March 31 - April 6, 2024: Issue 620


A Tent Or Hut At The Basin During Holiday Times

With Easter and the Autumn School holidays imminent soon afterwards, many will be heading over to the western side of Pittwater to enjoy a few nights under canvas and the stars at The Basin or in one of the huts available, something that has been going on for well over a century, although not a place for all until added into the Kuring-Gai Chase National Park in 1916.

Rock carvings at The Basin of fish tell it was a place visited by the Indigenous peoples for thousands of years prior to this during the fish run seasons, usually Autumn or Winter for Pittwater according to literature recording Aboriginal Women's Fishing Practices since 1788.

Camping at the inlet called ‘The Basin’ was how the first European settlers lived in this beautiful little paradise, along with a rough hut or two. 

The European settlers side of the story began in 1834 when Martin Burke applied for land here; 

CUMBERLAND-50 Acres Parish of Broken Bay, and at the Basin at Pittwater ; applied for by Martin Burke ; price 5s. per Acre No Title. (1834, January 14). The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 - 1838), p. 3 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved from

Above: Our Camp at the Basin, Broken Bay, 1884 by Harold John Graham (1858-1929). nlapic-an6438966, Below: nla.pic-an6438962 Graham, H. J. (Harold John), 1858-1929. Broken Bay 1884 or 1885. Both images Courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

Scottish-born Harold John Graham (1858-1929), hoping to recover from illness, sailed to eastern Australia in 1881. A keen amateur artist, he recorded his observations of places and the local flora and fauna. He worked as a draughtsman in the Water Conservation Branch of the Public Works Department in Sydney. Retiring because of ill health, Graham together with his family, returned to England in 1900. Tragically his wife, Amelia Mary Graham, was drowned off Middle Head on November 29, 1885.

Graham, H. J. (1884). Our camp, the Basin, Broken Bay Retrieved from - Graham, H. J. (1885). Broken Bay Retrieved from

This lovely emerald inlet was also known as Blind Cove:  

This beautiful little bay shown in our illustration, formerly private property, has been made a reserve of by Government, and is now practically a cruising ground for the yachting community of Sydney. A more useful and delightful sheet of water could not have been chosen, situated as it is at the entrance to the Hawkesbury River, just opposite Barrenjoey. To the north is the broad expanse of water known as Brisbane Water, and to its south Pittwater, which is now connected with Sydney, Newport, and Manly by means of a coach running daily. Blind Cove, also called The Basin, is a safe refuge in the very worst of weather. It owes its name of Blind Cove to the fact of its being invisible to the incomer until he has almost reached its entrance, which is very narrow and hidden from view by a low stretch of sand; but inside this narrow passage there is deep water, and the height of the hills surrounding the basin (some 600ft) so thoroughly shelter it from heavy winds that it might well be called Looking-glass Bay. It is on account of this, and also the beauty of the surrounding scenery, that has made it one of the principal rendezvous of yachtsmen.
Blind Cove, Pittwater, N.SW. (1883, March 10). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 26. Retrieved from

Blind Cove (The Basin) 1883 Illustration from Australian Town and Country Journal

In December 1854 the Olivers, who had been farming the land at The Basin, sold their holding to William Small for £300. In 1855 Mr. Small mortgaged The Basin land for £600 to the Oriental Bank Corporation. 

Jim Macken, in his 'Sally Morris of The Basin' (2001) states that three Bills of Exchange were drawn by financier M. A. Worms but in June 1877 Mr. Small died intestate and the bank moved in to make a claim:

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales. ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION.

In the goods of William Small, late of Brisbane Water, in the Colony of New South Wales, former, deceased. 

NOTICE is hereby given, that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof in the New South Wales Government Gazette, application will be made to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in its Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, that letters of administration of the goods, chattels, credits, and effects of the above named William Small, deceased, may be granted to John Skinner, as Manager of the Oriental Bank Corporation, a creditor of the said deceased.—Dated this first day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight.

WANT, JOHNSON, & WANT, Proctors for the said John Skinner. 2295 6s. 6d. ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION. (1878, April 2). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), , p. 1370. Retrieved from

ORIGINAL GRANT of 50 ACRES, at the BASIN, being lot 24 sold, by proclamation of 17th June, 1834, to ROBERT MACINTOSH.

It is described as commencing at a marked tree in a small bay at Pitt Water, and bounded on the west by a line north 22 chains, on the north by a line east 25 chains to Pitt Water, and on the south-east and all other sides by that water to the marked tree

RICHARDSON and WRENCH have received instructions to sell by public auction, at the Rooms, Pitt-street, on FRIDAY, 31st May, at 11 o'clock.

The above-described romantically-situated 50 acres of good land at Pitt-water. This is a well-known property, being the camping grounds of the yachtsmen in a bay under the SOUTH-WEST shore of PITT WATER, about two miles from Barrenjoey. Plan at the Rooms. Terms at sale.

Messrs. WANT, JOHNSON, and WANT, Gresham street, Solicitors of the vendor. Advertising (1878, May 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from

John Skinner, on behalf of the bank, sold Mr. Small's acres of land to Frederick James Jackson, RSYS and RPAYC yachtsman and insurance broker, for £50 in 1881. A holiday house the Jackson's named 'Topham' and then 'Beechwood' was built at The Basin in 1881 and finished by 1882. This was used by the family and F J Jackson's sailing friends and fellow members of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Mr. Jackson was a founding member of both these clubs.

Topham. F.W. Jackson's Cottage at The Basin [From NSW Government Printer series: Kuring-gai Chase No 52] - 01-01-1900 to 31-01-1900, courtesy State Records and Archives, Item FL3592565

Topham. Coasters Retreat, Pittwater, looking towards. By Barrenjoey Government Printing Office, Image No.: 1 - 08824, courtesy State Library of NSW.

Topham. The Basin [From NSW Government Printer series: Kuring-gai Chase No 52] - 01-01-1900 to 31-01-1900, courtesy State Records and Archives, ItemFL3592677

The word 'Topham' stems from European words and has and is used as a surname. Topham as a name and place-name name meaning: 

English (especially Yorkshire):: Nickname From Middle English Toppan Of Uncertain Meaning. The second element is perhaps Middle English Pan(Ne) ‘(Crown Of The) Head’ while Top- could be derived from several different words. If from Middle English Toppen ‘To Shave (The Head)’ then Toppan may have been a name for a barber who provided tonsures for the Clergy. Alternatively Top- Might Represent Middle English Tup Top(Pe) ‘Ram Male Sheep’ hence ‘Ram-Head’ or Middle English Top(Pe) Anglo-Norman French Tupe ‘Hair On The Head Tuft Of Hair Forelock’ Denoting Someone With A Distinctive Head Of Hair. Variant Of Topping. In Lincolnshire A Variant Of Tupholme A Habitational Name From A Place So Named In Lincolnshire. The Place-name Derives From The Old Norse personal name Tupi of obscure origin, Middle English Tup ‘Ram’ + Old Norse Holmr ‘Small Island Water Meadow’. The Place-name may derive from Old English Topp ‘Top Hill Top’ + Hām ‘Village Homestead’. Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

During the late 1880's and 1890's The Basin was the focus of a series of Basin Regattas with local residents included and usually run at Easter. In fact Pittwater almost had a chapter of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron with one member, Dr James Frederick Elliot, purchasing lands at Careel Bay for the purpose a few decades after members had first started visiting The Basin

An album of wonderful earlier photographs of Pittwater donated to the Australian National Maritime Museum, 'Photographs of boating on Pittwater including steam yacht ENA' circa 1890, includes views on board the yacht ERA, the crew of ERA, antics on board, fishing off West Head, picnic scenes, WAITANGI and ELECTRA, racing, the launch of the TUFA, men and women in rowing boats, scenes around Sydney Harbour and more. 

In the collection's album 'Photographs of boating on Pittwater including steam yacht ENA', one of these images appears to show the terraces of gardens that once went upwards on the hills above the Basin, as mentioned by Jim Macken in one of his great history books, Sally Morris of the Basin. Early photographs feature Mary Ann Morris, also known as 'Sally' or 'Peggy' of The Basin. Mrs. Morris is reported to have resided at The Basin from 1868 on. That photo showing the terraces:

                                   Sally outside her hut from Australian National Maritime Museum, 'Photographs of boating on Pittwater including steam yacht ENA' circa 1890

This article, with some of those great old photographs from 'Photographs of boating on Pittwater including steam yacht ENA', points out that from the outset those yacht clubs that did visit here from early on, the RSYS and the RPAYC when it was still the PAYC, included the local residents in their Basin Regattas. 'Elliott Island' in this case was a former name for Lion Island:

Sailing Notes.
Easter Cruise and Regatta.— Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

For some few weeks back a regatta in connection with the usual Easter cruise of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron has been freely discussed, especially by those more interested in yachting, the outcome of which was that, owing to the liberality of Mr. A. G. Milson (commodore) and the Hon. R. H. D. White (vice-commodore), assisted by members of the squadron, a most successful aquatic carnival was held in the vicinity of the Basin (Broken Bay.) This charming place, with its safe anchorage and otherwise pleasant surroundings, was during Saturday last seen, perhaps, to better advantage than on any previous occasion. 

from ANMM/McCormick album

from ANMM/McCormick album

The commodore (Mr. A. G. Milson), Mr. Hoare, and Mr. Thompson, nothing daunted, got underweigh early on Thursday evening, and after a quick run along the coast Barrenjoey was rounded and things were made snug for the night. Mr. Dibbs's launch Ena also brought up during the evening, the quartet being the only occupants of the basin for the night. 

On Friday the number of yachts was increased by the arrival of Violet, Bettina, Isea, Archina, Guinivere, and the White Star (s.), the fleet being further added to on Saturday by the arrival of Ione, Jess, and several others, the squadron presenting a very pretty sight as they lay moored almost in a circle with the White Star in the centre. 

Ena II on Sydney Harbour 1890's. Kerry Image Courtesy Powerhouse Museum Tyrell Collection on Flickr.

Scarcely, if ever, has the basin been so alive with craft, from the stately 40-rater Era, and the Hon. E. H. D. White's fine steamer White Star to the 10ft. canvas dingy, which flitted across the cove. There was the usual fleet of fishing craft hailing from Pittwater and its vicinity, the whole forming a most pleasing spectacle, especially to the nautical eye. The weather for the occasion could net nave been better. The programme numbered half a dozen events two of which were sailing and the rest rowing, all of which were very well contested. The White Star having on board a number of yacht owners and other gentlemen followed the two sailing races, a most enjoyable time being the result. In the evening a large party of gentlemen assembled on board the commodore's vessel Era for dinner, after which the vocal powers, assisted by the piano, were made good use of, all present voting the commodore a jolly good fellow. Sunday was devoted to quiet visits, a large number finding their way on board the handsome White Star and Era, on board both of which the most lavish hospitality was extended. 

 'White Star' on Sydney Harbour, c. 1880-1893 - courtesy  Tyrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum 

The Yacht 'Era' 1890. photo By Henry King. Courtesy of Powerhouse Museum [85/1285-165] (Tyrrell Photographic Collection.

Long will the 1892 Easter Cruise be remembered by those who had the good fortune to take part in it. The success of the cruise, &c, is mainly due to the efforts of Mr. A. G. Milson (commodore), and the Hon. R. H. D. White (vice-commodore), both gentlemen having put themselves out considerably to further the interests of the squadron. 

General Handicap Race, for all yachts of the R. S. Y. S., cruising- Hails and jib-headed topsails only. First prize, £5 ; second prize, £2 1-M.— Thelma (yawl), Mr. J. F. Hoare, scratch, 1; Guinevere (cutter), Mr. H. S. Harden, 10 minutes, 2 ; Electro (yawl), Mr. H. L. Thompson, 5 minutes, 3. Other starters: Bettina (sloop), Mr. P. W. Creagh, 4 minutes, and lone (cutter), Mr. Woolcott Valey, 15 minutes. The course for this race, which covered a distance of about 11 miles, was as follows : — 

From a flying start at noon from a line between the Era and a mark boat, down to and around Elliott Island, thence round the Era (moored in the basin), around a boat off Barranjoey, and back to flagboat in the basin. The start was effected punctually to time by the 'bow chaser ' of the commodore's ship, the report making the bay re-echo again. 

from ANMM/McCormick album

Bettina was first away, followed by Thelma, lone, Electra, and Guinevere. The wind came light from the S.W., which carried them out of the bay in the same order. When off Mackerel Beach the Thelma overhauled the Bettina and passed her shortly after. 

The Guinevere treated the lone similarly; the latter drew up again at West Head. The two leaders, Thelma and Bettina. were so far making a good race of it, and at the island there was only a few lengths between them. The order coming over a wind was— Thelma, Bettina, Electra, Guinevere, and lone. The breeze freshening, came about S.E., in which the yachts stood seaward for about 1 1/2 mile. Both Thelma and Bettina went further than was necessary to make the basin. The Electra and others which had fallen somewhat astern, in seeing the error made by the leaders, came in stays at the same time, and by doing so had, when West Head was abeam, almost overhauled them on the long stretch back. The Thelma opened up the gap, while the rear boats had come somewhat on the Bettina. From the mouth of the basin in to the flagship the positions were further changed. The wind came all round the compass. The Electra and Guinevere both passed the Bettina before reaching the Era and the times of rounding were as follows :— 

Thelma, at 1h. 54m. 10s.; Electra, 2h. 1m.14s.; Guinevere, 2h. 8m. lto. ; Bettina, 2h. 4m. 31s. and lone, at 2h. 14m. 32s. On the lead to the boat off Barranjoey the Bettina got a start opening out, and passed Electra and Guinevere, and in this order they rounded the mark— Thelma, at '2h. Him. Ms.; Bettina, 2h. 25m. 30s; Electra, 2b. 25m. 35.i. ; Guinevere. 2h. 26m. 4!)s. ; and lone, at 2b. 40m. 20s. On the way back to the finish Thelma increased her lend, while the Electra drew up with the Bettina. The former's topsail sheet, however, carried away. This was the means of allowing Bettina to hold her own to the finish, which was passed by the Thelma at 2h. 41m. 39s ; Electra, 2h. 53m. 60s. ; Bettina, 2h. 63m. .12s. ; Guinevere, 2h. 66m. 16s ; and lone shortly after out of her time. The Thelma and Guinevere, 'sailed by their owners, secured first and second prizes respectively. 

Bona-fide Fishing Boats of Pittwater, under ordinary working canvas, for prizes of £5 and £2. Course same as for yachts.— Katie, 22ft, W. Boggan, scratch, 1; Little Bill, 22ft.. J. Smith, 2 minutes, 2 ; Kingfisher, 22ft , J. Hastie, scratch, 3. The limited number of entries in this race was due to the fact that several of the craft having run a freight of fish to the metropolis, were unable to get back in time to take part. However, a lot of interest was evinced in this content, which proved a close and exciting one. They crossed the line together, and in rounding Elliott Island only a few lengths separated them. Katie had her work cut out to shake the Little Bill off, which was saving very well. The Manoeuvring of the fishermen as they neared the 'doldrums ' was worth seeing; advantage being taken of every puff, no matter where it came from. The flagship was eventually passed as follows :— Katie at 2h. 49m. 50s. ; Kingfisher, 2h. 51m. 10s.; Little Bill, 2h. 52m. 41s. 

Yachts' Dingy Race, over 11ft., handicapped, for amateurs ; Prize, a trophy. Start at S.!-0. Course : From flagship round the fleet.— Ena (Mr. T. W. Cape), 1 ; Electra (Mir. Thompson), 2; Ena (Mr. Hixson), 3. Other starters: Eras (Mr. Cockshott), Archuia (Mr. Sharpe), Bettina (Mr. Roxburgh). This race, in which there were several fouls, proved an easy win for Mr. Cape, who, followed by Mr. Thompson, made the pace all round the course, eventually winning by two lengths from Electro. 

Race for Dingies 11ft, and under. Course : From flagship round Ena, Archuia and White Star, and back. Prize, a trophy.— Era (Mr. F. W. B. Love), 1 ; Thelma (Mr. C. Pearson), 2; Ena (Mr. Cape), 3. Other starters : Archuia (Mr. A. A. Griffiths), Violet (Mr. Lambton), Guinevere (Mr. Shaw). This was most exciting from start to finish. Era's dingy, which was well rowed, took the lead and retained it throughout, Thelma and Archuia being next in order. The latter was passed by Ena, and the winner kept up a good pace all round, and won easily by about 10 lengths. 

Race for Yacht Hands, in yachts' boats or dingies, handicapped. First prize, £1 10s ; second, 10s. Course : From flagship once round the fleet. — Era, gig, two hands, 1 ; Eva, dingy, one hand, 2 ; Electra, dingy, one hand, 3. Other starters : White Star, Bettina, and Archuia. Era, gig, at the word 'off ' was first to move, the dingy rowed by Wrixon following. Before half the course was covered, Electra quietly worked into third place, and if the distance had been twice round instead of once, the result might have been reversed. Bettina appeared to be rowing a waiting race, and when her occupant began to really exert himself the race had finished, and he was then in the rear. The win was an easy one right through for the gig by fully 20 lengths. 

Gig and Dingy Chase, 10 minutes, for amateurs, for a trophy.— Gig (Mr. Cape), 1 ; dingy (Mr. T. 'W. Cape). More excitement was caused by this than any previous event during the day. From the gunfire until the time had almost elapsed both hunter and hunted were kept hard at it. The dingy for a time kept round the flagship, there not being sufficient length to get way on before you were either round the bow or stem. The monotony was broken when the dingy made a bold attempt in open water, the gig being in hot pursuit. On rounding the White Star, Mr. Hoxburgh, of the gig, got on board the steamer, and as the dingy came under her from made a spring. Its occupant immediately taking to the water was captured before gunfire denoted time was up. This closed the racing, which throughout passed off most satisfactorily.
Sailing Notes. (1892, April 23). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 955. Retrieved from

AQUATICS. Easter Cruise. 

A meeting of the committees of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Prince Alfred Yacht Club was held a short time back for the purpose of discussing the best means of carrying out the proposed Easter cruise. It will be remembered that a successful regatta was held under the auspices of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron last year on the waters of Pittwater, Broken Bay. On that occasion there were several races, including all yachts handicapped under cruising canvas, bona fide fishing-boats, and quite a number of rowing events m the various yachts dinghies. The outcome of the meeting held above was, on the proposition of Mr A A Griffiths (vice-commodore of the Prince Alfred Yacht Club), unanimously carried. 

It was as follows -That all yacht-owners be requested to rendezvous at the "Basin" Broken Bay, this morning, when a draft programme will be submitted. This, it is expected, will embrace a number of sailing and rowing events sufficient to fully occupy the following day (Saturday). A handicap race back to Sydney Harbour on Easter Monday by those yachts whose time is limited will wind up what at present promises to be the most successful cruise, numerically speaking, ever hold by the yachting fleet of Port Jackson. Fine weather is the only thing necessary to make it so. Several of the yachts  got away yesterday afternoon and evening with a E.S.E. breeze, and should have made a fine run up. AQUATICS. (1893, March 31). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

One more - just to show off those images from the ANMM/McCormick album:

Sailing Notes.

The number of yachts and boats that made for Broken Bay during the Easter holidays was quite up to the average. Most of them started on Thursday afternoon, and, as the wind dropped light, they made a long passage. Thelma and Sao got there the same night, but most of the yachts were becalmed all night outside. On Friday evening the following yachts were moored in the basin Era, Archina, Thelma, Electra, Isea, Violet, Guinevere, Zerelde, Assegai, lone, Freda, Lah Loo, Thisbe ; also several open and half-decked boats. Sao, Era, Oithona, and Iris were up the river, and Magic in Evening Bay. 

from ANMM/McCormick album

from ANMM/McCormick album

from ANMM/McCormick album

On Saturday morning a meeting was held on board the Era, and a programme of races arranged. The following races took place : — All Yachts, handicapped, under fore-and-aft canvas only. Course : From a flying start at noon from a line between two mark boats moored in the outer basin down to and around Elliott Island, thence round the flagship and a buoy off Barranjoey, and back to the flagship, a distance of about 11 miles. Pair three prizes. — Assegai (Mr. P. H. Sullivan), 9 minutes, 1 ; Archina (Mr. A. A. Griffiths), 7} minutes, 2; Lah Loo (Mr. W. H. Murrell), 35 minutes, 3. Other starters : Thelma (Mr. J. F. Hoare), scratch; Electra (Mr. H. L. Thompson), 7 1/2 minutes; Guinevere (Mr. H. 8. Harden), 16 minutes; and lone (Mr. F. Woolcott-Waley), 20 minutes. Start at noon, wind E.N.E., light. 

Assegai was first away, followed by Archina, Guinevere, Thelma, Electra, Lah Loo, aad lone, in that order. Working out of Pittwater, Archina took first place, with Thelma second. lone, having a fortnight's stores on board, was left a long way behind. The same order was kept to the flagship. 

Making- to the buoy at Barrenjoey, Thelma and Assegai got a slant of wind from the 8.E. This put them ahead of Archina, but Archina picked this up again ; and the finish was — Archina, 3h. l8m. 22s. : Assegai, 9h. 20m. 9s. ; Thelma, 8h. 21m. 34s. ; Electra, 3h. 29m. 34s. ; Lah Loo 8h. 36m, 15s. Thus the Assegai heat the Arniiinn. by 43 seconds, the latter beating the Lah Loo by 8 minutes 23 seconds, the latter securing the third' prize by 1 minute 19 seconds from the Thelma. With the exception of the Assegai, which was sailed by George Ellis, the rest of the fleet were in charge of their respective owners. 

from ANMM/McCormick album

Bona Fide Fishing Boats, handicapped, under ordinary working canvas, no extra sails allowed. Conditions as to prizes were— three starters or no race, five starters or no second prize, seven starters or no third prize. Course : From the basin round a buoy off Barranjoey, round the flagship, thence round the buoy off Barranjoey, and back to the finish between a flagmark and the flagship. Time allowance, 1 minute per foot.— Ettie, 23ft., 13. Strongman, scratch, 1 ; Little Bill, 20ft., J. Smith, jun., 4} minutes, 2. Other starters : Our Boys, 22ft., J. Smith, 1} minute, and Maid, 19ft., T. Wilson, 6 minutes. The fishing craft were despatched at 2 p.m. in a light air, which the wily crews knew how to make the most of. The Ettie, followed by the Little Bill, soon outsailed their opponents, and in that order rounded the buoy off Barranjoey. On the second round Little Bill passed Ettie off Mackrell Beach. A dock calm followed. Shortly before dark the wind came westerly with heavy squalls of rain, and brought the rear boats up. Ettie passed Little Bill, and, the wind dropping again, these were the only two to finish. Ettie took first prize and Little Bill second. 

Yachts' Hands in yachts' dingies (handicapped) ; prizes £2, £1, 10s. Course : From the flagship round a flagboat moored in the middle of the bay, round the yacht Archina, and back to flagship. — J. Powell (Electra), 1 ; W. Fletcher (Era), 2; W. Wnxton (Era), 3. Other starters : Max (Era), Smith (Era), Alf (Archina), Johnson (Violet), J. Evans (Thelma), Brown (Assegai). Powell soon took the lead and kept it to the finish, with Fletcher second, and Wrixton third. Amateurs, single sculls in yachts' dingies. Course : From the flagship round the yachts Electra and Violet and back to the flagship. Prize, a trophy.— Mr. E. A. Pearson (Freda), 1 ; Mr. N. Dangar (Era), 2 ; Mr. G. Trouton (Archina), 3. Other starter : Mr. J. Boxburgh (Thelma). 

Dangar and Boxburgh fouled soon after the start, and took some time to get dear. Pearson got away and had an easy win, Dangar and Trouton being second and third. Bain prevented the double -sculling race for yacht hands and the gig and dingy chase from bathing place. 

In the evening a display of fireworks lit up the bay. A quiet Sunday was spent. On Monday Bronzewing and Magic started after breakfast, the rest of the fleet at noon, for Sydney. With a strong westerly wind and smooth sea quick passages were made. Sailing Notes. (1893, April 8). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 730. Retrieved from

from ANMM/McCormick album

In 1910 Mr. Jackson brought his land under Torrens Title:

Frederick James Jackson 43 acres 1 rood 1 3/4 perches at Basin & Coasters Retreat in Pitt Water in Shire Warringah Parish Broken Bay County Cumberland Volume 2256 Folio 167
Date range: 09/03/1910 to 25/05/1912
Descriptive Note: Primary Application - Frederick James Jackson 43 acres 1 rood 1 3/4 perches at Basin & Coasters Retreat in Pitt Water in Shire Warringah Parish Broken Bay County Cumberland Volume 2256 Folio 167 Effect: Early; Duration:

The Historical Land Record Viewer for Volume-Folio 2256-167 shows the Certificate of Title and the acreage involved:


APPLICATION having' been made to bring the lands hereunder described under the provisions of the Real Properly Act. Certificate of Indefeasible Title will issue, unless Caveat be lodged in accordance with the said Schedule to the said Act, on or before August 3. 1910;—

No. 16,450. APPLICANT:— Frederick James Jackson, Darling Point, Sydney. LAND:— County Cumberland, parish Broken Bay, shire Warringah, 43 acres 1 rood 1 3/4 perches at the Basin and Coasters Retreat in Pitt Water, part 50 acres (portion 14 of parish), granted to Robert Mcintosh; adjoining property of Trustees of Ku-ring-gai Chase.

Diagram delineating this land may be inspected at the Land Titles Office, Elizabeth-street, Sydney.

W. G. H. Williams.


June 15, 1910. Advertising (1910, June 18). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 23. Retrieved from

The application did not sit well with Sally Morris and Victor Le Gay Brereton, a solicitor and regular visitor to The Basin, acted on her behalf by applying for a restraining order. Jim Macken's 'Sally Morris of The Basin' states (page 18):

In answer to Sally's application for the restraining order Jackson swore an affidavit dated 25/7/1910 stating:

Purchased property April 1881. Conveyance dated 14/4/1881 - arranged with Mary Ann Morris to be caretaker for one pound per month and permitted her to run her cattle on the land. In the year 1882 I erected upon the property a seven room weatherboard dwelling house and out buildings. I or some of my family have resided in the said house once a month ever since. In addition to my paying her one pound per month she has rendered services to my family in the said house for which she was paid in addition.

From the year 1886 I employed a Chinese gardener upon the property who lived in a cottage on the land and who worked continuously upon the orchard and garden upon the property during the whole of these years. 

Images all from Great Mackarel Beach : Kuring-Gai Chase : The Balmoral Of Pittwater Sydney, N.S.W. : H. W. Horning & Co., 1920. Copy at Mitchell Library has book plate 'Presented to Mitchell Library by Horning & Co, Ltd'. Mitchell Library copy 2 at Q981.1/H1 transferred from Pittwater subdivision plans P13/85-85f. Online images available via the State Library of NSW at:

The dispute was resolved by agreement in February 1912 with Mr. Jackson granting Sally a lifetime lease over the land she inhabited in exchange for which she allowed the land to be brought under the Real Property Act. A formal lease was issued, dated October 1914, of the land on which Sally's house stood, gave her the lifetime lease promised.

Mr. Jackson's The Basin holding was transferred to the Kuring-Gai Chase Trust officially in July 1916, although this had taken place 0n October 16, 1914 - the Notice reflecting Mary Ann's established lease, along with an article that lists some of the early woks undertaken by the Trustees:

Department of Lands,
Sydney, 1st December, 1916,
Proposals under section 25, Crown Lands Consolidation Act, 1913, in respect of a Public Recreation Ground (addition) at The Basin, Pittwater.

WHERE AS I am of opinion that it is expedient in the public interest to resume an area of 42 acres 2 roods 7 perches of land at The Basin, Pittwater, dedicated 28th July, 1915, for Public Recreation (addition), and described in the Schedule hereto: Now, therefore, notice is hereby given, in accordance with the provisions of the 25th section of the Crown Lands Consolidation Act, 1913, that it is proposed to deal with the said land in the manner following, that is to Bay,—to revoke the dedication of the said area of land heretofore made, and to re-dedicate the said area for Public Recreation as an addition to Ku-ring-gai Chase. [Ms. 1916-12,505]

W. G. ASHFORD, Minister for Lands.

Schedule referred to.

Description of an area of 42 acres 2 roods 7 perches at The Basin, Pittwater, dedicated 28th July, 1915, for Public Recreation (addition), the dedication of which is intended to be revoked, and which is intended to be rededicated for Public Recreation as an addition to Ku-ring-gai Chase.

All that piece or parcel of land containing 42 acres 2 roods 7 perches or thereabouts, situated at The Basin, Pittwater, Warringah Shire, parish of Broken Bay, county of Cumberland, being the land comprised in Certificate of Title, registered volume 2,256, folio 167, as shown upon plan catalogued Ms. 3,316 Sy. Exclusive of two areas (I rood 10 1/2 perches and 1 rood 19 1/2 perches), and a right-of-way 12 feet wide connecting same, which- form the subject of Real Property Act lease No. 661,6*20 to Mrs. M. A. Morris for the term of her lifeGovernment Gazette Notices (1916, December 1). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 7108. Retrieved from

HRLV Vol/Fol:



Nature unadorned and unaided by her highest animal development sometimes blunders, and humanity sometimes blunders in trying to help her. In most of her domains Nature discords symmetry and arranges her beauties in orderly confusion, but when man tries to help her to readjust her boundaries, he unfortunately generally thinks and plans in straight lines — harsh utilitarian contours— that rob her of her pristine loveliness. At the basin in the Pittwater Arm of Broken Bay Nature has given humanity a rich inheritance, and, because one of her elements has been breaking the bounds of others, mankind, as represented by the Kuring-gai Park Trust, has come to her assistance, with success in some respects, and with artistic failure in others. The Basin has been misbehaving itself. Ordinarily it is a delectable lake-like expanse of deep marine water, nestled in a huge amphitheatre clothed with eucalypts and other rich forest growths, situated near the mouth of the Pittwater Arm of Broken Bay, on the Kuring-gai Chase. During many years, however, it has been quietly eating into part of the peninsula that nearly encloses it, and the trust has felt called upon to protest. In doing this the Trust has done well, but its aid has been chiefly solid and mathematical, rather than artistic. When it builds a retaining wall it forgets that exactly the same rigidity may be achieved by curves and irregularities of upper structure as by lines of block masonry. The artistic conception is dwarfed by the useful and possibly the expedient. 

Much splendid work has been done, and is still being done, under the direction of the trust in and outside the Basin. The channel entrance, which was threatened with shoaling by the sand from a little outer bay, is now protected, and probably something more will be done to prevent the Basin from cutting further into the peninsula from inside. Across the outer Inlet a retaining wall of sandstone blocks has been constructed, but provision has not been made for the scour from the hills to get rapidly away, and the consequence is that the reclaimed land is often a knee-deep bog. A channel to let the water away is needed, and the lines of the wall itself should be in keeping with nature's beautiful outlines round the Basin. Only in basalt country does one see squares and oblongs, and' the country round this attractive spot is not basalt, but irregular sandstone, with intrusions of other rocks. To relieve the uncouth symmetry of the retaining wall, natural rock buttresses might have been substituted for the top ungraceful oblongs. 


Mr. Harrison, secretary of the trust, maintains that the wall has improved one of the camping grounds just outside the channel entrance, and that in time the land at present boggy just inside the wall will drain and give more well-grassed camping space. He says that most of the yachtsmen and motor-boat owners who frequently visit the Basin are pleased with a newly-erected wharf and shelter-shed near the little southern outer beach, even if it has spoiled a fisherman's hauling ground. The main outer beach is not being touched. 


The red-roofed shelter is certainly a pleasant color relief to the rest of the structures, and on the whole the artistic sense of visitors is not outraged by that improvement. Inside the basin a wharf has been completed. It, too, is needed, but it is at present devoid of grace. It is not perhaps too late for the suggestion of some regular visitors to be acted, upon, that it be given a rustic finish. Utility may be combined with grace by the utilisation of natural timber shapes, instead of sawn rectangular timbers. Even sawn triangles look better than quadrilaterals in certain places. 


Another Improvement meditated is an enclosure for swimmers in the basin near the new wharf. This is necessary; but again, the wall proposed to be erected is to be topped by quadrilaterals, and be an evidence of the acquaintance of mankind with Euclid's squares, instead of Nature’s harmonious irregularities. It is not too late for the trust to instruct its workmen to construct the wall so that its top, at least, may be rocks from the hillside, and not a footworn horizontal pathway. It is not necessary for anyone to walk along it, but if of squared masonry It will invite wandering feet.  


At the seaward end of the outer beach, where parties find safe swimming water, the trustees are proposing to place another wharf of stone, and to run from it a netting to prevent sharks entering a bathing enclosure. Opinions amongst yachters and motor-boaters vary respecting this. Some condemn the proposals entirely; preferring the natural surroundings. Others say the idea is good, as they have always felt they would like to swim in a bit deeper water, but they feared the huge sea-sharks that swim around Barranjoey and West Head and chase whiting and red-bream up into the Basin. The trustees are not obstinately wedded to any proposal. Inquiry shows that they welcome ideas, especially artistic ones allied with practicability, but they do not have them given to them often. They find critics wait till something is done, and then fall upon it with scorn. Any yachtsman, therefore, who has a thorough appreciation of the necessities of the Basin and puts his ideas into writing, will receive attention. For instance, another improvement meditated is the planting of trees about tho 20 acres surrounding Peggy's house. The trees on the camping area are not as beautiful as they might be. One proposal before the trustees was to plant an avenue of pines along tho outer edge of the camping ground — the straight line business again— and another to plant here and there a few silverbark tea trees, Port Jackson fig trees, and flame trees. The latter proposal seems to find the greater favor amongst those who visit the Basin oftenest. 


One thing needed greatly has apparently not yet been authorised by the trustees, and that is a cement water well, as Irregular in shape as may be possible, on' the line of the little creek at the northern end of the peninsula. Once the old users of the place had a cask there to hold the water, but it has fallen to pieces, and in dry weather campers have to pull a long way across the Basin to a spring up the hill-side. No doubt the trustees will see to this. They are anxious to please and anxious to adorn, not to disfigure nature. By the way, nobody wants to shift Peggy, who has a life tenancy of part of the peninsula at 1s a year rental, and who is one of the picturesque identities of the place. She is Mrs. Mary Ann Morris, and she has lived there for 47 years. THE BASIN (1915, May 30). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 23. Retrieved from 

The National Park itself was established in December, 1894, making it Australia's second National Park:

Department of Lands, 
Sydney. 14th December, 1894.


HIS Excellency the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, having approved of the following Regulations for the management of the land at Hawkesbury River, known as " Ku-ring-gai Chase," area 35,300 acres, dedicated 14th December, 1894, for public recreation, Buch Regulations are published'for public information, in accordance with the 106th section of the Crown Lands Act of 1884.

[Ms. 94-8,858 Dep.] J. H. CARRUTHERS.

Proceedings of Trustees.

1. Regular meetings shall be held on the first Tuesday of each month, at 2 p.m.

2. All meetings shall be called by circular, posted three days before the day of meeting.

3. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of three members.

4. The Trustees shall annually elect a President, but in his absence from any meeting any other Trustee present may preside at that meeting.

5. The annual meeting shall be held in the month of March in each year, at which meeting the President and various Committees shall be elected.

6. The Trustees may at any regular meeting appoint any of their number a Committee to carry out such works, or perform such duties as may be authorised at such meeting.

7. Any vacancy of President or Committee shall be filled up at the next regular meeting after the occurrence of such vacancy.

8. No resolution passed at any meeting shall be rescinded unless upon notice given and entered upon the notice paper.

9. All notices for the expenditure of money shall appear upon the circular calling the meeting.

10. The Honorary Secretary shall keep a proper record of the proceedings of each meeting.


11. No person shall, without the permission of the Trustees, cut, remove, or deface any tree?, shrubs, plants, rocks, seats, gates, posts or fences, or write thereon, or affix any writing or marks thereto. The defacing or removal of any aboriginal drawings or chippings on rocks is especially prohibited under this Regulation, as also the digging up or removal of any banks of shells and refuse, presumedly Aboriginal Kitchen-middens, in search of skulls, bones, or other aboriginal remains.

12. No person shall carry firearms within the chase, or bring sporting dogs into the same, or interfere with, or capture, or destroy any birds or animals therein.

13. No net fishing is allowed in the waters of Cowan Creek, or on the foreshores of the chase without the permission of the Trustees in writing.

14. Any person offending against any of the Regulations shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £20 (twenty pounds), and may be removed from the chase.

15. The Trustees of Ku-ring-gai Chase for the time being, or any authorised employee of the Trustees, or any member of the Police Force, shall be the person or persons authorised to enforce the foregoing Regulations.



E. DU FAUR, F.R.G.S., J.P., 

J. De V. LAMB,



B. H. D. WHITE, -  Trustees.

REGULATIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE RECREATION GROUND AT HAWKESBURY RIVER (COWAN CREEK AND PITTWATER), KNOWN AS "KU-RING-GAI CHASE." (1894, December 14). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 7881. Retrieved from

Interestingly, these Trig. Stations, first laid down in 1882, featured when describing the ward areas of Pittwater Council in 1992, a mere 110 years later:

(L.S.) P. R. SINCLAIR Governor.

I, Rear Admiral PETER ROSS SINCLAIR, Governor of the State of New South Wales, with the advice of the Executive Council, and in pursuance of the Local Government Act 1919, do hereby -

(1) amend the proclamation published in Government Gazette No. 151 of 25 October, 1991, page 9045, as amended by proclamations published in Government Gazettes Nos. 36 of 13 March, 1992, and No. 51 of 24 April, 1992,

(a) by omitting from clause (3) of that proclamation the matter "hereto." and by inserting instead the matter "hereto; and"; and

(b) by inserting immediately after clause (3) of that proclamation the following clause:

"(4) divide, on and from 1 May, 1992, the Municipality of Pittwater into three wards so that the wards of the Municipality shall be as described in Schedule D hereto."; and

(c) by inserting immediately after Schedule C to that proclamation Schedule D as contained in the Schedule hereto; and

(2) determine that the number of aldermen to be elected by the electors of each of the respective wards of the Municipality of Pittwater shall be three.

Signed and sealed at Sydney, this ninth day of September, 1992.

By His Excellency's Command,


Minister for Local Government.




Division of Municipality of Pittwater into Wards.


Commencing at the intersection of the south-eastern prolongation of Golf Avenue and the generally eastern boundary of the Municipality: and bounded thence by that prolongation and avenue north-westerly, Barren joey Road south-westerly, Pittwater Road generally north-westerly, Cabbage Tree Road generally south-westerly, Samuel Street generally southerly, Parkland Road generally easterly. Maxwell Street generally south-westerly, Emma Street westerly and Mona Vale Road generally south-westerly to the generally south-western boundary of the Municipality; by part of that boundary generally southerly, the generally southern boundary of the Municipality generally easterly and part of the generally eastern boundary of the Municipality, aforesaid, generally northerly to the point of commencement.


Commencing at the intersection of the south-eastern prolongation of Golf Avenue and the generally eastern boundary of the Municipality: and bounded thence by that prolongation and avenue north-westerly, Barren joey Road south-westerly, Pittwater Road generally north-westerly. Cabbage Tree Road generally south-westerly, Samuel Street generally southerly, Parkland Road generally easterly, Maxwell Street generally south-westerly, Emma Street westerly and Mona Vale Road generally south-westerly to the generally south-western boundary of the Municipality; by part of that boundary generally south-westerly and generally north-westerly and part of the generally north-western boundary of the Municipality generally north-easterly to the generally north-western prolongation of Topham Trackby that prolongation and track generally south-easterly, West Head Road northerly, Bairne Track generally easterly and Portuguese Track and its prolongation generally north-easterly to the western shore of Pittwater; by a line north-easterly to the eastern shore of Pittwater; by that shore generally southerly to an unnamed creek flowing into the northern inlet of Salt Pan Cove; by that creek upwards to Prince Alfred Parade; by that parade generally south-westerly, Herbert Avenue generally easterly, Wallumatta Road generally south-easterly and generally easterly, Cheryl Crescent generally northerly, Belinda Place generally north-easterly, the Pathway connecting Belinda Place to Grandview Drive generally northerly, Grandview Drive generally easterly, Seaview Avenue northerly, Neptune Road easterly and Barren joey Road generally north-easterly to a point east of the eastern corner of Portion 112, Parish of Narrabeen, County of Cumberland; by a line easterly to the generally eastern boundary of the Municipality, aforesaid, and by that boundary generally southerly to the point of commencement.


Commencing at the intersection of the generally north-western prolongation of Topham Track and the generally north-western boundary of the Municipality: and bounded thence by that prolongation and track generally south-easterly, West Head Road northerly, Bairne Track generally easterly and Portuguese Track and its prolongation generally north-easterly to the western shore of Pittwater; by a line north-easterly to the eastern shore of Pittwater; by that shore generally southerly to an unnamed creek flowing into the northern inlet of Salt Pan Cove; by that creek upwards to Prince Alfred Parade; by that parade generally south-westerly, Herbert Avenue generally easterly, Wallumatta Road generally south-easterly and generally easterly, Cheryl Crescent generally northerly, Belinda Place generally north-easterly, the Pathway connecting Belinda Place to Grandview Drive generally northerly, Grandview Drive generally easterly, Seaview Avenue northerly, Neptune Road easterly and Barrenjoey Road generally northeasterly to a point east of the eastern corner of Portion 112, Parish of Narrabeen County of Cumberland; by a line easterly to the generally eastern boundary of the Municipality; by part of that boundary generally northerly and the generally northern and part of the generally north-western, aforesaid, boundaries of the Municipality generally westerly and generally south-westerly to the point of commencement. LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1910 - PROCLAMATION (1992, September 11). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 6714. Retrieved from

The Basin has been a favourite camping place for many, with some bringing lavish tents, tables, chairs and all the accoutrements for a summer long stay. Camping became ‘fashionable again’ in 1885;

“Camping out is now held in high favour and becoming- even quite fashionable, and this too by persons owning boats that hitherto have been looked upon as mere racing machines..” from CRUISING IN THE HAWKESBURY. (1885, January 3). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved from

PITTWATER BASIN, HAWKESBURY RIVER. No title (1885, August 22). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), , p. 400. Retrieved from

December and Easter at The Basinas stated above, became a favourite visiting time for local and visiting yacht clubs. A few more insights:


From all the various amusements excursions heralded by more or less enticing announcements we may perhaps turn aside and give a short record of our yachtsmen and boat sailors who, whenever three or four days can be gained, invariably steal away along some 17 miles of open sea, and make Broken Bay a second Port Jackson. Tuesday morning the first of a fleet of 25 boats, or 20 excluding yachts, started with a fresh south-west wind, and arrived at midday under Barrenjoey, where boats generally send a wire back to Sydney announcing a late arrival. This was the Wanganella. On Wednesday evening she was joined by the Muriel, Pleiades, Iris, and Corinne. The Waitango arrived at midnight Wednesday, and before noon on Thursday the Maritana, Dreamland, Lottie, Snowdrop, Weringa (Mr. Charlton), Viking, Curlew, Cutty Sark, Asteroid, Pearl, Sibyl, Agnes, Zuluiku, Psyche, Colleen Bawn, had sailed round; while on Friday the Violet, Mistral, and Sao arrived. Besides these, which sailed round, many brought skiffs on steamers, which ensures a camp, if winds are not suitable for sailing round. However, fortunately, the wind was fair both ways, and the sea for the most part smooth, with a fair swell.

If any boats have been omitted from this list it is because they were not seen among the more popular haunts; but as it is, it may be taken as showing; that our Sydney amateurs have learnt something practical as well as racing in smooth water, as the fastest boats we have of all the lengths 20 feet and over prove themselves quite safe outside with pleasure sails.

Crews of two up to six or seven seemed to be the usual party, while the smallest boats were the Iris, 10 feet, aand Cutty Sark 20, Corinne 21 feet, and others, as will be seen from the list. From Beroura Creek, some 20 miles or more up, down to Pittwater, and between those places, Cowan Creek, Wagonga Creek, and the now-famous rendezvous, the Basin, boats covered in could be seen.

from ANMM/McCormick album, circa 1890

The weather was very cool, but the wind very unsteady and shifting. Fish did not seem very plentiful. On Saturday evening most of the boats came down the river to the Basin, where there were 12 boats and three yachts at anchor; in fact, nowhere in Sydney harbour was there ever such a fleet of boats and boating men as occupied the bay that evening.

On Sunday morning, from daylight until noon, the boats began to drop down to the Heads, the Cutty Sark getting away at 6 a.m., and must have been one of the first back. About noon, when the sea breeze was well set, there were 11 boats, not counting yachts, between North Head and Broken Bay-a long line right up the coast. The Dreamland and Wanganella happened to jibe round Barranjoey together, and were about 12 minutes apart at North Head ; and there must have been other pairs of boats on the way down pretty well matched. By 2 in the afternoon all except one or two were back, some going to Manly to dine, and others coming straight down to their moorings. CRUISING AT BROKEN BAY. (1884, December 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

THE NEW ZEALAND 3-2-RATER, ATALANTA. The Latest Development of a Cruiser. (1897, January 30). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 242. Retrieved from 







BAY VIEW, PITTWATER. (possibly included here as the photographer was transported to The Basin from the Bayview Wharf)

Above: "AN IDEAL CAMPING GROUND, HAWKESBURY RIVER. "1903 The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser article

Below: "GRILLED FISH FOR BREAKFAST." 1903 The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser article

A FAVOURITE HOLIDAY RESORT. (1903, December 30). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), , p. 1706. Retrieved from

Above: Oatley family sitting down to a meal while camping at The Basin. 1911, Courtesy of the Oatley Family and Pittwater Image Library of Mona Vale Library.

Barrenjoey, the Southern Sentinel Headland of Broken Bay. 

The photograph was taken from The  Basin, an inlet of Pittwater, where for years the various yachting clubs of Sydney used to rendezvous at Easter. Around The Basin; a path has been cut, leading- zig-zag fashion through a wealth of tropical foliage to the Flagstaff -Lookout at Lovett's Bay, whence a beautiful panoramic view is obtained to .the southwards. . Around the foreshores there are a .number of caves', .while the Kuring-gai Chase trustees have built fireplaces and provided shelter-sheds with tables and watertanks, making the region a delightful one for the holiday-maker.. There are several ways of reaching The Basin and the surrounding' country, but the easiest from Sydney is by way of Manly and Newport. A good service of motor boats, several .of them run by returned soldiers, make regular trips. CALL OF THE AIR AND THE SEA. (1920, April 28). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), , p. 9. Retrieved from

Sally passed away in the winter of 1921 and her ramshackle hut was eventually removed - a few insights on tributes given at her Memorial:


Mrs. Mary Ann Morris, better known to Sydney yachtsmen as "Sally" or "Peggy," died on Monday last at her home at the Basin, Broken Bay, where she had resided for the past 63 years. Her death will be regretted by the yachting fraternity of Sydney, as her hut was a port of call for yachtsmen, when visiting Broken Bay, and they obtained from her supplies of fresh milk and eggs.

Mrs. Morris was the wife of the late Dicey Morris, and, prior to 1867, resided with her husband at Balmoral Beach. About that time her husband sold wood to Admiral Hornby's Flying Squadron during its visit to Sydney, and, with the money thus made, he built the hut at the Basin, Broken Bay, in which Mrs. Morris lived. The couple went to live in this hut at the Basin In 1868, and the husband engaged in fishing there. He did not live long after settling at Broken Bay, and his boat was acquired by a fisherman named Sam Strongman, who also lived at the Basin.

Mrs. Morris kept a few cows and fowls, and was always ready to supply visiting yachts-men with milk and eggs. She also often baked a very welcome damper for them. She adopted three lads at different times, one of whom was with her up to the time of her death. She possessed a good collection of yachting pictures, and recognised every yacht as it dropped anchor In the Basin. Her memory for faces was also very good, and she never forgot the owner of a yacht which had visited the Basin.

She was known to many as "Peggy," while to others she was better known as "Sally." Amongst the oldest members of the yachting fraternity who were well acquainted with Mrs. Morris were the late Mr. H. C. Dangar, the late Mr. James Milson, the late Mr. Grafton Ross, the late Mr. Jack Want, and the late Sir James Fairfax and their various successors, including Mr. F. J. Jackson, who owned the property at the back of the reservation which was subsequently resumed by the Kuringgai Chase TrustYACHTSMEN'S FRIEND. (1921, June 9 - Thursday).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 9. Retrieved from 


The memorial. In the form of a sundial, erected by Sydney yachtsmen- at "The Basin," Pittwater, to the late Mrs. Morris, well known to all visitors to Broken Bay as "Peggy" will be unveiled at noon tomorrow (Easter Sunday) by Mr. Alfred G. Milson. A large fleet of yachts and cruising craft journeyed to tho Bay for tho Easter holidays, and a good muster of yachtsman is expected at the function. Mr. Paul Ross, commodore R.P.A. Y.C.. is hon, treasurer to the fund, and will be pleased to receive further contributions, as the amount already subscribed Is far from sufficient to cover expenses. "PEGGY' MEMORIAL (1922, April 16). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), , p. 7. Retrieved from 


A sundial mounted on a trachyte pedestal was unveiled as a memorial to the late Mrs. Morris at The Basin, Pittwater, Broken Bay, on Easter Sunday by Mr. Arthur Milson, of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, in the presence of a number of yachtsmen, by whom the funds for its erection were subscribed. Mrs. Morris, who was known to and respected by sailing men as Peggy, lived at The Basin for many years, and was a general favorite. She made it her business and pleasure in life to see to. the comfort of the campers at that favored spot, and her death last year was a great loss to frequenters of the place. PEGGY OF THE BASIN. (1922, April 26).Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), , p. 5. Retrieved from 


At the Basin, Broken Bay, recently, a sun-dial was unveiled by Mr. A. G. Milson in the presence of a large number of boating men in honour of the late Mrs. Morris ('Sally'), who for: very many years was a friend of the yachtsmen who visited that beautiful spot-.  No title (1922, May 10). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), , p. 32. Retrieved from 

 Unveiling Memorial to Mrs.  Morris (Sally) - The Basin, Broken Bay - Easter 1922.

SUNDIAL to the memory of Mrs. Morris ("Sally") at Kuringai Chase. 

When a Broken Bay Branch of the Royal Motor Yacht Club commenced on Pittwater Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at The Basin became a fixture on the calendar as the place to stay prior to the annual Pittwater Regatta. The first version of this ran in 1908. However, it wasn't until the 1920's and 1930's that this became the event to attend annually.

There have been a few debates over the years on looking after this haven properly, one in 1906 over oyster bed leases and the lessees ordering people off these beaches and  adjacent areas and another in 1934 and 1935 when the Trustees of Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park tried to close the area to all the yachts that inundated the shelter during the Christmas period as they were concerned about pollution:



At the meeting of the Kuring-gai Chase Trust yesterday it was decided to defer the decision in the matter of closing the Inner Basin, Pittwater, against pleasure craft.

In the meantime further consideration will be given to the points at issue.

The trustee's proposal to throw a bridge across the entrance and make it shark-proof has been strenuously opposed by some sec-tions of pleasure craft owners, particularly the Broken Bay branch of the Royal Motor Yacht Club of New South Wales. At yesterday's meeting the views of this club were expressed by Mr. A. D. Walker, commodore of the branch, and Mr. Stuart Doyle.

The trust contends that the inconsiderate actions of most boat-owners using the Inner Basin have resulted in pollution of the enclosed waters, that owing to the absence of an effective tidal scour, the water is rendered unfit for bathing, and that the closing of the area is necessary in he Interests of health.

Boat-owners likely to be affected, if the proposal is carried out, maintain that as the area has been used by them for many years and has become an acknowledged rendezvous, an injustice would be done to them. It is further submitted that the existing baths are not well placed, and that baths built outside the area would be more satisfactory in every way. This latter suggestion Is put forward as a solution of the present difficulty.

Further conferences are to be held between the trustees and the clubs interested. INNER BASIN, PITTWATER. (1934, November 16). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

This did eventually happen though - many older residents of Pittwater recall large sharks used to cruise through Pittwater - a few images of The Basin from around then:

"The Basin Swimming pool Pittwater" - "Looking across water towards bushland rising in background, fence visible across surface of water." Title continues: "The fence is to keep the sharks out." [ca. 1926-ca. 1936].by Gladys E. Moss, 1900-1950, photographer. "The Basin; Pittwater" - Title inscribed on album page beneath image.- Courtesy State Library of Victoria, Image No. :701711210

"Looking along water towards two men walking across wooden bridge". Inscribed on album page next to image: "The netting under the footbridge keeps the sharks from the bathing-pool on this side. The rock in the foreground is jagged with oysters." [ca. 1926-ca. 1936].by Gladys E. Moss, 1900-1950, photographer.  "The Basin; Pittwater" - Title inscribed on album page beneath image. Courtesy also described as 'an inlet of Cowan creek' for this Image No.: 701711211, Courtesy State Library of Victoria.


Manly Rugby Union Club will entertain the visiting South African footballers at a picnic at the Basin, Pittwater, on June 27. Arrangements are being made for the conveyance of the tourists by car and launch across the river. Car owners desirous of making the trip are requested to get in touch with Mr. Les Gossen, hon secretary, Manly Rugby Union club(B0311). PICNIC FOR SPRINGBOKS (1937, June 8). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from

Many of these trips across to The Basin launched from  Goddard's Boatshed, which was purchased by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company on December 24th, 1941 and formally handed over on February 18th 1942. 

Catching a ferry across to The Basin from Goddard's Wharf in Iluka road Palm Beach, on the Pittwater side - from Album 'Palm Beach, 6 January 1938 / photographed by Ray Olson' , courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd. Some of these images appeared in Pix magazine's first ever Issue:

 A few more of same location from same album:

Across The Blue Water For A Camping Holiday: 1950 On

In the 1950's the sentiment was still the same. On November 22nd 1954 many local groups and organisations took a larger then usual group westwards; 

Legacy Children Had A Real Picnic 

The appetites of 1,064 Legacy children at a picnic at The Basin, Pittwater, yesterday, astonished the organisers. The children demolished 6,000 bottles of soft drink. 6,000 sandwiches and bread rolls, 6,000 cakes, and 2,000 pieces of fruit. The picnic was organised by the Legacy Club of Sydney, the Broken Bay branch of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, the Volunteer Coastal Patrol, and The Kuring gai Motor Yacht Club. The yacht clubs and the Volunteer Coastal Patrol provided the food and 70 cruisers to take the children from Church Point to The Basin and back. And 167 cars and buses were used to take the children from Legacy House, city, to Church Point and back. About 300 adults looked after the children BOY'S 13 BOTTLES; Mr Frank Grace, of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, said "The food the children ate was colossal "One small boy in my group boasted that he had drunk 13 bottles of soft drink."
Legacy Children Had A Real Picnic. (1954, November 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Legacy Picnic from National Archives of Australia 

Across the blue water for a camping holiday

PACKING LINEN in the aluminium bath at home in Willoughby, Sydney, are Roy Dutch, his wife Olive, daughters Eileen and Lois. In adjoining room, packing cutlery and kitchen utensils, are daughters Mavis and Enid. Mrs. Dutch takes 10 pairs of sheets, washes a sheet a day during holiday.

LOADING UP THE TRAILER. Years of camping have taught the Dutch family discrimination in packing. They take only what is needed for comfort, leave behind non-essentials, which add to the burden of travelling and clutter up the camp. To pack and load the trailer takes more than two hours.

Camping these days does not mean roughing it, with ants in the jam and sour milk in the tea. Modern campers take with them all kinds of amenities. Here is the holiday story of one of the thousands of Australian families who camp at the seaside.


With luggage for their summer camping holiday piled on the cabin-top of the launch-ferry Rambler, the Dutch family and other holiday-makers wave good-bye to Palm Beach wharf as they set off across Pittwater for The Basin, on opposite shore, 20 miles from Sydney. The Basin is a favorite ground for hundreds of camping fans, and the Dutch family have spent holidays there for years. Ferry trip - only connection with mainland - is highlight of annual pilgrimage.

DOWN THE JETTY. Before casting-off children ride on rail-trolley at Palm Beach, where car, trailer are garaged.

WHEN THE TENT IS PITCHED, Enid, Mavis, and Eileen fill their palliasse with straw. They take pillows from home, sleep under six long blankets sewn together. The long bed, which stands firmly on pipe legs, is divided into six compartments for daughters. Palliasse hay is brought in bale from home.

FIRST SWIM. While Mr. and Mrs. Dutch, and married daughter Joan, rest on the grass after making camp, the five other Dutch daughters race off for a swim in the shark-proof pool, enclosed by steel mesh. Pool is shallow for many yards from the shore, is considered perfectly safe for children.  

“Years of camping have taught the Dutch family discrimination in packing. They take only what is needed for comfort, leave behind non-essentials, which add to the burden of travelling and clutter up the camp. To pack and load the trailer takes more than two hours.

Camping these days does not mean roughing it, with ants in the jam and sour milk in the tea. Modern campers take with them all kinds of amenities. Here is the holiday story of one of the thousands of Australian families who camp at the seaside. Across the blue water for a camping holiday. (1950, December 30). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 12. Retrieved from

Surf Life Saving Squad At The Basin

Peter Bodman, a Reader, sent in a photo and query and said he'd send in a few of his family photos to share with the community. From Peter:

''Sally Morris known as Peg was prominent during my childhood as Peg's cottage stood near the wharf site. One time after a storm when we were camping our tent ripped and the Ranger allowed us to stay in Peg's Cottage and that would be late 50's early 60's.  The cottage should've been saved, but sadly is no longer there.

On the hillside in the Inner Basin on an old walking track there is a gravesite, as I recall properly constructed with an iron surround. I'm now wondering who is buried there as it was something we visited as kids.  Both my mother's and sister's ashes are spread at The Basin on the hillside behind where our tent site, so they form part of the people who chose The Basin as their final resting place.

Some photos;

My sister Wendy-Lee & myself, early days for us camping at The Basin

The campers during extended holidays at Christmas, no doubt under my father's guidance, set up mock surf rescues and patrols.

A boyhood friend with the old cold water shower and change shed in the background.  There were two sheds for men and women, close the the fenced off baths with a large diving platform at the Inner Basin.

A group of kids & the typical camp sites behind, most campers had large family tents app. 15 foot x 15'.

Peter Bodman,
October 2020

The Basin today accommodates up to 350 campers. The fee has risen a little since 1935’s 5 shillings a tent per week but it’s still great value for families and a delight for children.

Palm Beach Ferries runs there daily should you wish to have a picnic yourself. Of course, it’s quieter during the week outside of holiday times; you may even hear some of the echoes from those who dwelled there in yesteryears or smell their billy tea.

A few more recent photos:

The Basin in 2014

The Basin foreshore in 2016

Above:  Rowboat at Pittwater Basin, New South Wales, ca. 1880, by Bayliss, Charles, 1850-1897. nla.pic-vn4277873, Courtesy National Library Of Australia

A Tent Or Hut At The Basin During Holiday Times - reprised threads and extras - March 2024,  threads collected by A J Guesdon