• John Suchomlin sand sculpture, Flight into Egypt

  • “The Pinch Of Poverty” Manly Beach 1931

  • The public shelter as it stands today South Steyne, Manly 2022

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

“Suffer little Children unto me” Harbour Beach Manly Wharf in background late 1920’s

Manly sand modeler, John Suchomlin, was born in 1887 on a farm near the small village of Kogeevka in the Ukraine. Escaping from revolutionary Russia, he emigrated to Australia and became an Australian citizen in 1913.

Suchomlin began sand modeling in 1926 and by 1928 his work first appeared on the harbour beach at Manly, east of the wharf, and then Ocean Beach in 1929.

In 1929, he petitioned Manly Council “for a site on the South Steyne Reserve for a building to be erected to enable him to do sand modeling”.1 Council approved and a kiosk was built forming the skeleton of the structure that still stands today as a public shelter.

The subject matter of Suchomlin’s work was predominantly based on his religious beliefs.  During the Depression, the disparity between rich and poor was a common theme throughout his work.

He vacated the kiosk in 1933 due to lack of revenue, but still created sand models on the beach till 1940. He passed away in Queensland in 1973 aged 88.2

This article was created by Northern Beaches Council Library Local Studies. For enquiries, please contact the Northern Beaches Library Local Studies Team at or visit History Hub.

Go more in-depth into the history of the Manly sand artist, John Suchomlin.

The public shelter as it stands today South Steyne, Manly 2022


1 Manly Council Minute Book, 20/8/1929, minute 21

2 Manly Council Minute Book, 4/4/1933, item 10

With thanks to Leonie Masson: Historical Report Ocean Beach Wishing Pool Shelter Manly 2000

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