Eastwood Falls on Terrys Creek near Albeura Rd Epping 1915

The indigenous history of Eastwood includes the period when the Wallumedegal people lived in the territory bounded by the Lane Cove and Parramatta rivers. Part of the Dharug group, their country was called Wallumetta. [1]

The 1820s saw the building of Brush Farm House by Gregory Blaxland, following his purchase of the Brush Farm Estate in 1807. Located in what is now Eastwood, the house survives, representing a nationally important site where some of the colony’s initial land grants were made.[2]

The suburb Eastwood gets its name from the Eastwood Estate and house, the original owner of which was William Rutledge who built a single storey house on the hill to the east of Brush Farm in 1840.[3] Edward Terry, later the first mayor of Ryde, purchased the estate around 1871 and after his death, it was subdivided to emerge as Eastwood Village.

In 1868, the tart green Granny Smith apple was developed in Eastwood by an English-born orchardist, Maria Ann Smith. She apparently found a seedling growing in her compost heap after throwing out the remains of some Tasmanian crab apples.[4]

In the 1890s, during a severe economic depression, Harry Curzon-Smith built the stately Curzon Hall which is now located just beyond the borders of Eastwood, in Marsfield. Now considered one of Australia’s finest reception centres, it was built from local sandstone quarried from what is now a pond in the grounds of Macquarie University.[5]

Marsfield Municipality seceded from Ryde in 1894 and was renamed Eastwood in 1907. It was never an affluent council because of the small number of rate payers within its boundaries and it re-joined Ryde in 1948.[6]

Multiculturalism began taking root in the Eastwood by the 1920s when many of the orchards and market gardens in the region were beginning to be owned by Italians – who, with the Greeks, were the first outsiders to put down roots in the district.[7] In the Eastwood Municipality the first Chinese market gardens appear in the Sands Directory by 1921; by the end of that decade there were 14 such gardens listed.[8]

The end of the Second World War saw an influx of returned servicemen and post-war migrants that led to demand for homes and selling off of much vacant land for residential development. Commercially the suburb expanded as well and by the 1960s, Eastwood became the favoured shopping venue between Strathfield and Hornsby.[9]

The 1990s saw the arrival of many people from Asia, particularly Hong Kong, China, Korea and south-east Asia.[10] Over two decades later, Eastwood is now a multicultural centre, with – according to the 2011 census – just over 30% of residents claiming Chinese ancestry.[11]

Notable personalities

Some notables connected with Eastwood include:

  • Geoffrey Robertson, QC who attended Eastwood Public School from 1954-1959[12]
  • Maria Ann Smith, the ‘inventor’ of the Granny Smith apple, lived on a farm between the present North Road and Abuklea Road, Eastwood.[13]

Notable buildings

  • Brush Farm

Built by one of the European explorers of the Blue Mountains Gregory Blaxland, Brush Farm is one the most substantial houses surviving from the Macquarie period. For many years the Brush Farm Estate, through its elevated position midway between Sydney and Parramatta, operated as a signal station, known as “One Tree Signal Station”, to relay messages from vessels on the Parramatta River to the, then, township at Parramatta.[14] The House now hosts art shows and other community events.[15]

  • Eastwood house

Built in 1840 by William Rutledge the house is now part of Marist College Eastwood.[16] A silk industry once flourished at Eastwood House[17]

  • Eastwood Brickyards/brickworks

The Eastwood Brickyards commenced operation in 1912-3 and supplied bricks to the surrounding area[18]. Now decommissioned, it is a heritage site that has been re-adapted as a community pa

[1] http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/sydney_journal/article/download/2391/2590.

[2] http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-and-Family-History/Historic-Ryde/Historic-Buildings/Brush-Farm-House

[3] http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-and-Family-History/Historic-Ryde/History-of-Ryde

[4] https://griffithreview.com/articles/mixing-it-up-in-bennelong/

[5] McAndrew, Alex. Eastwood-Marsfield, p. 103 – LS 994.41 MCAN

[6] Shaw, Kevin. Historic Ryde, p.34-35 – LS994.41 HIS

[7] https://griffithreview.com/articles/mixing-it-up-in-bennelong/

[8] http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-History/Historic-Ryde/Historic-Places/Chinese-Market-Gardens

[9] McAndrew, Alex. Eastwood-Marsfield, p. 70 – LS 994.41 MCAN

[10] http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/eastwood

[11] http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/SSC10787

[12] http://www.eastwood.nsw.edu.au/?page_id=9

[13] http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-and-Family-History/Historic-Ryde/Historic-Figures/Granny-Smith

[14] http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-and-Family-History/Historic-Ryde/Historic-Buildings/Brush-Farm-House

[15] http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/sydney_journal/article/viewFile/2391/2590

[16] http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-and-Family-History/Historic-Ryde/Historic-Buildings/Eastwood-House

[17] http://www.rotarynews.info/2/club/4207/680

[18] http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=2240395


Neera Sahni, Research Services Leader, Parramatta Heritage Centre, 2016