1927 Seaside Camps Long Reef

The 1927 photo shows the dirt road passing the Golf Club to Fisherman’s Beach and camping area. It shows a car and tent next to a line of newly planted Norfolk Pines inside tree guards. Families would drive out from Sydney for the day or weekend to picnic, walk and fish around Long Reef.


1927 Photo Long Reef Golf Club

In the distance are the fishermen’s huts where fishermen camped in their huts beside their boats. Some built small huts in which to stay overnight or for several days. Eventually there were about seven, and at least three became permanent homes for their “owners”. Because this was illegal there is little in the way of official records – see painting below.

The earliest record of camping is a 1901 census. It indicated several people were camping at Long Reef although there is no indication they were fishermen. Arthur Bayer was camping at a place called Collaroy Cottage with two families, John James was camping in two tents with two females and another male.

1912 the land was resumed for Public Recreation and first called Long Reef Point but later named Griffith Park. A special three acre site just for “Seaside Camps” was included in the park, just to the right of the photo. Camping permits were advertised in The Manly Daily in 1919 for a fee of 2s 6d per tent per week, payable to the Warringah Council office at Brookvale.

A local identity Patsy McConnell remembers solders from an Artillery Battery camped on Long Reef during the WW2. Patsy was a regular visitor to the Basin and remembers roaming over Long Reef looking for rabbits caught in traps set by her. During the war meat was rationed.

painting walter gorspainting geoff townshend
Left: Painting by Walter Gors of the hut he built
Right: Painting by Geoff Townshend of another hut

Article by Peter Miller, October 2011