February 8 - 14, 2015: Issue 201

Pittwater’s New Cycle Track of 1901 – Manly to Pittwater

OPENING CEREMONY AT GREENDALE.— THE HON. MINISTER FOR WORKS DECLARING THE PATH OPEN - from The New Cycle Track—Manly to Pittwater. (1901, September 14). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 674. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165237862

  Pittwater’s Cycle Track of 1901 – Manly to Pittwater

Thinking of joining the Newport Surf Club’s Palm to Palms cycle event and need a little bit more inspiration? On the 26th of April, Newport Surf Club are holding the annual Palm 2 Palms Charity Ride. There will be two classes of event, the Main ride from North Palm Beach Surf Club all the way to Burning Palms Surf Club, passing every surf club in Sydney. That’s 132km’s, 36 surf clubs, 1 ferry ride and one spectacular day. 

For those not quite up to the 132km journey, they are also holding a shorter version to encourage more people onto the bike, from North Palm Beach down to Manly SLSC, at which point the main ride will continue on.

It is all in the name of charity with the funds to be split amongst Newport SLSC, Bear Cottage and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. The club are aiming to raise $100,000 and turn this into one of Sydney’s premier cycling charity events.

People who want to do the ride pay a $100.00 entrance fee and then must raise $900 through sponsorship that will be contributed to these three charities. If you’re a bike rider then this may be one to put on your ‘to do’ list for 2015. If you’re not a cyclist you can still donate or become a sponsor of this great event.

You can join in the fun at: www.palm2palmsride.com.au and follow the team and riders on Facebook and Twitter ‪#‎Palm2palmsride‬.

This week we share one that was opened in 1901, a refurbishment of one that already existed a few years earlier, and finished at Newport Hotel – which was then the home of avid cyclists and proprietors, the Griegs, not the first cyclists to inhabit and run this Hotel, but that's whole other stories:

Visit picturesque Newport and dine at Greig's Hotel. The coach trip from Manly is one of the prettiest in N.S.W., and the hotel garden is an ideal place to lounge about in whilst your dinner is digesting and your cigar is helping or retarding the process. From Manly take the coach to Rock Lily, and thence for Greig's coach, which is free to passengers dining at Newport Hotel. If you are a cyclist, by all means ride your bike— the run from Manly pier is about 12 miles, and the cycling path makes the Journey easy, especially for ladies. HOLIDAY EXCURSIONS. (1901, November 10). Sunday Times(Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article125886153 



A cycling tour for an afternoon or a day, with good roads, a bracing atmosphere, and incomparable scenery is a condition which should bring Joy to the heart of any bicycle rider, beginner or old hand, novice or veteran, affecter of the drop or diamond frame. The conditions named supply the materials for the perfect short bicycle ride, and when the writer credits the coastal road between Manly and Newport, Barranjoey, or Bayview with that description, those whose good fortune it Is to know It will have no hesitation in agreeing with him. For the benefit of those who have not an Intimate acquaintance with the ins and outs of the road, Its windings, and its crossings, we to-day publish a map Illustrating the route, replete with all the information which a cyclist a’wheel can require. The road has been carefully traced out, measured, and verified by actual experience, so that It can unhesitatingly be accepted as thoroughly reliable. This map is the first of a series that we purpose publishing In our Saturday's Issues giving information about cycling routes. 

The ride may be commenced at either Manly, North Sydney, or Mosman's Bay. For the reason that the road along the North Shore ridge is known to all residents of Sydney, without further explanation It has been omitted from the map, which takes up the work of illustrating at the Spit, Middle Harbor. Here the roads from either North Sydney or Mosman's converge, and run over a good surface either Into Manly or, as the map shows, across a cut through Greendale, picking up the main Newport road a few miles down the coast. 

Newport is merely a resting-place, dotted among the hills that sweep down to the valley of the Hawkesbury, near Its mouth. It is situated on the east side of an arm of the estuary, known as Pittwater, and the few residences there have frontages to an almost landlocked harbor way of great beauty. The mouth of the Hawkesbury and the commanding heads of Broken Bay, with five miles of rolling ocean between them, are seven miles away, and along the arm of the estuary lies a succession of fascinating bays. Steeply falling hills, wooded to the water's edge, roll down and meet the bays, and the water on a hazy summer's day' takes on an Intense blue. The beauties of M'Grath's Creek, the Basin, Careel Bay, and Barranjoey are admired by all those who have visited this fairyland, and need to be seen to be understood. Words could not paint the scene which may be viewed from the heights of Barranjoey Heads on a blazing summer's afternoon, when the water takes on its deepest color, and the hills flash green, and a world of oceans seems unrolled to seaward. The majestic Lion Island and the rolling entrance to the Hawkesbury lies just below the spectator on the one hand. Seaward he gazes on the limitless Pacific, which at his feet surges on to a dazzling beach of snowy whiteness, and Inland is an entrancing vision of wooded hills and blue lakes seen through a light hazy mist. The rugged heights of Kuringai Chase roll away westward, and the lighthouse Is the only thing that makes civilisation real in the imagination. This scene is but one of the pleasures of Pitt-water, which is within an hour and a half's easy ride from the city. It is, therefore, not to he wondered at that Newport is a favorite ride. 

The ride from Manly to Newport is the one which is perhaps the most popular, for it is the shortest, and includes from Sydney a pleasant little run on the Manly harbor steamer. Newport, as explained, is on the eastern shore of Pittwater. Across the arm, a matter of half a mile or so, is a small settlement known as Bayview, the road to which has been lately very much Improved, until the run up the west side of the water has become quite as popular as the old Newport ride. Accommodation of a first-class quality may be obtained on either side. 

The run from Manly to Newport can be accomplished by cyclists of any calibre riding comfortably in an hour and a half, while tho "scorchers" can crowd It Into about 60 minutes. The journey is, of course, a longer one if North Shore or Mosman's Bay Is made the starting point. Then the high ridge running along the north shore of the harbor, and dividing the waters of Port Jackson proper from Middle Harbor Is skirted on a level road with a splendid surface, until the tract starts to fall to the level of the water at the Spit, Middle Harbor. Tills fall Is nicely graded, and can be ridden In comfort at a good speed with a brake, while the views which open up as the cyclist rushes down the incline of a sweeping valley from the ridge to the shores of what Is perhaps the most beautiful natural harbor In the world well repay him for the extra exertion of the longer ride. After the drop to the water, Middle Harbor is crossed in a Government punt at a cost of 2d. The climb up the ridge again on the east side Is not quite so well graded as that just descended, but yet is perfectly easy of negotiation when the surface is good, which is usually the case. When the ridge is climbed the rider has the option of two roads, both of which are good. He can either take the turn off to the loft through Greendale, which saves a considerable distance, and comes out between Manly and Brookvale on the Newport road, or he can go down Into Manly, and pick up the route there. The road from Manly runs out along a lovely stretch over Curl Curl Lagoon, and passes a turn off to the right, which is marked by a fingerpost — "To Harboard Estate," before the Greendale road is fallen In with. After these two roads converge the route passes over gently undulating and pretty country through Brook vale, a tiny settlement with a public school and post-office, and over the Stoney Range. This is a fair hill, and will he found to be indicated in the map by arrows. There Is a short pinch at the top, but the hill can be easily ridden, though It Is not a rise which should be rushed on account of the pinch at the top. The descent is straight and perfectly safe, even without a brake. After a short run through what is almost a natural avenue, the road opens out on to the Deewhy Lagoon, which runs In off the ocean. The road just hero for half a mile Is always bumpy, but if the rider will ease up slightly ho will experience very little inconvenience, and the bad piece does not extend far. The road then winds up a long hill In full view of the ocean, which thunders in on a fine sandy beach Just below the rider. A slight turn to the left is made on top of the kill, and the road falls away into Narrabeen; the concluding mile bolero this place is reached being ridden alongside one of the finest beaches on the coast, A short rush down bill brings the rider unexpectedly right on to this magnificent beach, and the change from winding among the trees to the continuous roar of giant rollers, which seem to dash up almost beneath the handle-bars, is an interesting incident of a pleasant ride. 

A rest may be called at Narrabeen, and, if required, refreshments obtained. There is an hotel and an accommodation house right on the road. The lagoon here — the upper reaches of which are famed for their scenery — is crossed immediately on leaving. The lagoon is really a big arm of the sea, which is just over a line of sandbanks about half a mile on the right. A run of a mile and a half brings the rider to the Cutting-hill, which is one of the stiffest climbs on the route. It has, however, a good surface, and over the top of this rise the road drops for halt a mile into Rocklily. There is another hotel here. A few hundred yards further on the road divides, the left-band portion leading to Bayview, on the west side of Pittwater, and that on the right hand to Newport. Following the right-hand road after a couple of not insignificant hills are climbed, the ocean is once more opened out from the top of a high cliff, and on a fine day a magnificent prospect is obtained. From this point also Pittwater on the left first becomes visible, and it appears a great lake nestling among the rolling hills. Down through a ferny glade, over a slight rise, and down another long descent, and Newport is reached. The rider has the choice of an hotel and an accommodation house for convenience. Here boats and bathing can be obtained, and the hays and coves of Pittwater afford amusement in an endless variety of ways. Good fishing is also to be obtained in the direction of Barranjoey. 

The road extends, as will be seen on an investigation of the map, on to Barranjoey, where the lighthouse is situated. The hills on this route, however, are almost unrideable, and the road is scarcely ever used by cyclists. 

The road on the Bayview side runs right along the shore of the harbor, to Church Point, a distance of two or three miles. There are two accommodation houses here, and good boats are to be obtained at the point, where there Is a splendid wharf. The road all the way is of sandstone formation, and is found at its best after heavy rain. Sometimes in continued dry weather it becomes loosened, but a shower or two of rain soon puts It right again. It can generally be described as a splendid road for cycling. None of the hills are very bad, and there are only two places on the whole route where it is necessary that, more than ordinary caution should he exercised. They are both on the Newport road. One is a hill recently graded, encountered soon after Newport is left on the return journey. It is indicated in the map by arrows. There is a sharp turn half-way down in a cutting and cyclists should not let their machines go until they are safely round this. A similar turn, though without the cutting, will be found in the Cutting-hill, between Narrabeen and Rocklily, when returning to the city. Care need be exercised to make the turn safely. Apart from these two points the road can be ridden In perfect safety by the crudest novice. 

All the cross-roads and "turn-offs" which are marked in the map are surveyed roads, but are to all Intents and purposes impracticable for cycling, as they have not been formed. Some cyclists have ridden over them, but more from a spirit of adventure than from any hope of an enjoyable ride. The distances on the map are all measured from Manly. FAVORITE CYCLING ROUTES. (1897, July 31). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238392082 

The new cycle track was officially opened on Saturday September 7th. The report reads:

The New Cycle Track— Manly to Pittwater. 

Pleasant conditions attended the official opening on Saturday afternoon by Mr. E. W. O'Sullivan, Minister for Works, and president of the New South Wales League of Wheelmen, of the cycle path from Manly to Pittwater, recently illustrated in ' The Mail.' The weather was beautifully fine, and the Path, as dry and resilient as a cinder path 0n a summer day.

It was arranged that a procession of motor-cars, cyclists , and drags containing non-riders, and headed by a motor-car carrying the Minister for Works, would leave the square opposite Manly pier at 3. 1'5 pm. But in  consequence of the 2.30 p.m. boat from Circular Quay, with a contingent of 300 cyclists, arriving a little late, the procession did not  not start until 3.30pm. Half an hour prior to that the Minster arrived in the steam launch Eva, With a party of visitors, who included Messrs. Price, Wilis, Levy,  T' Fitzpatrick, Donaldson, Byrne, and …

 The Minister was received by Mr. Quirk, M. L-A-, member for the district, a large number of leading residents of Manly, and the members of the Public Cycle Paths Committee -  Messrs J. R. Holdsworth (chairman)  A. Blackett Smith and  G. Corkhill of the New South Wales Touring Union,  Leslie Curnow (hon. Sec) C.A. Grocott and A. H. Short, of the New South Wales Cyclists Union, and Messrs. G. Fowle, H. Floyd, E. J. Branagan, of the New South Wales League of Wheelmen. Fully 300 residents and visitors were -assembled, and accorded Mr. O'Sullivan a hearty welcome. 

At least 500 cyclists were present, and as many of them carried flags, flowers, and streamers, a pretty effect was produced when the procession was under weigh. The procession, headed by four motor cars, moved off at a good pace, and about a mile out of Manly reached the commencement of the cycle path, the place being marked by archways erected over the paths on each side of the road, and bearing the sign' Pittwater Cycle Path, 1901 .'' A run of a mile brought the procession to Greendale, where the opening ceremony was to be performed. The hon. secretary of the Public Cycle Paths Committee, Mr. Leslie Curnow, who has been indefatigable in his efforts to have the path constructed, and to see that the opening ceremony was performed under the most favourable conditions, had the place decorated with flags and streamers, so that it presented a very pretty appearance. One could see by the rapid pace at which the cyclists bowled along the path that it Was in good order, and fast. When further consolidated by cycle traffic it will become still faster, and if arrangements are made to keep it in good order the cyclists of New South Wales will be under a debt of gratitude to the untiring labours of the path committee for providing a pleasant run through some of the most beautiful coast line scenery to be found in the State. 

The cyclists and visitors having gathered round a temporary platform provided for the occasion, Mr. Quirk, M.L.A., called upon the Minister for Works to declare the cycle path open. The Minister for Works, who was received with cheers, said that on behalf of the people of Manly, as well as the cyclists of New South Wales, he had great pleasure in declaring the Manly to Pittwater cycle path open for all time. (Applause.) It might not be known to all present that it was one of the longest cycle paths in the world. In America the paths ranged from 4 to 17 miles long, in Dunedin they were 7 miles, and in Victoria 15 miles long, but the Manly to Pittwater cycle path, counting 10 miles out from Manly on one side of the road, and 10 miles in on the other side, was 20 miles long.



The New Cycle Track—Manly to Pittwater. (1901, September 14). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 674. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165237862

NB: Greendale was just out of Manly:


A new Wesleyan Church, was opened on Saturday at Greendale, a few miles out of Manly. The building was erected by Messrs. Mingay and Wilkinson, a Manly firm. The Rev. J. E. Moulton (Newington College), the Rev. J. H. Lewin (minister in charge of the Manly district), and the Rev- J. Woolnousjh conducted the dedication service on Saturday, when the .fine weather induced a large crowd to assemble. The tea meeting and social gathering that followed was well attended. As a fitting ending to the dedicatory service a meeting was held in the evenii g, Mr. E. J. Wild presiding. The Revs. J. E. Moalton, J. Woolnough, J. H. Lewin, Messrs. D. Ogilvy, and J. Warner delivered addresses, and Misses Bagnall, Jacobie. and Miles, Mrs. Martin, Messrs. A. Miles, F. Maine, and E. H. Stoney, and Rev. K Masterton rendered instrumental and vocal items. Serviceable help was given during the day by Mesdames Evans, Barden, M'Carthy, Martin, Newton, and Howlett, and Misses Jones, Miles, Alderton, and Bagnall. Opening services were held on Sunday, and the Rev. J. E. Moulton and J. H. Lewin were the ministers. OPENING A CHURCH AT GREENDALE. (1898, August 8). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113250900



Sir; On behalf of residents of North Manly, Greendale, Freshwater, and neighborhood, I write to Invite attention to the fact that although the rails of the proposed tramway to Greendale, Narrabeen. etc.. have been laid as far as Curl Curl Lagoon, it would appear as though pressure is being brought to bear to delay the completion of the first section to Greendale, as the lines are being covered with rosd metal, and operations have been suspended at the present terminus near the lagoon. There is considerable settlement in the vicinity of Greendale that would be greatly benefited by being connected with Manly, and the city, by means of the tram, and if it would not pay to adopt a frequent time-table, there would be good reason for a service in the morning and evening, and occasionally throughout the day.— Yours, etc., T. K. HARRIS. MANLY-GREENDALE TRAM. (1902, August 13). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article237615011


A cycle path, 20 miles in length, 10 miles either way, between Manly and Pittwater, was opened on September 7, when over 1,500 wheelmen from all parts of New South Wales attended. It was opened by the Minister of Works. Mr. E W O'Sullivan.


THE PITTWATER CYCLE PATH. A NEW SYDNEY CYCLE PATH. (1901, September 14). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 29. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139746417 

The interest in cycling during this period cannot be underestimated - motor cars were being seen but most people could not afford such luxuries - bicycles were the way to get around. Having been touted as being used in the Boer War to great effect, and races and clubs springing up everywhere, it is no surprise the area of Pittwater was made accessible for those who wanted cycling-camping trips away within their budgets. 

The rise in popularity, and its being followed by local press, affords us, 114 years on, with some lovely early photographs of Pittwater:

Manly to Pittwater Cycle Path.

The views we publish afford an idea of the beautiful district which is opening up for cyclists by the construction of the Manly to Pittwater Cycle Path. The Public Cycle Paths Committee deserve the thanks of all cyclists, for by means of their efforts sufficient funds have been collated to pay half the Cost of the path. The work was generously carried out by the Government….. The Manly to Pittwater path is the second constructed under the auspices of the Public Cycle Paths Committee, and in the future the movement is expected to greatly extend. 

1 A glimpse of coast scenery from Newport-road. 2. Bay View from Newport Wharf. 3. Bush scene near Newport. 4. View near Terminus at Pittwater. 5. Broken Bay. VIEWS NEAR TERMINUS OF MANLY-PITTWATER CYCLE PATHS. Manly to Pittwater Cycle Path. (1901, August 24). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 478. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165234800 



1. An ideal bicycle stretch near Pittwater. 2. The Lagoons, Narrabeen. 

3. Dee Why Hill. 

4. At Narrabeen. 

THE MANLY-PITTWATER CYCLE PATHS. (1901, August 24). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 479. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165234777



Palm2Palms Charity Bike Ride 2015 - Newport SLSC Members have launched the Palm2Palms with two classes of event, the Main ride from North Palm Beach Surf Club all the way to Burning Palms Surf Club, passing every surf club in Sydney. That’s 132km’s, 36 surf clubs, 1 ferry ride and one spectacular day, OR a shorter version from North Palm Beach down to Manly SLSC 

A J Guesdon, 2015.