Is it a lake or just a lagoon? The history of Narrabeen

Is it a lake or just a lagoon? The history of Narrabeen

Narrabeen is one of the most desirable postcodes on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, partly because it is home to the famous Narrabeen Lagoon. This gives residents the best of both worlds, with access to a tranquil, lake-like setting as well as the nearby beach.

We say lake-like because you can’t call the lagoon a lake! Here’s why, plus we delve into some interesting information about this iconic suburb.

All About Narrabeen Lagoon

  • Lake or lagoon?

Its proximity to and connection to the sea makes Narrabeen’s major body of water a lagoon, not a lake.

A lake is a body of water, far from the ocean and fed by a river or other tributary.

A lagoon, on the other hand, is a shallow body of water connected to the ocean in some way. At times a sandbank may block a lagoon from the sea, but if you have been down to the seaside you will see that Narrabeen Lagoon is usually connected to the ocean at the North Narrabeen Rockpool.

Narrabeen Lagoon is one of four lagoons on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The other three are Curl Curl, Dee Why and Manly lagoons. All are equally worth a visit and are great spots for picnics and dog walking (remember to take your bathers and a towel).

  • Dredging the lagoon

Narrabeen locals know the lagoon has to be regularly dredged.

Regular dredging helps to remove build-ups of sludge and other debris. Completing this job helps keep the lagoon waters clear and stops any unpleasant smell from building up and wafting across the suburb.

Dredging also helps to keep the water level from rising too high and threatening the many houses on the shoreline.

The history of Narrabeen

  • Why Narrabeen?

There are myths of the name Narrabeen coming from:

– A corruption of ‘narrow bean’ (a few cafes have used this as a play on words over the years)

– A tall tale of convicts, theft, attempted murder

– An Aboriginal chief’s daughter named Narrabeen (you can read the story about Narrabeen as told in the Daily Telegraph)

The truth about this suburb’s name is very simple.

‘Narrabeen’ is the name the local Indigenous population gave to the stream that connects the lagoon to the ocean, so European settlers adopted the name for the area.

  • Aboriginal Narrabeen

Before European settlement, it is likely the Narrabeen lagoon was a popular seasonal refuge for Indigenous Australians. They would have enjoyed catching fish and reaping the other many benefits of the wetlands. Wetlands have significance to Aborigional culture as ceremonial and initiation sites, traditional hunting and gathering grounds and as boundary markers.

After 1788, the area gradually became a haven for Koori people, and their Aboriginal town camp remained at Narrabeen Lagoon as late as the 1950s. Sadly, the tiny town camp was demolished in the late 1950s. It had been the last remaining Aboriginal settlement on the Northern Beaches.

  • Narrabeen ‘Gestapo’

As far-fetched as it sounds, Narrabeen was home to a small cadre of German spies before World War II. German agents occupied a small cottage in the bush behind Narrabeen, near Deep Creek. They used it as a base to gather information about Australian coastal defenses and shipping practices. The government became aware but was unable to do anything at first. But when war broke out, they were finally able to send the Germans packing.

You can read more about the German Spies in Narrabeen.

  • The Manly – Narrabeen tram

In the 1910s, an ambitious tramline connected Manly to Narrabeen. This last section of the tram line operated for only a quarter of a century, and helped Narrabeen became a significant destination as the last stop on the tram line. There were plans to extend the tram further but eventually the tram was replaced by double decker buses – like the B-line we have today.

The tram line and the access it gave to Sydneysiders would have played a vital part in making Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches the thriving holiday destination it is today.

If you’d like to experience one of the original trams, you can order food and drinks at The Tram Shed Cafe at 1395a Pittwater Road, Narrabeen, and sit inside a tram to enjoy them. You can also see lots of historical tram photos on their website.

  • A holiday destination

By the 1950s, Narrabeen had become a popular destination where Sydneysiders holidayed in the summer months. It still fulfills this role today, as a summertime stroll along the lagoon by the ever-popular Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park will attest.

In fact, the Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park has a long and storied history itself, being Sydney’s oldest council-owned holiday park. For close to 100 years, Sydneysiders and other visitors have enjoyed camping on the shores of the Narrabeen lagoon, and there’s no sign that they will be stopping soon.

Narrabeen continues to thrive

As one of the postcode 2101’s most popular suburbs, Narrabeen is still popular with visitors but has evolved into a mainly residential suburb where couples settle to raise their families. The postcode includes cafes, restaurants, medical service providers and shops, making it a very convenient place to live.

Are you interested in learning more about Narrabeen or other postcode 2101, available properties or the real estate market? Contact our team for the latest sales in the area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *