People and Places

People and Places


Since 1865, six generations of the Forsyth family have lived and worked in Willoughby, making a significant contribution to the growth and development of the community. Three Forsyths have been Mayor of Willoughby, as well as holding numerous other Council offices, and every generation has worked with local charities, hospitals, business and community groups to help improve the lives and lifestyles of Wiloughby residents. 

When English-born tanner James Forsyth bought 278 acres of land in around 1869 for three pounds an acre, the "Municipality of North Willoughby" was an isolated bushland community of farms, orchards, market gardens and tanneries with a population of just 553 people. Today, the soughtafter leafy residential suburbs of Willoughby, Willoughby North and Willoughby East are home to around 13,500 people and the Willoughby City Council LGA has a total population of around 82,000. 

The Forsyth family's history is intertwined with the growth of the suburb and written in its streets. More than a dozen roads are named after Forsyth family members or their residences, including Forsyth Street, Ann Street, Robert Street, Rosewall Street, Lyle Street (now part of Eastern Valley Way) and Tyneside Avenue. The site of the first Forsyth family business the "Rosewall Tannery" is marked by a Willoughby Council Civic Heritage Commemorative Plaque on the corner of Ann and Stan Streets.

Many of Willoughby's historic houses have links to the Forsyth family. The imposing sandstone mansions "Rosewall" and "Tyneside" in High Street were built in 1883-84 as family residences by brothers Thomas Todd Forsyth and Robert Forsyth. Both are still standing and are recorded in the register of the National Trust. Other residences such as the classic 1904 Federation bungalow "Kamaina" on Penshurst Street and 1933 "Sythmor" on Clanwilliam Street are still owned by the Forsyth family.