Kids driving a car? Manly Beach, 1908.

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

There’s something so fascinating about historical photos from times gone by. You can see the incredible transformation of places and people and wonder in what life once looked like.


Our History Hub is your online portal to explore the history of the Northern Beaches. With over 28,000 unique items including images, fact sheets, oral histories and so much more, it captures the stories past and present of our community and environment.

To mark History Week (3-11 September), our Local Studies team have selected five of their favourite picks from History Hub for you to enjoy.

Let’s turn back the clock….


Steyne Hotel and Corso, Manly c 1860

One of the first buildings constructed in the village of Manly was the original Steyne Hotel. Since Henry Gilbert Smith had launched his advertising campaign to promote Manly, he had organised the construction of the Pier Hotel, opposite the wharf, the New Brighton Hotel and then the Steyne Hotel for which he engaged the well-known architect Edmund Blacket to design the building. Completed in 1859 it was sadly destroyed by fire in 1863. Smith rebuilt the hotel the following year, again to designs by Edmund Blacket, and this building remained on the site until the current Steyne Hotel was built in 1935.


Long Reef Headland and Collaroy Basin c1920

This photograph shows the early development at Collaroy Basin and looks south towards Fisherman’s Beach. The Long Reef Headland is shown here with wetlands, sand dunes, and a mixture of heathland and open woodland. Pittwater Road runs through the middle of image intersected by Ocean Grove.

Fisherman’s huts can be seen along Fishermans Beach at the southern end of the basin. The hall in the middle of the paddock on Pittwater Road is the Salvation Army Hall built in 1912. The grounds surrounding the hall are part of the former Jenkins family homestead, an early estate owned by pioneer James Jenkins that stretched from Dee Why to Mona Vale.


Pacific Lodge Dee Why

Have you noticed this beautiful old house located behind Dee Why Library now clearly visible due to the new development works surrounding the building?  It was built in 1892 by the Salvation Army as a Home of Rest for Salvation Army officers in need of recuperation. It soon after became a centre for the treatment of ‘inebriates’ and from 1939 as the Pacific Lodge Aged Men’s Home. The Salvation Army finally sold the property in 2016 and moved all residents to new facilities in Collaroy.


Betty Morrison and Eve Hagan at Bungan Beach, Kings Birthday Weekend, 1927

Betty Morrison lived most of her life at Bungan Beach after moving there in 1913 at age 10. She was an ardent protector of the environment and animal lover. Many of her papers and photos were donated to the Northern Beaches Library service, enabling us to experience the history of our local area through Betty’s eyes. She owned a house and 10 acres of land overlooking Bungan Beach and requested that her house be demolished upon her death, returning her property to its natural state. Betty passed away in her 90th year in 1993. It was proposed by the Friends of Bungan Inc. that the whole reserve be renamed as Betty Morrison Reserve to permanently celebrate the donation of such a significant parcel of land to the community.


Kids driving a car? Manly Beach, 1908

Eleven children sit in a French ‘Buyon’ car. In the early days of the motor car, before most people could own one, cars like this were parked at various places, like Manly Beach, where people could sit and have their photos taken. It was very popular with the tourists who would flock to Manly on weekends.

Discover more local history online at History Hub.