Manly’s Ocean Beach is often symbolised as a great curving beach backed by the magnificent stand of Norfolk Island Pines planted from 1860 to 1900.
Over the years these were damaged by the sewer outfall with the worst effect at the northern end of the beach. Unfortunately the replacements in the 1970’s and 1980’s were not quality controlled and Cook Island Pines or hybrids were often planted.
Cook Island Pines (Araucaria columnaris) can be easily recognised as they are smaller, denser and often crooked. When they are mixed with the larger, less dense and straight Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) they spoil the overall effect as well as reducing the visibility through the trees to the water.
Council commissioned a ’Management and Conservation Plan for the coastal Norfolk Island Pines‘, updated in 2009, which recommended the removal of all Cook Island Pines and related hybrids and replacing them with the original Norfolk Island Pines.
At the southern end of the Steyne, between the surf club and the Corso there are 13 Cook Island Pines out of the total of 76 pines. There are some very healthy bushy and dense ones near the Corso which tend to spoil the ocean views from the various restaurants there. Near the Surf Club the Cook Island Pines are crooked and take away from the effect of the mature Norfolk Island trees. You will also see, when you look at their tops carefully that several of the Norfolk Island Pines at this end of the beach are dying.
At the other, northern end of the beach near the Queenscliff Surf Club there are many more Cook Island Pines and the effect of taller more open Norfolk Island Pines has been lost.
A properly planned replacement program should be a priority as well as replacing all of the older Norfolk Island Pines that are dying or thriving, such as those by the tables on the beachfront by the Corso.
Have you noticed the difference in the pines? What do you think Council should do about this?
(Our thanks to Evelyn Shervington who provided this information)
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.