Dictionary of Sydney

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Roseville is the southernmost suburb of Ku-ring-gai and includes a small section outside the municipality, south of Boundary Road. Its gazetted boundaries are Boundary Street, Corona Avenue, Abingdon and Bayswater roads, Chelmsford Avenue, Carnarvon Road and Marjorie Road and Moore's Creek. It has an area of 424 hectares.

Early landholders

The original inhabitants were the Aboriginal people who had lived there for thousands of years. One of the first European settlers to arrive in the area was William Henry, who began farming on land beside the Lane Cove River in 1814. In 1821 Michael Fitzgerald was given the first land grant, which covered an area from Boundary Street to the present Rifleway. A second land grant to William Henry linked to his original land. Henry sold his land grant in 1828, but it remained farmland until the 1890s, when two Chinese market gardeners, Why Tiy and Kwong Shing, took over the lease. They established extensive market gardens, which operated until the 1900s.

In 1819, Daniel Dering Mathew, a timber-getter, merchant, architect and magistrate, acquired a grant of 400 acres (160 hectares) and named it Clanville Estate. In 1830, he sold this land to Richard Archbold, who cleared it and established orchards, hiring convicts to work on his property. The orchards were kept running by the family until the death of Archbold's wife, Mary, in 1850. Archbold's cottage, Roseville, gave its name to the suburb. The produce from the orchards was transported via Dick's Road (after Richard Archbold), now Grosvenor Road, down to the Lane Cove River to be ferried to Sydney. The Archbold estate was subdivided into residential blocks with the coming of the railway in the 1890s, when the cottage was demolished.

The Bate family settled in the area in the 1830s. Samuel Bate, surveyor of distilleries and head of the family, built a two-storey wooden house, which was occupied by his son John and his family. In 1842 John Bate reported to the Colonial Secretary that the shores of Middle Harbour were being overrun by 'Malay and Manila' squatters who were illegally logging on Crown land. In 1861 part of the Bate landholdings was sold to Thomas Moore, a coachbuilder, who is commemorated by Moores Creek, which flows under and across Archbold Road. In 1892, the Bate home, Echo Farm, became a home for inebriates run by the temperance societies. Renamed Resthaven, its most famous resident was Henry Lawson in 1898.

Railways and subdivision

In 1890, Roseville railway station was opened and provided the impetus for development. In the next few decades, the main roads were improved and transport systems flourished, leading the way for the sale of subdivisions advertised with enticing names: Dividend Estate (1893), Park View Estate (1910–15) and the Hilltop Estate (1915–20).

In 1924, Middle Harbour Bridge was opened, as were the adjacent Roseville Baths. In 1939, Eastern Valley Way was constructed as a supplementary arterial road to the Pacific Highway. Residential development increased along the eastern section of Babbage Road after World War II and became particularly attractive to returning servicemen. Babbage Road was named after Eden Herschel Babbage, a banker and grandson of the computer pioneer Charles Babbage. He settled in Roseville in 1903 and lived at Rawhiti. He led the Roseville Progress Association to build footpaths along the foreshore of Roseville Chase, north of Babbage Road, which was dedicated as recreational land in 1892. The building of Roseville Bridge in 1966 led to increased traffic on Babbage Road, severing the connections of the suburb with Roseville proper. Today, Roseville Chase is a pocket-sized community surrounded by bush with a village-like atmosphere. It has a very active Bushcare Group devoted to conserving the natural environment and the streetscape.

Suburban development

Twentieth century suburbanisation can be traced through the arrival of services. The first shop in Roseville along the main road was a general store and local newsagent, opened in 1905 by Mrs H McLellan. The existing post office was opened in 1925. In 1929, the Bank of New South Wales opened for business at an agency in Hill Street until the construction of new premises in 1937. In 1908, Roseville College opened on the corner of Archbold Road and Victoria Street. The Methodist Church in Lord Street opened in 1907 and the nearby Presbyterian Church in 1918. The Anglican church on the corner of Hill Street and Bancroft Avenue was opened in 1913. The construction of a Congregational church in Shirley Road (now New Church) started in the same year. There is no Catholic church in the suburb.

Roseville Public School in Archbold Road was opened as an infants school in 1913 and as a primary school in 1923. The Roseville Golf Club on Links Avenue opened in 1923. During World War I the area north-east of the present golf course was designated as a training ground for army engineers. Roseville Memorial RSL Club opened in 1946 at 64 Pacific Highway. East Roseville Bowling Club on Warrane Road opened in 1952.

Roseville Cinema has had an interesting and varied history: originally a hall and community centre, it has been both a Congregational church and a preparatory school. Its transformation into a cinema began when it became Traynor's Picture Palace in 1919, a full-scale cinema in 1936 under the ownership of DB O'Connor, and in 1974 a top-rate suburban cinema under the ownership of Hans van Pinxteren. It was renovated and extended to accommodate two screens in 1995.


Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Focus on Ku-ring-gai, Gordon, 1996

Godden Mackay Logan Keys Young, 'Roseville', 'Ku-ring-gai Heritage and Neighbourhood Character Study, Draft Report', 2000, pp 95–114