Stories from Manly's past - local history from Manly Library.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
This postcard view of Manly Wharf was probably taken from the top floor of the Montreaux flats in Commonwealth Parade. It gives a slightly different angle on the Wharf than other postcard views I've seen, and is of interest for the view it gives of Osborne Road, Darley Road and Cliff Street.
It has been a puzzle to try to put a date to the image. It certainly pre-dates 1930, because the Cargo Wharf has yet to be converted into the Manly Fun Pier. Could it be earlier than 1920? There are very few apartment blocks to be seen, such as the well-known Beaumaris Flats, the Waterhouse and Lake block at 30 Cliff Street, constructed c1918. One block which can be seen is 'Alton', in East Esplanade, with its distinctive pyramidal tower, which was built c1916. The grand houses of Osborne Road, 'Hirondelle' and 'Stancombe' show no signs of having verandahs infilled or other conversion.
Another indicator is the lack of vehicular traffic - there is a car parked outside 'Elsmere' on the corner of East Esplanade and Wentworth Street, probably the car of Dr David Thomas, whose consulting rooms were in Elsmere. Otherwise, apart from the horse and cart on the cargo wharf - no, there are two - not much is stirring. Yet it's mid-afternoon, if the wharf clock is to be trusted. A lone fisherman perches at the very end of the ferry wharf. Lazy days.
Thanks to John Morcombe for allowing us to scan this image.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
St Aubin's Hospital
A Manly doctor, Dr Harold Graves Bennetts, started St Aubin's Private Hospital in early 1909 to cater for the growing market of those prescribed sea air and convalescent care. Under the matron, Mrs Geraldine Downing, St Aubin's ran for about twenty years as a convalescent hospital, but to begin with also took some maternity cases.
It was a two-storey building, with Bangor slate roof. It stood at (then) 75 North Steyne, on the northern corner with Steinton Street. The hospital conatined an operating theatre and seven rooms for convalescents. It ran as a hospital until circa 1926, when Matron Downing died, and was still owned by the Downing family thereafter. The building was demolished to make way for the landmark Trident high-rise apartments in the late 1960s.
In 1911 the hospital featured in a sensational case. During a quarrel with his wife Ellen on North Steyne beach, a labourer named Matthew Dunning, 32, produced a revolver and shot her at point-blank range. He was standing over her, poised to take a second shot, when a passer-by, Charles Thompson from Young, NSW, threw himself on Dunning and grappled with him, causing him to drop the weapon. Dunning broke free, produced a small bottle of poison, and drank the contents, expiring on the spot.
Mrs Dunning was taken to the nearest hospital, which happened to be St Aubin's. Dr Graves Bennetts operated to remove the bullet. Incredibly, Ellen Dunning, who was described as a quiet, hard-working housemaid, survived the murderous attack. Unfortunately Charles Thompson does not appear to have been recognised for his gallantry in preventing her certain murder.
Monday, August 08, 2011
The Boanerges, 1857
This is one of the inscriptions cut into the rock at the Quarantine Station, North Head. It commemorates the period of quarantine undergone by passengers from the ship Boanerges, in 1857.
The Boanerges left from Liverpool on 15th July 1857 for Sydney, under Captain William Skeene. On board were 475 Government immigrants: 70 married couples, 109 married men, 121 single women, 48 boys and 58 girls. Most of the immigrants were from Cambridgeshire and the English Midlands. There was also cargo on board worth more than seven thousand pounds.
On the voyage, three children died - of 'coup de soleil' (heatstroke), diarrhoea and bronchitis. Six babies were born. One of the children born was given the distinctive name William Boanerges Muggleton; he died at Carcoar in 1941.
The passage took 99 days, and, as noted on the inscription, the Boanerges entered Sydney Harbour on 21 October 1857. Because there was scarlet fever on board, she was obliged to enter quarantine. The passengers and crew were landed at the Quarantine Station while the ship and their belongings were disinfected and washed. Their period of quarantine, only six days, was relatively short, but was filled with drama, because on 23 October, the Catherine Adamson was wrecked on North Head, with the loss of 21 lives. One body came ashore at the Quarantine Station, and was buried by the crew of the Boanerges.
At a subsequent inquiry into the wreck, it was suggested that if one of the pilot boats had come to Spring Cove and raised the alarm, the Boanerges could have put out to sea and would have been on hand to rescue the passengers from the Catherine Adamson, but alas, this was not done. When the women from the Boanerges were taken out of quarantine into Sydney, the vessel which took them down the harbour was also carrying the bodies of those who had perished in the wreck. The emotions of the women can only be guessed at. With this background, the inscription above can be read as a poignant expression of thanksgiving at having survived the perils of the long sea voyage.
The immigrants were in demand, particularly with the harvest season approaching. Married couples, it was stated, could earn 60 shillings a week. There was great need of agricultural workers and mechanics, and the single women found ready employment as domestic servants.
Boanerges left Sydney on 2 December 1857, bound for Callao. She left behind several deserters, who, when apprehended, were each sentenced to ten or twelve weeks' hard labour.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
"You go first."
"No, both together."
"All right then. One... two... threeeeee!"
Seeing this late 1930s postcard view of the diving tower at Manly's Harbour Pool, I'm struck by the crowds on the beach. You could probably dive all day without drawing attention, but as soon as a dive went horribly wrong hundreds of spectators would hear! Belly-flop!
I wonder if any of these young daredevils went on to fly Spitfires in World War Two?