Constructed in 1881, the Manly Trig Station was so conspicuous that the hill on which it stood was named Beacon Hill. It was one of the first stations established in Sydney’s first trigonometric survey.
The trig station is in good condition, although it’s missing the name plate and it’s a replica of the original trig.
After the original trig station fell into disrepair, it was replaced by a new one in 1929. When World War II broke out, this newer cairn was demolished and a lookout station established on Beacon Hill. After the war, a new mast and vanes supported by a metal tripod was erected and in 1973 this was replaced by the concrete pillar which still stands today. Near the trig station is a plaque, installed by the Manly Warringah and Pittwater Historical Society, which point to features in the region (distances being in miles):
- Cape Three Points
- Long Reef 3m
- Dee Why Lagoon 1m
- Curl Curl Lagoon
- South Curl Curl
- Harbord 2m
- Manly 3m
- St Luke’s C of E Brookvale 1m
- Quarantine 4m
- Macquarie Light House
- Balgowlah 2m
- GPO 8m
- Mosman 5m
- North Shore Bridge 7½m
- Gore Hill 6½m
- Chatswood 5½m
- Direction of Parramatta
- Middle Harbour Bridge
- Frenchs Forest Road
- Oxford Falls Road
- Belrose 3m
- Kuringai Chase
Although trees now partially obscure the outlook, there are spectacular views from Beacon Hill, which is now called Governor Phillip Lookout. It is one of the few – if not only – trig stations in Sydney’s north from which you can see Mount Jellore, one of Major Mitchell’s three principal trig stations a hundred kilometres away to the south-west.
An article in World’s News in 1927 described at length “Sydney’s Finest View” from the trig point, which was near the “straggling hamlet of Brookvale”:
THERE are many pleasing things in the way of scenery to be seen about the district of Sydney — many hundreds of them. Between the outlook from Castle Hill, above Parramatta, facing south, and from South Head, as you gaze eastward, you may feast your eyes almost to the point of optic dyspepsia. There are no mountains, unfortunately, in the vicinity of Our Beautiful, but there are seascapes and landscapes, at sunrise, noon, and sunset, that can never be wiped off the photographic plate most people carry round inside their heads — the plate that is called Recollection. And if you take the trouble to climb Beacon Hill — one says “climb” advisedly, for to go to look at a beautiful view in a motor-car inevitably cheapens it — you will carry away a picture in your mind that will not easily be forgotten.World’s News, 12 November 1927
Getting to Manly Trig on Beacon Hill
The trig is easily reached – in fact, like hundreds of thousands of people, I’ve driven past it countless times. Along Warringah Road (in Beacon Hill) is a large traffic sign pointing out Governor Phillip Lookout, which has a small parking area – you can only enter when travelling in an east-bound direction.
From the carpark, steps leads past a statue of Governor Phillip and up to a paved path, which goes to the top of Beacon Hill.
The Viewpoint was named Governor Phillip Lookout because parts of the routes taken by Governor Phillip on his journeys of exploration may be seen from here.Manly, Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society, Inc.1991
Sydney Cove to Broken Bay by Sea, 2-9 March 1788
Manly to Middle Harbour & Westwards, 15-18 April 1788
Manly to Pittwater, 22-25 August 1788
Manly to Broken Bay & Hawkesbury River, 5-16 June 1789
Manly to Broken Bay, Hawkesbury River & Richmond Hill, 29 June – 14 July 1789
- World’s News, Saturday 12 November 1927 – The Trig Station: Sydney’s Finest View [PDF]