full walk starts at East Esplanade, off Ashburner Street. The white
broken column monument, telling of a tragic lifesaving attempt,
signals your starting point.
the eastern corner of East Esplanade, steps ascend towards Osborne
Street. At their base is a vast Moreton Bay Fig tree, over a hundred
years old. This species was originally recommended for street planting
throughout Sydney by Charles Moore, the Director of Sydney Botanic
Gardens. It was later rejected as unsuitably large for streets,
but its wide canopy has provided elegance and shade in many open
spaces, and some fine examples will be seen on this walk. In the
1960s and 1970s, tables with inlaid chessboards sheltered under
this tree, and men taught children cards and chess on their way
home from school.
on the harbour's edge
the path southwards along the edge of the harbour, past the next
set of steps.
Along this waterside strip is an area of concentrated nautical history.
The first building is the Manly Cove Launch Club, established in
1937. Next to it stands the heritage-listed Manly Rowing and Sailing
Club Boatshed. Established in 1875, this was one of the earliest
waterside clubs in NSW. Rowing was a popular sport then.
shed is about 19 metres long, built to accommodate 8-oar shells
or skiffs. In 1885 a second shed was added to house canoes and sailing
boats, as well as boats that were raced for wagers. The first Manly
regatta was initiated by the club in 1890. The club also took a
prominent part in the Venetian carnivals. These were major events
with parades, fireworks and a water pageant. They were called `Venetian'
because they were reminiscent of water-based life in Venice.
will see Manly Yacht Club straight ahead. This is the site of the
former Gentlemen's Baths, 'the largest and most efficiently equipped
gentlemen's swimming baths in the state', opened in 1892. In October
1926, a new Olympic pool with a grandstand to seat 1400 people was
opened at a cost of £11,000. Boy Charlton, returned 1924 Olympic
swimming champion, was present. This occasion was also the subject
of the first broadcast on 2BL radio.
photograph on page 8 illustrates its structure when it was opened.
The Baths suffered severe storm damage in May 1974 and were closed
in April 1976. The Harbord Diggers swimming club held a ceremony
with special guests Sir Robert Askin and Fitz Lough, who had swum
at the baths for seventy years. At the last race a wreath was floated
in the pool. It was said that since the first race had been held
in 1890 the pool had `seen more Olympic champions in action than
any other swimming centre in this country.' Early in 1977 the Manly
Yacht Club submitted plans to convert the remaining buildings for
boat storage, and has been in residence ever since. The jetty you
see today formed one side of the Olympic Pool.
Choosing a manager
was some controversy surrounding the appointment of the first manager
of the new Baths. Some aldermen felt that preference should be given
to soldiers returned from the First World War, but Alderman Quirk
replied that `the rising generation would never have a chance' if
this were the case, and the position was given to Dick Eve, Olympic
champion diver. His father had been manager of the earlier Baths
on East Esplanade
a few metres now, and climb the shallow steps to the street, East
As you stand at the top of the steps, you will see ahead of you,
across the road, several houses dating from about 1890, which can
be identified in the photograph of the pool.
Several villas were built in the late nineteenth century on Eastern
Hill. Some of these homes still stand today, although their expansive
gardens and lawns have now been covered by houses.
your position at the top of the steps, turn right and proceed along
East Esplanade to the corner of Stuart Street.
the water's edge, in the reserve on your right, is the 16 Foot Skiff
Club, formed in 1923 as the Manly Sailing Club. Brightside Wharf
used to stand just to the south of the clubhouse; for a while the
ferry to Manly called here. The ferry was advertised as an attractive
feature for potential land purchasers on this side of Eastern Hill.
five-storey brick building at the corner here, Gocher Court, was
built in 1952 for the Housing Commission. It provided much-needed
accommodation, as housing was in very short supply after the Second
World War. This photograph shows the opening. This marked the start
of the spread of high-rise units, which were to reach ever higher
and blight Manly. However, in 1969 Manly Council attempted to limit
the height of buildings and under the Manly Planning Scheme further
restrictions were introduced in 1986.
Walk up Stuart Street to the junction with Addison Road, the
second road to your right.
you look to the left along this road, you will see a fine example
of municipal planting, an avenue first planted in 1882. Norfolk
Island Pines are mixed with Port Jackson Fig trees, which were preferred
to Moreton Bay Fig trees because they were smaller. These trees
have provided welcome shade in the heat of summer for over a hundred
turn right into Addison Road, and continue to the end of this road.
are some excellent examples of different styles and periods of architecture.
Note the variations in size of blocks of land in this street; in
the last half of the 20th century, many blocks were subdivided to
make room for additional housing. Can you recognise the following
house styles - Italianate, Victorian Villa, Federation, Interwar
Spanish Mission, Old English, Californian Bungalow, Post-war International,
Late Twentieth Century, and Post-modern?