365 Places: Mermaid Pool

Day 60: Mermaid Pool, Manly, New South Wales, Australia

Mermaid Pool is a place, I have never visited but would love to check out. Situated close to the famous beach of Manly, Mermaid Pools has had a chequered history.

Indigenous people occupied the Northern Beaches area for many thousands of years and there are many rock carvings and engravings in this area. Local Aboriginal believed creator spirits resided in deep bodies of water such as Mermaid Pool and no one would dare swim there, though there is evidence of blade sharpening grooves in the rocks.

History has it that in 1788 Governor Arthur Phillip traversed this creek-line when it was surrounded by dense forest and swamps. In the 1930s Depression years there was a camp at Allambie for people who had lost their homes. Girls used to slip away to the pool to swim naked, hence the name, Mermaid Pool. In those days the water was crystal clear, the bird-life rich and varied and the bushland vibrant and colourful.

The Wild About blog comments that:

There is still a rare pocket of coastal rainforest beneath the rocky overhangs of Mermaid Pool which echoes a long distant era. A mere seventy years ago much of Manly Vale was unspoilt bushland, platypus still occupied some waterways and even quolls and koalas were ‘in residence’.

Clean Up Australia founder, Ian Kiernan, visits Mermaid Pool. Image Credit : http://thegreenmanly.blogspot.com.au

Clean Up Australia founder, Ian Kiernan, visits Mermaid Pool. Image Credit : http://thegreenmanly.blogspot.com.au

Once the area became part of suburbia Mermaid Pool sadly became a dumpsite but recently it has been lovingly restored thanks to the “Return of the Mermaids” project, which started when 4 tonnes of rubbish were removed by 71 volunteers on ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ in 2002.


Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

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