Chatswood 1978 and 2018


In 1978 In architect Martin O’Donoghue took 130 photographs of buildings and activities around Chatswood as part of an architectural assignment.

In this affordable exhibition the Willoughby Museum juxtaposes Martin’s photos with those of Chatswood today, showcasing a fascinating insight into the changes that have occurred in Chatswood over the past 40 years.

End Date & Time: Sunday, 28 April 2019 4:00 pm

Address: Willoughby Museum, 58 Johnston Street, Chatswood


  • Family: $10
  • Individual: $6

Opening hours:

  • Sundays 1pm to 4pm

This event is part of the Willoughby City Council 2019 Heritage Festival program.

Contact: Event Organiser on 9410 3203 or email

Local studies tour


On Saturday 13th April 2019 at 2PM, the Willoughby District Historical Society will host a tour of the Local Studies operations at the Chatswood Library. This will be a most enlightening experience. All welcome.

Library revamp Local History

Recently the Chatswood Library made changes to the Local Studies Collection. The Library is working to make the collections more relevant and accessible to the community. To summarise:

  • The Library has reviewed the collection and removed the many items that had no relation to Willoughby or North Shore e.g. those relating to country NSW. Duplicate materials were also removed. This has helped give greater focus to the collection and made it more relevant to our community.
  • The collection was moved into a more accessible location to encourage browsing and use. Please note that the collection extends to both sides of the door to the meeting room.
  • The microfilm/microfiche readers have been relocated to the desk in the new Local Studies area.
  • The microfilm/microfiche are in the microfilm cabinets near the readers, including the Rates and Valuation microfilm
  • The Library is undertaking a substantial cataloguing project and most of the collection is now findable via the Library catalogue – i.e., online, 24/7.
  • Valuable and rare items (e.g. Council reports, artefacts, newsletters) are accessible via a request to Local Studies
  • The Library purchased two new map cabinets to improve storage of maps and plans.
  • Research files are now located in the Local Studies office. This allows:

o   Improved organisation and preservation. The files have been chronologically organised under subject headings (now in the catalogue) in appropriate interfileable folders

o   Improved security of the files.

o   Research files are now accessed through an online request to local studies staff. Files can now be read at the Information Desk under supervision.

  • In addition, the Library has increased content on the History@Willoughby page – including Indexes to Roads and Streets, Mayors & Councillors, World War 1 service men and women and Historical digital displays

Future developments include:

  • Making copies of maps available in the new local studies area for public access
  • Increased number of displays
  • Digitised Rates and Valuation books and oral histories (audio files to complement our printed transcripts) to be available via our library catalogue.

Feb. member’s meeting

Held at the Willoughby Room,
Willoughby City Library at The
Concourse, commencing at 2pm
on Saturday 9 February 2019: The
Willoughby District Historical
Society’s Annual General Meeting will be held in Room No. 4 at
the back of Willoughby Library
from 2pm.

Bob McKillop will
present Salt of the Earth, a 20
minute documentary on five
generations of the McKillop
family and their property at Narromine, produced by the Powerhouse Museum. The production
won a Silver Medal for Short
Documentaries at the New York
Film and Television Awards in

October 13 Speaker on Conservation

Conservation house
Douglas St, Chatswood

Come along to our General Meeting at the Willoughby Room in Chatswood Library at 2 PM. Listen to a Willoughby Council Heritage Planner talk about Willoughby’s vast Conservation Areas, Heritage listed buildings and Council’s plans for the future recognition of the Heritage of Willoughby.

Visitors welcome.

Guest Speaker: Ian Arnott the Planning Manager at Willoughby City Council made a presentation on Council’s new heritage processes covering Willoughby’s vast Conservation Areas, Heritage listed buildings and Council’s plans for the future recognition of the Heritage of Willoughby. Ian’s new role covers certification, building matters and heritage listing.

Ian opened with some history on the current development controls, then went onto presentation on the new heritage controls. Ian opened speaking to a map of the heritage listed items/areas in Willoughby City and the Heritage Conservation Areas. In Ian’s 24 years at Willoughby History it was the National Trust that was the primary body concerned with heritage listing in the 1960s. Around the mid-1980s, following the Environmental & Assessment Act there was a move to site specific or area specific environmental plans, such as the Griffin Conservation Area in Castlecrag.

In 1995 Council created a Consolidated Local Environmental Plan (LEP) that brought together the various heritage provisions in the form that we see them today. The 1979 Act also had provision for Development Controls that defined how conservation of the heritage items was to occur. The current Controls are in Willoughby Conservation Plan Part H of which covers Heritage conservation items.

More recently the State Government has created the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Plan that created three cities has specified the district plans that area areas were required to address. Willoughby City is within the Northern District Plan. During 2017 Willoughby Council prepared various plans that recognized the heritage elements of the city, while seeking higher density areas that would enable lower density heritage areas to retain their existing character, For the next five years Willoughby has a target of 13,500 new dwellings and over the next 20 years there will be expanded density targets. Particular attention has been given to the local suburban shopping centers.

The heritage register defines State Heritage items and Local Heritage items, the former being items listed on the State Register. The controls on State Heritage items are far more stressful than local heritage items. Any changes that occur much respect the heritage elements of the building.

In terms of Conservation Area the issues are more about street scopes, so there ae more lenient controls on changes to buildings. A State Environmental Development Control can enable development that overturns Council controls, but they do not apply to heritage items. Council has largely been removed from the process of managing controls in recent years.

State Heritage items have enhanced ability to obtain State Government Grants for maintenance or upgrading the item. Under the Local Environmental Plan there is consideration regarding the impact of the development in terms of heritage impacts on neighboring properties. In terms of development on State Government’s land, it can override heritage listings by Council, as has happened in several instances at Royal North Shore Hospital.

A recent heritage review undertaken by Willoughby Council sought to identify any items considered to have potential for heritage listing. This may occur as a result of proposals by Council officers or members of the public. There are dangers in trying to utilize heritage as a means of stopping developing, for some areas without due merit being listed as a Heritage Conservation Area. The review focused on mid-20th Century architecture. Two Conservation Areas were put forward, one that had previously been considered in the Artarmon area and found to be not worthy; and in West Chatswood, which was recommended but is awaiting a public meeting to address this item. The next step is to go to State Government to assess its heritage qualities.Heritage Conservation Areas have moved from character issue to controls.