Location: Middle Harbour
A harbourside resiential area 8 km north east of the Sydney central business district, the locality is mostly known for its beach, officially divided into Balmoral and Edwards Beaches. Expensive residential real estate on the surrounding "Balmoral Slopes" benefits from the views and beach proximity. The naval depot HMAS Penguin is situated at the eastern end of Balmoral Beach. It houses a naval hospital and is accessed from Middle Head Road.
Balmoral Bathers' Pavillion
Balmoral features Balmoral and Edwards Beaches, both of which are separated by the outcrop of Rocky Point. Both beaches are usually referred to as simply Balmoral. The locality has views across the entrance to Middle Harbour to North Head, Manly, and Clontarf. The harbour beaches face north east and is sheltered from ocean swell by Middle Head. The entire beach is listed on the Register of the National Estate as the 'Balmoral Beach Conservation Area'. The conservation area includes the promenade, the esplanade, the Rotunda and the Bathers' Pavilion, which date back to the 1930s.
A number of eateries are situated along The Esplanade, the main thoroughfare along the beach, ranging from take away to restaurant dining. The Balmoral Rotunda is the home of Shakespeare By The Sea a summer outdoor event. Other notable events include the annual Mudgee Wine Festival and the annual Carols By Candlelight hosted at the Rotunda in December. The Rotunda and Rocky Point Island are also popular for wedding ceremonies and photographs.
Organisations and facilities include Balmoral Oval, a substantial netted swimming area (Balmoral Baths), Balmoral Sailing Club, a sea scout troop, and two swimming clubs.
Situated on Middle Head in Sydney Harbour, HMAS Penguin is surrounded by beaches and parklands and is within 30 minutes drive of the city centre. Penguin is also close to many sights and sounds of Sydney, including Balmoral and Manly beaches and Taronga Zoo. HMAS Penguin is part of the Navys Fleet Command and was commissioned on 14 July 1942. Its primary role today is to provide trained personnel to the Fleet and is the home of the RAN Diving School (RANDS), the RAN Hydrographic School and the RAN Medical School.
As the only remaining military presence on Middle Head, Penguin is fortunate to enjoy the strong support of the local community. Penguin is part of the Mosman local government area and has fostered close ties with the local community for many years.
The area around Balmoral Beach is a heritage-listed Conservation Area The area includes Edwards Beach as well as Balmoral Beach, plus the promenade, esplanade, rotunda and Bather's Pavilion, which date back to the 1930s.
As the Balmoral area developed, it became the location for many examples of the Federation architectural styles that predominated from 1890 to 1915. There are many fine examples of these styles in the area. Balmoral is also the location of Noonee, a heritage-listed home designed by Alexander Stewart Jolly. The house w.as built 1918-19 and drew on elements of the American hunting lodge.
The Balmoral line opened as a branch of the Georges Heights line in May 1922 and was one of the last tram lines to be opened in Sydney. Services ran to Wynyard, Lane Cove, Athol Wharf (now Taronga Park Zoo wharf) and Chatswood, making it one of the busiest lines on the North Sydney system.
Upon departure from The Esplanade Terminus, at the corner of Mandalong Road, trams travelled south-East along The Esplanade. After passing Botanic Road, the line swung right onto Henry Plunkett Reserve. From this point, the line went off road onto its own reservation through a narrow rock cutting (now public walking track). After a steep ascent through the reserve, the line crossed several small residential streets such as Mulbring, Gordon, Plunkett, and Beaconsfield Streets, before once again entering onto Gordon Street where the line swung right onto Middle Head Road. Services ceased to operate in June 1958.
View towards Sydney Heads from Balmoral Beach
The Star Amphitheatre, an open air temple constructed by the Theosophical Society-related group, the Order of the Star of the East, was built in 1923-1924. Intended as a platform for lectures by the expected "World Teacher", believed by the Theosophists to be Jiddu Krishnamurti, it was demolished in 1951, and its foundations used for an apartment building that still stands on the site. A persistent urban legend in Sydney says that the Amphitheatre was built in anticipation of Jesus Christ's second coming, when it would provide a viewing platform for Christ's walking across the water between Sydney Heads up to the Star Amphitheatre. Some versions of the story include tickets for the spectacle being sold to a gullible public.