St Ives

2008
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St Ives

St Ives is a suburb of Ku-ring-gai, the traditional land of the Guringgai (also spelt Guringai) tribe. The area was originally known as Rosedale after the first land grant in the area. The suburb is bordered by Cowan Creek, the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden and St Ives Showground to the north, Garigal National Park to the east, Ridge Creek and Eastern Arterial Road to the south, and a section of Pymble Golf Course, and a branch of Cowan Creek to the west. It is not certain why the suburb was named St Ives in 1900 but most likely it was after the town of St Ives in Cornwall or after Isaac Ellis Ives, who was a Member of the Legislative Assembly for St Leonards in 1885-1889 and who worked hard to secure a post office and school for the district. The suburb is 16 kilometres north of Sydney CBD. It has a total area of 1,439 hectares and the 2001 census lists its population at 13,852.

Timbergetting was the first industry in the Ku-ring-gai area and horse teams drank from the water trough on Cowan Road at St Ives which was one of the more than 500 horse troughs across Australia placed by George and Annis Bills. Daniel Mathew was the first person to own land in the district. His grant of 1823 was called Rosedale. A year later he established the first sawmill in Ku-ring-gai on the corner of Cowan Road and Stoney Creek Road (now Mona Vale Road). [1]

Other early landowners were Michael Ansell, whose grant of 1823 was called Macquarie Farm, and John Ayres, whose 320-acre (129.5-hectare) grant, Rosedale Farm, was located in the heart of the orchard area. When the most valuable timber had been removed from the district in the 1850s and 1860s, John Ayres and Daniel Mathew sold their lands for farming and orchards. Orchards were established along Cowan Creek Road from the early 1890s and around the same time Chinese market gardeners worked much of the area now called the Village Green. [2]

St Ives, with its growing population, was the only settlement in the Ku-ring-gai Shire without a rail service so it did not develop along railway lines like the other suburbs in Ku-ring-gai. The area developed instead along Pittwater Road which had been built as a timber route to Pittwater around 1820.

Another major transport route was Stoney Creek Road (now Mona Vale Road), which was constructed by Daniel Mathew to take timber from his sawmill to Sydney.

By 1890 St Ives had churches, a school and a post office, which opened in November 1885. Large orchards remained intact until the 1930s. In the 1920s a number of Italian families took up farms in the area.

It still remained predominantly rural in the 1950s with market gardens, smaller orchards, piggeries and small farms. Many of the postwar settlers were of Italian origin. In 1946 land in St Ives was used as a prisoner of war camp and captured Italian soldiers were housed there. At least one inmate later became a resident. Recently many families from South Africa have settled in the district. [3]

The St Ives Show reflects the rural history of the area. Originally held at Hassell Park and promoted by the St Ives Fruit Growers Association, it is now organised by the Northern Suburbs Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and is held annually at the St Ives Showground on Mona Vale Road. It has grown to be a popular attraction within the municipality.

The wildflower garden near St Ives showground is another popular attraction. Ku-ring-gai Council set aside 37 acres (15 hectares) of bushland in 1962; it now provides 123 hectares of urban bushland. Another large tract of bushland retained in the area is the Garigal National Park.

Centrally located, Hassell Park at St Ives was gazetted as a public recreation area in 1898 and was used variously as a showground, a public recreation area and a training ground for troops during World War II.

In 1944 Ku-ring-gai Council commissioned a plan for a residential garden suburb to be called Rosedale Gardens in part of the St Ives area. A 20-acre (8-hectare) site was resumed by council in 1946 and the plan extended to include a memorial garden, playing field and sites for buildings. [4]

St Ives has a larger amount of flat land than the rest of Ku-ring-gai and much of it is on the ridge top with flat to mildly undulating streets, making building easier. This made it ideal for residential development. The New South Wales Housing Commission acquired land in 1954 and built weatherboard homes for immigrants and returned servicemen. [5] Many family homes were built between 1961 and 1976 and a number of project homes were built at this time. From 1980 medium-density dwellings, townhouses and retirement villages were introduced. St Ives is also home to Jewish families because of the location of Masada College, a Jewish private school, within the suburb.

By 1960 the council plan had expanded to include the building of the St Ives Shopping Village comprising 40 shops and a supermarket and by the 1970s St Ives took over as the commercial centre of the municipality. St Ives Shopping Village is considered one of the best regional shopping centres in Australia.

In recent years council has proposed more housing near the commercial centre of St Ives. When St Ives Public School, which was located within the commercial precinct, was closed in 1989 due to falling enrolments, some of the grounds were used for medium density housing. An increase in retail and commercial development of the town centre is planned for the future.

References

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

Godden Mackay Logan and Keys Young, 'Ku-ring-gai heritage and neighbourhood character study: Draft Report', prepared for Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council, 2000

Notes

[1] Godden Mackay Logan and Keys Young, 'Ku-ring-gai heritage and neighbourhood character study: Draft Report', prepared for Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council, 2000

[2] Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Focus on Ku-ring-gai: the story of Ku-ring-gai's growth and development, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Gordon, 1996, p 91

[3] Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Focus on Ku-ring-gai: the story of Ku-ring-gai's growth and development, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Gordon, 1996, p 91

[4] Godden Mackay Logan and Keys Young, 'Ku-ring-gai heritage and neighbourhood character study: Draft Report', prepared for Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council, 2000, p 145.

[5] Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Focus on Ku-ring-gai: the story of Ku-ring-gai's growth and development, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Gordon, 1996, p 89

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