Rose Bay



Rose Bay is an affluent suburb on the shores of Sydney Harbour in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. Located 7 km to the east of the Sydney central business district, Rose Bay enjoys views of both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge together. Lyne Park abuts Sydney Harbour on its west. Shark Island is located in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), just north of Rose Bay.

Lyne Park abuts Sydney Harbour on its west. Shark Island is located just north of Rose Bay. From 1938 until 1974, seaplanes landed in Sydney Harbour on Rose Bay, making this Sydney's first international airport. HMAS Tingira, named after an Aboriginal word for 'open sea' was moored in Rose Bay from 1912 to 1927. It was used to train over 3,000 Australian sailors, many for service in World War I. There is a small park on the Rose Bay waterfront which commemorates Tingira.

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Scenic Flights



Seaplane operators offer scenic flights over Sydney itself as well as a number of excursions along the coast as well as some scheduled services to Newcastle with aircraft operating out of the seaplane terminal near Rose Bay ferry terminal.

From 1938, seaplanes landed in Sydney Harbour on Rose Bay, making this Sydney's first international airport. On 14th September 1945, nine Catalina flying boats landed and moored at the Rose Bay wharf, repatriating Australian POWs, survivors of Japanese camps. Sydneysiders looked on in silence, aghast at the emaciated state of the returning soldiers. There is a nearby restaurant called Catalina, referencing the aircraft of the same name. From the 1950s Ansett Flying Boat Services operated regular scheduled flights to Lord Howe Island from a small seaplane terminal and jetty on the Rose Bay foreshore. Latterly the flights were operated by four-engined Short Sandringhams. The service was discontinued in 1974 when the island's new airport was completed.
Rose Bay Beach


One of the longest ribbons of beach sand on Port Jackson, which these days is divided into two sections by Lyn Park. Once the site of Sydney s International Airport for flying boats, it is now home to float planes which offer joy flights up and down the coast and a number of highly respected waterside restaurants. Facilities: sporting clubs, restaurants and shops nearby, toilets, grassed areas. New South Head Road, Rose Bay.
Hermitage Foreshore Reserve

Milk Beach


A strip of Rose Bay foreshore land from Bayview Hill Road to Nielsen Park that was resumed in May, 1912 and added to the Sydney Harbour National Park, November 1983. The area was largely left in its natural state so that with both the Hermitage Reserve and Nielsen Park there is now more than 3 km of rock and beach foreshore which is mostly untouched by urban development and is fully accessible to the public. Along the 1.8 km walk from Bay View Hill Road to Nielsen Park, Vaucluse, are Queens Beach, Hermit Bay, Milk Beach and Stickland House as well as panoramic views across the harbour to the city skyline.
Kambala Lookout


As New South Head Road climbs the hill after leaving the Double Bay shopping area, take a quick glance to the left and you ll get a spectacular harbour view which includes Woollahra Point, Shark Island and Bradleys Head in the foreground, or a little further up at a lookout, the city skyline, the harbour bridge and Opera House. It is an impossible place to stop if you are driving  you can either turn left immediately after the lookout into the very steep Bay View Hill Road and park on it, or if you are coming in the other direction, turn left into Towns Road, park and walk back. The lookout, complete with a seat, is on the harbour side of New South Head Road. UBD Map 237 Ref N 6.
Cooper Park


This 15 hectare reserve forms the southern boundary of Bellevue Hill. A natural oasis in the middle of a built up area, it comprises of picnic, receation and sporting facilities alongside one of the largest remaining areas of natural bushland in the Eastern Suburbs.

Its worth as a recreation area was recognised as far back as 1885 when the Government was asked to purchase land from the Cooper Estate for recreational purposes. In 1913 Sir William Cooper gave the whole of the gully from Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill to Manning Road, Double Bay to the Woollahra Council as a park.
Rose Bay International Airport


As you walk along the foreshore of Rose Bay, were it not for the occasional buzz of a float plane as it lands and takes off across the bay and the fact that a restaurant on the bay is called Catalina s, you would never know the bay played a short but important role as Sydney s international airport. It began in May 1914 when a Farman Hydro-aeroplane made an emerg??Eency landing there. Twenty years later a flying boat base was established on a temporary basis  and became a terminus for Qantas Empire Airways and Imperial Airways for their London to Sydney passenger services. The first passenger flight, by an Empire class Coo-ee, left for Southampton on 2nd February 1938. The service continued until the end of 1947 when Lockheed Constellation airliners replaced the flying boats that had pioneered the Kangaroo Route , the name Australians gave to the England to Australia run.



Flying boats were used in the 1930s to pioneer the concept of international air travel. As the clouds of World War II gathered, aircraft builders were developing larger, faster, more luxurious flying boats and the airlines began developing flying boat bases such as the one at Rose Bay in anticipation of a boom in ai??br travel. A trans-Tasman flying boat service began in April 1940 which at its peak, saw a fleet of four Sandringhams servicing the route and making the seven hour crossing to Auckland. Services to Lord Howe Island, Fiji and Tahiti were introduced using Sandringhams, Hythes, Solents, Sunderlands and Catalinas. The hangars of the Qantas base provided maintenance for the flying boat fleets of Qantas, Tasman Empire Airways Limited, Barrier Reef Airways and Imperial which operated these services, as well as the Qantas flying boats on the Perth to Ceylon route.

After the war, the anticipated boom in air travel came, but advancements made in the design and performance of land-based aircraft during the war saw the flying boats becoming obsolete before they had a chance to make their mark. Elaborate plans to build an international airport and hotels on the Rose ??uBay foreshore were first put on hold, then abandoned completely as the flying boat services were replaced by land-based aircraft which could not land at Rose Bay.

The last Qantas flight from Rose Bay took off at midnight on 16th august 1955. By 1962, the number of personnel at the base had dwindled to 11. The final commercial flight from Rose Bay, an Ansett service to Lord Howe Island, took place on 10th September 1974, closing a brief but important chapter in Australia s aviation history and returning the bay to being the quiet harbourside community it was before the arrival of the flying boats.

Heritage Buildings


Rose Bay is home to two independent schools: Kambala Girls School (1887), an Anglican, day and boarding school for girls from Pre-school to Year 12; and Kincoppal  Rose Bay (1882), a Catholic, day and boarding school with a co-educational primary school and girls-only high school. Kincoppal  Rose Bay was originally Rose Bay Convent but amalgamated with Kincoppal Elizabeth Bay in the late 1970s to become Kincoppal  Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart . The prep school campus of Cranbrook School (1918) is also located in the suburb.

Fernleigh Castle: built in 1892, it incorporating part of a sandstone cottage that dated back to 1874. Aptly named, it resembles a castle with its turrets, castellated towers and square Norman tower. Its sandstone structure contains thirty rooms and a number of stained-glass windows. Fernleigh Castle is on the Register of the National Estate.


Kincoppal School

Cranbrook: Cranbrook was initially a forty acre property on the southern side of New South Head Road. It was acquired in 1856 by Edwin Tooth who had come out to New South Wales to join his uncle, James Tooth in the brewing business. Later he was joined by his brothers Robed and Frederick. Edwin did not improve the property and he died in 1858, bequeathing the land to his two brothers By agreement, Frederick took six acres on the north side of New South Head Road which Edwin had also acquired. On this he built his house Buckhurst . The house Cranbrook  was named after the ancestral district in Kent, England, from which the Tooth family stemmed, is in Victorian Free Classical style and believed to have been built for Robert Tooth, (Blacket), late 1850 2s. Occupied by Frederick Tooth to 1864; Capt. Robert Towns 1864-73; James White 1874-90. It was bought in 1900 by the NSW. Government for use as State Government House. In 1917 the NSW Government put Cranbrook up for auction. It was purchased by Mr Samuel Hordern on behalf of a group of men from the Church of England who had decided to utilise it as a school. It is now one of the buildings of Cranbrook School. 5 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill.

The Convent of the Sacred Heart: overlooks the bay and can be seen from many vantage points around Sydney Harbour. The site was originally occupied by a house called Claremont, which was built in 1852. The convent incorporated this house when it was built in 1888. Designed by John Horbury Hunt, the new building was of five storeys in height and made of sandstone that was quarried at the site. It included a Gothic Revival Chapel and is regarded as one of Hunt s most successful creations. It now houses the Kincoppal-Rose Bay school for girls.

St Andrew s Presbyterian Church: on the corner of Dover Road and Carlisle Street, St Andrew s Presbyterian Church was completed in 1913 but contains a number of elements from the 1835 St Andrew s Scots Church once near Sydney s Town Hall. These include historic memorial plaques, cedar pews, plate, the stone font, the 1885 Hill organ and stained glass windows and even rafters. Immediately uphill from it is the 1919 Sunday school hall.


Rose Bay Police Station

This police station originally started life as the gatekeeper s lodge in the estate of Woollahra House, a nineteenth-century mansion that has long gone. The surviving building was designed in a Victorian Classical Revival style which is attributed to Hilly and Mansfield  and which probably tells us what Woollahra House looked like. It was built in 1871 and features rendered walls punctuated with pilasters.


Rose Bay Cottage

Rose Bay Cottage: located in Salisbury Road, the cottage was built in 1834 by the important colonial architect, John Verge, for James Holt who, at the time, managed the Cooper Estate . The house was built as a single storey residence but was enlarged later. From 1861 until 1911, the house was usually known as Rose Bay Lodge; it has also been known as Salisbury Court. It was surrounded by extensive gardens embellished by five working fountains fed from a water source above on the slopes of Bellevue Hill which later fed Woollahra House , built in 1883 on Point Piper. One of the fountains still remains.

Double Bay


Double Bay is a relatively exclusive harbourside eastern suburb, some 4 km east of the Sydney central business district, and is one of Sydney's prettiest harbourside shopping villages. Double Bay is known as the most fashionable and expensive shopping district. Tagged by many as Sydney's "little Europe", the suburb boasts elegant streets, fine fashion boutiques, a vibrant cafe society and upmarket real estate featuring grand residential homes.
Bellevue Hill


The name given to Double Bay's neighbouring suburb was taken from that given to the look-out area which later became Bellevue Park - named 'Belle Vue' - by Governor Macquarie as an alternative to the colloquial -Vinegar Hill - which Macquarie considered vulgar. On a map, the streets of Bellevue Hill, like many of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, look as though they were laid out by tossing a bowl of spaghetti on the floor. That did not happen, of course, the streets twist and wind (and go up and down) as they do because of the hilly terrain of the area.

Bellevue Hill is well known for being one of Australia's wealthiest suburbs. The historic Queen Anne home Caerleon was sold for $22 million in January 2008. This price was surpassed by the $23 million paid for a mansion in Victoria Road in November 2009. The mansion had previously been used by the French consulate since 1955. One person who inspected it was actor Russell Crowe, who subsequently did not take part in the bidding. The house was bought by Lachlan Murdoch.

Actress Toni Collette sold her Bellevue Hill home in August 2009 for $6.4 million. The house, El Mio, had been the base for Collette and her husband, musician David Galafassi, since they bought it in 2004 for $5 million. The house was located in Rupertswood Avenue and was designed in 1928 in the Spanish Mission style. It was initially passed in at $6.3 million, but was then sold within an hour after successful negotiations with the highest bidder.

Other notable residents have included media baron Kerry Packer; stockbroker Rene Rivkin; Sir William McMahon, Prime Minister of Australia and and Lady McMahon; artist Martin Sharp; composer May Brahe.

About Rose Bay


Around the turn of the 19th Century after a smallpox epidemic had all but wiped out the aboriginal population, the overhangs were used by convicts who had escaped from the main settlement and set up camp here. Because of their hermit existence, the location became known as Hermit Bay.

Rose Bay is one of just a handful names found in the Sydney that has connections to the 1st Fleet of 1788. The name honours George Rose (1744-1818), a friend and mentor of 1st Fleet Governor Arthur Phillip. Rose Hill, near Parramatta, and the Rosella parrot, also honour Rose, who was the Joint Secretary to the Treasury in England in Governor Phillip s time. He played an important part in the establishment of the colony and his role is remembered by these names. The name Rose Bay was recorded as early as 1778 by Captain John Hunter who did the first surveys of Port Jackson.

Some years later, under the authority of the Governor, a group of convicts moved to Rose Bay and established a salt works. In 1837, the oldest house on the foreshore, Hermitage, was built by the explorer, businessman and statesman William Charles Wentworth. He called his property Hermitage, a clever corruption of the name of nearby Hermit Bay to give his property a name with a touch of class. The small settlement which grew up around it retained its remote rural atmosphere for most of the 19th Century, being a popular resting place for travellers on the New South Head Road and a centre for pleasure craft activities on Sydney Harbour. The large tidal mud flats were reclaimed in 1902, and the seawall built 22 years later. Major residential developed commenced in the 1920s and today Rose Bay is a desirable address like its neighbour, Double Bay.

HMAS Tingira, named after an Aboriginal word for open sea  was moored in Rose Bay from 1912 to 1927. It was used to train over 3,000 Australian sailors, many for service in World War I. There is a small park on the Rose Bay waterfront which commemoratesTingira.

From 1938, seaplanes landed in Sydney Harbour on Rose Bay, making this Sydney's first international airport. On 14 September 1945, nine Catalina flying boats landed and moored at the Rose Bay wharf, repatriating Australian POWs, survivors of Japanese camps. Sydneysiders looked on in silence, aghast at the emaciated state of the returning soldiers.[4] There is a nearby restaurant called Catalina, referencing the aircraft of the same name.

From the 1950s Ansett Flying Boat Services operated regular scheduled flights to Lord Howe Island from a small seaplane terminal and jetty on the Rose Bay foreshore. Latterly the flights were operated by four-engined Short Sandringhams. The service was discontinued in 1974 when the island's new airport was completed.

At midnight on 8th June 1942, Japanese submarine I-24 was travelling at periscope depth about 15km south west of the Macquarie Light near Sydney. It then surfaced and pointed its deck gun towards Sydney. Commander Hanabusa is said to have given his target instructions to gunnery officer Yusaburo Morita to aim directly at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, however it seems more likely, given where the shells landed, that the target was actually Rose Bay flying boat base. Morita fired 10 shells within 4 minutes. Most of the shells came down in Rose Bay, Woollahra and Bellevue Hill, hitting a number of residences.


2a Bayview Hill Road (centre)

Rose Bay was for 30 years the home of The Easybeats  lead guitarist and songwriter, Harry Vanda. The Netherlands-born muso who wrote many of the band s 1960s hits, such as 'Friday on My Mind', bought the Bayview Hill Road property in 1983 for $667,500 with his wife, Robyn. The couple then built what is now a five-bedroom, four-bathroom house with a swimming pool, spa and sauna and gun-barrel harbour views. the home is at 2A Bayview Hill Road, Rose Bay.


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  • How to get there:
    The Rose Bay wharf provides ferry access to the Eastern Suburbs. There are frequent buses to and from the centre of Sydney via Kings Cross as well as other points and out to Watsons Bay and the coast.

    The Name
    Rose Bay is one of just a handful names found in the Sydney that has connections to the 1st Fleet of 1788. The name honours George Rose (1744-1818), a friend and mentor of 1st Fleet Governor Arthur Phillip.

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