A resort town facing the Pacific Ocean
The main Manly resort beach in on the northern side of the peninsula and faces the South Pacific Ocean. The area had been planned as a resort for Sydney people right back in the 1850s and was visited by paddle steamers and other vessels then, just as it is easily accessible by ferry from central Sydney today.
In addition to large number of tourists who use the town’s beaches, hotels and cafes, the township is home for some 16,000 people.
On the western bayside cove, which is only about 300 meters from the ocean beach, sits the ferry wharf, Oceanworld Manly Aquarium and yacht and boat clubs.
The more isolated Shelley Beach is found on the Manly peninsula past the small headland and a kilometer or so further east of the main resort beach.
First Sydney beach with daylight bathing
Manly has a unique place in Australian history as it is where in 1902 William Gocher, local newspaper editor, defied existing local laws that did not allow bathing during daylight hours and was escorted from the water by police. As a result of subsequent publicity the laws were changed and probably became the catalyst for the relaxing of many other similar laws throughout Australia
The suburb and specifically the cove on which the main beach sits was named by the first Sydney Governor, Arthur Phillip, who when visiting the area and meeting members of the Guringai people stated, “their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place”. Due to a cultural misunderstanding Philip was in fact speared during the encounter, however, he ordered his men to not retaliate.