Neutral Bay

Neutral Bay is a harbourside suburb on the lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Neutral Bay is located 5 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of North Sydney Council.

Neutral Bay takes its name from the bay that sits on Sydney Harbour. Kurraba Point is a locality in Neutral Bay. Surrounding suburbs include North Sydney, Cammeray, Milsons Point, Cremorne and Cremorne Point.

The name Neutral Bay, originates from the time of the early colonial period of Australia, where different bays of Sydney harbour where zoned for different incoming vessels. This bay was where all foreign vessels would dock, hence the name neutral.

The Aboriginal name for the area was ‘Wirra-birra’. In 1789, soon after the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney, Governor Arthur Phillip declared that this bay a neutral harbour where foreign ships could anchor and take on water and supplies. Neutral Bay was far enough away from Sydney Cove to discourage convicts from escaping on these vessels and to keep possible enemy ships at a distance from the main settlement.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Neutral Bay and Cremorne were developing as “alternative society suburbs”, populated by the kind of people who were attracted to the Arts and Crafts architectural style that was in vogue at the time. This style was an attempt to get away from mass production and give homes the “human touch”. Notable examples soon appeared in the area. Brent Knowle, in Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay, was designed by Bertrand James Waterhouse and built in 1914. It influenced home design in the area for at least the next fifteen years.