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Looking for inspiration, relaxation, or a fun way to meet people in your local area?
Whether you're looking for something to do this weekend, or planning your next big event, try Calligraphy, Sewing and textiles, Dance or Floristry with some of the Chatswood area's most talented teachers, like Renclub, Payal Bhargava, Emmett Ng and Aya Shibata.
Let's celebrate our local gems!
Located on the southern end of the North Shore, Chatswood is a city all its own, complete with a beautiful skyline, expansive retail space, and sophisticated railway system. This community is easily accessible and offers an expansive list of festivals, events, and classes to explore, reeling in families and individuals of all ages.
If it’s your first time, you may find it easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this little metropolis, so here’s a cursory guide of the suburb to get you really acquainted with the area.
How it all started.
According to the Willoughby City Council, the district of Chatswood was named after the former district pioneer’s wife, Charlotte -Chattie- Hartnett (1). In its early days, the area was used as timber and farming land, until the construction of residences transformed it into a small community in 1876 (2).
With the opening of the North Shore railway line in 1890, the region began developing with greater speed, gaining momentum with further construction like the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Like many economies across the world, the Depression and World War II slowed things down for a bit, but planning picked right back up as early as 1948. Since then, the area has seen tremendous growth, with commercial development taking up a large portion of land West of the railroad.
Over decades of strategic planning and in-depth negotiations, high-rise buildings and apartment complexes began popping up in the city centre in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, especially around public transportation hubs to decrease automotive congestion.
Today, the cluster of sky-scrapers is an indication of the region’s success in retail, commerce, and city-planning, attracting a large crowd of shoppers and businesspeople. In fact, Chatswood boasts of 200,000 square feet of retail space, most of which is made up of large shopping centers like Westfield Chatswood, Lemon Grove Shopping Centre, and Mandarin Centre, all large-scale high-end malls that will keep you browsing for hours(3).
The best time to visit.
The largest event of the year may just be the “Emerge Festival”, an annual family-friendly soiree that serves as a “celebration of new talent, culture and community,” according to the event website (4). Put on by the Willoughby City Council, Emerge Festival lasts four weeks during September and showcases everything from film screenings to robot demonstrations to orienteering competitions.
The turnout is so large, that multiple roads will be closed to ensure the safety of pedestrians, and visitors are encouraged to use public transportation to cut down on traffic.
Of course, a conversation about Emerge festival cannot overlook the importance of the Concourse in the events. This monumental building not only provides a venue for the festival, but continues to serve as a theatre, concert hall, and multi-purpose space for throughout the year (5). Within its vicinity, the Concourse offers large green spaces, a library, restaurants, and retail stores, making it a great place to hang out any time of year. There are quite a few visual art spectacles to enjoy on the premises as well.
Another great annual event to look out for is the Australia Day celebration in January, which serves to welcome new citizens and appreciate the altruistic efforts of existing community members (6). The day-long event features pool parties, live poetry readings, and free BBQs. Past festivities have also included very special recognition awards such as the Willoughby Citizen of the Year Award, which highlight the accomplishments of community leaders in the areas of community service and the empowerment of young people. The ceremony is followed by a barbecue sponsored by the Chatswood Rotary Club.
In the same month, Chinese New Year and Harmony Day is celebrated in Chatswood, with a variety of events, including free film screenings and multicultural performances(7). Some truly amazing spectacles to look our for are the traditional Lion Dance, martial arts demonstrations, and folk music concerts. It is also a great opportunity to browse various craft stalls and taste delicious food samples from abroad.
And if you’re not into the big festivities, find something low-key.
If you’re more interested in the weekly events, check out the Chatswood Mall Market that takes place on Victoria Avenue every Thursday and Friday from 9am to 9pm (8). This high-end craft fair offers visitors the chance to taste global delicacies, shop elegant fashion stalls and buy fresh produce. From 12 to 8pm, you can also enjoy the international musical talents of the day.
There are even activities for your educational and creative interests, such as free weekly music workshops at the Willoughby City Library, and 3-D card making classes at the MOSAIC Multicultural Centre (9). Or simply spend an afternoon expanding your historical knowledge of the area by attending the Willoughby Museum on Johnson Street in Chatswood. The museum, located within a historic Federation style brick cottage constructed in 1913, tells the story of the early days of Chatswood as well as how the area has been shaped and developed by migration and social transitions.
Chatswood is waiting
If you haven’t yet discovered Chatswood, or have been planning to get back, there’s no better time to skip over the bridge and learn more about this wonderful suburb. You’ll be blown away by the renowned commercial opportunities, invigorated by the multicultural festivals, and inspired by the many creative classes and community-oriented events taking place in this North Shore area.
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