Northern Beaches Thematic History

Thematic History

Northern Beaches Council

Northern Beaches, NSW

The Northern Beaches Council was formed in 2017 through the amalgamation of Pittwater, Manly and Warringah councils. GML was engaged by the new council to undertake a Thematic History in 2020.

Typically, a thematic history is prepared when a comprehensive heritage study is being undertaken for an area. The history is then used to provide a framework for investigating and identifying heritage items.

This thematic history was different. Its purpose was to consolidate and update existing thematic histories, providing a collated thematic history for the whole amalgamated area of the Northern Beaches. It provides a foundation for future heritage conservation and management decisions and will be used when Northern Beaches Council undertakes a heritage review in the future.

GML undertook an extensive review of key research collections and resources from the local studies centres of three former government areas that now comprise the amalgamated Northern Beaches Local Government Area. We also undertook research from collections at State Library of NSW, National Library of Australia’s Trove and the Aboriginal Heritage Office and consulted local stakeholders.

The new thematic history encompasses the following themes: natural environment, Aboriginal cultural heritage, isolation, settlement, suburbanisation, leisure and tourism, and Northern Beaches today.

Based on the content developed for the Thematic History, Northern Beaches Council local studies will develop an accompanying exhibition of archival material and invite community to reflect on the stories that shaped their area.

Stewart House swimming class at South Curl Curl Pool, 1935. (Source: Hood Collection, State Library of NSW, Home and Away – 1598)



Duke and unknown woman tandem surfing, 1916 (Source: Northern Beaches Council Library).