My Trip to Manly (Part I): Sydney’s Seaside Suburb

"Manly: Sydney's Seaside Playground!"

“Manly: Sydney’s Seaside Playground!”

Sydney enjoys a proud reputation as one of the world’s most livable cities; statistically, it is known for its “high levels of happiness”.  And if you hop on a ferry boat from Circular Quay and ride it to any one of Sydney’s coastal suburbs, you can easily understand why locals love this city surrounded by surf and sunshine.  From the breakers at Bondi, to the condos at Brighton-le-Sands, and the Souths fans near Maroubra and Coogee.  One of the most well-known suburbs in Sydney is Manly, which can be reached by car or boat from downtown Sydney, but riding the ferry from Circular Quay is definitely the way to go.

"Set sail for Manly!"

“Set sail for Manly!”

Manly sits just north of downtown Sydney, about 11 miles away, along the coast of the Tasman Sea.  Manly was named by Captain Arthur Phillip for the indigenous people living there, stating that “their confidence and manly behavior made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place”.  These men were of the Kay-ye-my clan (of the Guringai people).

During the 19th and early 20th century, Manly was one of Australia’s most popular seaside holiday resorts.  Manly Beach is said to be the place where the restriction on daylight sea bathing was first challenged in Australia.  In 1902, an Australian named William Gocher, was clad in a neck to knee costume, swam at midday after announcing his intention to do so in the newspaper.  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.  This rather conservative swimwear would later be dropped as it was considered both unattractive and deterring many visitors who did not want to pass out from heat exhaustion in such a covering outfit.  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.

"Manly's beaches: Now you know why Sydney is so happy!"

“Manly’s beaches: Now you know why Sydney is so happy!”

As I hopped aboard the ferry, I was treated to the oh-so familiar setting of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.  The boat cruised along the near-crystal surface, passing by the most attractive looking seaside homes and walk-ups this side of Malibu and Miami.  Seeing how close they were to both the beach and the city reminded me of why Sydney residents are a happy lot.  That, plus access to footy, Tim Tams, and free healthcare.  When it comes to sports, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles are this suburb’s home team.  Apparently, Hugh Jackman, a native of Manly is said to wear maroon and white, the club’s official colors.  Frankly, I’m willing to forgive him for such a faux-paux because, well, he’s Hugh Jackman.  At least I can take comfort in knowing he also throws on the red and green bunny when he’s with his Aussie cohort, Russell Crowe.

En route to Manly

En route to Manly


Next time:  I come ashore and make my scenic sojourn to some of Manly’s most beautiful beaches…

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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