Heart of Manly Heritage Walk
are no markers on the streets and promenades. But don't be concerned,
the streets of Manly are clearly identified. Be adventurous, take
your own diversions, sit and have a coffee if the mood takes you,
and rejoin the walk refreshed.
walk is a part of Manly's heritage strategy. Along the way you will
discover our Heritage Plaques which identify and inform you of places
of special interest.
Heart of Manly Heritage Walk begins at Manly Wharf. But you can
start the walk at any point. Look for the bold headings in the text
to help you find the information that matches your location.
Heart of Manly Heritage Walk is devised as in a clockwise direction,
circumnavigating The Corso. Once you have finished the walk discover
one of Sydney's busiest and most colourful places, The Corso.
the Heart of Manly Heritage Walk and discover why Manly is unique.
Heart of Manly Heritage Walk
your exploration of Manly at the point at which most people have
started their visits over the last 200 years since Europeans settled
here. For thousands of years before that Aboriginal people roamed
this coastal area hunting, gathering and fishing. There were two
local clans, the Cannalgal and the Kayimai. They made huts from
bark, branches and driftwood or sheltered in caves and under rock
ledges. They shared a close relationship with their surroundings
and the creatures of the land and sea, illustrated by rock carvings.
Regrettably there is little known evidence about their lives in
this area before European settlement.
was little European settlement in Manly during the first half of
the nineteenth century, partly because it was remote from Sydney,
but also because the land was unsuitable for agriculture. However,
this did not deter Henry Gilbert Smith. In 1853 he bought some land
in the area with the vision of Manly, with its splendid ocean beach
and sheltered sandy coves, becoming "the favourite resort of
1855 Smith built the first Manly wharf, and soon after an intermittent
ferry service started, used mainly by day trippers. Four years later
he purchased shares in the paddle steamer Phantom, sometimes called
Puffing Billy, and the first regular service began. The timetable
advertised a 30 minute trip but in rough weather it could take an
hour or more. Phantom could carry 166 passengers, whose only protection
from the weather was a canvas awning stretched over the single deck.
the early 1860s if there were sufficient theatre-goers and others
travel to the city in the evening, Phantom sailed to Sydney about
7pm and waited there to make the return trip. With engineer Robert
Grant as super- intendent, those arriving well before the 11pm departure
roasted potatoes in Phantom's boiler furnaces. Whisky, coffee and
baked potatoes made a supper that everyone could enjoy on the journey
home. This gathering was known as the Hot Potato Club.
nearly a century the Port Jackson Company developed and operated
the ferry service. In 1972 it was taken over by Brambles Industries
and two years later by the New South Wales Government. Hydrofoils
were introduced in the 1960s, halving the time for the trip. They
proved to be unreliable and costly to maintain and in 1990 were
superseded by jetcats, which could transport many more passengers
on each trip. The ferry service continues to be popular and transports
commuters and millions of visitors to and from Manly every year
across Sydney's magnificent harbour.
the ferry terminal by its front entrance and cross to The Corso
Corso links Manly Cove with the ocean beach. An existing track was
widened by Henry Gilbert Smith in 1855 and named after a major street
in Rome. Manly Council's original planting of Norfolk Island and
Monterey pines and Moreton Bay and Port Jackson fig trees have been
replaced by palms at this end of The Corso.
by tram was introduced into Sydney in the early 1880s. There was a
local demand for trams from the 1890s, but it was not until 1903 that
the first line in Manly opened. The route went from West Esplanade,
down The Corso along North Steyne turning into Pittwater Road at Carlton
Street and continued to the terminus near Manly lagoon.
building which still stands has been incorporated into a car show
room at the junction of Pittwater and Balgowlah Roads. The first
trams were steam-powered but replaced by horsedrawn ones when passenger
numbers declined. Steam trams were reintroduced in 1907 and later
electric trams were used. The line was extended in stages to reach
Narrabeen by 1913, but the plan to take the tram to Pittwater was
never realised. In 1911 a single tramline was opened between Manly
and the Spit. Until the first Spit Bridge was opened in 1924, travellers
crossed the water by punt before joining another tram. When buses
replaced the trams, a mock funeral service was held to farewell
the last tram as it left Manly Wharf about 1.30am Sunday I October
1939. A wreath was placed on the front of the tram which, draped
in black, travelled to the depot accompanied by the muffled beat
of two drums. However the mood was not sombre as the crowd of passengers
and followers sang such songs as 'Pack Up Your Troubles' and 'Auld
the corner of West Esplanade and Belgrave Street once stood the
Pier Hotel, one of the first of Henry Gilbert Smith's buildings
in Manly, constructed the same year as the wharf. It later became
known as the Grand Pier Hotel. The building was demolished to make
way for the Hotel Manly, completed in 1926. An Art Deco tower was
added to the hotel in 1935. Art Deco was a decorative style of the
1920s and 30s using geometrical shapes and Egyptian and Greek motifs.
A statue of Captain Phillip by sculptor Raynor Hoff was set in a
niche in the tower facing The Corso. Raynor Hoff also created the
sculptures on the Anzac Memorial in Sydney's Hyde Park. In 1989
the Hotel Manly was demolished and the statue will be a feature
of the new apartments and shops to be completed in 1995. '
Council was incorporated in 1877. The present Town Hall, designed
by local firm Trenchard Smith & Maisey, opened in 1937 to mark
Council's 60th anniversary. The columns are decorated in the Egyptian
Revival style. The discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 attracted
world-wide interest and led to the revival of Egyptian themes in
architecture. Another example of this style are the pylons of Sydney
The Corso and Belgrave Street to Gilbert Park
twice as long extending as far as Raglan Street, the park formed
a central feature of Henry Gilbert Smith's design for Manly. The
tennis courts cover what was the northern section of the park.
Henry Gilbert Smith. Between 1979-1981 both the police station and
the courthouse were extensively renovated, and further alterations
to the courthouse in 1993 uncovered an old sandstone well.
The aviary, built in 1977 in Gilbert Park, has become a sanctuary
for injured Rainbow lorikeets. For several years, it was a free-flight
aviary where they could come and go as they pleased.
The Caley Lorikeet Trust was established in 1985 to manage the shelter.
Wild lorikeets use the Manly pines for roosting, and leave at daybreak
to feed on nectar, fruits and seeds. They also visit people's homes
but unfortunately many have suffered fatal illnesses caused by inappropriate