Street, Suburb & Traditional Aboriginal Peoples Names

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Aboriginal Peoples

The Hills Shire Council area occupies part of the Dharug Country. The Dharug were the inland Aboriginal Peoples of the Sydney hinterland, making use of both the rich diversity of the Hawkesbury River food supplies and the land animals and plants of the adjacent valleys and hills. There are remains of their occupation throughout the Shire area.

Traditional Aboriginal Names - The Hills Shire(PDF, 154KB)


Origin of Suburb & Street Names

Street Names

Click here to view the origins of The Hills' Street Names


Hills Shire Suburb Names, including former Hills Shire Suburbs


The first land grants were in 1823 to James O'Hara, Michael Cantwell and Thomas Sanders. Annangrove House belonged to Edward Charles Johnston, grandson of Major George Johnston who led the army that defeated the rebels in the Battle of Vinegar Hill in 1804. The house was named after the Scottish town of Annan, where George Johnston was born. Edward Johnston bought land here in 1893 from Bennett William Johns, who made the original purchase of Crown land in 1886. By 1895 the post office had taken the name of Johnstons house, as did the school, and by 1915 Annangrove was the customary name for the suburb.

Baulkham Hills

William Joyce, the first settler in the Shire, was given a grant of 30 acres in 1794 near Old Windsor Road. Andrew McDougall, a settler from Buckholm Hills, County of Roxburgh in Scotland, was granted 150 acres in 1799, which he named “Roxburgh Place”. He was responsible for giving the district its present name as it reminded him of his homeland.

Beaumont Hills

Originally a housing estate thought to be named after the birthplace of A.V. Jenning’s wife, the name was assigned as a suburb by the NSW Geographical Names Board in 2003.

Bella Vista

Elizabeth Macarthur farmed sheep on her 'Seven Hills Farm'. The Pearce family later acquired part of this property, built the homestead and named their farm 'Bella Vista'. While the acreage has been substantially reduced for housing development, the homestead and many outbuildings still remain and are now owned by The Hills Shire Council.

Box Hill

This area takes its name from either a stand of box trees that were once in the area or the fact that in the 19th century there were hunting boxes built on the tops of hills in this area. City people used to come to their country hunting boxes for a few days hunting and, perched on a hill, could aim at targets quite easily. One building has survived: 'The Hunting Lodge, Box Hill' thought to have been built by S.H. Terry on Governor Bligh's 'Copenhagen Farm'.

Carlingford (Former Hills Suburb)

The area was originally known as Mobbs Hill after William Mobbs, an early settler. Carlingford probably received its name to honour Lord Carlingford who was Under-secretary of State for the Colonies from 1857 to 1860. His title is associated with the town of Carlingford in Ireland. The name was suggested by Frederick Cox who heard one of his employees describe the similarities between Mobbs Hill and the scenery of Carlingford in Ireland. Residents voted for the name in 1886.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill may have been named because of the fine views from the hills in the district.   Governor Phillip first saw the area on one of his exploratory trips in 1791. Governor King began a government farm there on July 8 1801, referring to it as Castle Hill on 1 March 1802. The farm of 34,539 acres ranged from West Pennant Hills to Maroota, although only a small portion was cultivated. Castle Hill Heritage Park in Banks Road remains. Free settler Frenchman, Baron Vernicourt de Clambe, received a 200 acre grant in 1802. It has been suggested that de Clambe’s house "The Hermitage" located on the ridge may have been called ‘The Castle’ by locals.


The name 'Cattai' is derived from an Aboriginal word thought to mean swampy land where the wide river flats give way to less hospitable country. It was applied to 'Caddie Park', a homestead on 'Cattai Farm', owned by the First Fleet Assistant Surgeon Thomas Arndell. The homestead is now part of Cattai National Park. The name has been variously spelled as Caddie, Catta, and Catye. John Goldsmith an early settler in the area wrote that he had established a farm at 'Cat Eye' by 1805.


This name is believed to have derived from an Aboriginal word 'Dooral Dooral', which means 'a smoking hollow tree' or 'burning log'. An 1817 map by the surveyor James Meehan shows that the name was originally spelled as Dooral.


The name ‘Gables’ derives from the property name ‘Red Gables’, the name of the historic dairy farm on which the majority of the Box Hill North urban release area is located.

The land was originally owned by Samuel Terry, a well-known historical identity, and the property name is thought to have been adopted in the naming of ‘Red Gables Road’ which traverses through the Box Hill North release area.

The suburb ‘Gables’ was gazetted on 17 July 2020 by the NSW Geographical Names Board and reflects the extensive growth and development occurring within the Box Hill North area. It also recognises the development of Box Hill North since its release in 2013 as a locality distinct from Box Hill.


The first land grant was 1819. Glenhaven was originally called Sandhurst. There was some confusion with mail because of a suburb in Melbourne with the same name. A public meeting was held in 1894 to have the name changed to reflect its valley location: the upper portion of the valley was known as 'The Glen', and the lower portion as 'The Haven' hence the choice Glenhaven.


Glenorie was originally known as North Dural. The first land grants were made in the 1820s. In April 1894 local residents offered the Colony's Postmaster General two names: Hazeldene and Glenorie. The name Glenorie was accepted because it had the support of the local progress association. Glenorie was named after a town in Scotland.


The first land grants were 1802. Kellyville was originally known as 'There and Nowhere', followed by 'Irish Town', as a large number of Irish people lived there. Convict Hugh Kelly arrived in May 1803, married his older widowed mistress Mary Evans and established a licensed inn 'The Half Way House' which became 'The Bird in the Hand' (corner of Wrights and Windsor Roads). In 1880s, John Fitzgerald Burns, James Green and George Withers purchased portions of several early land grants which were subdivided into farmlets as part of the Kellyville Estate, giving the suburb its name. These were sold between 1888 and 1904.


Kenthurst was first known as Little Dural. Charles Gibb aroused interest to change the name to Kent Forest around 1886, but the colonial government settled on Kenthurst. The name is derived from the English County of Kent and 'hurst', a woody hillock.

Leets Vale

Originally known as Bluett’s Bight, it was named Leets Vale after Jonathon Leet who migrated to New South Wales in 1857 and purchased the Bluett property after first operating a boat on the Hawkesbury River. Jonathon became an orchardist and local preacher.

Lower Portland

Named after William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, and Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1783, and from 1807-1809. He was Home Secretary from 1794 to 1801. The name was first used in 1805, and almost certainly seems associated with the story that a rock on the plateau above the headland resembled the Duke of Portland. Lower Portland was the area settled downstream from Portland Head.


This locality, east of Windsor, was originally known as Forrester after a descendant of an early Hawkesbury landholder Robert Forrester who was granted 30 acres at Mulgrave Place in 1794. In the 1920s the local Progress Association changed the name to Maraylya that is presumed to be an Aboriginal name, but the meaning is unknown.


According to Ruby Ramm, in her recollections 'Life at Lansdale', it is an Aboriginal name meaning 'much water'. It was first mentioned in 1827. There are a multitude of springs in the area, the largest of which was estimated in 1970 to make 90 million gallons of clear water each year.

Middle Dural

This suburb is located between Dural, Kenthurst (previously Little Dural) and Glenorie (previously Upper Dural). In 1819 Thomas Best was the first person to settle in the area and from 1828 until 1836 he operated an inn on Old Northern Road for travellers on their way to and from Wisemans Ferry.


Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar. Governor William Bligh served under his command at the Battle of Copenhagen (1801) and received a land grant in this area which he named 'Copenhagen Farm' in honour of the battle.

Northmead (Former Hills Suburb)

Northmead is a hilly domain north of Parramatta and was so named because of this situation: it was the north 'mead', or meadow of the Parramatta Government Domain.

North Parramatta (Former Hills Suburb)

This area was originally named the Northern Boundary by Governor Phillip. The portion of the suburb in The Hills Shire once included Burnside Homes founded by Sir James Burns in 1911. The King’s School relocated from Parramatta in the 1960s. ‘Gowan Brae’ home of its Preparatory School was built by Sir James Burns in 1886.

North Rocks (Partially Former Hills Suburb)

A massive sandstone outcrop gave its name to the suburb of North Rocks. The area was originally known as Jerusalem Rocks. The rock outcrop, which was north of Parramatta, was used to build Parramatta Gaol, and the wall for the Lake Parramatta dam.

Oatlands (Former Hills Suburb)

Named after 'Oatlands House', built by Captain Percy Simpson, and later owned by his son Sir George Bowen Simpson, Judge of the Colony. The name is derived from Oatlands Park in England, which is near the land of Lord Dundas, after whom the adjacent suburb was named.

Rouse Hill

This suburb is named after the estate of a free settler, Richard Rouse, who arrived in the colony in 1801. He was given a grant of 450 acres in 1816 at Vinegar Hill. Governor Macquarie suggested that the estate be called Rouse Hill probably to remove the convict association with the area via the Battle of Vinegar Hill that occured in the vicinity in 1804.

Sackville North

Located across the Hawkesbury River from Sackville, this suburb was named after Viscount Sackville during the early years of the colony. The Sackville ferry was originally a punt but is now motorised and has provided a vital transport link between communities on both sides of the river.

South Maroota

This area was once home to early settlers such as Charles Williams and George Hall and is located on the Wisemans Ferry Road between Cattai and Maroota. The suburb is east of Sackville North and is bounded by the Hawkesbury River and Little Cattai Creek so water skiing and golf have become major activities.

West Pennant Hills

This is the area west of the current suburb of Pennant Hills and was originally known as Pennant Hills until Pennant Hills Railway Station was built and a suburb grew around it. Pennant Hills was probably named after Sir Thomas Pennant, the famous naturalist who died in 1798, and had been a friend of Sir Joseph Banks who might have suggested the name.

Winston Hills (Former Hills Suburb)

This suburb was formerly part of Governor Macquarie's plan to make the area a 'Model Farm'. Farming continued with many Italian and Maltese migrants continuing the pattern after World War II. During the 1960s developers purchased large portions of these properties naming their development Winston Hills Estate in 1965 after Britain's wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill who died that year. The area was made a suburb in 1972.

Wisemans Ferry

Named after Solomon Wiseman, who established a ferry service across the Hawkesbury River in 1827 and built the famous Wisemans Ferry Hotel.