EXPLORATION OF MANLY & PORT JACKSON
In January 1788, the First Fleet arrived at its destination, Botany Bay, which was found to be unsuitable for settlement. On 21 January, Governor Phillip and his officers travelled north and examined Port Jackson, named by Captain James Cook in 1770.
They spent three days exploring Port Jackson including the western end of North Harbour and the North Arm which Captain John Hunter named Collins Cove in his 1788 sketch of North Arm. Phillip was so impressed by the confidence and manly behaviour of a group of Aborigines that the name was changed to Manly Cove.
An early map of about 1822 shows a plan of a proposed township of Manly. Certainly the quiet waters of North Harbour would have afforded greater protection for the small boats that were the only link with Sydney during that period. From the early 1820s scattered settlement began in the Manly Cove and North Harbour areas.
Henry Gilbert Smith, an English businessman living in Sydney, saw that Manly - with an ocean beach on one side and fine sandy cove on the other - could provide a great "watering place" for the people of Sydney, as Brighton did for Londoners. He started acquiring land in the area in the 1850s.
Norfolk Island pines were planted along the harbour foreshore and in 1855 Smith had a pier constructed a little east of the Manly Wharf, the Pier Hotel was built and The Corso was cleared linking the harbour with the ocean beach.
Smith encouraged the growth of a ferry service to Manly. Excursion trips were available and by 1856 there was a daily ferry service. In 1859 Smith acquired the steamer Phantom specifically for the Manly to Sydney run. He did many other beneficial things for the new community including donating land so that parks, churches, schools and other buildings could be established.
The municipality of Manly was incorporated on 6th January 1877, at which time Manly achieved its own seat of Local Government. Manly was very much a village then and while many things have changed over the past 125 years, Manly is still affectionately referred to as 'The Village'.
© Arthur Phillip Chapter of Fellowship of First Fleeters 2020-
Header image: Manly Ferries on Sydney Harbour, crossing paths on their route to Manly Cove. Manly wharf was built in 1855 and millions of visitors use the ferry service each day, drawn by the slogan of yesteryear - Seven miles from Sydney, one thousand miles from care.
Side image: Yachts at anchor in Sydney Harbour at sunrise, courtesy of I. Smith