Manly Ferry Trip Guide


Start: Circular Quay, Manly Ferry Wharf
Finish: Circular Quay, Manly Ferry Wharf
Transport: Ferry
Duration: Half day to full day
Points of Interest: Ferry ride; Harbour views; Manly sightseeing; cafes and restaurants at Manly; Masnly Beach; Manly Cove; walks around Manly


A trip on the Manly ferry is one of the best value ferry rides in Australia, if not the world. It traverses one of the most picturesque harbours you are ever linkly to see, and passes close to such icons as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Travel on a day when there are cruise vessels in port, and you'll even get a close up of them too - if you time your trip right, you can even follow or sail alongside an ocean liner down the harbour before it heads out to sea.

The Manly Ferry departs from Wharf 3, Circular Quay, in the city, with a service running every 30 minutes in each direct during daylight hours.

This guide documents the journey from Circular Quay to Manly as the outward journey and from Manly to Circular Quay as the inward journey. The guide describes the points of interest on the port (left hand) side of the ferry in both directions; the north shore is described on the outward journey, the south side (Sydney's eastern suburbs) is described on the inward journey.

To Manly
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As the ferry departs Circular Quay it passes the Overseas Passenger Terminal, then the Sydney Harbour Bridge as it turns east and heads down the Harbour towards Manly. This guide describes points of interest as seen from the right hand side of the ferry.


Sydney Cove


Sydney Cove was named by Gov. Arthur Phillip in honour of Lord Sydney, Secretary of State for the Home Department, who had chosen him for the task of establishing a penal settlement in New South Wales. Lord Sydney never visited the cove or the city that would later be named after him. The wharves built around the three sides of the cove are known as Circular Quay, and were thus named because the original wharves lining the cove were circular in their aspect (or more accurately, semi-circular).

In years gone by, Circular Quay was the focal centre of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour. It was here that the tall ships of the 19th century unloaded their cargoes, that thousands of migrants - convict and free - got their first sight of Australia, and from here that many troops went off to war. Today, its maritime activity centres around pleasure craft and ferries taking residents and tourists to a variety of locations around the harbour, though every once in a while Circular Quay is graced by the presence of a cruise liner.


Bennelong Point


Once a small island off what the First Fleet colonists called Cattle Point, Bennelong Point is today the site of one of the world's most well known 20th century buildings - The Sydney Opera House . When the first fleet arrived, cattle were brought ashore here. It was soon developed as a fort to protect the infant colony on Sydney Cove to its immediate west, then as a tram station before the opera House was built.


Sydney Opera House


The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's iconic buildings of the 20th century and one of the few buildings to be erected in that century that is instantly recognisable in just about every country in the world. It's a building some people travel half way around the world to see, and marvel at its shape and setting. That it has one of the most inadequate, ill-designed opera theatres every built is irrelevant to all but those who use if for the function it was built for - what matters to the rest is that it represents Sydney, and indeed Australia, to many people of the world.


Fort Denison


Fort Denison is one of the most visited and photographed islands on Sydney Harbour. In 1788 a convict named Thomas Hill was sentenced to a week on bread and water in irons on what had originally been given the descriptive name of called Rock Island. It came to be known as Pinchgut. The fort which covers the island was built in the 19th century to help protect the town of Sydney from naval attack. Fort Denison can be visited by ferry from Circular Quay.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Fort denison
  • Between Mrs Macquaries Point and the Sydney Opera House is Farm Cove, which is encircled by Sydney Botanical Gardens. Sydney Opera House stands on Bennelong Point.


    Garden Island


    Situated to the east of the Sydney Central Business District is Garden Island, which, as its name suggests, was once an island, but is not connected to the mainland via the Captain Cook Graving Dock. Garden Island has been associated with the defence of Sydney and eventually Australia, since the first fleet of convicts arrived in 1788 and built a fort there. It is today the home base for the Royal Australian Navy fleet, and consequently, access to Garden Island is restricted. A naval museum is open to the public and can be reached by taking the Eastern Suburbs ferry which stops here.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Garden Island
  • The next peninsula is Mrs Macquarie's Point, so named because it was a favourite spot of the wife of the Colonial Governor, Lachlan Macquarie. Between the two peninsulas is Woolloomooloo Bay, known for its heritage listed finger wharf from which Australia Troops left for combat during the two world wars. The island off Mrs Macquaries Point is Fort Denison.


    Clark Island


    This small island off Darling Point is named after a First Fleet Lieutenant of the Marines, Ralph Clark, who in November 1789, planted a private garden of corn, potatoes and onions there. The island has remained pretty much as Clark had left it, being declared a public reserve in 1879.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Clark Island



  • Rushcutters Bay and Elizabeth Bay can bee seen some distance away before the tip of Garden Island is reached.


    Shark Island


    Located between Bradleys Head and Rose Bay with views up the Harbour to the Bridge and down to the heads, Shark Island is crowned by a large Gazebo on the hill. The island has picnic tables scattered under the trees and man-made grottos providing nooks with wonderful harbour views.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Shark Island


  • South Head


    Immediately south of the Hornby Light is Lady Beach, a free beach where nudists do their sunbathing. Next is Camp Cove, then the indent of Watsons Bay. Once a fishing village, Watsons Bay is now one of the must-see places for visitors to Sydney Situated on a peninsula at the the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour, Watsons Bay offers panoramic views up the harbour as well as coastal vistas on the ocean side. There are enough things to see and do here and in the vicinity to fill a few hours or a few days. After passing the indents of Parsley Bay and Vaucluse Bay, the ferry turns west towards Sydney and moves away from the eastern suburbs shoreline. In the distance can be seen Rose Bay, Point Piper, Double Bay and Darling Point as Shark Island is passed. Clarke Island is visible off Darling Point.


    North Head


    The entrance to Sydney Harbour, guarded by the cliffs of North and South Head, is the only accessway by water to port Jackson. The heads are popular picnic spots, especially on Boxing Day (26th December) where crowds gather to watch entrants in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race make their way through the heads and out to open sea. A pair of lookouts are perched on the clifftop of North Head, offering views of the coastal cliffs, down the coast towards Sydney's eastern suburbs and beaches and across the waters of Sydney Heads to Port Jackson and the entrance to Middle Harbour. Visible on South Head is the Hornby Light, the major light guiding ships into the harbour.


    North Harbour: Manly Peninsula


    Collins Beach: on 7th September 1790, Gov. Phillip went to Manly by boat to meet with an Aboriginal named Bennelong at Collins Beach on Spring Cove. As Phillip stepped forward to greet him, one of a group of natives with Bennelong, believing him to be in danger, intercepted the Governor and threw a spear which pierced Phillip's shoulder. Lt. Henry Waterhouse, Midshipman of HMS Sirius, broke off the spear as the Governor bled profusely. He was taken back to Sydney where he was operated on and the barb was removed. He returned to duty 10 days later. The name of the beach honours Capt. David Collins, Judge Advocate with the First Fleet. Access is by boat or on foot only. Facilities: toilets, picnic facilities, grassed area, boat ramp at nearby Little Manly Cove.



    Store Beach: UBD map 198 Ref D 16. North Head Scenic Drive, North Head. Store Beach on Spring Cove was thus named as it was here that stores for the Quarantine Station and persons being quarantines were brought ashore. Not many years ago, Little or Fairy Penguins were quite common on Sydney Beaches. Today, Store Beach is the location of the only surviving colony. As Store Beach has the last breeding colony on the mainland of NSW, steps have been taken by concerned residents, wildlife preservation groups and Government bodies to protect it. Access is by boat or on foot only. No facilities.



    Quarantine Station: The site of the Quarantine Station was set aside for this specific purpose in 1825 when the convict ship Bussorah Merchant arrived carrying smallpox and the crew and passengers had to be quarantined. They were unloaded at Store Beach where they were left to fend for themselves for 2 weeks. The Quarantine Station was opened in 1832. The station was at its busiest during the Bubonic Plague of 1900 and Influenza epidemic of 1918-19, when it handled up to 1,500 people. The Station came into occasional use only in the 1930s. After the war, it was converted to a Commonwealth Detention Centre for illegal immigrants. Its final claim to fame was in 1974 when it became the temporary home of 750 Darwin residents whose homes had been destroyed by cyclone Tracy. It was permanently closed for quarantine purposes in 1984. As the ferry travels towards the mouth of Port Jackson, we pass Cannae Point. Soon after passing it, the cliffs turn away to form North Head.



    Manly


    The ferry service terminates at Manly Wharf on Manly Cove. For many years Manly was a seaside resort that was seen as being somewhat distanced from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. These days it is very much a part of the Sydney beach scene, greatly commercialised but somehow hasn't lost its feel as a resort and popular playground for holidaymakers and daytrippers alike. Ferries still ply the waters of Port Jackson, carrying Sydneysiders to its cafes, shops, beaches and recreational facilities that for many locals have become a way of life. Manly Cove is a popular and very busy beach alongside Manly Wharf on North Harbour that is a stone's throw from The Corso and Manly's many restaurants, cafes and hotels. Manly Oceanworld is at the western end of the beach. Manly Cove is the starting point for the Manly to Spit Scenic Walkway, a 7 km pathway around the northern shores of Middle and North Harbour.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Manly

  • From Manly
    The inward journey follows the same route as the outward journey, but further east and south. On the inward journey, it passes by the smaller beaches on the eastern side of North Harbour on its way to Circular Quay.


    North Harbour


    North Harbour is the smallest of the three ocean inlets that combined are known as Port Jackson. North Harbour is that section to the north of Sydney Heads that forms a large bay upon which the suburb of Manly is located at its head. The suburbs on and around North Harbour were created in the mid to late 19th century when Manly was heavily promoted as the beachside holiday playground of the City of Sydney. Development of the lower section of Middle Harbour began around the turn of the 20th century, the middle section experiencing its period of intense growth after the Great War.

    Large tracts of land in the upper section have been preserved in their natural state by the formation of Garigal National Park, which encompasses numerous smaller reserves around the upper catchment area of Middle Harbour Creek. Like Sydney Harbour, the calm waters of North and Middle Harbours are well used by boat owners and on weekends are filled with an array of small craft from dinghies to cruisers, skifs to yachts.


    Middle Harbour


    Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour and North Harbour are the three ocean inlets which form what are referred to as Port Jackson. North Harbour is that part of Port Jackson to the north of the heads which includes a ring of beaches including Manly Cove, that enjoy dress circle views south across the heads towards Middle Head and the Eastern suburbs. Middle Harbour is an extensive waterway which extends north-east from Middle Head to Middle Harbour Creek, which rises in St.Ives.

    The suburbs on and around North Harbour were created in the mid to late 19th century when Manly was heavily promoted as the beachside holiday playground of the City of Sydney. Development of the lower section of Middle Harbour began around the turn of the 20th century, the middle section experiencing its period of intense growth after the Great War. Large tracts of land in the upper section have been preserved in their natural state by the formation of Garigal National Park, which encompasses numerous smaller reserves around the upper catchment area of Middle Harbour Creek. Like Sydney Harbour, the calm waters of North and Middle Harbours are well used by boat owners and on weekends are filled with an array of small craft from dinghies to cruisers, skifs to yachts.


    Middle Head


    The point of Middle Head is riddled with a network of lookouts, gun placements, and ammunition stores, all interlinked by tunnels and passages. Most were constructed in 1871 and remained untouched until the second world war. Spurred on by the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour, the Middle Head Fortifications were re-opened and upgraded. The nine guns mounted at Middle Head were never fired in anger, but four men were killed in April 1891 in the accidental detonation of a mine.The batteries were dismantled during the 1950s and the site became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park in 1979. The National Parks and Wildlife Service hosts guided tours of the fort.

    Beyond Middle Head is the entrance to Middle Harbour, an extensive waterway and branch of Port Jackson which winds its way through the suburbs of the Lower North Shore past Cammeray, Balmoral and The Spit on its way to Seaforth, Castlecrag, Killarney Heights and Roseville Chase. At the northern entrance to Middle Harbour is Grotto Point, with its stubby lighthouse.


    Georges Head


    In 1801, Sydney was visited by the French ships Naturaliste and Geographe, which were part of an expedition of scientific discovery that had just completed a survey of the south coast of mainland Australia. It was the time of the Napoleonic Wars, and though the expedition leader Thomas Nicolas Baudin and his team were treated with every courtesy, their visit left the colonists feeling somewhat vulnerable should France decide to extend its interest in Australia beyond scientific discovery.

    Before Baudin's ships had sailed over the horizon on their way to check out the coast of Tasmania, Governor King had started work on a single rock-cut battery at Georges Head facing the entrance to Port Jackson. A decade later, the land behind it was given to an aboriginal family by Gov. Macquarie as an experiment to introduce them to the farming methods of the white man. Most of the tunnels, lookouts and gun emplacements seen today above the rocks between Obelisk Bay and Georges Head were constructed in 1871.

    The armoury included massive 68 pounder and 18 ton guns. No road existed into the area at the time and it was considered too difficult a task to bring the guns ashore from ships and drag them up the rugged outcrops of Georges Head and neighbouring Middle Head. A decision was made to offload the cannon at a Neutral Bay jetty and roll them through the bush. It was a marathon effort in which local residents were paid 10 shillings each to help clear a path through the bush using whatever implements they could find to knock down trees, dig up roots and do whatever was necessary to make access possible. The track they cut through the bush was known as the Military Road by which the armed forces stationed there gained access to their forts. It remains the major thoroughfare through Mosman today.

    With the development of armour cladding and steam power, the battery was considered obsolete by the time it was completed. In an effort to update it, a casemated battery was constructed at the foot of Georges Head in 1882 along with torpedo lines across Port Jackson. When the fort was handed over to the newly established Commonwealth Government in the 1900s, the guns were updated. During World War II a submarine net across the harbour to Watsons Bay and new quick firing guns were installed, however Japanese submarines penetrated them in May 1942 before they were complete. The batteries were dismantled during the 1950s and the site became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park in 1979.


    Chowder Bay


    The very picturesque Chowder Bay, now part of Sydney Harbour National Park, is one of those harbour bays with everything. There is a wharf, enclosed baths, change rooms, childrens playground, lots of grass, picnic tables and several places to buy food. When the picnic lunch is over, there's bushland to wander through, or you can go fishing or snorkeling in the clear water.

    Up until recently, the eastern side of the bay was off limits to the public. It was home to a naval base with historic buildings originally used as a Submarine Miners Depot. This was later converted to barracks and mess buildings but the whole complex has been given back to the public for recrational use. There are today home to backpacker accommodation, cafes, a scuba diving centre and a place where you can also watch craftsmen practice the age-old trade of restoring and constructing wooden boats.

    Behind the bay on its south eastern side is the exclusive suburb of Clifton Gardens, with its million dollars homes with million dollar views. Tucked in between these houses and the former military establishment to the north-east is a pristine area of bushland with walking trails to explore. If walking is your thing, there's also the extensive George Head and Middle Head fortifications which can be explored by the trail along the ridge overlooking the harbour and Sydney Heads. There is also a 1.5km walking path from Chowder Bay (near the Bacino Bar) to Balmoral Beach. At the end of the trail you pass the HMAS Penguin site.

    The name Chowder Bay recalls the seafood stew eaten by whalers who set up a whaling station in the vicinity of Clifton Gardens in early colonial times. Presumably they boiled the stew in pots on the shores of the bay. The Aboriginal name for the bay was Koree, and Chowder Head was known as Gurugal.

    Clifton Gardens was named after Captain E.H. Cliffe's home, Cliffeton, which gave rise to the naming of a hotel in the area in 1871 as the Clifton Arms Hotel. Cliffe, a whaling captain, bought land here in 1832, anchoring his ships in nearby Chowder Bay. The Clifton Arms was bought by David Thompson in 1891. He built a wharf, dancing pavilion and picnic facilities nearby and called it Clifton Gardens.



    The next two headlands are Georges Head and Middle Head, both of which have extensive colonial era fortificatiins due to their strategic position opposite the entrance to Sydney Harbour.


    Taylors Bay


    Taylors Bay is bordered by a narrow strip of hartbourside rainforest. Aboriginal carvings of kangaroos are sometimes visible on the rocks at low tide. Borogegal Walking Trail meets the Taylors Bay Lookout track above the bay. This track leads to a lookout and then down to the beach.

    On the night of 31 May 1942 three Japanese submarines, I-22, I-24 and I-27, entered Sydney Harbour, each launched a Type A midget submarine for an attack on shipping in Sydney Harbour. All three midget submarines made it into the harbour. I-24 and I-27 travelled as far as Garden Island, where they fired torpedoes and caused damage. The third midget submarine failed to make it far into the harbour. Spotted in Taylors Bay and attacked with depth charges by naval harbour patrol vessels, Lieutenant Keiu Matsuo and Petty Officer Masao Tsuzuku, shot themselves.


    Bradleys Head


    One of Sydney's most historic headlands, now part of Sydney Harbour National Park. The mast mounted on the point is from HMAS Sydney, which did battle with the German cruiser Emden in 1914. Near the mast is a stone column from the original General Post Office in Sydney. It marks a distance of one nautical mile from Fort Denison.

    The semi-circular convict-built waterfront fortifications, a firing wall and single cannon mount were constructed in the 1840s by Gov. Gipps at the time Fort Denison was constructed. The picnic area beyond the car park occupies the quarry site of the stone used to built the forts.

    The fortifications located up the hill towards the zoo were built in the 1870s. They comprise of a firing wall, a jetty, powder magazines, a series of tunnels and three gun emplacements complete with original cannon mounted on carriages. A sealed tunnel links the battery to the jetty on Athol Bay.

    Military Road follows a path beaten through the bush from North Sydney to Bradleys Head in the early 1870s. It was created by soldiers and local residents to give access to the new Bradleys Head military installations. These were being constructed in response to fears of an impending attack by Russia, an attack which never eventuated. Stumps along the route were dug out by locals who were paid ten shillings for each stump removed. It was along the path they cleared that the three guns for the fort were rolled through the bush from a jetty at Neutral Bay where they had been offloaded from a ship.

    Athol Bay has a pleasant yet largely ignored beach that is ideal for a quiet swim away from the crowds or the perfect place to sit and watch a sunset over the city. It can be reached via the waterside path between the Taronga wharf and Bradleys Head.

    The Borogegal Walking Trail continues past the point and around neighbouring Taylors Bay. The path continues beyond the bay to Clifton Gardens, Chowder Head, Georges Head and Middle Head.

    After rounding Bradleys Head and turning north, Taylors Bay, Chowder Head, Clifton Gardens and Chowder Bay come into view.


    Taronga Zoo


    Australia's most well known zoological gardens, it has a large collection of native and exotic animals all housed in picturesque surroundings with the unforgettable panoramic vistas of Sydney Harbour as its backdrop. Opened in 1916, Taronga Park is home to over 2,600 animals on 21 hectares, making it one of the largest of its kind. With its panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline, the zoo is a "must see" for visitors to Sydney.


    Little Sirius Cove


    A small and sheltered corner of Port Jackson, Little Sirius Cove is reached by taking the Taronga Zoo ferry and taking the path to the left on arrival. Follow the narrow ribbon of bushland outside the zoo, then down some steps to Whiting Beach. Further on is Sirius Cove Reserve on Little Sirius Cove. It has a sandy beach and has a few sets of steps which go down to the water. It has shaded grassed areas, toilets and picnic tables and offers good harbour views. All the northern Sydney Harbour beaches are relatively safe to swim in under normal low wave to calm conditions.

    Little Sirius Cove is a dog-friendly beach, meaning dogs can be let off-leash all day during the week and before 9am and after 4pm on weekends. This makes it a popular place for an early morning or afternoon stroll with the kids and pets. Facilities: childrens playground, toilets, picnic tables.

    Little Sirius Point and Little Sirius Cove were named after the flagship of the First Fleet, HMS Sirius, which was careened here in 1789.
    • More

    • Curlew Camp site
      Little Sirius Cove is the site of Curlew Camp where several famous Australian artists, including Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Sidney Long, used to come in the late 1800s for sketching opportunities. One of the artists had obligingly marked the spot by carving the name and the year into a nearby sandstone rock. At Curlew Camp, Streeton, Thomas and their bohemian friends lived in tents for several years, painting some memorable images of the area. Sirius Cove (c1895), by Streeton is perhaps one of the most adventurous, showing a long 'slice' of the harbour and its sandstone rocks. On the headland a narrow path is visible this is the path leading up to the camp where the artists stayed. The camp, Sirius Cove (1899), by Roberts, shows the collection of huts and tents nestled in the bush that was Curlew Camp.

      Both Streeton and Roberts nostalgically returned to the themes they explored during their time at Curlew Camp in later years. In 1897, Streeton (possibly during a stay in London) painted Sydney Harbour: A souvenir. The final painting Tom Roberts completed before his death in 1931, Ring a Ring a Roses, is a version of a landscape he originally painted of Cremorne, during his time at Sirius Cove.


    Mosman


    The prestigious suburb of Mosman was named after Mosman Bay because of it being adjacent to it. It was here that Archibald Mossman (1799-1863) established Sydney's first whaling station. The station was a successful venture, but its operations were wound down on his retirement because its proximity to a growing residential area and its closeness to the city of Sydney was considered inappropriate. The main objection the locals had, however, was to the smell. Taronga Park was established in 1912 when Sydney's Zoo was moved from Moore Park.
    Mosman Bay was originally named Careening Bay as it believed HMS Sirius was careened (beached and its hull cleaned of barnacles) here in 1789. It was then variously called Sirius Cove, Careening Cove and Great Sirius Cove; most of these names are still in use but for other locations. The first subdivision of land for residential development took place in 1853. Taronga Zoo was established between 1912 and 1916 on land previously set aside for a coal mine. The venture did not proceed due to complaints by residents so the company's mining activities were transferred to Birchgrove.


    Cremorne Point


    The suburb of Cremorne derived from the name of an amusement park at the location operated by two promoters, Clarke and Woolcott, between 1856 and 1862. It recalls the famous Cremorne Gardens in London.

    The peninsula was originally named Careening Point as it was near Careening Cove where early sailing vessels were beached to clean barnacles from their hulls. It was then named Robertson Point after it was granted to the father of parliamentarian Sir John Robertson in 1826. There is a popular foreshore walk around Cremorne Point, commencing at the ferry wharf. On the way you'll pass Kurraba Point Reserve which is the site of a quarry from which 8,000 tonnes of sandstone was extracted and used to build Fort Denison. It was later used as a shipbuilding yard.

    MacAllum Pool is a clean, protected swimming area. Beyond the beach at the head of Shell Cove is a waterfall that has somehow managed to survive. The creek which feeds it is now a stormwater drain that flows under a house before dropping its water over the falls. Being fed only by run-off, the waterfall only functions after rain.



    The area between Rialto Avenue and the intersection of Cremorne and Milsons Roads was the site of a test coal mine bore sunk in 1890. At 861 metres the drill reached a 3 metre thick seam of coal which had unfortunately been turned into cinder by a volcanic dyke. The coal was part of the Bulli Seam which extends south from Newcastle to the Illawarra. The south side of Hodgson Avenue between Kareela and Cremorne Roads was the site of a second test coal mine bore sunk in 1892-93. The bore reached a good 3 metre seam at around 900 metres, proving the existence of coal, however the company did not go ahead with mining on the site due to opposition by local residents. The company finally settled on Birchgrove near Balmain as the site for their mine.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Cremorne and Cremorne Point


  • Beyond Robertsons Point is the entrance to Mosman Bay on the left hand side, and Little Sirius Cove on the right. The Mosman Bay ferry travels up Mosman Bay and stop at two wharves in the suburb of Mosman. The Manly ferry now passes Athol Bay, behind which is Taronga Zoo, before passing Bradleys Head.


    Neutral Bay


    The tip of Kirribilli Point marks the entrance to Neutral Bay, and Careening Cove on its eastern side. Kurraba Point - the next peninsula - separates Neutral Bay and Shell Cove.



    Most of the bays of the Lower North Shore once had small streams that cacaded off the high ground in pretty waterfalls. The only one that survives is at the head of Shell Cove. Run-off water after rain is channelled from the nearby steets to the place where the original stream plumetted 16 metres off the hillside and into the cove.

    In 1789, a year after the colony of New South Wales had been established at Sydney Cove, this bay was set aside by Governor Phillip as a safe haven for neutral ships which could anchor here in safety. At the time, England was at war with France. Neutral Bay remained dense bushland, except for a military road which passed through it, until the turn of the 20th century when subdivision and development commenced. Around that time, a gas works was built on eastern shore near the head of Neutral Bay. In 1942 the site was resumed by the Commonwealth Government for the manufacture of torpedoes and maintenance facility for the vessels of the Pacific Fleet. 25 years later, the site was commissioned as a base for the Royal Australian Navy's Oberon class submarines and was named HMAs Platypus. The base was closed in 1998.



  • Comprehensive Guide to Neutral Bay


  • It was from Anderson Park at the head of the bay that pioneer aviator and adventurer Air Commodore Charles Kingsford-Smith and Captain P. Gordon Taylor took off on 19th October 1934 at the commencement of what was to become the first flight across the Pacific from Australia to the United States of America. Their Lockheed Attair Monoplane VH-VSB, named Lady Southern Cross, was the very aircraft in which Kingsford-Smith and Tommy Pethybridge would die a year later in their to be the first to make the flight from England and Australia.


    Kirribilli House


    Kirribilli House can be seen on the Kirribilli headland. This gracious home built by Lieut. Col. J.G.N. Gipps. Because of its strategic location opposite the entrance to Sydney Cove, the Government of 1856 decided to take temporary control of the house and use it as part of its harbour defence system. Cannons were mounted in the grounds though they were never used. For some time, the house was used as the official residence of Admirals commanding the British Naval Squadron stationed in Sydney and became known as Admiralty House. It has remained Commonwealth Government property ever since and is now the Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia.


    Admiralty House


    The first suburb to the west of the Harbour Bridge is Kirribilli, one of the city's most established and affluent neighbourhoods. Kirribilli is one of Australia's older suburbs, with the first land grants in the area being granted by the colonial government during the 1790s. The name Kirribilli is derived from an Aboriginal word Kiarabilli, which means 'good fishing spot'.

    Admiralty House can be seen on the Kirribilli headland. Because of its strategic location opposite the entrance to Sydney Cove, the Government of 1856 decided to take temporary control of a house built in 1842 by Sir George Gipps to take advantage of the sweeping views of Sydney Harbour. Cannons were mounted in the grounds though they were never used. Built on the site of the fort, Admiralty House is the larger of the two gracious houses which occupy the prominent north shore headland opposite Sydney Cove.
    A single storey sandstone residence built by merchant Robert Campbell, in 1874 it was known as Wotonga. The house was extended and renovated in 1885 in order for it to serve as the residence of the commanding officer of the British Royal Navy's Pacific Squadron. The fancy upper floor lacework was added at this time. Believed by many Sydneysiders to be the city's finest address, Admiralty House is today the Sydney home of Australia's Governor General.


    Sydney Harbour Bridge


    Acclaimed as one of the most remarkable feats of bridge construction in the world at the time it was built, until recently the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world and is still in a general sense the largest. Since its completion in 1932, it has been an icon and an internationally recognised symbol of the the city of Sydney.

    The first sod was ceremoniously turned on the site of the North Sydney Railway Station on 28th July 1923. The acquisition and demolition of buildings in the path of the new bridge and its approaches on both the northern and southern shores commenced on 28th July 1924.

    The bridge was opened to roadway, railway and pedestrian traffic by the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr JT Lang, on Saturday 19th March 1932. The time taken to complete the whole work, including bridge and approaches was eight years. The contract for the bridge construction provided for six months' maintenance by the contractors from the date of opening, after which maintenance became the responsibility of the State.

    Built at a cost of $20 million, it was only paid off in 1988, much of the cost being raised by tolls placed on vehicular traffic using the bridge. Tolls collected after the bridge was paid for has gone towards the cost of the construction of the harbour tunnel.


    Overseas Passenger Terminal


    This terminal was built to provide better accommodation for the many larger passenger ships being built after World War II which brought thousands of migrants to Australia from Europe. By the time it was completed, the move away from sea to air travel had already begun and ironically, the first ship to use the terminal was the cruise liner, SS Oriana. The terminal was rebuilt on a smaller scale in 1988 at a cost of $16 million to a rather austere Structuralist style design. The stark look of the complex was tempered in another refit prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

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