orchards.

Aaron Pierce, a timber-getter, built a slab hut on land purchased in 1835, and it was his presence that resulted in the initial naming of the township of Pearce’s Corner which developed at the intersection of the present day Pacific Highway and Pennant Hills Road.  The transformation from Pierce to Pearce (and the loss of the apostrophe) seems to have occurred mid century.  It is said that, timber-getting being thirsty work, illicit stills developed around the area.

As happened elsewhere, when the timber-getters moved to areas on the south and north coasts of New South Wales where suitable timber was more accessible, and transport by sea was available, they were replaced by orchardists.

© Ku-ring-gai Historical Society Inc.