West Pymble

West Pymble is a suburb on the Upper North Shore of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia 18 kilometres north-west of the Sydney Central Business District in the local government area of Ku-ring-gai Council. Pymble is a separate suburb to the east. (wikipedia)

The land on which West Pymble was built was Guringai country, until European arrival brought disease which greatly reduced the population. By 1824, Aboriginal people in the area had been reduced to ‘the remains of an Aboriginal tribe’, who periodically walked through the area on their way from Bobbin Head to Pymble Hill. Early European settler Robert Pymble told his grandchildren that the Aboriginal people had gone by 1856.

Logging was the first industry of the area, with both government logging camps and private contractors felling the biggest trees and dragging them to the Lane Cove River or local sawpits. The Lofberg family, who were established in the area by the 1860s, shipped lumber to the Sydney markets on their boats, and raised nine children on their farm in West Pymble.

The rugged country and sloping land of West Pymble was slower to be settled than surrounding flatter areas, and became a bush haven for absconded convicts, illicit stills, gambling and cockfighting.

As the timber was felled, land was used for orchards, and by the 1880s growing citrus, apples, pears and stone fruit was a major industry. The Lofberg, Kendall and Munday families grew fruit and raised pigs on their mixed farms. These enterprises survived into the 1920s, although the arrival of codling moth decreased fruit growing, and the construction of the North Shore railway line in the 1890s made the land more valuable as residential property. Pymble soon boasted Hamilton Bros Universal Providers, near the station and other businesses. The Lofbergs diversified into quarrying, with their sandstone quarry being taken over by the Ku-ring-gai Council in 1926, to provide materials for roads and footpaths in the municipality.

West Pymble was subdivided between 1900 and 1915, but was still sparsely populated because of its distance from the railway at Pymble. Much of the area remained semi-rural throughout the interwar period.

Much of the area was developed after the Second World War (mainly in the 1950s and 1960s) with defence personnel housing and homes for returning soldiers built in brand new streets pushed through the bush. West Pymble’s war memorial hall was opened in 1962 on the Lofbergs’ original landholding on Lofberg Road. The original housing style included three-bedroom weatherboard cottages. Many remain but a lot of them have been significantly extended and/or upgraded since; others have been demolished and replaced with larger homes.

West Gordon Public School opened in 1951, and later West Pymble Public School in 1960 to educate the children of the new residents, and the inhabitants of the Bernard Smith Children’s home, run by the Central Methodist Mission from 1960 to 1988.

The section of West Pymble, on the eastern side of Ryde Road, including Kiparra St, Dunoon Crescent, Wyuna Avenue and adjoining streets, was originally designated “West Gordon” and it was considered to be part of the suburb of Gordon. However, in 1990, the suburban boundaries were reviewed and this neighbourhood became re-designated as part of West Pymble instead, although the name of the public primary school did not change.

Pymble West Post Office opened on 1 December 1958 and closed in 1974. (wikipedia)

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