February 6 - 12, 2022: Issue 525


Works begin on new Narrabeen bridge for walkers and bike riders + some narrabeen lagoon bridge no 1 history notes

Narrabeen Lagoon bridge for walkers and cyclists site plan, 2022 - finalised. Image supplied

In 2018, Council engaged with the community on a proposal to build a new 3 meter wide pedestrian and cycle bridge alongside the existing road bridge.

The proposal was well-received by our community who are eager to see improvements to pedestrian and cyclist safety along this well-known pinch point.

Based on feedback received during consultation, the revised design includes:

  • Improvements to entry and exit points
  • Low-level lighting
  • Use of hardwood and stainless steels materials for handrails
  • Improved signage

The Revised Plans can be viewed in the Council’s document library on this project’s webpage at: yoursay/narrabeenlagoonbridge 

Council commenced the tendering stage in September 2020. Construction was expected to commence mid-2021 but due to Covid was pushed back and has commenced this week.

The proposed multi-use bridge will be a three metre wide pedestrian and cycle bridge located three metres to the west of the existing road bridge.

The new bridge itself will be approximately 110 metres and with the concrete lead-ins it will be approximately 130 metres all up.

The piers of the new bridge will be aligned with those of the existing bridge to maintain navigational channels beneath the bridge.

During extreme storm events Pittwater Road Narrabeen is subject to flooding. To reduce the flood risk and to comply with current bridge design standards, the height of the new multi-use bridge will need to be elevated above the height of the existing bridge.

Rob Stokes MP, Member for Pittwater, Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Cities, and Minister for Active Transport said this week;

''It's great to see that Northern Beaches Council has commenced construction on a dedicated active transport connection over the Narrabeen Lagoon. This new three-metre wide bridge is the result of $3m in funding from Transport for NSW as part of the B-Line project. It will run alongside the Pittwater Road bridge and connect to the 8.4km Narrabeen Lagoon Trail.''

''At the moment, a one-metre wide section of the Pittwater Road bridge is shared by walkers, joggers and bike riders. It's led to bottlenecks and become a bit of a safety hazard. This project will make it safer and more inviting for people to walk, jog or ride along what is one of Sydney's great waterfront links. I look forward to trying it out when it opens in a few months!''

The Hon. Rob Stokes with Mayor Michael Regan further down the lagoon on the newly installed boardwalk

The existing path along the western side of the vehicle bridge along Pittwater Road will be temporarily closed during construction. Pedestrian diversions will be in place.

Completion of works are expected for May 2022, weather permitting.

The council also has Active Transport (walking and cycling) program Grant funding proposals for 2022/23 listed at present, seeking feedback from residents on opportunities to introduce more shared paths in 2022 and 2023. The projects proposed on their webpage are grant dependent, which means the council can only build them if they receive the funding under the NSW Active Transport Grant.

Those proposed are:

Bassett Street, Mona Vale - Shared path and pedestrian crossing upgrade

proposing a 2.5m shared path for pedestrians and bicycle riders which will provide an active travel connection between Mona Vale Beach and Winnererremy Bay as well as to commercial and industrial areas and Pittwater High School. Existing trees would be maintained. Length of path: 1060m Typical width of path: 2.5m

The proposal would also see improved pedestrian and cyclist crossing points at:

1. Bassett Street – 2.5m shared path on the southern side, between Barrenjoey Road and Mona Street

a. Improved crossing at Tengah Crescent and Perak Street

2. Mona Street – 2.5m shared path on the eastern side between Bassett Street and Pittwater Road

b. Upgrade existing pedestrian crossing to a raised combined pedestrian and bicycle crossing

View the plan  

Jacksons Road, Warriewood - Shared path and pedestrian crossing upgrade

A 2m shared path for pedestrians and bicycle riders through Warriewood Valley Sportsground which will provide active travel connections to the Narrabeen Education Precinct, sporting facilities, Warriewood B-Line, Warriewood Square and other key destinations.

The upgrade to the pedestrian crossing in Jacksons Road, near the Boondah Road intersection, to a raised pedestrian and bicycle crossing will connect existing and planned shared paths.

Future shared paths will be constructed as part of the Warriewood Valley Community Centre and Boondah Road upgrade.

View the plan 

Collins Street, North Narrabeen - Shared path

Proposing to provide a 2.5m shared path on the eastern side of Collins Street and Lake Park Road between the existing shared path in Walsh Street and Narrabeen Lagoon.

Council states this will provide a valuable connection for pedestrians and bike riders in the local area to access facilities such as Pittwater Rugby Park, Warriewood B-Line and recreational facilities around Narrabeen Lagoon. However it should be noted that the proposal involves removing four on-street carparking spaces.

View the plan 

Pittwater Road, Queenscliff - Pedestrian and cycle bridge upgrade

View the plan  

Addiscombe Road & Kenneth Road, Manly Vale - Shared path and pedestrian crossing

View the plan  

Highview Avenue, Manly Vale - Footpath and stairs

View the plan 

Blackbutts Road, Frenchs Forest - Shared path

View the plan 

Allambie Road, Allambie Heights - Shared path

View the plan 

To find out more and view the plans visit: yoursay/202223-active-transport-proposals

Comments for all proposals close Friday February 18th 2022 (5pm). 

Where the new Walking and Cycling bridge will cross Narrabeen Lagoon.
Narrabeen Lagoon path south of the bridge.

A few Narrabeen Lagoon Bridge No 1 History Notes

The original way across Narrabeen Lagoon was simply a path that could be waded on at certain low tides, as described in 'My Holiday' by Charles de Boos in 1861:

The road now led us along a swampy honeysuckle flat for rather more than half a mile, and then brought us on to the margin of the Narrabeen lagoon. Narrabeen is a somewhat extensive lagoon, connected with the sea by broad sandy flats covered by the tide at high water, but hire at low water, with the exception of a distance of about twenty rods in width, forming a channel by which the surplus water of the lagoon runs out into the sea. 

The opening to the sea is somewhat narrower than this, though deeper, taking a man to the waist in wading over, whilst at the regular crossing-place the stream at low water is not much over the knee. It is situated between the island fall of the high precipitous ridge that, jutting far out into the ocean, forms Narrabeen Head to the north; and to the south, the long low sandy beach that extends northerly from the Long Reef. 

The large sheet of water that forms the lagoon is situated some two miles from the sea, with which the sandy flats connect it, although at high water, and particularly at spring tides, one broad expanse of water extending in one continuous sheet from the ocean into the interior for a distance of five miles is presented to the view, forming a magnificent lake, by no means wanting in picturesqueness and rude grandeur in some portions of it. 

Where the road crosses, the country for some distance around is flat, and consequently tame, and the picture is rendered sombre by the low, thick growth of ti tree that fringes the water line, and the dark leaved honeysuckles of the flat land beyond ; but higher up, where the fresh water of the lagoon commences, where ranges clad with giant timber come down to its margin, and where numerous gullies with the rich, dank jungle vegetation of the tropics, including the cabbage-tree palm, the fern tree, the bengola, and wild vine, empty their watery contributions into it wild landscape views might be taken fully equal to many of those about which artists have raved so much.

I have said that the morning was cloudy, and consequently the sun, not yet very high, was overcast and as we came down to the channel, over which we had to cross, the wind swept coldly over the sandy beach, making the task of stripping and crossing anything but a pleasant one. Under the circumstances, the twenty rods of width-for luckily we had hit the extreme low water - appeared, in my eyes a mighty waste of waters, and in the absence of guide or direction, it seemed a somewhat dangerous experiment to venture upon, particularly as the water was evidently running out with great swiftness.

"Oh," said Tom, as I expressed my doubts, " there's no danger; its all right !"

CONRAD MARTENS (1801-1878) Entrance to Narrabeen Lake , watercolour signed, titled and inscribed verso: Entrance to Narrabeen Lake by Conrad Martens 39.5 x 44.5 cm, courtesy The Alan & Margaret Hickinbotham Collection

So we sat down, pulled off boots and stockings, and tucked up our trousers as high as we could ; but I noticed that with all his boasting, Master Thomas loitered considerably over his preparations, growling audibly over "those blessed boots," the getting on again of which he declared to be a matter of considerable doubt. Tom grumbled and fumbled so long, that Nat, declaring that "he wasn't going to wait getting cold through for him," took the lead in the advance, walked nonchalantly into the water and made steadily for the other side. I watched him with fear and trembling, expecting every minute to sea him disappear, but, as I perceived that he got half-way over with the water only up to Ins knees, I took heart of grace and ventured in. But oh the terrible agony of that first plunge! The water was as cold as if it had been fresh melted snow, and my feet, having been warmed by the brief walk, felt the change most bitterly. But on and on I went, the chill of the water biting in rising circles round my legs as I got deeper and deeper in the stream, causing an agony unspeakable. Just as I was about half-way across, I turned round in order to see by the distance I had passed how long this torture was to be continued and there I beheld Tom, all ready for the passage, peeping out at us through the bushes. He caught my eye, and shouted "Tell us if it gets any deeper!

The old dodger had quietly pushed us on ahead, in order, as he said, that we might take soundings for him. I made him no answer, for I was too full of my own especial sufferings just at that moment j and, i without joke, it was as painful an ordeal, in regard to mere corporeal pain, as ever I went through m so brief a time. In fact, so acute was it, that I felt as I neared the end of my torture as if I could not possibly hold out until I got out of that blood-chilling stream, but that my feet must give way, and that I must fall. However, across I did get, without the fall that I considered inevitable, and it was only by looking down at my feet and seeing them there doing duty, that I could assure myself that I still possessed those appendages. The feeling I experienced on quitting the water was as if feet ankles and legs had been cut off, just at the place where the water had reached highest, with a red hot saw. Though I looked down occasionally to assure myself of the fact that I still possessed them, it was only after a ten minutes' run upon the sand that any sensation of feeling in those useful members made assurance doubly sure; and during the whole of the day I felt that burning ring round my leg, sometimes with painful  distinctness.

There was a large flock of sand pipers, small birds, somewhat about the size of a lark, but with long lags like a snipe, that were running about the sand picking up their morning meal. I tried very hard to got a shot at them, but they ran away so fast and kept themselves so pertinaciously out of gun-shot that at last I let fly haphazard at them, and of course got nothing.

We now made for the opposite bank of the stream, where, above high watermark, the grass grew in thick coarse tufts forming a convenient towel with which to wipe the sand from our feet, and here we once more resumed boots and stockings, and got into marching on, though not before Tom had had a desperate struggle with his rebellious watertights, in which, from dread that in the end the boots would get the best of it, we were at last fain to join, and so by dint of numbers gained the mastery. Tom seemed quite proud of his achievement, and stalked along in consequence quite boastfully for the rest of that day's journey.

We had hung our loads on the posts of a fence that skirted the edge of the sand, and which enclosed paddock of long reedy grass, as high as a man's waist though beyond some gently undulating land the crest surmounted by a not very neat but substantial looking slate dwelling, rose up from the marshy plain, and appeared to be rich cultivated land. We were about to take our loads from the temporary pegs on which they hung, when we were joined by another wayfarer, who, like ourselves, had just crossed the lagoon, and came up to us to reconnoitre.  ....

[To be continued.) MY HOLIDAY. (1861, July 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13061639

The age old problem of increased population attracting increased funding for infrastructure such as roads met a catch 22 situation in the turning of tracks into passageways that could be ridden or, when automobiles came along, be driven along. Limited access meant roads remained in a poor condition, were unsealed and in places, not navigable. Add to this the great font of creeks, lagoons and waterways that required bridges and the problem of access persisted into the 1920's, as some articles noted, while others were used to promote the wonderful aspects of the area as a means to attract more people - 'The Wonders of Warringah' - February 1st in the Sunday Times, is just one example of these.

Deputation after deputation 'waited upon' a minister for roads, for bridges, for connecting old tracks to new tracks;

Narrabeen Lagoon Crossing Place - 1880

Pittwater scenes, 1880 / Harold Brees, Narrabeen Lagoon Crossing Place - 1880, Image No.89644600, courtesy State Library of New South Wales.

The same Minister was waited upon on Friday by the Mayor of Manly (Mr. Hilder), with Messrs. Hayes and Barker, who asked the Government to put in repair that portion of Pitt-water-road, running through the municipality of Manly, before the management of the road was taken over by the municipal council. Mr. Lackey informed the deputation that the Government had already made provision for the work being performed. PITT-WATER ROAD. (1880, March 13).Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 27. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70941827 

In 1881 the first moves to put a bridge across Narrabeen Lagoon commenced:

Mr. LACKEY, in reply to Mr. Furnell, stated that a sum had been noted for consideration of the Cabinet for the erection of a bridge across the Narrabeen lagoon. 
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY. (1881, January 15). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70951884

Mr LACKEY in answer to Mr Teece, said that tenders for a bridge over Narrabeen Lagoon, close to the present road, would be invited in two weeks. PARLIAMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES. (1882, September 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13526176

A description of the road and way through Narrabeen lagoon of then:

The Sketcher.
A Trip To Gosford.

Leaving Sydney by the 7.15 a.m. steamer for Manly, one discovers how pleasant and refreshing a trip down the harbour may be on a crisp September morning, and regrets on reaching Manly that there are but some 15 or 20 minutes allowed for satisfying the sharpened appetite before the Pittwater coach gets under way. Bowling round the corner, the team, fresh as two-year-olds, takes us at a merry pace along the level road, past the lagoon, and into the bush, continuing amid rock and scrub that grows so prolifically in this sandy soil. A fairly good road gradually ascends for several miles, the left being a mass of rough broken country, and the right, some high ground shutting us off from the sea, till presently we come almost on to the sea-shore, and every hill we top gives as a view of the continuous bay and headland coast-line stretching ahead for miles. 

After some six or seven miles, descending a sharp decline, we almost ran on top of the Collaroyhigh and dry on the beachThe bizarre object startles one as it is so absurdly out of place; but the Company's balance sheet still reckons her an asset. 

The road seems to end here, and the coach enters upon a level strip of sward overawed by a straight range of steep, rocky hills, with a cabbage tree on top, limned against the sky. Here, meeting the fresh north wind that lifts the horses' manes, the leaders put their heads down and stretched themselves for a canter. I had been especially directed to select this route on account of the beauty of its scenery, so closely resembling, at times, that of the Rhine. But although one part of Europe may frequently recall another to the recollection, yet in Australia nature has assumed such distinct characteristics, that all comparison is rendered out of the question, nor could any effort of the imagination convert the old stone ruins on the rise at the end of the flat into the remains of some castle of romance. We could not elevate oneself above the conviction it was but a settler's or free selector's home-stead. Recently the land about here was sold, fetching prices up to £10 for quarter-acre blocks. 

A little further on we entered Narrabeen Lagoon, when the water came over the bottom of the coach. For three quarters of a mile the coach struggled along through marsh and water, not daring to stop lest the wheels sink in the sand. However, it is understood the Government will call for tenders next month for the construction of the bridge. 

Narrabeen [a view, possibly of the lagoon and beach] by William Andrews, 1840-1887. Watercolour, 16.2 × 34 cm (6 3/8" × 13 3/8"), Unsigned Item: c12838_0017_c, courtesy Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales

Coming out of Narrabeen the coach passes round a finely formed hill abundantly clothed with tree and fern, including quantities of the Burrawang species. On the left arises a cleared eminence with two red cattle; beyond, a half-cleared flat, with a mass of low gnarled gum trees in front, through which the road leads ; on the right are some stretches of white sand, with a reddish-brown bluff rising above, and splashes of spray dashing up against it ; a few light clouds above break the sunshine. It is a good specimen of natural Australian landscape, and these are to the picture the finishing touches of the artist's master hand. As a centrepiece of such a scene, none but a painter knows the value of a lumbering coach and four, axle deep in water, slowly dragging its way along. 

From Narrabeen to Pittwater is a succession of hills and gullies, the views, and retrospect from each becoming finer and finer. The aspect of the coast, which is now continuously in sight, suggests somewhat the snapped off red clayey cliffs of Devon ; while two or three miles beyond are seen the deep gorges among the hills that hide the lake of Pittwater. From a distance, the rugged boldness of the hills bear many of the characteristics of mountainous parts of the Black Forest, although when close the vegetation and the general appearance of 'unfinishedness' effectually dispels the illusion. 

Presently we approach a promontory with rounded top and sides, smooth shaven like a lawn, and interspersed with scrub like the soft buxom furze of a Cornish hillside. It is remarkable besides for its massiveness, and one feels on reaching the summit as though he had overcome one of the obstacles of life. At length, reaching the eminence above Pittwater, we take our last view of the ocean with its half score of white sails dotting its wide surface in an aimless sort of way, and call each other's attention to the dignity waves can assume as they come rolling in with a slow lazy sweep and curl and break on the curved sandy stretch that connects the protruding frowning headlands.

Turning inland, we enter, as it were, the top rim of the basin of the lake, and suddenly come upon the loveliest spot between Sydney and Brisbane Water. On the left one looks down a gorge ever so steep down: down through the stems of several species of gum, ironbark, mahogany, forestoak, turpentine, and cabbage tree, their tops netted into a dense mass of foliage, their bases buried in a profuse overgrowth of fern, bracken, clematis, and the graceful burrawang, a species of palm-fern, while in the mid-distance between the tree stems one can trace the stream at the bottom. The scene is rich with the luxuriant beauty of a New Zealand pass. Coming round the shoulder of the hill, openings in the trees betray glimpses of the deep blue waters of the lake, while the scene stretches away beyond to the high enclosing hills, in all their deep colouring, like one of Conrad Martens' pictures. 

A few minutes more, and the coach stops at the Newport Hotel, having accomplished the 14 miles in about two hours. At the waterside awaits the steamer Florrie. A little to the right, in a small bay, is another wharf, with a large house close by approaching completion, and destined for a boarding-house. As we steam out, we wonder which way we shall take, for the lake is completely landlocked by huge bluffs rearing themselves up above us like so many 'Ball's Heads,' and suffering rough jagged gorges to penetrate their way deep into their mass. In several places where the nature of the ground allows settlement, cottages and gardens and orchards have sprang up, and their beauty of situation renders one envious of the owners. 

Bending to the right, we pass between Lord Loftus Point and Scotland Island, while far ahead, near the heads of Broken Bay, is seen the noble island, in shape like a couchant lion guarding the entrance as he faces it. Pittwater forms a magnificent harbour, and, undoubtedly, in due time its waves will reflect the lights of a grand city reared upon its banks. Its entrance, some three miles wide, is wondrously safe. Its waters are deep, absolutely sheltered from every quarter; and as to its size, would float the navies of the world. Pittwater is the southern arm of the estuary, Brisbane Water the northern, while between, straight in from the Heads, stretches westward the grand outlet of the Hawkesbury River, between two enormous banks. Few rivers can match its magnificence of debouchure, as the hills boldly approaching the ocean in all their pride of strength majestically deliver up the waters confided to their charge. At the Barrenjoey lighthouse, whence also a cable is laid to Brisbane Water, we come in sight of the entrance to the harbour, and as we cross have a full view on our left of the estuary of the Hawkesbury. ...SYDNEY. The Sketcher. (1882, September 30). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 542. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161926095 

Pittwater Affairs.
A meeting of the residents of Pittwater was held on Saturday evening at Bolton's Hotel, for the purpose of urging the Government to make the road from the Lagoon to Newport. Mr. Crawford, who was appointed chairman, in a neat speech, explained the object of the meeting and drew Attention to the state of the road which, in some parts was almost impassable, he stated that he was convinced it was only necessary to bring the matter under the notice of the Minister for Works to get the work done. After several forcible and appropriate speeches were made the following gentlemen were appointed to wait upon the Minister.— Messrs. M'Keon, Drs. Tebbut, O’Riley, James, and F. Smith. At the conclusion of the business a concert was given by a number of ladies and gentlemen, (visitors from Sydney), and a most enjoyable evening was spent. Pittwater Affairs. (1883, March 27).Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107230268 

By June 1883 the first bridge over Narrabeen lagoon was being built - this appears to be what is later described as a 'road bridge' - quite flat and possibly prone to flooding and without a walkway for pedestrians. A camp was set up and tenders for timber advertised, including carting 30 thousand feet of sawn timber from Manly wharf - one paper reports;

A deputation waited upon the Colonial Secretary yesterday in reference to the road between Manly Beach and Newport, Pittwater. The deputation consisted of Dr Tibbets and Messrs M'Ewan, F. Smith, R. Crawford and R. Innes. It was represented that the Government expenditure on the road under notice had been made on the Manly Beach end, leaving the other end in a disgraceful state. Alarge coach traffic passed over the road in the shape of visitors to the Hawkesbury, and the bad condition of the road caused them great inconvenience. 
Mr STUART said he was aware that the road was very bad, but it was being gradually improved, and as soon as the bridge over the Narrabeen was finished, work could go on at the end of the road which now required to be put into a proper condition. DEPUTATIONS. (1883, June 2). The Sydney Daily Telegraph (NSW : 1879 -1883), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238491545 

Narrabeen Lagoon, 1890/ C. S. Wheeler. Item: c11295_0001_c, courtesy Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales

By January 1884 land sales north of the lagoon were advertising the access provided by the 'newly-erected bridge across Narrabeen Lagoon'.
Twenty years later:
Bridge Works— Filling in of Four Spans, Construction of Embanked Bridge Approach and Renewal of Superstructure in connection with No. 1, Narrabeen Bridge, on road Manly to Barrenjoey, Contract No. 37/1904-G—J. H. Shedden, Islington. Government Gazette Tenders and Contracts (1904, December 30). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 9446. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226487992 

filling-in of four spans, construction of embanked bridge, approach and renewal of superstructure in connection with No. 1 Narrabeen Bridge, on road Manly to Barrenjoey (contract No. 37/04-05), J. H. .Sadden, Islington, £515; TENDERS ACCEPTED TO-DAY. (1904, December 28). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113302022 

Narrabeen 'road bridge' - postcard, from the collection of Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1, courtesy National Museum of Australia - circa 1907 to 1913

View - Narrabeen Lakes, ca. 1900-1910, a116483h, courtesy state Library of New South Wales

Sunday September 17th, 1911. 'View taken near Narrabeen on the way to La Corniche', from Album 57: Photographs of the Allen family, 2 May 1911 - 7 October 1911, Image No.:  a3289060h courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Sunday September 17th, 1911., from Album 57: Photographs of the Allen family, 2 May 1911 - 7 October 1911, Image No.:  a3289061h courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Sunday 27th August 1916. Today I took the new Electric Car 146 for a long run to Narrabeen, Margaret being with me. The Lancia car followed with Joyce,Ken, Miss Cadman and Miss Stickland. At Narrabeen, Margaret and I left the Electric car and we all went on to Bilgola in the Lancia, arriving there in time for lunch.

The Lancia car at Narrabeen.  The Electric car at Narrabeen. Image No. a3295021h. From Album 67 Photographs of the Allen family 14 January 1916 - 5 February 1918, courtesy State Library of NSW.

In September 1927 the Ocean Street Bridge, near the mouth of the lagoon was being built to further land sales along the coastal areas of Warriewood by providing easier access to these lots. The main Narrabeen Lagoon Bridge then became 'Narrabeen Bridge No 1.'

A design for a new concrete bridge was developed in 1946 but possibly due to post World War Two shortages in building materials could not be built until 1954.

More on this original bridge can be read about in: