Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.


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Normanhurst, in the parish of South Colah, is in Hornsby shire. Though 150 metres above sea level, it lies in the valleys on either side of Pennant Hills Road.

Wallumede people of the Dharug language group were one of the Aboriginal groups living in the area. Their territory included the Lane Cove River catchment and their name came from the Wallumail fish (snapper).

Normanhurst was originally called Hornsby, from the name given by Constable Samuel Horne to his land grant, which stretched from Pearces Corner to Thornleigh. A village grew on the land once owned by Horne, and in the 1890s the population was large enough to have its demands for a railway platform considered.

The citizens at the old Hornsby village agitated for a platform at their township because the closest station was three kilometres from the village, in the area known as Jacks Island (present day Hornsby).

The residents raised £100 to cover the full cost of the platform and on 21 November 1895 it was opened and named Hornsby (while the station at Jacks Island was called Hornsby Junction). Having two stations with the name Hornsby created confusion, and it became obvious one would have to change.

The initial agitation for a platform and the fight to keep the name Hornsby was led by Norman Selfe, a civil engineer who in 1893 built a house on the 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of land he owned on the western side of Pennant Hills Road. The house still stands.

The argument was resolved by the new platform being called Normanhurst, in honour of Selfe, and Hornsby Junction reverted to Hornsby. Hornsby post office on Pennant Hills Road became Hornsby South and eventually Hornsby School was renamed Normanhurst School.


Hornsby Shire Historical Society Research Committee, Pioneers of Hornsby Shire 1788–1906, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1983

Claire Schofield, The shaping of Hornsby Shire, Hornsby Shire Council, Hornsby, New South wales, 1988