September 10 - 16, 2023: Issue 598
The Wakehurst Parkway: 75th Anniversary Of Gazettal As A Main Road On May 29th 2021 - a long and winding road
Warringah Shire Council Records;
Main Roads Dept., 9/9/41, (a) stating it is proposed to construct a reinforced concrete bridge, with carriageway 32 ft. wide, over Middle Creek adjacent to Narrabeen Lake on Main Road No. 397, that cost of a 5-ft. footway with the necessary approaches is estimated at £680, that the Department is prepared to contribute half the cost, and if Council will signify its willingness to contribute an estimated amount of £340, the design of the bridge will be proceeded with on this basis; (b) pointing out that the footbridge shown on an accompanying sketch is on the east side of the structure, and requesting advice if the Council has any preference in the matter. Resolved, - That it be suggested to the Department that brackets or other necessary attachments be placed on the vehicular bridge to permit of a cantilever footbridge being constructed when the necessity. arises, or alternatively, that the Department furnish an estimate for a footbridge sufficiently substantial to carry pedestrians' only; also the Department be informed the Council favours the eastern side of the vehicular bridge for any footbridge that may be constructed.
MAIN ROADS ACT, 1024-1940.—PROCLAMATION,
(l.s.) F. R. JORDAN, Lieutenant-Governor.
I, the Honourable Sir Frederick Richard Jordan, Lieutenant Governor of the State of New South Wales in the Commonwealth of Australia, with the advice of the Executive Council, and in terms of section S of the Main Roads Act, 1924-1945, and in pursuance of the Transport (Division of Functions) Act, 1932-1943, do hereby proclaim that that section of the main road named and described in the first column of the Schedule hereto is by this my Proclamation given the name appearing opposite thereto in the second column of the said Schedule.
Signed and sealed at Sydney this twenty-ninth day of May, 1946.
By His Excellency's Command,
W. E. DICKSON.
GOD SAVE THE KING!
Description of Main Road. Name: Wakehurst Parkway.
That portion, of the Main Road No. 397 from the Warringah Shire boundary at Clontarf-road, via French's Forest, Oxford Falls, Middle and Deep Creeks, and the northern shore of Narrabeen Lagoon to Pittwater-road (Main Road No. 164) at Narrabeen. (D.M.R. No. 46-M. 53) (8327) MAIN ROADS ACT, 1924-1945.—PROCLAMATION. (1946, June 14). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 1340. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224764366
NEW SCENIC ROAD from The Spit to the north side of Narrabeen Lakes is shown on this map, compiled by the NRMA. Built by the Department of Main Roads, the road is named "Wakehurst Parkway." It is an important link in the main road system, and will assist in developing the Warringah area. Ideal picnic spots lie along the Parkway, which has five miles of bitumen, the remainder gravel. No title (1946, April 2). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 9 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article229459678
Prior to the building of the Wakehurst Parkway a track or road of sorts into Oxford Falls but this became a 'dead end' at Middle Creek, as evidenced in a 1912 article and an N.R.M.A. map and article which tells of spots to boil a billy alongside when visiting the Oxford Falls. This made the place perfect for early filmmakers:
The Oxford Falls at Manly.
Two miles from the terminus of the Manly - Brookvale tram. On the opening of the tram to Narrabeen today the falls will be brought within easy walk of the terminus. These falls, which are little known to the average residents of Sydney, are among the most beautiful scenes to be found in this part of the State. The upper fall is about 200ft crashing into a deep valley, to which access is extremely difficult. The bottom falls continue in a series of cascades, thence continuing over rugged country to Narrabeen Lake.
THE OXFORD FALLS AT MANLY. (1912, August 3). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article228826044
Narrabeen Lake. A FAVORITE PLEASURE RESORT.
(See illustration on page 26).
Narrabeen Lake is one of the prettiest spots within easy reach of Sydney. It is situated six miles from Manly, being accessible by coach daily from that popular watering-place. Narrabeen is rapidly becoming a favorite resort for picnic parties and pleasure-seekers of all kinds, who are attracted there by the beauty of the scenery, which is of the character so well described by Byron in the lines:
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar.
A great variety of ferns and wild native flowers abound in the neighborhood, and waratahs are very plentiful. The illustration is taken from the plateau - an elevated position in the fore- ground overlooking the lake. A beautiful view is obtained from here. To the left are picturesque hills and undulating vales, with their luxurious foliage and bushy undergrowth of wild vines, which flourish in tropical profusion; while here and there are huge gray rocks, whose sombre hue serves to tone down the rich colors in the scenery. To the right is a view of the beach and ocean, with a coastal steamer on her course northward. In the distance is Broken Bay, the entrance to the Hawkesbury River. Narrabeen Lake. (1890, March 29). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 26. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71109744
PEEPS FROM AN ABORIGINAL GIBBER GUNYAH.
(By W. J. Walton, in 'Mankind.').
' 'Tis pleasant from the peepholes Of retreat to peep at such a world.'— Cowper.
In the late eighties the district of Oxford Falls, Middle Creek, South Creek, Wheeler Creek and the country forming part of the southern boundary of the Narrabeen lagoon, was, for all intents and purposes, in much the same virgin state as when Cook passed along the coast on his memorable voyage up north. Much of the surrounding country was wild and mountainous, very heavily timbered in places, affording some security to the rock wallabies, which, at that time, were not quite extinct. It was a land of gullies and waterfalls, having magnificent Views, of line seascapes, here and there intersected' by a number of small creeks, which, joining the main creeks, drained a great part of the watershed of the Narrabeen Lakes. In the springtime this God-made country, made joyous with the songs of birds, had a burst of efflorescence, a kaleidoscope of colour probably unsurpassed in the Australian continent.
Towards the end of the year the Christmas Bells —'Blandfordia nobilis' and 'Bland-fordia florabunda' — grew in thick patches, the nodding bells waving in the wind like the wheat in a wheat field. The Christmas Bush — 'Cerato-petalum gummiferum' — with its enlarged red sepals, came to announce that Christmas was near. Through the seasons the wealth of flowering trees and plants followed each other in quick succession; Boronia, Waratahs, Flannel Flowers, Epacris, with many others, made the wilderness of rocks and sand to blossom as the rose. Besides its wonderful flora, which, now that it is almost too late, is being regarded by the scientific world as being worthy to rank amongst the botanical treasures of the world, it contained many evidences of men, manners and customs of a bygone race.
Scratched and punctured on the naked rocks for the purposes of the native ceremonial are the petroglyphs of a primitive stone age race. Do not smile — it is from such humble beginnings that all art and culture have sprung. From a retreat where is was usual in those days of bush ramblings to spend the night, a case — a stonehouse or 'gibber gunyah' of the blades — the eye rests on what further down on the opposite side of the valley is an old aboriginal ceremony ground. Viewed at night, when the moon is obscured by clouds, it has a weird, uncanny look. The spindly trees standing sentinel on the ridge at the back of the rock saddle, look like the ghosts of the dead race.
In Governor Phillip's time there is reason to think that a great part of this Wheeler Creek area was an important aboriginal ceremony ground. Besides the principal group of rock carvings, there are spread over a wide extent of country other smaller groups, some of which after the lapse of years are difficult to locate. Many have been effaced, others are covered with soil and the encroaching bush. There are many isolated carvings scattered about, like the sacred circles, emus, fish and eels, or the large snake on a rock near the waterhole. All these to the native mind had a deep spiritual meaning.
The snake is very prominent in the many myths and legends of the Aborigines. He always lives in a waterhole. The stories about him may vary, but the intruder in his home is usually swallowed. Little of a reliable nature is known of the ceremonial life of the Aborigine in the Manly district; still, it is possible by the study of their rock carvings and customs elsewhere to get a fair insight into the daily lives of these people. The petroglyphs on the main group show they were hunters. The tracking and capture of the kangaroo are shown; there are footprints of the marsupial; following those are the footprints of men. Two kangaroos have spears in their necks. Below, a little distance on the sloping rock, are the hunters who have thrown the spears. One scene is portrayed by two men; they are having a battle royal. In the hand of each of the men is a big waddy, evidently in vigorous use. What is was all about we do not know — probably it was over a woman. Here again footprints were once to be seen: they were arranged in such a way as to indicate the progress of the battle and the flight and defeat of the smaller man. As is usual in most groups of rock carvings, the food supply is well represented. Fish, large rays and the food animals are all there. A deity without radial lines or a circle completes the group. The light side of the black's life Is represented by a number of large shells threaded on a string. In shape it resembles a large necklace. Amongst all the aboriginal rock carvings in Warringah Shire there is none like it. It is complete even to the loop by which it was held in the hand. Its use was to produce primitive music or beat time at the native dances.
Above: Deep Creek, Narrabeen. Contemporary Journalism. (1893, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63672414 Below: Narrabeen Lakes, Items;No.a116487 and No.a116488, courtesy State Library of NSW
NARRABEEN FLATS FLOODED.
BOY SCOUTS' EXPERIENCES.
The heavy rain inundated all the low-lying portions of the district between Manly and Newport. All day yesterday anxiety pre-vailed at Narrabeen lest the lake should over-flow, for although a channel was opened out to the sea last week the heavy seas- poured the water into the lake faster than it could escape. The creeks running into the lake, Deep Creek, Middle Creek, and South Creek, were carrying great volumes of water, but when the tide receded the outgoing water was given a chance to escape into the ocean. Some cottages along the banks of the lake were slightly damaged, but no serious dam-age in that area was reported.
Many buildings in the Green Hills district at Narrabeen were flooded, and in the vicinity of Wetherill-street and Ramsay-street most of the homes were surrounded by water, and difficulty was experienced in keeping the water from getting inside the dwellings. A stable, owned by Mr. Arthur Larkin, in Wetherill-street, was washed away, and some of the gardens were four feet under water.
About 100 Boy Scouts camped at Deep Creek, Narrabeen, had an exciting experience during Friday night and Saturday morning, and they decided to strike camp on Saturday afternoon and return to their homes. During Friday night a tree fell near the scouts' tents, but fortunately none of the boys were injured.
The tramline between Manly and Brookvale was under water during Saturday morning, and traffic was held up for several hours. A channel about 30 yards wide and eight feet deep was made in the beach at North Steyne, Manly, by the flood waters from the Manly lagoon. The Manly golf links were under water, and several shops at Manly Vale, were flooded. NARRABEEN FLATS FLOODED. (1927, April 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16370449
Boy Scout Camp, Narrabeen - by Sydney Long, circa post 1928 - Oil on wood panel
As with the raison d'etre for many other roads, connections for a growing demand for housing development was a main factor in the construction of this thoroughfare. At this time, 1929, and just weeks after Black Tuesday, the stock market crash of October 29th on Wall Street through which billions were lost, talk about a railway from Gordon to Narrabeen, alongside the fairly rough Mona Vale Road, was still part of the aspirational discussions.
A parkway is a broad, landscaped highway thoroughfare. The term is particularly used for a roadway in a park or connecting to a park from which trucks and other heavy vehicles are excluded. Many parkways originally intended for scenic, recreational driving have evolved into major urban and commuter routes.
However, the Wakehurst Parkway between Narrabeen, The Spit, Frenchs Forest and beyond has stayed true to its original moniker with successive governments and local councils adopting a hands off approach so this green corner and corridor remains just that.
Some photos from the year of completion for comparison of the way to Narrabeen which show some sections have been kept a park around a parkway: