Neutral Bay is a harbourside suburb on the lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Neutral Bay is located 5 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of North Sydney Council.
Neutral Bay takes its name from the bay that sits on Sydney Harbour. Kurraba Point is a locality in Neutral Bay. Surrounding suburbs include North Sydney, Cammeray, Milsons Point, Cremorne and Cremorne Point.
The Aboriginal name for the area was 'Wirra-birra'. In 1789, soon after the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney, Governor Arthur Phillip declared that this bay a neutral harbour where foreign ships could anchor and take on water and supplies. Neutral Bay was far enough away from Sydney Cove to discourage convicts from escaping on these vessels and to keep possible enemy ships at a distance from the main settlement.
By the beginning of the 20th century, Neutral Bay and Cremorne were developing as "alternative society suburbs", populated by the kind of people who were attracted to the Arts and Crafts architectural style that was in vogue at the time. This style was an attempt to get away from mass production and give homes the "human touch". Notable examples soon appeared in the area. Brent Knowle, in Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay, was designed by Bertrand James Waterhouse and built in 1914. It influenced home design in the area for at least the next fifteen years.
Another notable example of the style was The Cobbles, also in Shellcove Road. Designed by Peddle and Thorp and built in 1918, it made great use of natural stones and pebbles to achieve the "hand-made" look. The Gables, in Spruson Street, was another Waterhouse design and was built in 1920. It was influenced by the "shingle style" which was brought to Sydney by Horbury Hunt, and featured prominent gables and extensive use of shingles. More Waterhouse designs appeared in Shellcove Road in the vicinity of The Cobbles and Brent Knowle.
The Oaks Hotel is a well-known and popular venue located on the corner of Military Road and Ben Boyd Road. It has been a popular meeting place in Sydney since 1885. The Oaks Hotel features a number of restaurants, bars, function rooms and an impressive beer garden with the main focal point an old oak tree that provides plenty of shade to patrons in summer.
The Warringah Freeway runs along the western border of Neutral Bay, providing links south to the Sydney CBD and north to Chatswood. Military Road has been a prominent local electoral issue, due to issues relating to the heavy traffic congestion on the road.