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Frenchs Forest (pron. frenches) is a suburb of northern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Frenchs Forest is 13 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of Northern Beaches Council. Frenchs Forest is part of Sydney’s Northern Beaches region and also considered to be part of the Forest District, colloquially known as The Forest by its locals.
The suburb is currently going through rezoning which will include a new hospital, town centre, new relocated high school, 2,200 new homes and $500 million to upgrade the roads around the new Northern Beaches Hospital. The rezoning is proposed to be completed in time for the hospital opening in 2018.
Prior to the arrival of the First Fleet in Port Jackson in 1788, the area of land we now know as Frenchs Forest, and surrounding Warringah areas, was the home of 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. The word Warringah has many interpretations including “sign of rain”, “across the waves” and “sea”.
European exploration 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. Although Beacon Hill advertises the “Arthur Phillip lookout” at its peak, it is believed by some historians that Phillip’s travels actually took him through Bantry Bay and up into Frenchs Forest to gain views over the area.
In 1853 Simeon Henry Pearce (1821–1886) and his brother James acquired 200 acres (0.81 km2) in this area. The property was later known as Rodborough when it was acquired by James French, a police constable, who also developed the land that became neighbouring Forestville. Despite its relative proximity to Sydney, Frenchs Forest remained predominantly rural throughout the nineteenth century.
Frenchs Forest is close to the Garigal National Park. It is elevated (~156 m ASL) regularly having high rainfall compared with the rest of Sydney and is spread along ridgelines surrounded by native bushland. The eastern parts have distant views (3 km) over the Pacific Ocean and the temperature extremes typical of Sydney are moderated by this proximity. The western side has views over Chatswood, St Leonards, North Sydney & The City, bounded by Garigal National Park featuring native wildlife, birds, turtles, wallabies, lizards, snakes. Bush tracks include bluff track and natural bridge track.
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