Dee Why is a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia approximately located 18 kilometer north-east of the Sydney central business district, located approximately 28.4 km east of the Sydney International Airport.
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Dee Why is a coastal suburb of northern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia, 18 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district. It is the administrative centre of the local government area of Northern Beaches Council and, along with Brookvale, is considered to be the main centre of the Northern Beaches region. The reasons for Dee Why’s name remain unclear. The earliest reference to it is a pencil note in surveyor James Meehan’s field book, “Wednesday, 27th Sept, 1815 Dy Beach – Marked a Honey Suckle Tree near the Beach”. What it meant to him is not clear, but various claims have been put forward, including:
The letters DY were simply a marker that Meehan used to mark many other places on his map.
The name came from the local Aboriginal language that Meehan used to name many of the locations that he surveyed. The suburb was named after Leibniz’s notation for the derivative in differential calculus. From 1840 the name was recorded as one word, ‘Deewhy’. The term ‘Dee Why’ was also used to name ‘Dee Why Heights’ or Highlands, known as Narrabeen since 1951, and ‘Dee Why West’, the name of which was changed to Cromer in 1969.
Dee Why Post Office opened on 26 April 1915. Dee Why Beach Post Office opened on 1 December 1945 and closed in 1979. Dee Why North Post Office opened on 1 October 1959 and closed in 1993. The first land in the area to be listed by the New South Wales government Gazette was 700 acres (280 ha) granted to William Cossar in the early 19th century, James Wheeler purchased 90 acres in 1842, but by the mid-19th century most of the land in what is now Dee Why had been acquired by James Jenkins and other members of the Jenkins family. Elizabeth Jenkins, eldest daughter of James, gave all her land to the Salvation Army upon her death in 1900, in recognition of their support in her old age. The Salvation Army received in total 1,740 acres (700 ha) of land, 200 acres (81 ha) of which were in Dee Why. An industrial farm, as well as hostels for boys, girls and women were established on this land. Access to the beach was limited by the Salvation Army’s land, with a wire netting barrier running along its length.
Warringah Council was formed in 1906, giving Dee Why residents a local government. In 1911 it was decided that the tram line that had expanded in sections from Manly since 1903 was to be extended from Brookvale on to Collaroy Beach via Pittwater Road, and soon after to Narrabeen. The line opened on 3 August 1912 with an hourly service, and it was perhaps this development that caused the Salvation Army in 1913 to progressively sell off most of its holdings on the Northern Beaches, starting with The Oaks Estate Auction, which gave its name to one of the main streets of Dee Why, Oaks Avenue. Another main street, Howard Avenue, commemorates Commissioner Thomas Howard, the first commissioner of the Salvation Army in Australia and New Zealand. By 1920, most of Dee Why had been subdivided. From the end of 1938, the trams, as a result of losses due to low population density and competition with new bus routes that duplicated their services, operated only at peak hours for commuters and on weekends for tourists, and finally ceased operating with the final run on 30 September 1939.
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