Manly Council

Manly Council was a local government area on the northern beaches region of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, first incorporated in 1877. On 12 May 2016, the Minister for Local Government announced that Manly Council would be subsumed into the newly formed Northern Beaches Council.[2] The last Mayor of Manly Council was Cr. Jean Hay AM, a member of the Liberal Party.

Manly Council
New South Wales
Location in Metropolitan Sydney
Coordinates33°48′S 151°17′E
Population39,747 (2011 census)[1]
 • Density2,649.8/km2 (6,863/sq mi)
Established6 January 1877
Abolished12 May 2016
Area15 km2 (5.8 sq mi)
MayorJean Hay AM
Council seatManly Town Hall
RegionNorthern Beaches
ParishManly Cove
WebsiteManly Council
LGAs around Manly Council:
Ku-ring-gai Warringah
Willoughby Manly Council Tasman Sea
Mosman Sydney Harbour

Suburbs in the local government area


Manly was first incorporated on 6 January 1877 as the Municipal District of Manly, and met for the first time on 15 February 1877, when the first mayor was elected, Thomas Rowe.[3] The council first met in temporary premises including the original Ivanhoe Hotel in Ivanhoe Park, until 1909, and from then on Llangollen, the former mansion of William Howard Rolfe at the end of the Corso, served as the new council chambers.[4] There were no wards until October 1890 when the council petitioned to be divided into three wards, which was proclaimed in December 1890: The Steyne Ward to the north, Fairlight Ward to the southeast and Wentworth Ward to the east.[5][6]

Manly was the only local government authority on the Northern Beaches until the proclamation of Warringah Shire in 1906, with the Burnt Bridge Creek forming the northern boundary with Warringah. From 1906 the council became the Municipality of Manly. In August 1909, the council petitioned for the abolition of wards in favour of one at-large electorate, which was subsequently proclaimed.[7][8] In 1918, seven of the council’s alderman who had accepted free ferry passes from the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company were charged and found guilty by a magistrate of contravening the Local Government Act and disqualified to act as aldermen. As the council only had a total of nine alderman, there was a period when the council did not have quorum and therefore did not function. The convictions were overturned on appeal.[9]

In April 1927, Alderman Alfred Reid passed through a motion to petition the NSW Government for upgrading Manly to City status.[10] This petition was rejected by Minister for Local Government Eric Spooner in May 1938, citing that Manly did not fulfill the requirements of such a status.[11] In response, Mayor Aubrey Hanson-Norman upheld Manly's arguments for such a petition: "We have a population of about 10,000 and the revenue including the electricity undertaking is £180,000 [...] Geographically too, Manly is more or less separated from other parts of the metropolitan area."[12] After a long and protracted debate over the construction of a purpose-built town hall, in February 1937 the old Town Hall had been demolished and a Neo-Georgian revival Town Hall by Samuel Reginald Maisey of the prominent local firm Trenchard Smith & Maisey, which served as the seat of the council until 2016.[13]

From 1951 to 1980, the Mackellar County Council operated on the Northern Beaches as an electricity and gas supplier and retailer as a joint operation of Manly Municipal Council and Warringah Shire Council.[14] The council became known as Manly Council on 1 July 1993 following the enactment of the Local Government Act, 1993 which also stipulated that the term 'Town Clerk' be replaced with 'General Manager' and 'Alderman' be replaced by 'Councillor'.

2016 amalgamation proposal

A 2015 review of local government boundaries by the NSW Government Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal recommended that the Manly Council merge with adjoining councils. The government considered two proposals. The first proposed a merger of Manly and Mosman Councils and parts of Warringah Council to form a new council with an area of 49 square kilometres (19 sq mi) and support a population of approximately 153,000.[15]

The alternative, proposed by Warringah Council on 23 February 2016, was for an amalgamation of the Pittwater, Manly and Warringah councils, which was proclaimed as the Northern Beaches Council on 12 May 2016.[16]


At the 2011 Census, there were 39,747 people in the Manly local government area, of these 48.8% were male and 51.2% were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 0.3% of the population. The median age of people in the Manly Council area was 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 18.9% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 13.5% of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 48.5% were married and 10.3% were either divorced or separated.[1]

Population growth in the Manly Council area between the 2001 Census and the 2006 Census was 1.55% and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 Census, population growth was 7.11%. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78% and 8.32% respectively, population growth in the Manly local government area was lower than the national average.[17] The median weekly income for residents within the Manly Council area was significantly higher than the national average.[1][18]

Selected historical census data for Manly local government area
Census year2001[17]2006[18]2011[1]
PopulationEstimated residents on Census night36,54437,11039,747
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales57
% of New South Wales population0.57%
% of Australian population0.19% 0.19% 0.18%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
top responses
(other than English)
French0.8% 0.9 1.1%
German0.8% 0.8% 1.0%
Italian0.8% 0.8% 0.9%
Greek0.9% 0.9% 0.8%
Spanishn/cn/c 0.8%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
No religion17.5% 20.9% 27.8%
Catholic24.2% 25.0% 25.0%
Anglican26.4% 25.0% 22.6%
Presbyterian and Reformed4.0% 3.5% 2.9%
Uniting Church4.4% 3.4% 2.8%
Median weekly incomes
Personal incomeMedian weekly personal incomeA$790A$985
% of Australian median income169.5%170.7%
Family incomeMedian weekly family incomeA$1,705A$2,649
% of Australian median income166.0%178.9%
Household incomeMedian weekly household incomeA$2,262A$2,221
% of Australian median income193.2%180.0%


Final composition and election method

Manly Council was composed of nine Councillors, including the Mayor, for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor was directly elected from 1995 to 2016 while the eight other Councillors were elected proportionally as one ward. The last election was held on 8 September 2012, and the final makeup of the Council, including the Mayor, was as follows:[19][20]

  Jean Hay Liberal Mayor 1999–2004, 2008–2016[20]
  James Griffin Liberal Deputy Mayor 2015–2016
  Barbara Aird Manly Independents Deputy Mayor 2005–2006
  Candy Bingham Independent Elected to Northern Beaches Council Manly Ward, 2017.
  Adele Heasman Liberal Deputy Mayor 2013–2014
  Alan Le Surf Liberal Deputy Mayor 2011–2013
  Steve Pickering Liberal Deputy Mayor 2014–2015
  Cathy Griffin The Greens
  Hugh Burns Manly Independents

Council seal

Manly was the first council on the northern beaches, being incorporated in 1877, but it is not known when it adopted the council seal. The image of two indigenous men standing by the shore watching the approach of the first Europeans to visit Manly in 1788, has been modified several times over the decades, with the earliest found version dating from 1905.[21] This image is a direct reference to the naming of "Manly" by the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip, who visited on 21 January 1788, who noted that the "[Manly aboriginals'] confidence and manly behaviour induced me to give the name Manly Cove to this place".[22]

In 1952 the new Mackellar County Council commissioned the President of the Manly and Warringah District Historical Society, Percy Walter Gledhill, to design a council seal and Gledhill's design included this image.[22]

A later Manly council seal from 1913 omitted the approaching Europeans, but they returned in the last version, which was designed by Susan Hammond and introduced in 1990.[21]

Sister cities

Manly had sister city relationships with a number of cities around the world:[23]

Manly also had three friendship cities:


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Manly (A)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  2. "Northern Beaches Council". Government of New South Wales. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  3. "Government Gazette Proclamations and Legislation". New South Wales Government Gazette (13). New South Wales, Australia. 10 January 1877. p. 119. Retrieved 26 November 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "MANLY TOWN HALL". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 25 November 1910. p. 13. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. "MANLY MUNICIPALITY.—PETITION FOR DIVISION INTO WARDS". New South Wales Government Gazette (608). New South Wales, Australia. 27 October 1890. p. 8281. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Government Gazette Proclamations and Legislation". New South Wales Government Gazette (741). New South Wales, Australia. 23 December 1890. p. 9833. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "WARD DIVISIONS OF MANLY". Evening News (13, 159). New South Wales, Australia. 12 August 1909. p. 2. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "ABOLITION OF THE WARD SYSTEM". The Sydney Morning Herald (22, 336). New South Wales, Australia. 17 August 1909. p. 5. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  9. George and Shelagh Champion (April 2003). "Manly Council Local Studies Collection – The Ferry Pass Scandal" (PDF). Retrieved 26 January 2008.
  10. "FROM VILLAGE TO CITY STATUS". Evening News (18660). New South Wales, Australia. 13 April 1927. p. 18. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "CITY STATUS". The Sydney Morning Herald (31, 306). New South Wales, Australia. 4 May 1938. p. 15. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "MANLY'S CLAIM TO BE CITY". The Sydney Morning Herald (31, 517). New South Wales, Australia. 5 January 1939. p. 10. Retrieved 23 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION. Manly Council: New Offices. Modern Building". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 16 February 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  14. "3488 Mackellar County Council". State Records Archives Investigator. NSW State Records. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  15. "Merger proposal: Manly Council, Mosman Municipal Council, Warringah Council (part)" (PDF). Government of New South Wales. January 2016. p. 8. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  16. Warringah Council (23 February 2016). "Manly, Pittwater and Warringah councils Proposal" (PDF). Government of New South Wales. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  17. Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Manly (A)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  18. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Manly (A)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  19. "Manly Council: Summary of First Preference and Group Votes for each Candidate". Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  20. "Manly Council – Mayoral Election". Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  21. Morcombe, John (11 August 2017). "Aboriginal men, flannel flower and mangrove tree features of earlier versions of council motifs". Manly Daily. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  22. Mackellar County Council Annual Report, 1952.
  23. "Sister City Program". Community Services. Manly Council. 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
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