In 1787, Captain Arthur Phillip of the Royal Navy left England with a fleet of ships to establish a colony in New South Wales, He was to be it's first Governor. In January 1788, the fleet arrived at its destination, Botany Bay, which was found to be unsuitable for settlement.
So, on 21 January, Phillip with others travelled north and examined Port Jackson, so named by Captain James Cook in 1770.
They spent three days exploring Port Jackson and Phillip, impressed by the "confidence and manly behaviour" of a group of aborigines in the northern reaches of the harbour, called the place 'Manly Cove.'
Captain John Hunter's 1788 sketch of North Arm placed Manly Cove at the western end of North Harbour, Collins Cove being the name originally given to what is Manly Cove today.
An early map of about 1822 shows a plan of a proposed township of Manly. Certainly the quiet waters of North Harbour would have afforded greater protection for the small boats that were the only link with Sydney during that period.
From the early 1820's scattered settlement began in the Manly Cove and North Harbour areas.
Henry Gilbert Smith, an English businessman living in Sydney saw that Manly - with an ocean beach on one side and fine sandy cove on the other - could provide a great 'watering place' for the people of Sydney, as Brighton did for Londoners.
He started acquiring land in the area in the 1850's.
Norfold Island Pines were planted along the harbour foreshore and in 1855 Smith had a pier constructed a litttle east of the Manly Wharf, the Pier Hotel was built and The Corso was cleared linking the harbour with the ocean beach.
Smith encouraged the growth of a ferry service to Manly. Excursion trips were available and by 1856 there was a daily ferry service. In 1859 Smith acquired the steamer 'Phantom' specifically for the Manly to Sydney run.
Henry Gilbert Smith did many other beneficial things for the new community, including donating land so that parks, churches, schools and other buildings could be established.
Manly achieved its own seat of Local Government when the municipality was incorporated on 6th January, 1877.
Manly was very much a village then and while many things have changed over the past 125 years, Manly is still affectionately referred to as 'The Village.'
The Corso is an area with many restaurants and shops, it links Manly Wharf (Ferry departure) to Ocean Beach with just a short walk. There are also beautiful scenic walks along Ocean Beach from North Steyne to Fairy Bower and from North Steyne to Queenscliff.
On the cove side of Manly along West Esplanade there is a Harbour walk that you can take which goes all the way around Fairlight to Forty Baskets Beach. The views are spectacular. I'm sure the first settlers must have thought they had arrived in paradise when they first came across this area.
If you would like to read more about Manly and see some beautiful pictures of the area here is a great web-site.
http://www.manlyweb.com.au/information/ ... istory.asp