The Warringah Region
The word Warringah
has many interpretations including "sign of rain", "across
the waves" and "sea".
once home to the Guringai (Ku-ring-gai) language group of the Garigal
Aboriginal clan. Evidence of their habitation remains today in the
form of rock engravings, rock art, open campsites, rock shelters,
scarred trees and middens.
into Warringah began within the first weeks of settlement at Sydney
Cove in 1788. Governor Phillip made a number of journeys throughout
the area, detailing the landscape, flora and fauna, as well as observing
Aboriginal lifestyle and culture. Despite its relative proximity
to Sydney, Warringah remained predominantly rural throughout the
nineteenth century, with small communities in the valleys between
isolation and difficult terrain were natural barriers to expansion.
Before bridges were built, the road distance from Sydney to Manly
via Mona Vale Road was seventy miles. When the Warringah Shire was
proclaimed in 1906, it covered an area of 264 square kilometres
and the population was approximately 2,800 occupying 700 dwellings.
through the southern part of the shire, followed by the opening
of the Spit and Roseville bridges in 1924, encouraged land subdivision
and settlement northwards from Manly and Balgowlah.
promoted the use of land for weekenders and holiday homes. Warringah
had an increasing number of visitors for recreational purposes and
it was during this period that many of the surf clubs and rock pools
were developed. It was not until after World War 11 that rapid urbanisation
occurred as people chose to build their family homes along the beaches.
Retail and light industrial development followed, along with improved
By the mid 1950s,
suburban growth began to spread westward and new suburbs such as
Cromer, Wheeler Heights, Narraweena and Allambie Heights were named
by the late 1960s. At the same time the formerly rural or small
settlements of Beacon Hill, Frenchs Forest and Belrose were undergoing
rapid urbanisation. Modern shopping facilities and business premises
geared towards servicing the growing population and industrial activity
emerged during the 1970s.
is a diverse community with a population of 131,000 people covering
152.55 square kilometres.
Warringah Council 1906-1998
The Shire of
Warringah was proclaimed in the NSW Government Gazette of 7 March
1906 along with 132 other Shires. The Local Government Act of 1906
introduced the Shire as an independent, essentially rural unit of
local government, covering 264 square kilometres.
Members of the
Warringah Shire Temporary Council were nominated by the local progress
associations and met nine times between 14 June and 22 November,
1906 at the Narrabeen Progress Association Hall.
business of the Temporary Council was the preparation of the electoral
roll for the elections which were held in November.
The first meeting
of the Warringah Shire Council was held on Monday 3 December, 1906
at the Narrabeen Progress Association Hall. Meetings soon moved
temporarily to the rented Empire Hall in Brookvale.
Shire headquarters in Brookvale was a suburban bungalow which also
served as the Shire Clerks residence.
The first Council
Chambers, opposite what we now know as Brookvale Park, were officially
opened by President William Hews in July, 1912. They were built
at a cost of 949 pounds and with later extensions served as Councils
headquarters for more than 50 years.
Civic Centre at Dee Why was officially opened on 1 September, 1973
by the then Shire President, Councillor Dick Legg.
In 1993, the
northern part of Warringah seceded to form a separate Council of
Pittwater, the first new council in NSW for 100 years.
Council has an annual budget of $85 million and employs 750 staff
in full time, part time and casual positions.
Warringah Library Service
1996 marks the
30th birthday of the Warringah Shire Library Service which commenced
with the opening of Dee Why Library on 19 November, 1966. The building
was described as the most modern public library in New South Wales
and won the prestigious Sulman Award for Architecture.
At the end of
the first day of operation 631 people had joined and 1,786 books
had been borrowed.
quickly expanded with the opening, six years later, of the Mona
Vale Branch Library on 3 September, 1972.
Branch Library followed in May 1979 and the newly renovated Forestville
Library in 1981.
In 1984, the
Librarys catalogue and circulation system was computerised
to enable the community to borrow and return items at any of the
Shire Library service points.
over 60,000 members and a total stock of more than 190,172 items,
Warringah Library Service is one of the most popular and modern
in the Sydney metropolitan area.