New South Wales
The Hills District (alternatively, the Hills Shire, the Hills, or Sydney Hills) is a general term for the north-western suburbs of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Its constituent suburbs are generally located within the local government area of The Hills Shire; some parts of the Hornsby Shire are also included in the area that is given the title the Hills District.
Actual suburbs and localities that are considered to be in the Hills District can be somewhat amorphous and varies according to who is doing the listing. For example the Hills District Historical Society restricts its definition to the Hills Shire local government area. At its most generous, the term Hills District is applied to the area generally west of Pennant Hills Road and north of Windsor Road, extending out as far as Boundary Road Vineyard (the western boundary of the Hills Shire). Generally, residents of West Pennant Hills think of themselves as being in the Hills District, however those in Pennant Hills, Thornleigh and Westleigh are more likely to think of themselves as being part of the North Shore or Northern Suburbs.
The region is so called for its characteristically comparatively hilly topography, and the fact that several of its suburbs have the word 'Hills' in their names, such as Baulkham Hills, Beaumont Hills, Castle Hill, Pennant Hills, Rouse Hill, West Pennant Hills, and Winston Hills.
Land grants in the district were made shortly after settlement began, however much of the district owes its development to the construction of the railway line between Strathfield and Hornsby, which was declared open on 17 September 1886, some 15 years before Federation, and almost a century after land grants were first made in the area.
According to the 2011 ABS Census The Hills Shire is home to 169,872 usual residents. The Census of Population and Housing states that as much as 22% of the population is over 55 years of age
As the name indicates, the Hills District is an area of high elevation above sea level (compared with the rest of the Sydney basin) and thus creates orographic rainfall brought in by onshore winds from the Pacific Ocean. This leaves the Hills District with slightly higher rainfall than the rest of Sydney and creates a rain shadow for some places in the Blacktown district, including Marayong and Doonside.
The area is notable for the fact that it has the highest rate of religious service attendance in Australia and is thus often referred to as the Australian Bible belt. This area has a relatively high concentration of evangelical Christians. Many religious denominations and belief systems are represented throughout the district, including, notably, the Mormon's Sydney Australia Temple in Carlingford, the Hillsong Church situated in Norwest Business Park. As with other urban regional areas in Australia there are numerous other places of worship catering to a wide range of belief systems including Anglican, Baptist, Buddhist, Hindu, Uniting, Chinese Christian, Islamic, Spiritualist, Roman Catholic and Sikh.
An extensive number of bus routes operate in the district, operated by Hillsbus, Busways and Sydney Buses. The region is served by the North-West T-way, connecting the Hills District with Blacktown, Parramatta and Rouse Hill. The Carlingford railway line, operated by Sydney Trains, is the only railway line located in the district. Infrequent services operate on the line from Carlingford to Clyde, where an interchange is required to continue to the city. The deficiency of public transport in the area is often criticised. Due to low density planning the bus service within many of the suburbs is slow and infrequent. However, the long-promised North West Rail Link has been approved for construction with a proposed opening by 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Castle Hill, New South Wales.|
- Out of the Mouths of Locals - article discussing the geography of the area and the snob value associated with the designation.