The History of Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches

What is the history of Lost Manly? Everything there is to know about Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches.

Anyone lucky enough to visit (or live in) Australia knows that despite the sometimes-deadly wildlife, the views you encounter and the beauty of its natural geography are enough to fall in love with it for a lifetime.

 As such, metropolitan and rural communities take great pride in their local villages and towns here, as well as the great fortune of the weather. As the tongue-in-cheek saying goes, only the Brits could have decided to send people to a more beautiful island than their own; this is embodied in the beauty of the Northern Beaches, of which Manly beach is perhaps one of the most famous tourist destinations. These beaches are located on Sydney’s Northern peninsula and stretch from Manly which is the gateway to Sydney Harbour, to Palm Beach, Sydney’s northern tip, also known to fans of TV show’s “Home and Away” as ‘Summer Bay’.  

 Even for an area of such cultural relevance, gentrification and inflated house prices (thanks to such competition) threaten the identity of this wonderful area. 

 Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches serves as a history hub and preservation site, not only advocating for but preserving the story and beauty of such a location thoroughly so that future generations never forget its unique charm and hard-won beauty. In this post, we're excited to relay the history of Lost Manly & The Northern Beaches and how it deserves to be remembered, preserved, and cultivated anew: 

The History of the Northern Beaches

The history of the Northern Beaches is the history of Australia, of exploration, and the legacy of indigenous communities. Manly serves as a shining beacon of this. At the time of the first European colonists, this area was occupied by the Guringai people.

 It took its namesake from Captain Arthur Phillip's appreciation for the Aboriginal populace when visiting in 1788. He noticed how those from the Cannalgal and Kayimai clans were confident, curious, and masculine and appreciated these virtues. He named the area Manly Cove soon after.

 For a time, Manly remained a well-kept secret. It was challenging to get to, requiring a long and perilous 70-mile road trip from Sydney, which few decided to brave. It was, for a time, considered one of the least desirable places to live in all of Sydney - but of course, it wasn't lacking for competition considering all the incredible locations surrounding it.

 Isolated for years, its small population won a hard living out of its fishing and farming resources, cultivating a strong, dependable, and tight-knit community and culture that still flavours the area's can-do attitude today.

 In June 1855, Henry Gilbert Smith decided to make good on the potential he saw in Manly and wanted to expand it as a potential settlement and community of note. He purchased a considerable amount of land and decided to invest in the area, constructing hotels, donating land for public institutions like schools and churches, as well as cultivating a ferry service to make the area more accessible.

 By 1880, the Manly Council had been incorporated as a local government body for three years and had taken the shape of an incredibly popular seaside resort. The remainder of the 19th and 20th centuries saw Manly have an outsized influence on the culture and tourist spirit of Northern Sydney, serving as a premier vacation spot.

 Suddenly, one of the least populated and appreciated areas in Sydney had become one of its most sought-after destinations.

Paradise Lost

As is often the case with supremely popular tourist destinations, the area of Manly remained in stature but began to lose its identity a little. As more and more people wished to visit, the price of houses exploded, generated by those looking to purchase vacation homes or enact their own tourist accommodations.

 This has, unfortunately, caused many families and long-time residents to leave, priced out of their own communities. It's now more important than ever to ensure that the history of Manly and its place within the Northern Beaches is preserved and that we try to sustain the cultural identity that this incredible area has given so many.

Enter Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches

Lost Manly is a service functioning as a premiere history hub and history and culture preservation. Lost Manly is geared towards retaining and educating people about the history of Manly and its place within the Northern Beaches. Products that celebrate the area’s' history help to remind us of our roots and from where we came and in retaining our identity and culture, as well as encourage more and more residents and even tourists to take pride in this area, seeking to keep it liveable for future generations.

Our incredible keepsake calendars aim to help save our history and heritage, showcasing 14 stunning photos from seafaring ferries, owing to a legacy to those first chartered voyages bankrolled by Henry Gilbert Smith.


Furthermore, we offer clothing that helps showcase Manly's beautiful logo and free-bird spirit. This includes our Manly hoodies range, polo shirts and V-Neck t-shirts (which are perfect for lazily walking around a beach during the summertime!) All our products are available from our online website at You can shop online or visit our clothing store in Manly.


Why not showcase exactly what the Northern Beaches means to you by customising our logos to your specifications? We are also proud to offer this service. 

 If you'd prefer to bring a little of Manly and Vintage Sydney to your home, you can enjoy the best ceramic mugs, posters and cushion covers, to name a few. Perhaps a vintage poster of Manly would look fantastic in your teenager's bedroom?

 It is here that we can keep the preservation of the Northern Beaches cultural spirit alive, helping more people understand the value of our heritage. We can raise our voices to be heard by the powers that be and persuade them to save the Freshwater Class Ferries.

 One thing remains true- it's the people that make a place what it is. So cultivating our communal spirit and gratitude for having been born and bred or to live in such a place is a beautiful use of our time and allows us to support the best preservation efforts here.

 Feel free to contact us if you'd like any more information by dropping us a line in the online chat or send us an email at We're excited to talk to you!

 And check out our blog posts here.