Frenchs Forest, New South Wales

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Frenchs Forest
SydneyNew South Wales
Frenchs Forest NSW Australia.jpg
Frenchs Forest from the air, with Forestway in the centre
Frenchs Forest
Frenchs Forest is located in New South Wales
Frenchs Forest
Frenchs Forest
Coordinates33°44′56″S 151°13′59″E / 33.7490°S 151.2331°E / -33.7490; 151.2331Coordinates: 33°44′56″S 151°13′59″E / 33.7490°S 151.2331°E / -33.7490; 151.2331
Population13,473 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density1,481/km2 (3,835/sq mi)
Elevation149 m (489 ft)
Area9.1 km2 (3.5 sq mi)
Location13 km (8 mi) north of Sydney CBD
LGA(s)Northern Beaches Council
State electorate(s)Davidson, Wakehurst
Federal division(s)Warringah, Mackellar
Suburbs around Frenchs Forest:
Belrose Belrose Oxford Falls
Davidson Frenchs Forest Beacon Hill
Forestville Seaforth Allambie Heights

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.[2]

The rezoning is proposed to be completed in time for the hospital opening in 2018.[3][4]


Aboriginal culture[edit]

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".[citation needed]

European settlement[edit]

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[5] 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[6] (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,[7] who also developed the land that became neighbouring Forestville. Despite its relative proximity to Sydney, Frenchs Forest remained predominantly rural throughout the nineteenth century.[8]


NASA satellite view of Frenchs Forest within the Sydney area

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.[citation needed]


Frenchs Forest climate is similar to the Climate of Sydney, albeit with a few minor seasonal differences: winters tend to be cooler and wetter than in the city, while summers tend to be less hot.

Climate data for Macquarie Park
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 47.1
Average high °C (°F) 27.7
Average low °C (°F) 16.9
Record low °C (°F) 8.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 115.7
Source: [9][10]

Commercial areas[edit]

Forestway Shopping Centre is at the intersection of Forestway and Warringah Road.[11] The centre includes an Aldi and Woolworths supermarkets and over 50 speciality stores.

Smaller shopping centres are located at Sorlie Road featuring a variety of restaurants and Skyline shops on Frenchs Forest Road East, the name being derived from the 'Skyline Drive-in Movie Theatre' that existed nearby until the mid-1980s.

Frenchs Forest Town Centre is a proposed shopping mall, aquatic centre and high-rise residential development.[2]


Frenchs Forest is home to a number of schools:


Although named Frenchs Forest Catholic Parish, the three church buildings that make up the parish are located in the adjoining suburbs of Davidson, Forestville & Terrey Hills.



The main routes through Frenchs Forest include the east-west Warringah Road (State route A38), connecting Roseville in the west with Brookvale in the east; the north-south Forest Way, starting at Warringah Road in Frenchs Forest and heading north through Belrose to Terrey Hills, connecting with Mona Vale Road (8 km); and the north-south Wakehurst Parkway (State route 22), starting at Narrabeen in the northeast, crossing Frenchs Forest Road and Warringah Road in Frenchs Forest, and heading south to Seaforth, leading to the Spit Bridge. Following any of these three major roads lead to the only three road routes off the Northern Beaches peninsula.

The intersection of Wakehurst Parkway and Warringah Road was the scene of multiple high speed collisions when these two roads were dirt tracks through the bush. To improve this, a blinking light[12] was suspended above the intersection in the first half of the 20th century to warn motorists of the danger, which earned the interesting the enduring name of 'The Blinking Light'.[13]


Forest Coach Lines connects Frenchs Forest with Chatswood railway station in the west, Westfield Warringah Mall shopping centre at Brookvale in the east and Terrey Hills in the north, with an express bus service running to Town Hall station in the Sydney central business district.[14] Keolis Downer Northern Beaches runs a number of bus lines through the Frenchs Forest area,[citation needed] including the 136 bus service which connects Chatswood to Dee Why, the 173 bus route which connects Milsons Point and Narraweena, and the 169 and E69 bus routes which connect the Sydney central business district with Manly.[15]


  • Frenchs Forest Showground[16] has "off leash" areas for dogs and horse events.


  • Forest Funday,[17] is an annual free fair provided by the combined Christian churches of The Forest on ANZAC Day, 25 April at Frenchs Forest Showground.
  • Eurofest[18] at Ararat Reserve in mid-September involves all the ethnic clubs in the area.


  • The Scout Hall.
  • The Girls Guides Hall.
  • Ararat Reserve (named after the Ararat plains of Ancient Armenia) on Bantry Bay Road features a number of ethnic clubs.

Sport and recreation[edit]

  • The Warringah Aquatic Centre features an Olympic indoor heated swimming pool and baseball pitches.
  • Lionel Watts Oval provides sports fields for Cricket, Australian Rules Football, Soccer, Rugby league, Netball & has a Skate Park.
  • A combination cycle/cycle-pedestrian shared/cycle-road path (completed c. 1982) from the corner of Wakehurst Parkway and Frenchs Forest Road, connecting Frenchs Forest with Dee Why. The signposting/painted lines on roads is aged and can be a little difficult to follow.
  • The fenced playground for young kids at Lionel Watts Oval (Blackbutts Rd) has a mini-track suitable for toddlers and small kids on tricycles.
  • Manly Dam Reserve is adjacent to (southeast of) Frenchs Forest, containing pedestrian/mountain bike bush tracks.
  • Manly-Warringah Radio Society using callsign VK2MB is the local club for Amateur Radio Operators & services the Frenchs Forest area, with club rooms at Terrey Hills.


In the 2016 census of Population and Housing, the population of the Frenchs Forest postcode area was 13,473 people. The population was 50.4% females, 49.6% male. In Frenchs Forest,

68.9% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were England 7.0%, New Zealand 2.2%, China 2.1%, South Africa 1.8% and United States of America 0.9%. 80.8% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 2.1%, Armenian 1.8%, Cantonese 1.6%, French 1.2% and Italian 1.1%. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 30.3%, Catholic 25.3% and Anglican 19.2%.

Of occupied private dwellings in Frenchs Forest, 93.3% were separate houses and 4.7% were semi-detached.[1]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Frenchs Forest (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 5 November 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b "Future of Frenchs Forest revealed". Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Northern beaches development plan may see Frenchs Forest high school moved". ABC News. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Future of Frenchs Forest revealed". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ Forest History, 1977, paperback ISBN 0-9596484-0-2
  6. ^ Morcombe, John (17 June 2016). "First sawmills, then brickworks were drawn inland by the area's natural resource". Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ "Frenchs Forest". Geographical Names Registrar Extract. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  8. ^ The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, p. 106.
  9. ^ "Climate statistics for Australian locations".
  10. ^ Current Forestville (nearest recording) rainfall data (Manly Hydraulics Lab)"Forestville Rain".
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "From blinking light to gridlock". Daily Telegraph. 12 March 2014.
  14. ^ Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine their network
  15. ^ "Frenchs Forest Road Bus diversions" (PDF). Transport NSW. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Forest Funday". Archived from the original on 12 February 2005. Retrieved 13 April 2006.
  18. ^ Eurofest

External links[edit]