A broad wharf supported on timber piers and with a concrete platform. The superstructure is constructed of steel and timber. The facade and side walls form an important architectural design, similar to the Circular Quay ferry terminals. (Blackmore, Ashton, Higginbotham, Rich, Burton, Maitland, Pike, 1985).
The original part of the wharf was built in a modernistic transport idiom, with typical stylistic features of era including play of circular and rectangular geometric terms, bayed facade to the water (marine connotations), wide arc plan at entrance, clock tower with "fins", flat roofing marked by wide fascia board. The current entrance was originally designed as a tram terminus and turning area. Timber clad framed structure opening and large internal spaces, concrete deck to west enclosed by "ship" railing. Some original shop fittings, signage etc. Subjected to major alterations to the wharf wings involving a T-shaped clerestorey (Stapleton, 1981).
Additions to the wharf include the hydrofoil pontoon c1968, and the more recent elevated platforms for new ferries. (Blackmore, Ashton, Higginbotham, Rich, Burton, Maitland, Pike 1985)
Extensive refurbishment in 1990. (Anglin 1990:2033)
First wharf constructed in 1856 on the same site as the present wharf. (Anglin 1990:2033). Lumby (2016) says the date was 1855, and the wharf was built by English-born merchant and Manly enthusiast, Henry Gilbert Smith, who envisaged the place as a seaside resort. Smith bought up land in 1853 and eventually acquired an interest in steam ferries serving the locality. As well as building a house known as 'Fairlight', Smith was responsible for cottages, a hotel, church, school, pleasure grounds and swimming baths. He also had much to do with planting the first Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla) on the ocean front (Lumby, 2016, 1).
Improvements were made to the wharf in the first half of the 20th century. These were swept away at the end of the inter-war era after the Maritime Services Board decided to construct an 'imposing' new wharf during 1938 following several years of local agitation. A fire at the wharf in 1939 precipitated further action (ibid, 2016, 2).
The MSB engaged gifted young modernist architect Arthur Baldwinson (1908-68), not long after his return from several years working in England, to design major reconstructions of the ferry wharves at Manly and Circular Quay (ibid, 2016, 2)
The wharf was built in a modernistic transport idiom with typical stylistic features of era such as play of circular and rectangular geometric terms, bayed facade to the water (marine connotations), wide arc plan at entrance, clock tower with "fins," flat roofing marked by wide fascia board. The current entrance was originally designed as a tram terminus and turning area. The structure was subjected to major alterations to the wharf wings involving a T-shaped clerestorey. (Stapleton, 1981).
The Manly wharf was completed in 1941 (ibid, 2016, 2).