A Day Out At Bondi

Bondi Beach From a postcard, circa 1905

Bondi Beach
From a postcard, circa 1905

With the weather hotting up recently in Sydney, many residents and visitors alike will be flocking to Sydney’s beautiful beaches, the most famous of which is Bondi. Yet Sydney’s beaches, including Bondi, have long been popular family destinations, especially on a hot day! In this post, we explore the early history of the beach.

In the early 1800s, swimming at Sydney beaches was banned, because of fears of sharks and stingrays, and of course, decorum, but by the 1830s, sea bathing was a popular activity, despite being officially banned during daylight hours. By 1851 though, the beautiful stretch of Bondi beach was in private hands, with the land fronting the beach being part of ‘The Bondi Estate’, owned by Edward Smith Hall and Francis O’Brien. By 1877 O’Brien had purchased Halls share of the land, renaming it “O’Brien Estate” and making the area around the beach itself available to the public as a picnic spot and pleasure resort.

With the increasing popularity of Bondi beach, and the increasing numbers of people brought to the area, O’Brien repeatedly threatened to close off public access to his beach. The Municipal Council of Waverly (the second Municipal Council established in Sydney) felt that the Government needed to intervene to make Bondi Beach a public reserve and in June of 1882 Bondi was finally declared a public beach.

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