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Pennant Hills
SydneyNew South Wales
Looking above towards the Pennant Hills railway station.
Population 7,031 (2011 census)
Postcode(s) 2120
Elevation 167 m (548 ft)
Location 25 km (16 mi) north of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) Hornsby
Region Northern Suburbs
State electorate(s) Epping, Hornsby
Federal Division(s) Berowra
Suburbs around Pennant Hills:
Cherrybrook Westleigh Thornleigh
West Pennant Hills Pennant Hills Wahroonga
North Epping South Turramurra

Pennant Hills is a suburb in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Pennant Hills is located 25 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of Hornsby Shire.


The area was first explored by Governor Arthur Phillip shortly after 15 April 1788. It was noted that the party saw 'fine views of the mountains inland' (the Blue Mountains). Governor Phillip 'did not doubt that a large river would be found' nearby.

The first white settlement occurred in the area with the establishment of convict timber camps in the time of Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Permanent white settlement of Pennant Hills began only in the 1840s and took off with the arrival of the Northern railway line in the 1880s. In August 1912 the federal government opened a Wireless Telegraphy Station, the first of its kind on a national level. The suburb has grown considerably since the 1950s, when the motor car became commonplace.

There are two theories about the origin of the suburb's name. One is that the name comes from a hill where a pennant was flown as a signal during the early days of New South Wales. However, though such signals were certainly used, there is no evidence that such a pennant was ever flown at what is now Pennant Hills, but in the early 19th century the name applied to the whole ridge down as far as Mobbs Hill, which has a Telegraph Road to commemorate the signalling station. Also, references to the suburb of Pennant Hills were written 20 years before the establishment of pennant stations (Patrick 1994:79-80). Elizabeth MacArthur records receiving a flag signal at Parramatta that her husband John had returned from England in 1806. The other theory says that Pennant Hills was named after an 18th Century botanist, Thomas Pennant (Patrick 1994:79-80), though there is no contemporary evidence for this either. The fact that the area was first referred to as "Pendant Hills" in the Sydney Gazette when first published in 1803 makes this theory unlikely, as there was no Thomas Pendant either.

The name Pennant Hills originally applied to the area now known as West Pennant Hills. However, when the northern railway line was built it passed through what is now Pennant Hills, so a suburb grew around the station and took on the name. The area around Thompsons Corner was renamed West Pennant Hills. Pennant Hills is hilly and the highest altitude is at Observatory Park on Pennant Hills Road, which once was the site of the old astronomical observatory.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Pennant Hills was the site of Chelmsford Private Hospital, where the unorthodox psychiatric Deep Sleep Therapy conducted by Dr Harry Bailey resulted in the deaths of dozens of patients.


Pennant Hills station 2015-12-10
Pennant Hills train station on 10 December 2015, showing construction of the third track as part of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor.

Pennant Hills railway station is on the North Shore, Northern & Western Line of the Sydney Trains network.

Pennant Hills Road is one of Sydney's major thoroughfares. Bus services by Transdev NSW and Hillsbus have their terminus in Pennant Hills and run to West Pennant Hills, Castle Hill and Cherrybrook.

Sport and recreation

Parks and reserves

Pennant Hills is surrounded on two sides by large swathes of bushland. To the east, the suburb is bordered by the upper reaches of the Lane Cove River and its associated national park, whilst in the north-west, Pennant Hills borders Berowra Valley National Park. Both of these reserves contain extensive walking tracks within the boundaries of the suburb, with some linking to the Great North Walk.

Pennant Hills also contains many public parks, the largest being the Pennant Hills Park sportsground. This complex hosts many sporting facilities consisting of the Ern Holmes Oval for Australian Football and cricket, tennis and netball courts, a rugby union field, a football pitch, two hockey fields and an archery range. The Ern Holmes Oval was the home ground of the Pennant Hills Demons Australian Football Club until 2011.

The Lilian Fraser Garden is also located in Pennant Hills. Originally maintained for many years by the noted government biologist Dr Lilian Fraser, after her death in 1987 her collection of rare and exotic plants was passed on to Hornsby Shire Council. Open free of charge to the public for viewing, the garden can also be hired for special events for a fee.

Sport and leisure

Pennant Hills, due to its wide array of sporting facilities, plays home to a large number of sporting organisations. These organisations include the Pennant Hills Football Club, which was established in 1957, and the Pennant Hills Demons AFC, which has seen nine players go on to compete in the AFL. Although the Ern Holmes Oval is no longer the home ground of the Demons premiership team due to its size, many of the club's junior teams still compete in Pennant Hills.

Pennant Hills is also home to the Baden Powell Scout Centre, which borders the Lane Cove National Park. Opened in 1929, it initially served as a permanent camp for the unemployed during the Great Depression, and was visited by the Lord Baden-Powell himself in 1931. Situated on 36 acres of bushland, the centre is now home to the John Hill training centre and provides accommodation, catering and conference facilities for large groups, as well as activities such as high-ropes and rock climbing for camps.



The population according to the 2011 census was 7,031. Of these:

  • The median age was 40 years, compared to the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0–14 years made up 18.1% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 15.6% of the population.
  • 63.0% of people were born in Australia; the next most common countries of birth were China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 4.1%, England 3.7%, India 3.6%, Hong Kong (SAR of China) 2.9% and Korea, Republic of (South) 2.6%.
  • 27.9% of employed people travelled to work on public transport and 52.1% by car (either as driver or as passenger).

Notable residents

  • Former Attorney General of Australia Philip Ruddock
  • St Kilda midfielder Lenny Hayes, who played for the Pennant Hills Demons in the NSW Football League.
  • Essendon tagger Mark McVeigh, who also played for the Demons in the NSW Football League.
  • Sydney Swans Football Club midfielder Jarrad McVeigh, who also played for Pennant Hills Demons in the NSW Football League.
  • John and Ilsa Konrads, siblings and world record-breaking swimmers.
  • Michaela Baranov, a contestant on the seventh season of The X Factor Australia
  • Geraint F. Lewis, astrophysicist at the University of Sydney


Because of its elevation, Pennant Hills has a mean of 21.8 °C (71.2 °F) in the warmest month, which is just below the subtropical isotherm of 22 °C (72 °F). As such, the Pennant Hills area, like most of the Hills District suburbs, have an Oceanic climate (Cfb). Its highs are around two degrees warmer than Sydney CBD in the summer, and a degree cooler in the winter. Whilst the rainfall is evenly distributed, the wettest month is March and the driest is September.

Climate data for Pennant Hills
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 27.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 21.8
Average low °C (°F) 16.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 100.6
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 10.6 11.4 12.1 11.3 9.5 10.9 9.2 8.5 8.8 9.5 9.9 10.6 122.3
Source: Bureau of Meteorology (temperatures, 1907-1943)

Coordinates: 33°44′32″S 151°03′59″E / 33.74236°S 151.06643°E / -33.74236; 151.06643

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