The first pioneers settled in Popran Creek valley by 1818. The first telephone link to the area started in 1915, with the posts for the line being provided by local residents. There was also a need to set up a receiving point for mail and for the locality to have a name. It was named after George Peat who operated the ferry across the Hawkesbury.
When the first polling booth was established on the front veranda of a local home in 1917, there were a total of 14 registered voters.
The Pacific Highway was built through Peats Ridge in the early 1930s, resulting in more families coming to the area and a local school being established. By the end of 1935 a number of new families had settled in the vicinity around Briese Road, but there was no transport to the newly opened Peats Ridge school so makeshift classrooms were used.
It wasn’t until 1949 that electricity was supplied to the area. Peats Ridge Road was sealed in the late 1950s and was upgraded in the 1960s to replace part of the Pacific Highway as the Calga Expressway, and the main route North from Sydney. The Oak Milk Bar at Peats Ridge became a favourite spot to break the journey.
Heavy traffic became a problem, especially at holiday times, with a lot of accidents at ‘black spots’. Then the F3 Expressway was opened in 1988-90. What a dramatic change for Peats Ridge in two ways. The travelling time to and from Sydney was greatly reduced as was the traffic through Peats Ridge.
This has led to major changes. With the demise of citrus growing and with increased land prices, more properties came on the market and were an attractive proposition to Sydneysiders seeking a change in lifestyle. Additionally, quarrying and spring water bottling developed as major economic activities, as well as chicken growing. All have resulted in some tensions in the ‘traditional’ local community.
The old Oak Milk Bar building has been remodelled and is now branded Peats Ridge Village. Traffic through Peats Ridge these days is now mainly quarry trucks, tours heading for the Hunter Valley and those seeking a break from the F3.
Weekends see a surge in road cyclists and motor bike enthusiasts.
Peats Ridge is home to The Springs with its dining and wedding facilities as well as a 72-hole golf course. More information here.