• Anne Zahalka, Figures on Manly Beach April 25 (after Nancy Kilgour), 2015, unique photo media print, 115 x 177.5cm, MAG&M Collection - donated by MAG&M Society 2015

  • Percy Spence (1868-1933), Manly Beach with Lady Lifesavers, 1910, watercolour on paper, 18 x 27cm. Purchased 1975. (A0402)

Percy Spence (1868-1933), Manly Beach with Lady Lifesavers, 1910, watercolour on paper, 18 x 27cm. Purchased 1975. (A0402)

Manly in the 1910s

Spence’s 1910 watercolour marks a historically significant moment, as one of the first artworks to show women as lifesavers.

Nancy Kilgour (1904-1954), Untitled (figured on Manly Beach), c.1943, oil on canvas, 76 x 117cm. Purchased through the Lady Askin Bequest 1986

1940s beach culture through a contemporary lens

Anne Zahalka addresses the ways in which the democratic nature of the beach can both unify and highlight cultural and social differences.

Stephen Lees (b.1954), Manly Series, #2 The Bodysurfers, 2007, gouache and watercolour on wood panel,  40 x 50cm. Purchased 2008.

Surf-o-Planes from the 1930s and 50s

Read about the popular Sydney invention that helped swimmers ride the waves.

Image detail: Toy Ferry

All aboard! Manly ferries in the 1930-60s

We take you back with memories of the Manly ferries between the 1930s - 1960s.

The Manly swim scene of the 1930s

Harold Cazneaux, Frank Bell and various postcards from the MAG&M collection capture the spirit of our connection with the water in the 1920s and 30s.

Image detail: Guan Wei (b.1957), Water view #13, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50cm. Purchased 2011

Itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini!

The bikini - an invention of fabric rationing necessity in the 1940s.

Image detail - Bruce Goold (b.1948), The living statue at Manly Art Gallery, 2010, hand-coloured woodcut, edition 112, 30 x 42cm. Purchased 2011

Taking you back to early surf lifesaving in Manly

Bruce Gould, Chuck Bradley & Frank Hurley celebrate this iconic part of the Australian beach culture.

Image detail: Frank Bell (1884-1923), Crowd surrounding Duke Kahanamoku, Freshwater Beach, 1915, photograph 

Duke Kahanamoku and the early development of surfing in Australia

Discover the impact of Duke Kahanamoku, the celebrated Hawaiian swimmer and surfer, when he visited the Northern Beaches in 1914-15.

Image detail: Jack Eden, (1931-2019), Midget Farrelly at Long Reef, 1967, photograph. Purchased 1996 

Surfing the waves back to the 1940s, 50s and 60s

Discover more about the development of surfboards in Australia.