Picture: Victoria Avenue C1950s.
Chatswood is named after "Chattie" (Charlotte) Hartnett, the wife of district pioneer and former Mayor of Willoughby, Richard Hartnett.
Development of the area dates from 1876 when a residential estate was established in Chatswood. Prior to this the land was used mainly for timber and farming. Chatswood began to develop as a commercial centre from 1890, following the opening of the North Shore railway line. Growth accelerated in the 1930s with the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, however, it was slowed by the Depression and World War II.
In 1961 the population of the Municipality had grown to 53,683 and in 1983 Chatswood was declared a Town Centre. Retail outlets and commercial enterprise has expanded rapidly since. In 1989 Willoughby was declared a City.
By the 1930s Chatswood supported three cinemas, the Arcadia, the Kings, and Hoyts. All of these had closed by 1982. The Zenith Theatre was opened in 1987. A complex of cinemas was opened in the Mandarin Shopping Centre in 1995, followed by an eight-cinema complex in Westfield shopping centre.
The west end of Victoria Avenue was, for many years, the retail centre of Chatswood. It was not until 1959 that activity began to focus on the eastern side of the railway station with the opening of Waltons and Grace Bros (now Myer). The opening of Wallaceway, Lemon Grove and later Chatswood Chase (1983) and Westfield (1986) heralded a new era of shopping centres east of the railway line. In 1989 the Chatswood Mall was constructed by the closure of part of Victoria Avenue to traffic. The opening of the (bus/rail) Interchange in 1988 and the Gore Hill Freeway in 1992 increased access to Chatswood. A large new extension of the Westfield shopping complex (incorporating Myer) opened in 1999.
In 2011, The Concourse was opened in Chatswood. The Concourse is one of the most holistic community and cultural facilities in NSW incorporating a suite of performance facilities a public library and urban screen.