Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Old Mans Valley

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Old Mans Valley

Old Mans Valley (or Old Man Valley) lies to the west of the Pacific Highway in the suburb of Hornsby.

The valley was named by Thomas Higgins, who was granted land there in 1824. Before this, it was home to the Dharug people to the west and Ku-ring-gai people to the east. Higgins was the son of a convict transported on the Second Fleet. He is believed to have named the valley after an old man kangaroo that frequented the area.

Higgins was the first European settler granted land in the vicinity of Hornsby, and his family lived in the valley for three generations. They began by timber getting and expanded by developing sawpits, orchards and market gardens. As the valley was a volcanic crater, the soil was fertile. For the same reason, it was a plentiful source of the mineral dolerite, which was quarried throughout the twentieth century for use as blue metal. With the expansion of the quarry, the farmers left the valley, but the Higgins family cemetery still exists, and has recently been restored by volunteers.


Claire Schofield, The Shaping of Hornsby Shire, Hornsby Shire Council, Hornsby, New South Wales, 1988, pp 31–2, 143, 213

Hedley Somerville, A Bit More Ginger, the author, Hornsby, New South Wales, 2006, p 156