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History of the Northern Beaches of Sydney 

The Northern Beaches refers to an area situated on the northern coastal suburbs of the city of Sydney. People who live in the insular peninsular can take advantage of the remarkable views of beaches, which extend from Sydney Harbour and North Head at Manly to Barrenjoey Point and Broken Bay. If you’re a little bit curious about the history of the Northern Beaches, you need to know that it has a long past.

The Northern Beaches Long Past

Captain Arthur Philip discovered Manly beach back in 1788. Manly, with the ocean beach on one side and fine sandy Cove on the other side, offered a pretty good watering place. Philip came in contact with the Kuringgai people, who are the traditional owners of the land. The clan inhabited the north shore of Port Jackson, from Karabilye to the cliffs of Garungal or Carangle. People who occupied the Manly area survived owing to the wealth of natural resources, including animals, fish, and shellfish. Sydney has one of the oldest continuous cultures on the planet. Unfortunately, after the white settlement, the Kuringgai people disappeared from the area.  

1796 European Settlers in Broken Bay

The first encounter with European settlers dates from 1796 when Philip brought the fleet of ships over to Broken Bay. The area between Manly and Palm Beach was particularly difficult to travel, so the discovery of the mouth of the Hawkesbury River marked an important turnpoint. It enabled the party led by Governor Arthur Philip to travel up to Wisemans Ferry. Philip named the Hawkesbury River after Lord Hawkesbury and insisted that it would enable more efficient travel. He made numerous excursions to Broken Bay. Only Philip’s perseverance led to the discovery of arable land, which helped the colony for years to come. By 1802, the region was mapped with great accuracy.    

Scattered settlements began in the Manly Cove and North Harbour areas


The land was deployed mostly for harvesting timber and farming, which ensured food security. The land remained largely undeveloped. Minor growth occurred during 1880 and 1890 when access to the area was improved. The development continued in early 1900 and the period between the two world wars. Development was slow because the Northern Beaches were fairly isolated, although very close to Sydney. Additionally, the terrain was difficult and could be accessed only by ship. The area situated in the northern coastal suburbs of the city of Sydney now offers peaceful accommodation.  

Northern Beaches Council

In 2015, Manly, Pittwater, and Warringah merged so as to form a single council, which is known as the Northern Beaches Council. It’s made up of an area of 254 square kilometers. The population of the Northern Beaches started to grow in early 1990. As the 2016 census reveals, there were approximately 252,878 people in the area. Residents of Sydney’s Northern Beaches appreciate their history and, most importantly, make tremendous efforts to preserve it by nurturing the environment, preserving the legacy of the aboriginal culture and the sparkling waters. 

Heritage is something that has succeeded in surviving generations. It highlights the growth of the Northern Beaches and demonstrates the strong bond between the community and its past. At present, the Council strives to conserve more than 1,000 indigenous cultural sites across northern Sydney. This includes middens, camp sites, rock carvings, art, etc. Some of the collections are available online and they are managed by a dedicated staff that does its best to conserve and promote local history. You can get access to resources such as photographs, books, journals, maps, films, and even oral histories. 

Throughout history, people have arranged their communities according to their values of society, not to mention the specific challenges they deal with. The Northern Beaches society is no different from other civilizations. People whose ancestors come from this particular area have preserved the traditions and cultures relevant to where they live. They can look with confidence and hope for the future.   

Reference list 

  1. https://profile.id.com.au/northern-beaches/about 
  2. https://www.manlyaustralia.com.au/info/history/
  3. https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/recreation-area/manly-beach
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Beaches_Council

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