Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

South Turramurra

CC BY-SA 2.0
Cite this

South Turramurra

South Turramurra has an area of 300 hectares and is an established residential area which is surrounded by bushland. Pockets of rainforest still remain in these areas, though open woodland predominates.

The first inhabitants of South Turramurra were the Aboriginal people believed to have been known as the Tarramerragal, and lived on the eastern side of the Lane Cove River.

The first white settler to the area was Thomas Boyd, who arrived in 1839. He had a large orchard which was subdivided in 1884. With its pockets of fertile land and good rainfall, the area supported a wide variety of fresh produce. At first, the most widely grown crop was citrus fruit, but apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries were also grown.

Development of the area dates from about 1885 when land was first subdivided and used primarily for farming.

Early growth was slow because of steep terrain and the poor state of the roads in the area. Some growth occurred in the 1920s, when many market gardens were established after the large orchards were sold and the land subdivided. Poultry farming was carried out, with one farmer, Millicent Pacey, running over 1,000 chickens in the 1930s. Vegetables and flowers were also commercially grown. The Rast Brothers' plant nursery in Kissing Point Road was well known and operated for over 80 years – during the 1930s it supplied fresh flowers to local businesses.

Subdivision and development

There were four early subdivisions in South Turramurra in the Kissing Point Road area, none of which were really successful. The first, the Lane Cove Estate, a parcel of Crown land, was advertised in 1857 and purchased by Anthony Hordern, the retailer. The land changed hands several times and was subdivided in the 1880s. The second, the Southern Estate, was for sale in 1910. The Broadway Estate evolved out of the Southern Estate and was offered for sale in 1927. The fourth, the Plateau Subdivision, was planned in three stages commencing in 1928. A sales brochure for the Plateau Estate gave a description of the area:

It is not generally known that Turramurra, although so high above sea level, enjoys almost equal facilities of a seaside resort. It is but 4 miles by good paved road to the famous 'Ku-ring-gai Chase' and that popular branch of the Hawkesbury River known as Cowan Creek. Here boating, bathing and fishing is indulged in by the visitors from all districts, and is one of the most delightful holiday grounds in Sydney. [1]

People came to live in the area because land was cheap and they could supplement their income by growing flowers and fresh produce on their large blocks of land.

Utility services were slow to develop in South Turramurra. Most houses initially had a septic tank, as the provision of sewerage to the area was not completed until 1976. Other services were also slow to be provided: electricity was connected in 1939 and until the school bus service started in 1941 there was no public transport into the suburb.

Turramurra Public School began in 1953 with an enrolment of 47 pupils and 2 teachers, while Turramurra High School opened in 1968 on the site of a former peach orchard planted by Italian migrant Luigi Angelo Iury and his wife Muriel [2] near Kissing Point Road and Maxwell Street.

Until the late 1950s and early 1960s, when significant development occurred, the area remained mainly rural, but the suburbanisation of South Turramurra commenced with the sale of land in Marcus Clark Estate, part of the original Plateau Estate. In December 1959 the South Turramurra Shopping Centre was opened, consisting of five shops.

The Kissing Point Progress Association helped shape the local community. It grew from the Kissing Point Road and District Progress Association formed before World War II. A survey carried out by the Kissing Point Progress Association and the Health Commission of New South Wales in 1974 led to the establishment of the Hillview Community and Health Resource and Information Centre, providing a range of health and community services to the community. Its building, Hillview, a large two-storey Federation style mansion, is of historic importance and is on Ku-ring-gai Council’s Heritage List.

Population and housing have remained relatively stable since 2000. In 2006 there were a total of 2,847 people living in the area, an increase of only 53 from 2001. The population density for the suburb in 2006 was 9.49 people per hectare.


Elizabeth Dokulil, How the Plateau People fed Sydney both in body & soul, the author, Sydney, 1987?

'The Plateau: Turramurra NSW', pamphlet, Sydney, 1931

Kissing Point Progress Association, South Turramurra: a special place, Kissing Point Progress Association, Sydney, 1997

Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Focus Ku-ring-gai: the story of Ku-ring-gai's growth and development, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Lindfield NSW, 1996


This entry was revised in October 2018 to incorporate new information about the history of the site of Turramurra High School.

[1] 'The Plateau: Turramurra NSW', pamphlet, Sydney, 1931, p 4

[2] Personal correspondence with Patricia O'Keeffe, nee Iury, October 2018.