SeaforthLocation: Middle Harbour
Seaforth overlooks Middle Harbour and is linked south to Mosman by the Spit Bridge. To the west, Seaforth overlooks Sugarloaf Bay across to the suburbs of Northbridge, Castlecrag and Castle Cove. The Garigal National Park sits on the northern border. Middle Harbour has few beaches and the shoreline of Seaforth is no exception.
Middle Harbour has few beaches and the shoreline of Seaforth is no exception. There are only two spots for swimming here, both of them quite small on tiny ribbons of sand. A swimming enclosure on the northern side of Pickering Point is accessed via Gurney Crescent. Sangrado Pool is located at the end of Sangrado Street alongside the Seaforth Sailing Club's boatshed.
Seaforth is not far from Military Road, Mosman and its fashion, food and antique temptations. Nearby Manly's lively cafe, restaurant and beachside pub culture, as well as several good galleries, bookshops and antiques stores, are only 3 km from Seaforth, to the East along Sydney Road. The Spit and Clontarf areas below Seaforth, offer quality dining and picnic facilities.
Sangrado Park is a triangular waterside reserve on Peach Tree Bay, Middle Harbour. The walking path to Sangrado saltwater pool holds a special surprise - a picturesque waterfall in a pocket of rainforest. Located beyond the end of Sangrado Street, the falls are located in Sangrado Park, a nature reserve behind a small beach on Powder Hulk Bay. About 50 steps take the walking track down to water level. A playground and open grassed area exists at the top of the reserve enclosed by public road and a scout hall. The name of the park and the street of the same name is probably a reference to the fictional character, Doctor Sangrado, who appeared in the classic novel Gil Blas. A very well-known etching by Gillray shows Doctor Sangrado curing John Bull by bleeding him.
Gallipoli Steps are a flight of stairs linking Battle Boulevard to Edgecliff Esplanade. Originally wooden steps, they were built around the time of World War 1. According to Jack Linton, a long-time Seaforth resident, there were 135 steps. Battle Boulevard, which was also named after the Gallipoli lsnding, was first mentioned in Sands' Directory in 1909. The steps most probably did not exist before the subdivision of Seaforth in circa 1906, and possibly did not exist before the establishment of Edgecliffe Esplanade, which was around 1912, but they may have been in existence for a few years before the events of World War I led to them being called Gallipoli Steps. The Gallipoli operations ended in December 1915. The vew from the top of the 150 steps of Gallipoli Stairs is across Middle Harbour towards The Spit.
Starting at Seaforth Oval this walking track runs parallel to the Wakehurst Parkway to the end of Bantry Bay Road, Forestville. The first half of the walk is along a bush track, the second half follows a service trail. The engravings after which this track is named are on a large rock platform alongside Wakehurst Parkway 400m south of the end of Bantry Bay Road.
These are the most extensive single group of carvings in the Sydney metropolitan area. There are almost 82 figures, including 2 mundoes, people, animals, fish, shields, a canoe, a basket and bag, boomerangs, circles, stone axes and clubs, snakes and a whale.
One group of figures shows two men, one of whom is carrying bark canoes. Other engravings occur in the surrounding bush land but they are not easy to find as they are not marked and often in locations where fallen leaves and other bush debris have covered them. Middens and rock shelters can be seen on the shores of the bay. Tool sharpening grooves have been found near the engravings and creek beds. The engravings are best viewed early morning or around sunset. They have not been maintained or protected from the elements, and now are badly eroded and are difficult to identify in full sun.
In 1826 the first proposals for establishing a Gunpowder Magazine at Goat Island were discussed. Prior to this gunpowder was stored at Fort Philip (current site of the Sydney Observatory) and in an Ordnance Store (also known as the Commissariat Stores) at the west side of Circular Quay. A convict built store was subsequently erected on Goat Island 1833-39, to house the colony's gunpowder supplies. Constructed of sandstone quarried on the island, it is one of the few major public utilities in Sydney that was built by Gov. Richard Bourke.
An explosion of nitro-glycerine in Bridge street, Sydney in 1866, caused Henry Parkes to state a safer solution to such events must be found, however the beginings of storing powder or any explosives further from populated areas, had already been discussed. The solution was to use hulks in the lesser frequented waters of Middle Harbour. Hulks were ships that were afloat, but incapable of going to sea. The term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its float ability.
Powder hulks - floating warehouses which could be moved as needed to simplify the transfer of gunpowder to warships - were very popular in Europe at the time. Their location, away from land, also reduced the possible damage or danger to people from an explosion.
From the late 19th century three powder hulks were anchored in Powder Hulk Bay at Seaforth, hence the bay's name. They were Pride of England, the Behring, and the guard ship Alacrity. They remained here between 1878 and 1919, after which they were moved to Bantry Bay and eventually replaced by shore magazines at Bantry Bay in 1915.
The current Spit Bridge, a higher, 4-lane structure with a single-leaf electrically operated bascule span, replaced the earlier structure in 1949. The bridge raises hourly to let larger craft and yachts in and out of Middle Harbour. As with the previous bridge, increased traffic has turned it into a bottleneck.
In the 1850s, a man named Peter Ellery began rowing passengers across the Spit. He soon began operating a punt that could take horeses and people. He preffered the horses to swim, however, and charged less if they did this alongside the punt. Ellery's punt was unreliable so it was replaced by a Government operated service from 1870. The new punt was no more safe or reliable than Ellery's, in 1888 the punt capsized, with the loss of 8 horses and drays. A steam driven punt guided by steel cables was introduced in 1889.
The original Spit Bridge replaced the punt service in 1924. Described at the time as the ugliest bridge in Sydney, it had a centre span which was raised and lowered by a spider-like maze of girders, pulleys and cables hovering above it and mounted on the adjacent piers. Complete with a roadway, footway and tram tracks, it was built as a temporary measure only, but worked well, even though it was designed and constructed in a space of less than 12 months. Manly Council raised the required money and was given permission to be reimbursed from the collection of tolls after the bridge was built. By 1930 the bridge was paid for, the toll was abolished and control of the bridge was transferred to the Department of Main Roads the same year.
This bridge was a low-level opening timber bridge designed as a temporary measure; it was expected that it would be replaced with a high-level bridge within 20 years. On 5 May 1924 the first pile was ceremoniously driven by the Mayor of Manly, Ald. A.C. Samuels. The bridge was completed and officially opened on 23 December 1924. During the first five days of operation 16,451 vehicles crossed the bridge. The bill for a passenger on a bicycle was one penny and a car cost sixpence. By the 1950s the bridge was no longer adequate as vehicles would queue for over an hour to cross so it was decided to build a new one. It was finally completed and opened in November 1958.
One of Sydney's classic and most popular walks, it follows a well-maintained track that passes through Clontarf Beach, and provides beautiful views over Middle Harbour. The pathway is great for both major exercise, or just a stroll along the shoreline of Sydney Harbour, as it can be walked in one go or in sections. Highlights include Middle Harbour; Clontarf Beach; Grotto Point; Crater Cove; Arabanoo Lookout; Dobroyd Head; Fairlight Beach. Duration: 4 hours. Distance: 9km. Grade: easy/moderate.
The neighbouring suburb of Balgowlah is located 12 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district. Balgowlah was named in 1832 after an Aboriginal word meaning north harbour in reference to its position from Port Jackson. In the early days of European Settlement it had been known as Little Manly. Sir Edmund Barton, Australia's first prime minister, resided in the building known as Whitehall in White Street. Since 2004, Whitehall has been the site of the Norwegian Seamen's Church.
The North Harbour Reserve on Condamine Street, south of the shopping centre, is a popular picnic spot for large groups. The reserve is also on the scenic walk that runs from Manly through Fairlight, Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights and Clontarf to The Spit, near the Spit Bridge. Balgowlah is one of the destinations for the Hop-Skip-Jump free bus service operated by Northern Beaches Council. Numerous public buses also operate in the area, the majority coming through Balgowlah en route to Manly, Warringah Mall, Seaforth and the city.
Garigal National Park sits on the northern border of Seaforth. The Park encompasses the upper reaches of Middle Harbour Creek on the northern outskirts of suburban Sydney. The Park is comprised of a series of valleys through which creeks trickle and cascade into sparkling rock pools on their way to Sydney Harbour. A maze of fire trails and walking tracks make access easy to all but the most isolated sections of the park. Stepped sandstone ridges guard the valleys and provide numerous vantage points.
Lower Frenchs Creek Falls
Frenchs Creek Falls, Belrose: After Oxford Falls, a pair of waterfalls on the upper reaches of Frenchs Creek at Belrose would have to be the most visually stunning of all waterfalls of the inner Sydney metropolitan area after rain. Located off the badly eroded Frenchs Creek Walking Track in Garigal National Park, they consist of a pair of giant steps a hundred or so metres apart over which the creek flows on its way from the top of the escarpment into the valley below. Access to the top of each falls is good, however for the best view (from the rock pools at their base) one has to struggle down a steep, rugged hillside while pushing through dense undergrowth. This is quite dangerous, especially after rain when the foliage overhead and ground underfoot is damp, slippery and unstable. Unfortunately, this is when the falls are at their most spectacular. Access is via the walking track at the end of Wannita Road, Belrose. UBD Map 156 Ref B 13
The Cascades, Forestville: The Cascades are located in Davidson Park in the northern part of Garigal National Park, which is the most isolated. They are a series of beautiful rock pools at the junction of French's Creek and Middle Harbour Creek. The waters from Middle Harbour Creek enter the pools in a giant shallow sheet trickling over flat, water-smoothed rock paving. Upstream, Bare Creek flows over a series of splendid waterfalls but they are difficult to reach. Access is by a series of walking tracks and fire trails from the following entry points: Douglas Street (East), St. Ives; McIntosh Lookout, Mona Vale Road; Wyatt Avenue, Belrose; Ralston Avenue, Belrose; Stone Parade, Davidson.
UBD Map 155 Ref L 11
Bare Creek Falls: The Bare Creek and Heath Tracks in the north-eastern section of Garigal National Park meet near a series of small waterfalls and cascades on Bare Creek. Access to these falls and a series of others further upstream is difficult these days as the section of Bare Creek Track alongside the creek's upper reaches is overgrown to the point of then being almost unreachable. The Heath Track from Ralston Avenue, Belrose is the recommended access point to this part of the park.
Seaforth is located 12 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of Manly Council and is part of the Northern Beaches region. Because of its isolation, Seaforth remained undeveloped for many years. The hulks of ships that were no longer seaworthy were moored in Powder Hulk Bay for the storage of gunpowder. The first subdivision and auction of land took place here under the name of Seaforth Estate in November 1906, after which time an alternative was sought for the anchoring of the powder hulks. Seaforth was named after Loch Seaforth and Seaforth Island in Scotland. The land in this area was once owned by Henry Halloran, who subdivided it in 1906.