Heart of Manly Heritage Walk
East Esplanade to the broken column memorial
on image to enlarge]
broken column memorial is a fine piece of Victorian monumental architecture,
erected in 1908. The broken column, signifying a life cut off before
its natural term, is dedicated to troopers who died fighting in
South Africa in 1900; also to F.C. Smalpage who drowned while attempting
to save Miss M. Thorpe - a reminder of how close the ocean is in
the life of Manly.
excavations revealed a midden, evidence that Aborigines used to
eat here. They were very skilled at catching fish, which provided
the main part of
their diet. Using lines, spears or nets, men and women fished from
the shore and in canoes. They cooked fish on a small fire aboard
their canoes, or on the shore leaving shells and fish bones to be
found centuries later.
Esplanade was the focal point of the Venetian Carnivals. In 1913
for the first occasion 2,000 seats were set up here to view the
spectacle. Over the
years the carnivals grew, lasting for up to two weeks, and attracting
of people. Highlights mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald in
January 1913 included stalls, 'chocolate wheels and other gambling
devices', food, costumes, parades and fireworks. The climax was
the water pageant, with all the boats and the harbour foreshore
decorated with hundreds of Chinese lanterns, flags and streamers.
At a time of limited lighting it was remarkable to see 'Manly and
its cove..... wrapped in dazzling splendour'.
along East Esplanade towards the wharf
Norfolk Island pines here were planted in 1881, in the same year
that the sandstone harbour wall was originally constructed. From
Manly Council's inception, under its Beautification Scheme, it set
out to provide a restful and pleasing atmosphere by planting a variety
of large trees. The recent renovations here, improving paths and
providing grassy shaded spaces for picnics, continue this tradition.
wharf once stood next to the ferry terminal. In 1893, a group of
Manly residents formed the Manly Co-operative Steam Ferry Company
breaking the monopoly of the Port Jackson Company which provided
both the passenger and goods service for Manly. The competition
reduced fares and increased services. As there were disputes about
the use of the wharf the Government took over the wharf from Manly
Council and built a second wharf so both companies could operate
in 1896, the Manly Cooperative collapsed and thereafter its wharf
was used exclusively for cargo. The cargo wharf was of great importance
for the first quarter of the century, when cargo was no longer carried
on the passenger ferries, but by a separate fleet. The opening of
the Spit Bridge in 1924 allowed easier passage of goods by land,
consequently water transport decreased dramatically and the cargo
wharf ceased operation by 1928. Inter it became a Fun Pier and was
replaced by the existing complex in 1989.
terrace houses, nos. 41 and 42 East Esplanade, two of the earliest
buildings of Manly still standing, are best seen from the park.
Only the facade remains of these early Gothic Revival terraces built
in the 1870s. They were about to be demolished in the early 1990s
but protests by residents persuaded Manly Council to save them by
refusing demolition consent.
by the pedestrian crossing opposite Wentworth Street and return
to The Corso
1810 Governor Macquarie granted a total of 130 acres to Gilbert
Baker and Richard Cheers. The boundaries extended from the southern
side of The Corso to St Patrick's Estate. John Thompson's grant
of' 100 acres, on the northern side of The Corso, was purchased
by Henry Gilbert Smith in 1853 and was quickly developed by him.
D'Arcy Wentworth bought both the Baker and Cheers grants and bequeathed
them to his daughter Katherine Darley-Bassett. Henry Gilbert Smith
leased this land in the 1850s. Legal complications regarding title
prevented its sale until the Bassett-Darley Act of 1877 resolved
the situation and the land was subdivided.
of late 19th century buildings remain on The Corso although their
ground floors have been altered. Many commercial buildings had balconies
which not only created extra space but also provided shelter for
people on the footpath.
of the great attractions in Manly last century was the Aquarium
which was located approximately on the site of the present Westpac
Bank. It was opened on 23 December 1886 by William Bede Dalley.
Visitors could view a fine collection of fish, seals and tiger sharks.
There was an octopus and an alligator too. The seal cavern and fernery
were illuminated by electric light, Manly's latest novelty. The
Aquarium was also an entertainment centre where concerts, dances
and roller skating could be enjoyed in the grand hall. By 1893 the
Aquarium had closed and the building was used to stage Manly's annual
Wild Flower Show because the old pavilion in Ivanhoe Park had become
the street, the words 'Purves Bakery l898' can be read high on the
facade. When John Purves opened his bakery he stored his flour in
a loft, which was retained when an arcade of shops was built on
this site. In 1972 William Orr converted it into a theatre-restaurant
called the Music Loft.
1983 it continued for six more years, under new owner Peter Flanagan,
as a theatre-restaurant called Flannos.
Darley Road to St Matthew's Church
church marks the beginning of The Corso pedestrian plaza, designed
by local landscape architect Bruce Mackenzie, opened in 1979. The
sandstone St Matthew's church designed by Edmund Blacket, architect
of several churches in New South Wales stood on the site of shops
nos. 46 to 55. Henry Gilbert Smith laid the foundation stone of
the church in 1864. When The Corso was widened to 29 metres in 1877
the church encroached upon the street until it was demolished in
1928. The present church opened two years later on the site of the
Victoria Hall. Victoria Hall was built in 1901. It housed the Manly
School of Arts later
called the Manly Literary Institute. Muff Smith in an interview
with the Manly Daily in 1984 recalled that 'at the Vic- every concert,
banquet, dramatic show and ball, notably the big three annuals,
the hospital, the Masonic and the Catholic, were held there'. Opposite
St Matthew's church is the Ivanhoe Hotel, previously known as the
Colonnade Hotel. There has been an Ivanhoe Hotel in Manly since
1876. Thomas Adrian built the first in Ivanhoe Park. Alter the hotel
moved to The Corso Manly Council held its meetings in the old hotel
in the park until 1909 and from then until 1923 the magistrate's
court convened there.
the polished grey granite and ceramic tiled Commonwealth Bank is a
group of 19th century commercial buildings, nos. 41-55. Built in 1870,
the row was originally constructed as a symmetrical group of five
pairs of which only three remain intact. Pairs of mock Tudor gables
in timber and render marked each end of the row. A low-arched gable
pediment with two central semi-circular windows is framed by two pairs
of small triangular pediments. Only two of the distinctive chimneys
on the corner of Rialto Lane stands the modern shopping complex
La Galerie. In the late 1890s this was the site of the merry-go-round
owned by Sovereign Smith - so named because he wore gold coins on
his jacket and waistcoat. He made enough money from the merry-go-round
to buy this block of land. His generosity to local charities made
him a legend. He was particularly popular with children for whom
he set aside flee-ride days every month in the summer. In 1923 the
Rialto cinema opened on this site. It was later renamed the Odeon
but closed in 1960. '
is the end of 'the heritage walk The Heart of Manly.
further information on Manly's history apply to the local history
section at Manly Library and visit the Manly Art Gallery & Museum
located in West Esplanade Reserve, Manly Cove, next to Oceanworld.
you would like refreshment there are numerous hotels and restaurants
waiting to serve you in the best of Manly traditions, dating from
1855 when Henry Gilbert Smith first opened the doors of the Pier
Heart of Manly Heritage Walk was researched, developed and written
by a community committee of Manly Council. Members of the Heritage
Walks sub-committee include;
Sue Sacker, Chair
Cr Nancy Burridge
Ms Jean Allan
Ms Virginia MacLeod
Mr Ken Muir
Ms Joan Patrick
Ms Judy Reizes
Ms Maureen Smith
Heritage Walk Subcommittee Wishes to extend its very great appreciation
to those community members and organisations who have contributed
to the research of the walk.
Art Gallery & Museum
Ian Hayes, Conservation Consultant, National Trust of Australia
Custom Mapping Services
by Helen Pajak
Line drawings by Leith Nicholson and Shannon Mclntyre-Crees