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Main Content

Local History

Visit the library to view Pittwater Local Studies collection which includes:

  • Photographs - over 5000 images with some available via our Pittwater Image Library
  • Oral Histories - individuals' life experiences, transport and the environment
  • Newspaper articles - from 1986 to date
  • Local Newspapers & The Manly Daily - from 1959 to date
  • Council Publications - management plans, heritage studies, environmental & annual reports
  • Council Minutes - Warringah Council from 1906 to May 1992;  Pittwater Council from May 1992 to date
  • Electoral Roll - Pittwater area from 1903 to 2004
  • Maps - historical and contemporary
  • Books & Journals - available for reference and loan

Contact the Local History Collection Staff for help, further information or with historical information on 9970 1607 or 9970 1613.

Pittwater's Past

"... the finest piece of Water I ever saw, and which I honored with the name of Pitt Water ..." Governor Phillip, dispatch, 1788

“The bygone days of beautiful Pittwater, its early residents whose children are scattered far and wide, its farms and orchards, its ships and fisheries, are fading from the memory even of those who call it home, and it seems likely that it will soon be only a playground for the city whose youthful needs it toiled hard to supply.”
Maybanke Anderson, “The Story of Pittwater”, 1920

Read more about Pittwater's past >>  

Collection Highlight


The Library has been extremely fortunate to have received, through community fundraising efforts, a copy of the book ‘Mackerel Beach...A Winters Tale’ by Peter Kingston.

Peter is a Sydney artist who was inspired to create this book following a winter stay at Mackerel Beach a few years ago.The book contains a number of original lino cut prints with accompanying stories and drawings mainly to do with a community trying to live in harmony with the wild inhabitants of a protected national park. 

Peter Kingston has established a reputation as one of the most intriguing Australian artists of his generation. His work is featured in the Museum of Sydney, the Australian National Gallery, Parliament House and the State Library of New South Wales.

If you would like to view this valuable book please ring and make an appointment with our Local Studies staff on 9970 1600.

The Pittwater Secession

Over a period of 25 years there was an intermittent campaign for this area to become a separate local government area. This ‘Pittwater movement’, it is said, increased the sense of ‘being different and united’, and eventually led to the secession - the first in NSW for almost 100 years - of this area from Warringah Shire, and the establishment of a new local government area.

Read more about the Pittwater Secession >> 

History of Libraries in Pittwater

An interesting historical account of libraries in the Pittwater area.

Read more about the History of Libraries in Pittwater >>

On a Shoestring

An initiative of SHOROC - On a Shoestring is an Oral history project between Pittwater, Warringah, Manly and Mosman councils and also partially funded by the Library Council of NSW. The history of the Northern Beaches and Mosman during the Depression is currently being digitally recorded by a team from the University of Technology, Sydney. The recordings will be transferred to CD-ROM and will eventually be available to the public for reference.

Visit the On a Shoestring site >> 

The Manly Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society

The Manly Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society was established in 1924, and is one of the oldest suburban historical societies in Australia, with a continuous record of achievement and research.

Visit The Manly Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society site >>