History Resources

Do you want to learn more about your suburb or Hornsby Shire in general? The following resources offer a treasure trove of information.

Library catalogue

This is the best place to start. Simply open the Library Catalogue and type your keyword into the search engine.


Held in the Local Studies Stack Collection, these include Council and community organisation minutes, letters and financial records.


The Sands directory is a good tool for finding residents and businesses in the Shire up to 1932. It is held in the Local Studies Reference Collection at Hornsby Library, reference number MIC 994.4. Copies of early Sydney Street and business directories are also held.

Electoral Rolls

Electoral Rolls for Hornsby Shire are held from 1959 to 1991.

Heritage reports

The Hornsby Shire Heritage Study gives a description of the 510 built items, 254 landscape items and 95 archaeological items listed as having local, regional or state heritage significance.


Local Colour, the magazine of the Hornsby Historical Society, is a valuable tool for local history research. There are copies available for loan as well as a complete set from January 1971 to now in the Reference Collection.

Maps and plans

These include early parish maps and subdivision plans. Parish maps can also be viewed through the Department of Lands.


Some local newspapers have been microfilmed and may be examined at Hornsby library. They include The Advocate and The Cumberland Argus.

The National Library of Australia’s TROVE website, which offers digitised Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1954, may also reveal some interesting information.


The Local Studies Section at Hornsby Library holds photographs of most of the suburbs in Hornsby Shire. You can view digital copies of many of these photographs through our online local history site Hornsby Shire Recollects.

Photos are also available via the State Library of NSW PICMAN, which also contains manuscripts, oral history and printed posters collections.

Other photos are available at PictureAustralia, a service hosted by the National Library of Australia.

Rate Books

These are useful for identifying the approximate date of the construction of a property and the names of the ratepayers. Microfilm copies are available for viewing within Hornsby Library.

Suburb histories

Vertical Files

Pamphlets and newspaper clippings, letters and reports are held in the vertical files. They are in alphabetical order, so look under the name of the suburb you are interested in.