Dictionary of Sydney

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Dural is in the local government areas of Hornsby and Baulkham Hills. The Aboriginal people who originally inhabited the area were the Dharug people.

Why Dural?

There is some dispute over the origin of the name 'Dural'. It has been claimed that Dural is an Aboriginal word used by the Dharug language group meaning 'gully' or 'valley'. Dural was also recorded as meaning 'valley' in surveyor James Meehan's Field Book No 128 in 1817, and the Reverend WB Clarke gives Dural the meaning of 'valley' in his diary entry of November 1840. His informant was Nurragingy, a traditional owner of the land, who was then living at North Rocks. [1]

However, until recently, Dural was also thought to mean 'burning logs', from the Aboriginal words dooral dooral. But the supposition that Dural means 'a hollow tree on fire', 'smoking hollow tree' or 'burning logs' was only introduced into the locality by the Rector of St Jude's Church in the 1940s, and was taken from the Wiradjuri language. [2]

Dural also appears in early records as Douro, Dooral and Dure Hill. [3] A map by surveyor Meehan, dated 1817, shows the location for Dural as 'Doora', and a similar word appears in the Sydney Gazette in 1805. Meehan also marked out a road between Castle Hill and Dural, but it remained a bush track until 1825, when work commenced on the Great North Road.

Forests give way to orchards

The first white men to make a living from the district were timber-getters and farmers. The forests of the Dural area stretched for miles, from Castle Hill across to Windsor, and included ironbark, blue gum, turpentine, cedar, blackbutt, mahogany and wattle trees.

The first landowner in Dural was George Hall, who received a land grant in 1819. Another early landowner in the area was George Best, whose farm became a well known landmark after the Great North Road was built through his property. [4]

The early settlers built their homes – slab huts or wattle-and-daub cottages – from the local timber. During the gold rushes, when labour was scarce, prices for sawn timber were high, and settlers in the district harvested the abundant timber and cut it in sawpits on their properties. After the timber was exhausted, grain crops of oats, wheat and barley were planted, but the land was most suited to citrus trees, and by the end of the nineteenth century the area had become an important fruit-growing district. Timber-getting and fruit growing remain the main primary industries of the area.

One of the earliest buildings was St Jude's Church, built in 1846. Between 1817 and 1846, when the foundation stone for St Jude's was laid, services were held in a school where St Jude's parish hall now stands. Some of the building materials from the old school were used in the building of the parish hall. [5]

In 1907, the New South Wales Department of Agriculture established a 40-acre (16-hectare) Orchard Experimental Farm on Galston Road at Dural. Here, research work and trials with fruit trees were carried out. Twenty-one boys, known as the Dreadnought Boys, were brought out from Great Britain to be trained at the farm with money originally raised to purchase a dreadnought battleship for Great Britain.

Dural is now a semi-rural area with some farmland and remnant forest. Land blocks average five acres (two hectares) and are popular as hobby farms.

There are three main shopping centres in Dural, as well as a country club and a hotel and motel.


[1] Ralph Hawkins, 'Hornsby Shire's Aboriginal Past', Hornsby Shire Library local studies collection, c2004, glossary

[2] Ralph Hawkins, 'Hornsby Shire's Aboriginal Past', Hornsby Shire Library local studies collection, c2004, glossary

[3] Brian Kennedy and Barbara Kennedy, Sydney Suburbs: A History and Description, Reed, Sydney, 1982

[4] 'The Doorals', Journal of the Dural and District Historical Society, vol 3, 1997, p 10

[5] The Parish of St Jude, The History of St Jude's, Dural, the parish, Dural NSW, c1970