Sydney bushland treasure receives heritage recognition

The popular Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, known by locals as Manly Dam, has been listed by the NSW Government on the State Heritage Register.

Minister for Environment and Heritage James Griffin, announcement at Manly Dam

Minister for Heritage James Griffin said the much-loved 375-hectare area is being recognised for its rich environmental, cultural, historical and social values.

"The Manly Warringah War Memorial Park is a bushland treasure that so many people from the Northern Beaches and all around Sydney love as a place to spend time in nature with family and friends," Mr Griffin said.

"The bush here is rich in biodiversity, providing an important urban refuge for more than 300 native plant species, as well as rare and endangered animals like the powerful owl and eastern pygmy possum.

"The park has a long history of use by the Gayamaygal people, with evidence of engraving sites, and the bushland vegetation provided bush tucker and material for a huge range of tools like rope, fishing nets, medicine, shields and canoes.

"This heritage listing will help protect this treasured area and its stories for generations of Sydneysiders to continue enjoying into the future."

The park is home to an early example of impressive water supply engineering, with its rare concrete-walled gravity dam that pioneered wall strengthening methods and technology and was a world first for its time.

The dam was designed and built by NSW Public Works in 1892, playing an important role as an independent water supply scheme for Sydney's Northern Beaches.

The dam and its catchment is the largest example of a 19th century independent water supply system within the Sydney metropolitan area.

The area was established as a War Memorial Park after World War I and a committee of ex-servicemen was given the responsibility of managing the bushland catchment of Manly Dam in about 1920.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said it is a great honour for the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park to have recognition as a treasured, significant place.

"Rich in natural biodiversity and shaped by engineering and science, the dam was once a source of drinking water in Sydney's north," Mr Regan said.

"It remains a special place for veterans, a site rich in Aboriginal cultural significance, a picturesque recreational area and a popular spot for local families."

For more information, visit the Heritage NSW website.