Hornsby has something for everyone, from quiet leafy streets lined with spacious family homes to chic contemporary apartment living.

With top schools, ultra-convenient shopping and amenities and excellent transport links all nestled in a bushland setting, it’s little wonder Hornsby is on the up.


Hornsby’s first inhabitants were Indigenous people from the Dharug language group.

Following colonial settlement, the area was known by various names, but it was the capture of two bushrangers that led to the name Hornsby. In 1830 Constables John Thorn and Samuel Horne were awarded land grants after they captured bushranger John McNamara and his accomplice on the Windsor Road. Constable Thorn’s land became known as Thornleigh, and a village soon sprang up on Constable Horne’s land, known as Hornsby Place.

Timber-getting and farming were the area’s first industries before a blue metal and gravel quarry was established in 1906 in Old Man’s Valley. There was also a sawmill in Jersey Street, Fowler’s Pottery supplying the building and industrial trades, and a pipe works at Asquith.

The area’s first school opened in a tent behind Hookham’s Corner in 1883. The train station opened in 1886, followed by a telephone exchange in 1897. The Hornsby Shire Council was established in 1906, and electricity came to the area in 1923 – 24. Hornsby Girls High School was founded in 1930 and Hornsby Hospital in 1933 as the population continued to grow.

The area is home to some exquisite heritage-listed Federation homes, including Mount Errington on Rosemead Road and Mount Wilga on Manor Road. The carefully restored Old Man’s Valley Cemetery, built between 1879 and 1931 off Quarry Road, is also listed on the State Heritage Register.

Hornsby’s population has grown steadily since the 1950s. By the time of the 2016 census, the 423 residents recorded in the 1891 census had grown to 22,168.

What the locals love about Hornsby

1. Everything you need at your doorstep

In 1961 Westfield opened its first Shoppingtown in Hornsby, making it one of the first suburbs in Sydney to have a modern shopping centre. Today Westfield Hornsby houses a David Jones department store, a cinema and 335 other shops and eateries, and Hornsby has grown and flourished to become the Upper North Shore’s main commercial centre.

Locals love the convenience of having a wide range of services and amenities at their doorstep, including the Hornsby Shire Library, the newly refurbished Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre and Hornsby TAFE, which specialises in graphic design, information technology, and visual arts and ceramics. And there’s the peace of mind that comes from having Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, a major metropolitan teaching hospital, in your neighbourhood.

Hornsby Station is a major transport hub, giving locals an easy commute to the rest of Sydney and beyond. Trains from Hornsby Station take passengers to the city, Parramatta, Chatswood, North Sydney and elsewhere in Sydney, as well as further afield to places like the Central Coast, Newcastle, Casino, Armidale, Grafton, Moree and even Brisbane.

2. A bush wonderland in your backyard

Hornsby Shire is home to thousands of hectares of native flora and fauna, including the Berowra Valley National and Regional Park. Hornsby locals love their tranquil bushland backyard, making the most of the stunning walking tracks and trails and picnic areas. Secluded Lisgar Gardens is famous for its camellias, and Ginger Meggs Park was named after the iconic comic strip character created by Jimmy Bancks, who spent a lot of time in the area where the park now is as a child. Council is currently creating a new parkland on the site of the old Hornsby Quarry, due for completion in 2023.

3. State-topping schools

Hornsby is home to some of the most in-demand schools in Sydney. The selective high school Hornsby Girls High School was ranked 6th in the state in 2020’s HSC, and students travel from all over Sydney to attend it.

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After starting out in 1890 as a boys’ school, the prestigious independent school Barker College has been transitioning to full coeducation since 2019. By 2022 every grade from kindergarten to year 12 will be open to both boys and girls.

Both of Hornsby’s state primary schools, Hornsby North Public School and Hornsby South Public School, are considered excellent schools and are highly sought after by parents. And Clarke Road School is at the forefront of innovation in special education for K-12.

Sales market update

In-demand Hornsby offers a good mix of established family homes, units and townhouses. Families are drawn to the peaceful leafy streets lined with classic homes and modern masterpieces, while first home buyers, downsizers and property investors alike are attracted to the area’s new high-quality unit and townhouse developments. Hornsby is the most densely populated and rapidly growing centre in the area, with almost 60 per cent of its dwellings units or townhouses.

The median house price in Hornsby in May 2021 is $1,355,000, 6.3 per cent higher than June 2020’s median of $1,275,000. Meanwhile, unit prices have remained steady over the past year, with today’s median price of $645,000 virtually unchanged on June 2020’s median of $640,000. Houses in Hornsby have seen a compound growth rate of 5.3 per cent over the past five years, while units have remained steady.

Hornsby top sales

Some of Hornsby’s top real estate sales have been completed by the team at Chadwick, including:

Rental market update

With 43.3 per cent of its homes rented, Hornsby is Ku-ring-gai’s most significant rental market, making it well worth a look for property investors. It stands out from neighbouring Upper North Shore suburbs like Wahroonga, for example, where only 16.3 per cent of residential properties are rented. Houses in Hornsby lease for $620 per week, townhouses $550 and units $420. The vacancy rate as of May 2021 was 2.78 per cent, putting the Hornsby rental market on the slightly tighter side. The annual rental yield for houses in Hornsby is 2.4 per cent, while for units it is 3.4 per cent.

If you’re looking to buy, sell or rent in Hornsby, get in touch with our friendly and professional team. We look forward to welcoming you to our new Hornsby office opening in July 2021.

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