This section outlines the publications of the Willoughby District Historical Society and lists the items that are available for sale at the Museum or on-line though this website.

Since its inception in 1974, the Society's purpose has been to 'encourage the study and appreciation of the history of the Municipality of Willoughby' (now the City of Willoughby). To this end, The Journal of the Willoughby District Historical Society was launched in March 1979 to publish the historical research undertaken by members into various aspects of Willoughby's history. The effort required to establish the museum led to the abandonment of the Journal in 1989 after 21 issues were published. Our intention is to rebuild our research capacity and relaunch the Journal of the Willoughby District Historical Society when sufficient volunteers are available.


Members receive a regular newsletter advising them of forthcoming activities and happenings relating to the Society. It provides news of Society activities, advice of forthcoming events and short articles on local history subjects. These are supplemented by historical and contemporary photographs and art works.

In 2010 this was upgraded to a four page newsletter, Willoughby History Chatters, with improved styles and formatting. Ii was published monthly (except for January) in 2010 and 2011, and was enlarged to six pages in 2012, distributed for the even months to coincide with WDHS general meetings.Willoughby History Chatters is distributed to members, other historical societies in the region, Willoughby City Councillors and officials, and other supporters either by post or electronically. The electronic version is in colour, while the printed newsletter is sent in greyscale.

News items, short articles on historical subjects of relevance to Willoughby, photographs of other images for publication in Willoughby History Chatters are welcome. Electronic copy of images are preferable. Please email to the editor:, willoughbydistrict@bigpond.comor post to: The Editor, Willoughby DHS, 58 Johnson Street, Chatswood NSW 2067.

Click here for Willoughby History Chatters

An Index of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 issues is available here.



The following books have been published by or in association with the Willoughby District Historical Society:


Managing our Waste


Pictorial History WILLOUGHY 

by Bob McKillop and published by Kingsclear Books, Alexandria to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Willoughby Municipality/City.


 Our own Bob McKillop has written the text and captions for many of the more than 300 photographs and other illustrations that help present the history of our city over the past 150 years. The 140 page book in landscape A4 format tells the history of Willoughby in a  well-told presentation covering the landscape, people and infrastructure that brings out the special places and features of our city. In a first for the Kingsclear Pictorial History books, this new addition includes 20 colour photos in the final section of the book.

Managing our Waste: an environmental history of Flat Rock Creek and the Willoughby Incinerator 1900 to 2011

by Robert F McKillop. Castlecrag, published by MWA International, 2012. Size 189x267mm, 74 photos, 6 maps and 12 figures (6 in colour). Weight 350 gms.

Managing our Waste is a complementary publication to the successful 'Flat Rock Creek: Rugged, Ruined and Reclaimed' exhibition at the Willoughby Museum. It is based on detailed research into the environmental degradation and reclamation of Flat Rock Creek, particularly the rocky gully of its lower reaches, in the municipality, now the City of Willoughby. It also incorporates the stories told by many local residents of their association with the area, particularly as a playground during their childhood.

Managing our Wasteexplores the forces that resulted in local governments taking responsibility for garbage collection and disposal following Sydney's 1901 bubonic plague epidemic through to the construction of efficient municipal incinerators in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Willoughby Incinerator housed in an outstanding industrial building designed by Walter Burley Griffin was one of these responses.

The 1930s Depression impacted significantly on Willoughby Council resulting in inadequate funds to install a second furnace or maintain the incinerator. There was a reversion to open-air dumping by the late 1940s and this continued on an increasing scale over the next 20 years.

The changes in community values regarding unrestrained development and its impact on the environment that emerged in the late 1960s influenced local politics from 1974. For Willoughby Council, as elsewhere, there was increasing pressure to manage waste and public open space in accordance with new legislative requirements.

The incinerator building was saved from demolition following a active campaign by community groups and was restored as a restaurant, while the Australian Bicentenary provided the opportunity to reclaim the tip through an ambitious project to create a major sporting complex and a lineal park linking Artarmon with Middle Harbour. The shift from waste disposal to waste management is explored in detail, together with the efforts by the community and Willoughby Council to restore the landscape and conserve the incinerator building as a community facility.

Chatswood Catholic Cemetery - c. 1865 - c.1911 

This book is in√??,√?,√,¬≠tended to be a lasting memorial to the many extraordinary settlers and pioneers who came to this area on Sydney's North Shore. Over many years, the deceased and their stories captured Joan's interest, espe√??,√?,√,¬≠cially when she discovered that several of those buried at Chatswood were convicts. Evidence also emerged of close ties to the First, Second and Third Fleets and early military regiments.

Historian Joan Newman Antarakis is a New South Wales native and fifth gen√??,√?,√,¬≠eration Australian. She is married with five children. Her paternal ancestors were early pioneers on the Hunter Riv√??,√?,√,¬≠er (1826) and Clarence River (1842). A keen family historian, especially in the area of Australian history, Joan stud√??,√?,√,¬≠ied at the University of New England (Armidale) and graduated with a Di√??,√?,√,¬≠ploma in Local and Applied History.




Miller Pottery Book Cover

Pottery a Willoughby pioneer industry: The Mashman story
by Jean Miller. Chatswood, published by the author for the WDHS, 1999. 53 pages 340 x 175mm with colour card cover, perfect binding.

This is the definitive history of the Victoria Pottery established by the brothers William and Henry Mashman (initially in partnership with James Sanderson) in Victoria Avenue, Chatswood in 1885. With the cooperation of the Mashman family, the author explores the history of early potteries on Sydney's North Shore and then provides a detailed history of the Mashman brothers business though to its partnership with the Royal Doulton Company in 1957 and its sale to that company in 1959, which then traded as Doulton Australia. Short sections cover the sale of the factory to Corona Unit Packaging in 1980, who continued to manufactory quality sanitary wares there, and on the people who worked in the factory, particularly Jack W Ronson. The book is well-illustrated, including pages from an early catalogue, the stamps used on Mashman pottery, photographs of a range of Mashman Regal artware and a Mashman family tree.

This book is highly collectable and has recently brought high prices on auction sites. 





Boronia: Recipes and Recollections.
Chatswood, Willoughby District Historical Society, 1997 (2nd edition 1998). 76 pages in A4 size with spiral binding. This book was prepared at the initiative of Margaret Forsyth Snodgrass who collected recipes from WDHS members that were handed down from past generations. The book is illustrated with historical photographs from the Willoughby Museum collection. Price $10, plus $4.00 packing and postage within Australia.



25th Anniversary Commemoration

The Forgotten Gardens



Willoughby District Historical Society 1974-1999: 25th Anniversary Commemoration.
Chatswood, WDHS, 1999. 114 pages A4 size with card cover and wire spiral binding.

This book commences with a pr√???√?,√,¬©cis of the Society's first 25 years and then reproduces articles published in the Journal of the Willoughby District Historical Society between 1979 and 1998. These are presented in eight sections covering: historical aspects of Willoughby, houses and streets, institutions, commerce, amenities, personalities, daily life and 1998 Historical Week reminiscences. This book is out of stock.

Books by other publishers

Paradise and Peccadilloes: Willoughby Pioneers and their Descendants by Ian Rannard. 210 x 270 mm, landscape, 204 pages, 174 b&w photos. Self published 2011. 

This book by local author Ian Rannard is a well researched and written historical account of eight of Willoughby's pioneers and their descendants, namely the Baldry, Broomham, Day, Forsyth, French, Hammond, Horsley and Stephenson families. 

Rannard traces the ups and downs within the families in terms of their prosperity and cohesion in the context of the outside forces interacting on them and the community: economic booms and busts, the impact of wars and the evolving structure and values of our community. The stories are enhanced by a selection of excellent historical photographs, largely provided to the author by the families. In addition, the graphic design and presentation of the book is of a high standard. 



The Forgotten Gardens: The story of the last market gardens in Willoughby and Northbridge, NSW by Ian Rannard. 210 x 270 mm landscape, 110 pages, 84 b&w photos. Self published 2005.

This book, the first detailed history of the market gardeners in the Willoughby local government area, focuses on the men their families who cultivated land along Sailors Bay Creek in the suburbs of Willoughby and Northbridge between 1882 and 1981. The extensive market gardens in this area are only a portion of those that existed in the wider Willoughby area. As elsewhere, the early gardens were cultivated by Chinese.

The pioneer in the area covered by this study was William Ah King, who was born in Canton, China, in 1842 and came to the Mount Morgan goldfields in 1861. He married and English woman, Elizabeth Evans, at Rockhampton in 1872. William and Elizabeth settled on Sydney's North Shore in the late 1870s and by 1882 the family was living on leased land at Alpha Road in Willoughby. Eight of William and Elizabeth Ah King's children owned or worked in market gardens in the area. There were other Chinese market gardeners in the area and, during the 1930s Depression, several Australian families also became involved in the market gardens covered in this fascinating book. 


Posts and brackets


We have recently introduced a series of postcards for sale at the Museum Shop, which can be either purchased at the museum as a memento of your visit or as an online purchase.


South Chatswood Conservation Area: each of these postcards presents 30 contemporary images highlighting particular features of the fine Federation and Late Victorian houses to be found within this heritage conservation area. There are currently three postcards in the series as follows:


1.       Chimneys: The range of chimneys and their ornaments in Federation Chatswood is remarkable as this selection demonstrates.

2.       Posts & Brackets: Dominant verandahs with brick pillars and timber posts and brackets embellished with artistic decorations characterise Federation homes, while those in late Victorian style have narrow verandahs and posts with wrought iron features. This selection demonstrates the range of individual style present in Federation Chatswood.

3.       Gables & Details: Decorative brickwork on all sides of the house and the style of gables demarcate the Federation house from those of the earlier Victorian era, together with the creativeness of the surrounding garden. This postcard captures the variety than can be views within the South Chatswood Conservation Area.




The Willoughby Museum collection includes an extensive collection of historic photographs pertaining to the City of Willoughby. These include:

David Warner Collection:over 600 photographs of Willoughby Municipal Council Depression era projects taken by officers between 1932 and 1938. They include the construction of the Willoughby Incinerator and the Northbridge Golf Course; the Council Depot, road making plant and vehicles; the building and upgrading of streets across the city; upgrading spots grounds and swimming pools at Northbridge, Gore Hill, Artarmon Reserve, Chatswood and Roseville; construction of Fullers Bridge on the Lane Cove River and its new road approaches; and garbage collection activities.

Hammond Family Collection:Historic photos of Hammond's butchery on the Pacific Highway at Chatswood and its employees. There is also a collection of old postcards donated by Isabel Hammond.

Jack Millen Collection:A small collection of photographs relating to the carrier business of Jack Millen of Ann Street, Willoughby, including construction of his horse paddock, feeding his cart horses, road building in the Griffin Estate, Castlecrag, and his motor lorry as delivered circa 1926.

Postcard collection:a range of early 20th century postcards of the Suspension Bridge, Northbridge, the North Shore Railway and Artarmon railway station, and scenic features, notably Willoughby Waterfalls.

Castle Cove photos:Historic photos of the golf course, biodynamic farm and prominent citizens used for the 1988 Bicentenary book.

Castlecrag photos:A wider range of historic photos, including images used for the 1988 Bicentenary book, the opening of the Griffin Memorial Fountain in 1965, and the opening of The Quadrangle Shopping Village in 1978.

Chatswood photos:Early postcards featuring Chatswood features, images used for the 1988 Bicentenary book, and early photos of the Great Northern Hotel and Chatswood Ice Works donated by John E Brown.

Northbridge Images:Historic photos used for the 1988 Bicentenary book, additional images of the rebuilding of the Suspension Bridge in the 1930s and photos of local churches.

A number of these photos appear on the website and/or have been published in Willoughby History Chatters. 



For quotation on postage outside Australia please contact The Secretary, WDHS:


Phone: (02) 9410 3203 - Email:


Copyright √??,√?,√,¬© WDHS