Manly is a beach-side suburb of northern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is 17 kilometres (11 mi) north-east of the Sydney central business district and is currently one of the three administrative centres of the local government area of Northern Beaches Council. Manly has a long-standing reputation as a tourist destination, owing to its attractive setting on the Pacific Ocean and easy accessibility by ferry.

 Manly Cove including the ferry terminal

Manly was named by Captain Arthur Phillip for the Indigenous people living there, stating that "their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place".[1] These men were of the Kay-ye-my clan (of the Dharug-speaking Gayemaygal people).[2] While scouting for fresh water in the area, Phillip encountered members of the clan, and after a kidnapping he was speared in the shoulder by one of the clan as a punishment ritual; the progressively-minded Phillip ordered his men not to retaliate.[3] In Capt. Tench's words,

The Aboriginal men were feasting on a whale at Manly Cove and were seen by Captain Nepean, Mr White, Nanbaree & a party of men who had travelled to Manly Cove to walk to Broken Bay. Bennelong and Colebee spoke to them and Bennelong asked for Governor Phillip. Captain Nepean sent the Boatswain back to Governor Phillip at South Head. The Aboriginal men cut large chunks of whale off and put them in the boat for Governor Phillip. The military party then proceeded on their walk to Broken Bay. When Governor Phillips party arrived to see the Aboriginal men they held friendly conversation with Bennelong and Colebee for over half an hour. Later an older Aboriginal man appeared with a spear. Captain Tench remarked that he was seemingly a stranger and little acquainted with Bennelong and Colebee. The Governor moved towards this man and the man became agitated. Governor Phillip threw down his dirk to appease the man crying out confidently. The spear was thrown and Governor Phillip was hit in the shoulder. All was in confusion, there were calls to bring the muskets, Bennelong and Colebee disappeared and Governor Phillip could not make it to the ship because of the length of spear sticking from his shoulder and dragging on the ground. The muskets were brought to shore but only one would fire. The spear was finally broken and all hastened to Port Jackson.[4]

Manly had been envisaged as a seaside resort by Henry Gilbert Smith in the 1850s. In 1853 Smith acquired two large parcels of land (which had been granted to John Thompson in 1842 and John Crane Parker in 1837).[5]

Initially John had chartered a paddle steamer to Manly and other vessels visited on an ad hoc "excursion" basis. Smith built a wharf on the harbour-side of Manly, which was completed in October 1855 and eventually acquired an interest in steamers himself. as part of developing more regular services to Manly to assist his sub-division property sales.[6]

 The harbour side of Manly in the late 1880s

By 1873, Smith had sold the lease to the wharf and his share of the steamers to the operators of the ferries and eventually ownership passed to the once famous Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company. It was the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company which coined the expression about Manly being "Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care" to promote its ferry service. The Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company played an important part in Manly's development. It built several attractions including a large ocean pool and bathing pavilion, the Manly Fun Pier. In 1972 the company was sold to Brambles Limited and in 1974 to the Government of New South Wales and it is now part of Sydney Ferries.

In March 1885, as the New South Wales Contingent was about to depart for the Sudan, a letter was addressed to Premier William Bede Dalley containing a cheque for £25 for the Patriotic Fund "with my best wishes from a little boy at Manly". It was Australia's first overseas military adventure, and the "Little Boy from Manly" became a symbol either of patriotism or, among opponents of the adventure, of mindless chauvinism. especially due to a cartoon by Livingston Hopkins of The Bulletin.

 North Beach Estate, Manly, 1910, H. W. Horning, subdivision plan

During the 19th and early 20th centuries Manly was one of Australia's most popular seaside holiday resorts.[7] Manly Beach is said[who?] to be the place where the restriction on daylight sea bathing was first challenged in Australia. In October 1902 William Gocher, clad in a neck to knee costume, swam at midday after announcing his intention to do so in the newspaper he had established (Manly and North Sydney News). After being ignored by authorities and being publicly critical of them, he swam again and was escorted from the water by the police, although no charges were laid. In November 1903, Manly Council resolved to allow all-day bathing provided a neck to knee swimming costume was worn.[8]

During the first official bathing season in 1903, 17 people drowned on Manly Beach. A year later a surf club was formed on the beach to safeguard the public. While there is debate about which club is the oldest, Manly Life Saving Club is one of the world's first surf life saving clubs.[9][10]

In 1934, George Robey, a resident and original Anzac founded the Air Mindedness Development League which was later renamed the "Australian Air League" at Manly. There has been a continuously running squadron in Manly since.[11] In 1937 Manly Town Hall was opened.

In 1973 residents in the Eastern Hill section of Manly requested that the NSW Builders Labourers Federation place a green ban on the construction of two large tower blocks by L. J. Hooker. The BLF agreed to do so and asked them to draw up a community plan for the area's future.[12]

^ Governor Phillip to Lord Sydney, 15 May 1788, in the Historical Records of New South Wales ii:129, quoted by Robert Hughes in The Fatal Shore, 1987, paperback ISBN 1-86046-150-6-page 15 ^ "Spirit of the Kay-ye-my people coming home to Manly (press release)". Manly Council. 30 August 2004. Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2008. ^ Captain Watkin Tench, The Settlement at Port Jackson, pp. 134–39 The Text Publishing Company ^ Captain Watkin Tench The Settlement at Port Jackson pages 134 -139.published The Text Publishing Company ^ Prescott, Anthony M. (March 1984). The Manly Ferry – A history of the service and its operators, 1854–1974 (MA thesis). University of Sydney. hdl:2123/1557. Retrieved 23 March 2023. ^ Lennon, Troy (2 November 2007). "Rough seas for the Harbour's first fleets". Daily Telegraph page 60. ^ The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollen, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, p162 ^ Mitchell, Bruce (1983). "Gocher, William Henry (1856–1921)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 29 February 2008. ^ "Manly SLSC". Surf Life Saving New South Wales. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2008. ^ "Manly LSC History". Manly Life Saving Club. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2008. ^ "Australian Air League Official Website". Australian Air League Council. 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2008. ^ Green Bans Art Walks Project (23 June 2023). "Green Bans Timeline: 1971-74". The Commons Social Change Library. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
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