Three Decades in the Hills

Change is inevitable but is also manageable.

Earlier this month, my wife and I celebrated more than three decades of living in the Hills. (33 years to be more exact) Purchasing a block of land from Landcom, in a very small subdivision we then visited numerous exhibition homes to select the type or style of home to suit our family.

After clearing the land and having decided upon the home that we wanted to have constructed it was time to get Council approval and have the builders start.

Our home was the first to be constructed in the small subdivision and we are only one of two remaining original occupying families still living in the subdivision. Our children have grown and moved away and we have watched other families come and go over that time. We have also seen many changes in those years.

When we moved into the Hills, the areas of Bella Vista, Norwest, Kellyville, Rouse Hill and so on were rural in nature with just small urban pockets close to the main roads. We witnessed the construction of the M2 Hills Motorway and less than 20 years later the widening of the same due to increasing traffic. We have seen the growth in the regional shopping centres when Winston Hills had two adjoining shopping centres (both now combined into one), Castle Hill Towers evolving from a small neighbourhood shopping centre facing Old Castle Hill Rd into one of the largest shopping complexes in Australia, Stockland shopping centre at Baulkham Hills has grown also in that time. Long- time residents would recall when it was approximately half the size it is now and Venture was the largest store in the centre. We have seen the introduction of traffic management schemes such as speed humps and roundabouts in suburban streets as traffic has increased.

The Garden Shire as the area is known as has also seen, in Baulkham Hills and Castle Hill the loss of garden nurseries such as Ferguson’s on Windsor Rd, Wagon Wheels on Seven Hills Rd and Alexander McDonald’s on MacDougall Lane and Cecil Ave. Castle Hill.

Of the advances we have now seen is the introduction of regular bus services to Sydney and increased bus services generally in the area and to Parramatta. We also appreciate the conservation of some of the remaining historic sites still in the area. Bella Vista Farm is one example where it is now more easily accessible and has been used for community events such as Christmas and New Year celebrations. Hospital and medical facilities have also improved. When we moved into the area a hospital was proposed to be built at Old Northern Rd and Excelsior Ave. Castle Hill, however that soon changed and a private hospital was built on Windsor Rd, Baulkham Hills which replaced that suggestion. More recently we have seen the construction of the much larger Norwest Private Hospital at Bella Vista.

Like others however we have not always liked the changes that have taken place. Some I feel have lacked forward planning such as the sale of schools to developers which then led to overcrowding at the remaining schools or the lack of action on some matters that have been on the drawing board for many years or even decades.

But no doubt we will see many more changes to the district as time goes on.

Share your memories and old photographs with our “as we were” readers

Memories of growing up locally, or when you moved into our community are welcome. Tell us your experiences from school days, sporting clubs, holidays, work or group organisations.

If you have a funny or interesting neighbourhood stories, we would like to publish them! Write to: 17 Rose St, Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153. Email to [email protected] Share on Hills District Memories at memories or Hawkesbury Happenings & Memories at facebook. com/groups/Hawkesmemories.

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