This week, with the terrible storms and Narrabeen being featured in the news, it seemed a perfect time to turn attention to the area. The Past Present has just one image of Narrabeen in the collection, an image of Narrabeen Bridge taken in circa 1910 and featured on a postcard. The bridge featured on the card is quite different to the one people recognise today though!
Aboriginal people had used the area around Narrabeen Lagoon for thousands of years, and everything they needed to survive was available in the area, from food to materials needed to make tools. In the late 1700s though, European colonists discovered the area. At the time, the lagoon had abundant seagrass, healthy wetlands, clear waters and abundant fish and bird life. The area was renowned for its beauty even a century later, when many land grants and rural development had significantly altered the landscape. Many people visited to picnic, swim or go boating in the deeper sections. Yet despite this popularity, visitors had to ford the lagoon if they wanted to reach the other side. Then, in the early 1880s (the date seems to differ, depending on the source) a bridge was opened. This bridge was wooden and really quite picturesque, but the 1920s it was insufficient for the number of people who wanted to cross the lagoon, on foot or by vehicle.
In 1925 a second, newer bridge was built at the mouth of the lagoon, but the wooden bridge remained. In 1946 a design for a sturdier, concrete bridge was made, though the wooden bridge was not actually replaced until 1954.