Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Post about Manly

I've already written a lot about the Koori in Manly,  and their first encounters with the white people.  So for this post, I'll skip ahead to the other stuff.

I've also written some ideas about tourist plans in Manly.

So, what the hell am I going to write about in this post?

Maybe I should just make it a bunch of advertisements for my last posts.

It can be like a flashback episode of a TV show.

No, I'm joking.  I'm sure Manly has a lot more interesting history to talk about.

In my earlier post about the Cannalgal and Kayamai people, I mentioned this historical plaque website and the fact that I need to return to it someday for more history lessons.

So, here we go.....

Before the 1850's, Manly was pretty isolated.   It wasn't exactly a tourist destination. There was no ferry yet and it took about two hours to get there from Sydney.

Henry Gilbert Smith purchased land in 1853 and became the father of Manly.

Who is this Smith guy?  Let's google and see.

He was born in England. He came to Australia.  He did business stuff.  He made money.

He and his brother built the first steam ferry in Sydney.It wasn't successful. 

He was married three times.  His last wife was in England and he died there.   Specifically, he died in Brighton. He must have liked that place because he had wanted Manly to be the Brighton of the South

By 1855,  Manly had a ferry, a wharf, and a hotel.    Smith wanted Manly to be a place where people could escape the city.    It's motto has become Seven miles from Sydney and a million miles from care.  

The lack of care aspect probably works better if you purchase some illegal substances. I don't do that so I still seem to have my worries and cares.   But still.  False advertising or not.  Manly is a beautiful and awesome place.   I love it.

The historical plaque website says that the name Manly became official in 1877.  I thought it had been official after Arthur Phillip named it that.  Oh well. I guess back then it was unofficial.

Whistler street, the place where I found an awesome used bookstore and bought lots of books, is named after the family of his first wife.

Manly first got electric street lighting in 1923.   That interests me because I'm incredibly ignorant when it comes to the history of technology. When I did the past life regression hypnosis thing, I saw a black and white television.  If I was smart about these things, I'd know exactly what time period I was seeing.  But no. I was completely lost.

By the way, the TV was a bit of a surprise. When you hear about these past life regression things, it usually involves something like ancient Rome or Little House on the Prairie Days. And here I get a TV and a green chair with a hole in it. There was also a high chair, spaghetti, and a playground.

Back to Manly....

Before 1902, it was illegal to go swimming during the day.  That was changed by a man named William Gocher.   He was a newspaper man and I guess he wanted to make history in his own newspaper.  He went swimming in a neck to knee swim costume and waited for the police to come and take him away.   It didn't happen, so he went swimming again.   Again, nothing happened.  Third times a charm and the police finally took notice. They took him in for questioning.  I guess the guy was persuasive because the ban was lifted.   People could now swim during the day as long as they had a swimsuit that covered most of their body.

The problem with swimming is that sometimes people drown.   So in 1903, the Manly Life Saving Club was founded.

Here's some slightly interesting trivia.  The mayor at the time was James Bonner.  He became the founding president of the club. His grandson is Tony Bonner, an actor who was in The Man From Snowy River and other stuff. He later also became president of the club.

Does founding president mean you are the one who started the club?  Or does it just mean you were the president when the club was founded?   I'm confused about that.

Oh!  Here is something I totally didn't know.  There used to be an amusement park in Manly.   It was there from 1931 to 1989.   That's a pretty long time.

It was located on the wharf and had a shark aquarium, a wax museum, a ghost train, and other creepy fun things.   

Well, my friend was right.  She'd give me a kind of disapproving look every time I mentioned how much we love Manly.  She said it's very conservative there.   She's more of a leftie than I am.   I know because I compared our scores on that Facebook political test. Hell, if someone is more left than me, they are pretty damn left!

Anyway, she's right. According to Lord Wiki, Manly is more of a Liberal Party kind of place.  The council has six Liberal party seats and only one Labor Party seat.

Yeah okay and it's not like I didn't believe my friend or anything. I guess I was just trying to deny it all.

But really.  If you're just playing on the beach and eating ice-cream, does it really matter what political party you belong to?  Can't we all just love each other and build sandcastles together?

I live in Texas--the hometown of George W. Bush. We're a totally red state. If I can survive here, I can survive Manly.

Although I probably would never be able to AFFORD Manly.

I just found a blog about Manly.  I don't know how I missed that.   I'll have to add it to my blog list.

One last thing before I finally shut up.  I'm curious about swim costumes in Australia. When did they stop being neck to ankle things?

Okay, this website says that in the 1920's and 1930's the costume restrictions became a little less strict and material started inching up a bit.   The material often used though was knitted wool, and it became heavy when swimming.   That sounds incredibly uncomfortable to me.

Even before this, an Aussie swimmer named Annette Kellerman wore a swimming costume that revealed her legs and arms in a 1907 race in Boston.   She was arrested.

In 1946, the bikini was invented by a French guy. According to this article, it's popularity sprouted in the Gold Coast during the 1950's.

The Speedo company began in Australia.  I didn't know that.  

Nude swimming became popular in the 1960's and 1970's.   There are many places in Australia now where it's perfectly legal to swim with your whole body proudly showing.

Things have come along way since 1902.


  1. I thought about you whilst away. You would really love Melbourne. I went to the Melbourne Museum which has a fantastic indigenous section (an entire part devoted solely to the Stolen Generation...fascintating and sad stuff). I wanted to experience it with you!!! :-)

    Not long now until you are here. Hooray!

  2. Tracey,

    Thanks for thinking of me!!!!!

    I promise I plan to come to Melbourne someday. I think in summer 2011....maybe?

    Have you watched any of the First Australians on SBS???? It's an amazing show. I just watched the fifth episode today and I cried my eyes out.

    Okay, here's something kind of weird. But I'm always weird. You're used of that, right??

    The second episode was about Tasmania and they had photos of Trugannini. I'm not sure if you've heard of her before???? She had the wrongful reputation as being the last Tasmanian Aborigine.

    Anyway, there is this one photo where she looked SO much like you!!! It was eerie. I rewinded the broadcast like three or four times.

    Now if you google her and see her picture, you'll probably want to slap me because she looks a bit old and grumpy.

    But....she was INCREDIBLY beautiful when she was young.

    Anyway, it made me start to wonder if you were somehow related to her or her relatives in some way. It's probably a long shot.

    I don't know though. Did you (or is there a chance) you had ancestors that originated in Tasmania?????

    Or it could be all a coincidence.

    See, now I'm imagining you're a descendent of a stolen child. I'm going to see you, think of the video I saw today, and cry hysterically. I'll probably cry the whole damn time I'm in Launcestan.

    Shit. I'm about to start crying now.

  3. One of my brothers lives in Manly. He's WAY more conservative than I am (although I also live in a conservative area).

    Founding president could mean either thing.

    Lot's of Australian's have no idea that Speedo is now owned by an American company. We still feel a bit as though it should be "ours" (like Vegemite). I grew up calling all swimming cossies "Speedos".

  4. Fe,

    I think Vegemite SHOULD be Australian.

    I'm waiting for an Australian company to buy it back!!