History of Manly NSW

Having provided skip bin hire in Manly NSW for over 20 years we know plenty about the area. We have taken the time to put together a brief article on some of the history of one of our favourite suburbs on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Manly Aboriginal Heritage

Given its settlement name from the manly and robust composure of the indigenous Guringai people, Manly NSW is an area steeped in settlement history. First colonised by Capt. Arthur Phillip between 21 and 23 January 1788, the area since transformed from an abundant fishing cove to the modern, thriving suburb with which we’re all familiar today.

As with many settlement areas in Australia, initial prosperous relationships took a more tenuous turn when two vastly different cultures collided. In 1789, an outbreak of smallpox all but obliterated the indigenous population and, by the 1830s, only a handful of Aborigines remained in the area. The Aboriginal heritage of Manly NSW is still apparent here, though, in the form of midden sites, shelter cave art, rock engravings, and open campsites.

Manly’s European History

The location of Manly New South Wales offered the region protection from the seas, making it ideal for settlement. It did, however, leave it isolated as a location. A lengthy land route of 70 miles and an approach by water were the only two means to get to the bay. This challenge slowed progress to some extent, making it a suitable new home for only the hardiest and most innovative of settlers.

Henry Gilbert Smith changed things. He is considered the founder of the village of Manly NSW. He arrived in 1853 and brought with him a vision of Manly as a popular resort for colonists. He introduced a ferry service, infrastructure, built hotels and funded the development of schools and churches.

Other novelty attractions attributed to Smith included a camera obscura, a maze, and a stone kangaroo! Take a walk around Manly to check them out or the other exciting things to do. The settlement began to gain in popularity and, by 1880, Manly was a bustling seaside venue. Manly Council finally became incorporated as a local government body on 6 January 1877, and Manly NSW achieved its own seat of local government.

20th Century Manly

The early part of the 20th Century saw Manly NSW as a thriving and popular tourist resort. It is believed that Manly Beach is where the restriction on daylight sea bathing first was lifted. In November 1903, Manly Council authorised all-day bathing for those wearing neck-to-knee swimming attire! One year later came the inception of what is possibly the world’s oldest life-saving club on Manly Beach.

Thankfully, neck-to-knee swimming costumes are no longer necessary, and the ocean is open for bathing 24/7! To this day, Manly NSW remains a thriving destination. A steady population of locals and a regular influx of tourists bring vitality and diversity to an area already blessed with natural beauty. Beach life combines with city trends to create an urban vibe with village appeal.

Manly Cove Aboriginal Artwork