The reinstatement of the famous harbour pool and boardwalk came closer this month with a $100,000 NSW Government grant received by the Council to undertake a Masterplan for the area. For years Good For Manly has been advocating for the pool to be reinstated, with plans drawn up by eco architect Maurice Patten. Now, thanks to the support of Local Member James Griffin, this community-lead project is back on the agenda.
The Masterplan will include extensive community consultation and consideration of this environmentally sensitive area. First, here's a reminder of how things used to be.
SEVEN MILES FROM SYDNEY - AND A THOUSAND MILES FROM CARE ...
Picture the excitement as families rushed off the Manly ferry, hurried over the boardwalk and jumped into Sydney’s biggest harbour pool.
Crowds of happy people would be eating ice-cream on the walkway, diving from the pontoons and high boards and spilling off the slippery dips and treadmills; shrieking and splashing.
From the early 1930’s locals and tourists alike flocked to the free public pool, dubbed the ‘best swimming pool in Australia’. Thrill-seekers sought out the high dive platforms and 15m waterslide and a generation of Sydneysiders swam and played in the protected waters behind the shark nets.
There were spacious changerooms and plenty of tearooms for afterwards. At night, from 1932, floodlights above and below the water lit the promenade and turned the water green.
At its peak, over 250,000 visitors came to the baths every year, boosting local businesses which offered fun rides and speed-boat trips, as well as food and drink.
The pool justified Manly’s famous slogan: ‘Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care’, and the village revelled in its prime holiday destination status.
Originally constructed in 1931 by the Port Jackson Steamship Company, the boardwalk survived the wartime years but, by the mid ‘60s, maintenance needs were rising and there was talk of demolishing the structure.
In May 1974 a severe autumn gale pre-empted the decision and destroyed the boardwalk so thoroughly that then owners, Brambles Industries, had no choice but to remove everything.
YOU CAN VIEW A WONDERFUL SHORT DOCUMENTARY ON THE HISTORY OF THE POOL, produced by local Marian Hambly, HERE
And here's our video of ideas for a new green, family friendly harbour pool precinct. More details here.
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.