Cremorne Reserve

Cremorne: A Harbour Walk, Heritage and Art Deco

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A Self-Guided Walk in Cremorne

Download the Walking Map and Notes

The harbourside walk in Cremorne is a perfect reason to explore Cremorne. There’s also the Art Deco Orpheum and a few heritage listed homes to look out for.

Cremorne: North of Military Road

Taking the bus, I alight in Military Road, after the Redlands Senior Campus. Walking back towards Redlands, a series of Art Deco planter boxes line the footpath. The strong stylised geometric shapes hint of more Art Deco to come.

The traffic snakes slowly along Military Road which recently earned the dubious reputation of having one of the longest peak hours in Sydney (from 7am to 6pm).

Art Deco Planter Boxes in Cremorne

Art Deco Style

Art Deco Unit Block Cremorne

Art Deco Unit Block

St Peter’s Anglican Church

Tall metal gates set against the sacristy wall of St Peter’s Anglican Church symbolise the “Open Gates of Faith”. Created by Anne Ferguson, the gates draw me in to inspect delightful details including ripples on a pool, clouds and sun rays, fish and more.  The gates are a modern addition to the church which was first built in 1909.

Low rise unit blocks line one side of Grasmere Road facing older bungalow style homes on the opposite side. A woman walks towards me, her dog trotting beside her looking up at her with a loving, expectant look in his eyes. She tells me that he’s “begging for a treat”.

Flowers and Bubblers

Surprisingly, here in suburbia, I see a brush turkey scratching on the nature strip nearby. Rows of decorative plants line the edges of intersections adding to the overall pleasant feel of this North Sydney suburb.

Plants in Cremorne

Alongside the kerb

Semi in Cremorne

Can you see the dog?

Walking through a small garden island planted with rosemary and lavender at another intersection, I notice an old pyramidal sandstone bubbler. I doubt that many sandstone bubblers remain – I certainly can’t remember seeing another during my suburban explorations.

A thin old man looks at me suspiciously. Even when I greet him with a smile, he continues to stare with no change to his facial expression. Hopefully this isn’t indicative of the locals around here.

Primrose Park and Arts Centre

Walking down a steep and narrow winding road to Primrose Park and Arts Centre, I remember watching my daughter play soccer here on cold Sunday mornings. Nestled between Cammeray and Cremorne, the playing fields run down to the water at Willoughby Creek.

Primrose Park and Arts Centre

Those wooden stairs

Primrose Park and Arts Centre

Taken just for fun

Today, the fields are empty save for a couple of dog walkers. A lone artist works in one of the studios. The sounds of tennis balls being struck and the occasional outburst about a miss hit accompany me as I descend the old wooden steps near the tennis courts down to the fields below.

The Art Studios reside in the engine house of the Folly Point Sewage Treatment Works which operated between 1891 and 1926. I wonder which “Folly” led to the name of the small peninsula opposite where I stand now. Additional research sheds no further light on the subject.

The Hayden Orpheum

Leaving the park and more or less retracing my steps towards Military Road, I turn into Parraween Street. I once drove up and down this street looking in vain for a car park when going to see a movie at the Hayden Orpheum. A word of advice: Get the bus.

Folly Point Sewage Treatment Works

The Arts Centre

Ussed and Abbussed

Ussed and Abbussed

Unfortunately, I’m too early for “Ussed& Abbussed” which only opens at eleven. This eclectic “New and Vintage Store” would be fun to look around. Instead, I make my way to the Hayden Orpheum, which first opened in 1935 as a picture theatre.

I’ve read that over time the Orpheum became quite run down. Property developers then bought and redeveloped it into a shopping arcade and gym. Only the art deco ceiling and parts of the proscenium (section of the stage in front of the curtain) remained – hidden by a concrete slab.

Hayden Orpheum Cremorne

The Art Deco Hayden Orpheum

Art Deco Hayden Orpheum

Art Deco Detail

Later, bought in 1986 and lovingly restored with Art Deco features and the addition of a Wurlitzer Organ, the Hayden Orpheum reopened in December 1987. Fun facts: The original Orpheum had space for an organ but never installed one. The additional cinema screens were actually carved into the sandstone below.

Cremorne: South of Military Road

Walking down Spofforth St, people smile, say hello and are generally friendly. Happily, the unfriendly suspicious man was an anomaly.

Heritage Homes

The Heritage Register describes Number 7 Cranbrook Avenue (Belvedere) with its striking covered wrap around veranda as “one of the finest individual Californian Bungalow designs in NSW”. Number 11 (Egglemont), also on the heritage register is another Californian Bungalow built around 1916. It has the dubious fame of being the home where Michael McGurk was shot and killed in the driveway.

Art Deco Gate 11 Cranbrook Avenue Cremorne

Art Deco Gate at No 11

House in Cremorne

Definitely not heritage

The architecture I’ve seen so far is a real mixture ranging from older freestanding Federation homes and semis to art deco units, sixties style blonde brick unit blocks and modern homes and town houses.

Garbos fill a garbage truck with hard rubbish left out for collection. I wonder what they think when they throw perfectly good bric a brac into the back of the truck to be scrunched up and taken to the tip.

Hunts Lookout

Then, there in the distance, is Sydney Harbour. A tall ship glides past a huge anchored cruise ship. When I step down to Hunts Lookout, the harbour view vanishes behind thick bush. A sundial here commemorates the work of J. G. Atlee Hunt in the municipality. Nearby is another sandstone bubbler, this one made from concentric circles of stone.

Cremorne Point Harbourside Walk

Following the bush track, I pass large houses all with water views. Then things become confusing. I can’t orientate myself. Consulting the Council sign doesn’t really help but my decision to turn right proves to be correct.

Hunts Lookout Cremorne

The Sundial

Old Cremorne Wharf

High tide at Old Cremorne Wharf

Dog walkers, couples and small groups of people walk or run towards me enjoying time in the bush with water lapping the nearby shore. Decorative shingle lines the walls and windows of double storey homes. An informative sign describes the features of the Federation Arts and Crafts style of architecture which is prevalent around here.

Lex and Ruby Graham’s Garden

Diverting from the bush path, I take care not to slip on the wet and uneven stone steps that lead down to the water’s edge in Lex and Ruby Graham’s Garden. This garden, started in 1957 from one Elephant Ear bulb found floating in the harbour, became a labour of love.  Lex and Ruby worked tirelessly to develop the sanctuary that the garden is today.

mansion on Cremorne Harbourside walk

One of many mansions

Cremorne Harbourside Walk

Along the Cremorne Harbour Walk

Back on the Foreshore Walk, I soon find myself looking at the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge and wondering why it’s taken me so long to discover this walking track.

Robertson’s Lighthouse and Maccallum Pool

The view from Robertson’s lighthouse, at Robertson Point across through the heads is spectacular. Watching  Captain Cook ferries transport passengers from the cruise ship I wonder how many ferries it would take to get the 596 passengers off Silversea’s Silver Muse?

Robertson's Lighthouse

Robertson’s Lighthouse

Maccallum Pool Cremorne

Maccallum Pool

Continuing my pleasant walk around the Cremorne Point peninsula, I arrive at Maccallum Pool, which started off as a rock pool built by Olympic Swimmer Fred Lane. Later enlarged and improved by Hugh Maccallum in the 1920s, Council restored the pool in 1985-86 maintaining the 1920s architectural style.

Leaving Cremorne Reserve, there’s one more heritage house on my list. Dalkieth was once a Norwegian Seaman’s Church and then a meditation centre. This large sandstone and slate home is now a private residence.

Sandstone Arch in Cremorne

Sandstone Arch

Prize winning Rose Garden in Cremorne

Prize winning Rose Garden in Billong Street

Cremorne: Worth a Visit

Cremorne has something for everyone. There’s heritage architecture, a pleasant harbourside walk and a beautiful Art Deco Cinema. Cremorne is certainly a suburb worth getting to know.

Cremorne Point Wharf

Cremorne Point Wharf

View from Cremorne Point

Harbour Views

Of course, if you only wish to do the Cremorne Point Harbourside Circuit, you can arrive by ferry.

Want to discover more harbourside walks? I love the one at Watson’s BayWatson’s Bay in the East or on the North Side, there’s Lavender Bay and of course there’s the Glebe Foreshore walk too.
Next Stop: Carlton (NSW)

Useful information:

Cremorne is on the Lower North Shore of Sydney,  6 kilometres north-east of the Sydney CBD

It is easy to get to Cremorne by bus. Plan your trip at transportnsw.info

You can find out more about the history of the Hayden Orpheum here

You can read more about the Maccallum Pool here

Useful addresses:

    • St Peter’s Anglican Church is on the corner of Gerard Street.
    • 7-13 Parraween Street Ussed and Abussed Department Store open 11am to 5pm
    • 380 Military Road Hayden Orpheum
    • 7 Cranbrook Avenue: Belvedere (Heritage listed)
    • 11 Cranbrook Avenue: Egglemont (Heritage listed)
    • 5 Green Street was the Cremorne Point Site of Cremorne Smelter
    • 26 Cremorne Road, Moama and St Ives (also Heritage listed but not mentioned above)
    • 8 Bannerman Street: Dalkieth (Heritage listed)

Walking Map and Notes

Follow these two maps to discover Cremorne: You can download them here and here
(Note that this is a guide only and that the time indicated on the map does not allow for any stops. I take an average of 4-5 hours when I explore). Use these Day Notes together with the maps to assist you.:
Cremorne Walk Map A

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Comments

  1. Another informative & interesting walk Joanne!
    I feel like I’m there the way you describe what you are seeing 😀
    I hope to do this walk one day

    1. Author

      Thanks Christine, I am glad you enjoyed sharing the walk with me. Let me know how you go when you do venture to Cremorne.

  2. This looks like a lovely walk with gorgeous architecture and beautiful overwater views. Thanks for your informative write up and great photos.

    1. Author

      Thanks Bernadette. I had fun with some of the less predictable photos.

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