Frenchs Forest, New South Wales

Frenchs Forest is a suburb of northern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Frenchs Forest is located 13 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of Warringah Council. Frenchs Forest is part of the Northern Beaches region and also considered to be part of the Forest District, colloquially known as The Forest.


Frenchs Forest is close to the Garigal National Park. It is elevated (~110 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. Garigal National Park features native wildlife, birds, turtles, wallabies, lizards, snakes. Bush tracks include bluff track and natural bridge track.


Aboriginal culture

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".

European settlement

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 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 (1821-1886) and his brother James acquired 200 acres in this area. The property was later known as Rodborough when it was acquired by John French, who also developed the land that became neighbouring Forestville. Despite its relative proximity to Sydney, Frenchs Forest remained predominantly rural throughout the nineteenth century.

Commercial areas

Forestway shopping centre is at the intersection of Forestway and Warringah Roads. During the 1960s and 1970s, this centre had the name Arndale. 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.





The main Routes through Frenchs Forest include the east-west Warringah Road (State route 29), connecting Roseville in the west with Brookvale in the east; the north-south Forestway, starting at Warringah Road in Frenchs Forest and heading north through Belrose to Terrey Hills (8 km); the north-south Wakehurst Parkway (State route 22), starting at Narrabeen in the northeast, crossing Warringah road in Frenchs Forest, and heading south to Seaforth. Following any of these three major roads lead to the only three road routes off the Warringah 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 was suspended above the intersection in the first half of the 20th century to warn motorists of the danger.


Historically there was little Sydney Buses public bus service in The Forest except the original peripheral Skyline shops-Manly 145 (now replaced with 142) and City Services 169 and 173, these routes only servicing the eastern end of the large suburb. A private bus firm, Forest Coach Lines filled the void for many years, connecting The Forest with Chatswood railway station in the west, Warringah Mall Shopping Centre at Brookvale in the east and Terrey Hills in the north. More recently, their network has included an express City bus service to Town Hall Station in the Sydney CBD as well.

Not having serviced the area well before the mid 1980s, Sydney Buses provides an east-west Manly-Chatswood Station connection, starting at Manly via Dee Why Beach, through Frenchs Forest then express to Roseville, then Chatswood. The return Journey is express from Roseville Bridge until (next set down) Naree Rd, Frenchs Forest. This oblique pickup/setdown regime is in deference to the negotiated rights of Forest Coach Lines to privately service the area for many years, when Sydney Buses saw it as an unprofitable service.

Sydney Buses also has (previously mentioned) Skyline Shops-Manly service and Skyline Shops-City respectively.

Forest Coach Lines provides bus services to Sydney CBD, Warringah Mall and Chatswood. Sydney Buses operates a service to Chatswood Station


There are some cycling amenities in the area including:

  • A combination cycle/cycle-pedestrian shared/cycle-road path (completed circa 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 (map)


  • Glen Street Theatre
  • Frenchs Forest Showground has "off leash" areas for dogs and horse events.


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


  • Lions club
  • The Scout Hall is at Utyana Place.
  • Ararat Reserve (named after the Ararat plains of Ancient Armenia) on Bantry Bay Road features a number of ethnic clubs: Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Sokol (Czech/Slovak), Austrian and Armenian.

Sport and Recreation


In the 2001 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing, the population of the Frenchs Forest postcode area was 12435 people, in an area of 9.1 square kilometres. The population was 50.3% females, 49.7% males. 22% of the population was born overseas. The eight strongest religious affiliations in the area were in descending order: Anglican, Catholic, No religion, Uniting Church, Presbyterian and Reformed, Other Christian, Oriental Christian and Pentecostal.
The three most common forms of dwelling were in decreasing order: separate house (3883), semi-detached, row or terrace house, or townhouse (115) and flat, unit or apartment (36).


External links

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