On the 3rd January 1792, the first land in the Ryde area was granted to eight marines, along the northern bank of the river between Sydney and Parramatta. The area was named by Governor Phillip the 'Field of Mars', Mars being the ancient God of war, named to reflect the military association with these new settlers.


Today's Field of Mars Reserve is the remnant of a district which once extended from Dundas to the Lane Cove River. By 1803 most of the accessible land had been granted. Settlement was based along the Parramatta River and overlooking ridges. Governor King recognised that most of the smaller settlers had insufficient land for their stock but it was not possible to grant them larger allotments.

In 1804 it was decided that a 'traditional English common' - a large area of public land for use by local inhabitants - would be set aside. Six commons were gazetted. By 1841 the new name, Ryde, was emerging for the district. It derived from Ryde on the Isle of Wight and first appeared on a subdivision plan for the proposed village to be created around St. Anne's Church. The English Ryde was the birthplace of Mary Turner, the wife of the vicar of St. Anne's, the Reverend George Turner, and also of George Pope, Kissing Point's first postmaster.