Ryde was the third region chosen for settlement after Sydney Cove and Parramatta. The first land grants were made in 1792 to eight marines, who established a small group of farms at ‘Kissing Point’ along the Parramatta River. The more extensive region further back was named ‘Field of Mars’ by Governor Phillip, after the ancient god of war, to reflect the settlers’ military associations.
By 1841, the new name ‘Ryde’ was emerging for the district, after Ryde on the Isle of Wight in the UK. Orchards were the main form of local industry, and stone fruits were the area’s dominant produce. Subdivision was slow, as many large estate owners attempted to keep their properties intact.
The Ryde Bridge crossing the Parramatta River was opened in 1935, and this had a huge impact on the area’s future development. After the Second World War, Ryde was transformed from semi-rural setting to a distinctively urban area with a vigorous growth pattern, particularly after Australia’s first shopping complex, the Top Ryde Shopping Centre, was opened in 1957.
General real estate and design in the area
Ryde has a mix of brick, fibro and new homes.
Restaurants and cafés
There is a strip of good restaurants, including an Italian restaurant and steakhouse on Church Street, and Blaxland Street has a mix of Chinese and Mediterranean foods.
Schools and education institutions
Ryde Public School is the local primary school, located on Pope Street. St Charles’ Primary School and Patrician Brothers Holy Cross College are on Victoria Road, while the local high school, Ryde Secondary College, is on Malvina Street. Ryde College of TAFE offers courses in hospitality, tourism, horticulture and environmental management, and is located on Blaxland Road.
The historic ‘Westward’ on Turner Street is a brick and sandstone workman’s cottage and the only surviving domestic example of Ryde’s earliest phase of urbanisation. ‘Willandra’ on Victoria Road is one of Australia’s finest examples of colonial Georgian architecture and the 1837 police station on the corner of Belmore Street and Victoria Road is the oldest police station still in use.
Top Ryde Shopping Centre on the corner of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road was Australia’s first shopping complex. In September 2007 works to demolish the existing centre was completed in February 2008. Construction of the new centre commenced in late April 2008 and is expected to take approximnately 36 months. Stage 3 has now completed. The Macquarie Centre at North Ryde is a short drive away; it has 230 shops, including a department store, large supermarkets and a cinema complex.
Sports and fitness centres
The Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre on Victoria Road has two pools, a wave pool, a giant waterslide, kids pool and basketball courts.
Transport and distance from the CBD
Ryde is 13.5 km north-west of the CBD and a 15-minute drive from Chatswood. The L20 bus service runs from the city every 20 minutes during peak hour and every 30 minutes outside of peak times, and the 520 service runs every 30 minutes. There are also bus services from Chatswood; the 545 bus service via the Macquarie Centre runs every 15 minutes, and the 534 service runs every 30 minutes.