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History & Heritage


The Guringai people had lived in Pittwater for thousands of years when Europeans arrived in 1788 and soon displaced them. From 1810 Aboriginal lands were given to pardoned convicts and free settlers. Some land was cleared for cultivation and to provide timber for building and fuel. Later in the century Pittwater became a farming district, grazing sheep, cattle, horses and pigs and producing butter, milk, vegetables, fruit and wheat.

Pittwater was isolated and reached mainly by ship to Barrenjoey and after 1880 to Newport. The earliest land explorations followed Aboriginal tracks. Over the years a rough bush road was established from Manly, along the coast to Narrabeen. By the early 1880s a bridge spanned the ford at Narrabeen. Travellers by coach paused at the Rock Lily Hotel in Mona Vale (which opened in 1886), and then continued northwest to Bayview and Church Point, or northeast for Newport and Barrenjoey. By 1913 trams replaced coaches to Narrabeen. From there passengers could take a bus north. After The Spit (1925), Roseville (1925) and Sydney Harbour (1932) Bridges were opened, the Pittwater peninsula was more easily reached. Cars opened up travel. People built holiday shacks, often only occupied for a few weeks a year.

However since the 1950s, Pittwater has become predominantly residential in character and is a suburban region of Sydney.

'Pittwater Rising' - The Making of Pittwater Council

Pittwater Rising is a tale of commitment, vigorous campaigning, colourful Councillors and compromise. To read the birth of Pittwater Council and the first ten years is to read of challenge upon challenge - to the landscape, to self-government, and to maintaining a peaceful life in a fast-paced city.