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The Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tour - The Festival of Life

Home > Sydney > Fun Things To Do | Outdoor | Tours | Walks
by Seafarrwide (subscribe)
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Published March 15th 2015
Shipwrecks, Shootouts, Murders & Mayhem
The Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tour, The Festival of Life
Karen from Karen's Historic Walking Tours - image Seafarrwide

The Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tour is just one of several fabulous events created by The Festival of Life founded by event expert Margot Smith. These events involve experiences where you interact and learn something new.

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The Festival of Life

This walking tour piqued my interest because I live not far from Manly and am also interested in the history of Manly. I've found when I read books about history I tend to glaze over slightly, so the idea of this tour appealed to me.

The plans were made to meet at 6.30pm at the silver nautilus statue at Manly Wharf. Our tour guide Karen from Karen's Historic Walks and Margo Smith would be there to greet us. Everyone was on time and excited to start the tour.

The Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tour, The Festival of Life
The Walking Tour Group, image - The Festival of Life

Karen our tour guide looked fabulous in her period costume and assured us she would take us city slicking landlubbers back in time to the sinister days of sea dog buccaneers, murderers and mayhem.

The Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tour, The Festival of Life
Karen from Karen's Historic Walking Tours - image Seafarrwide

The tour commenced overlooking Manly Cove with an introduction to Manly's founding and development by Henry Gilbert Smith. The weather was suitably ominous with some dark brooding storm clouds hanging on the horizon.

Manly, Manly Wharf, Manly Cove, Sinister Side of Manly Tours, Festival of Life
Manly Wharf looking over Manly Cove

Our first tale of woe was about the historic ship[ LINK=]The Dunbar,[/LINK] Australia's very own Titanic.

The Dunbar, Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tours, The Festival of Life, Manly
The Dunbar - image courtesy of State Library QLD

I had heard about The Dunbar but didn't know the details of what had happened or where the exact location was of this horrific disaster that occurred in 1857. Our tour guide, Karen, kept us rapt with her colourful tale of one of the worst maritime disasters in Australia's history.

Next we moved onto a location in front of the historic Manly Wharf. This time Karen delivered a ghastly tale of rage, murder and mayhem on the streets back in the 1920's - horse and cart days of Manly.

We all shuddered and moved onto the next location in Manly Corso. Here we were regaled with a vivid tale of gangs and drive by shootings.

I was fascinated to hear these stories as for some odd reason I never imagined Manly to have such sinister old tales. We then moved on to The Manly Courthouse built in 1909 and heard an interesting tale of murders involving Thomas "Lemonade" Ley, the 'hanging' politician who laid the foundation stones of The Manly Courthouse.

The next historic location was the old church at the bottom of Sydney Road, Manly. The stones were meant to be haunted by a notorious Pirate. Back in 1810 Aboriginal lands along Pittwater were given to pardoned convicts and free settlers. This waterway carried the settlers and farm produce and was often attacked by Pirates. We heard the gruesome story about one much hated Pirate who was eventually murdered by his own shipmates.

The streets were getting darker and cooler as night came upon us, or maybe it was our skin prickling at the knowledge of all these sinister tales of Manly. We moved forward to Lions court in Central Ave - another location with a fascinating tale about an eccentric man that lived in Manly with two real Lions.

I was learning so much about Manly and I had lived on the Northern Beaches for over 30 years! Next stop was outside what is now the Manly Novotel once the Manly Pacific Hotel made world wide famous for its connection to the gruesome murder of Megan Kalajzich by her husband Andrew Peter Kalajzich. Our tour Karen gave us a vivid description of what this poor woman endured.

The tour continued to the outside of the iconic Steyne Hotel where we heard more stories. Karen impressed me with the extent of her knowledge on Manly's history and no doubt her other tours would be fascinating too.

We then concluded our tour of the dark history of Manly, by taking a peek at an establishment inspired by the speakeasys of the 1920's named The Hold. You can click here to read my review on The Hold Bar; a quirky small bar designed like the Hold of a Ship.

The Sinister Side of Manly Walking Tour, The Festival of Life
The Hold - Manly

This was truly a fabulous walking tour enjoyed by all and I thoroughly recommend it, not only as a fun thing to do but also where you can learn some Australian history.

Tips for the Tour:
- Wear comfortable clothes and bring a light weatherproof jacket if it looks like rain or cold.
- A bottle of water in case of thirst as it is a non-stop tour.

Future Events

The Festival of Light also has many other fabulous events you can book from their website.

Wednesday 18 March, 6.30pm $35.00
Balance and Resilience Workshop:

This hands on workshop is designed to help you become more resilient, do more of what makes you happy, deal with life's 'curve balls'. Join Zoe Wooldridge, Psychologist specialising in Wellbeing and Resilience and take away tools and resources for ongoing learning..

Tuesday 28 April, 6.30pm $40.00
Cheese Tasting Workshop

Discover 8 Cheeses and join the cheese expert as he tells tales of fabulous fromage.

Thursday 21 May 6.30pm $50.00
Define Your Interior Design Style Workshop:

Angela Morrison Designer from Style Create Design will show you how to create your own inspirational story board. Take home a design style brief to define your individual style.

Thursday 11 June 6.30pm $50.00
Interior Design Workshop (What's on Trend)

The second in the series of interior design workshops - what interior design styles are hot for 2015 and how to incorporate trends, no matter your budget. Angela Morrison Designer from Style Create Design will talk you through the latest trends in interior design.

Sunday 24 May, 4.00pm $30.00
Chutney Making Course

A fun workshop, making chutney. Learn from the chutney experts, how to sterilise your jars and make the tastiest Chutneys.

Race Around Sydney - Scavenger Hunt, Date TBC 2015

A Scavenger hunt around Sydney CBD, working through clues and discovering Sydney. This activity is suitable for all ages.

Sunday 1 November, $55.00
Dinner: Day of the Dead

Celebrate Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) over a tasty Mexican meal and wine. Have fun and enjoy a chance to dress up and celebrate Mexican style. You can even have your make up and/or hair done in the theme (Dia de los Muertos) this service can be arranged at a nominal extra cost. The Festival of Life can arrange a make up/hair artist for those who are interested for a nominal cost.

101 Whisky Masterclass 2015 Date TBC, $44.00

An introduction to whisky tasting - with a focus on Scotland. Discover the history of Whisky, some interesting stories and its origin. Nibbles included.

Margaritas & Masterpieces, 2015 Date TBC, $50.00

Paint your own Masterpiece . Let those creative juices flow while indulging in some Sangria! Your ticket will include instruction from an Art Teacher, use of all the materials and to keep your art work.

Additional options are:

$50 includes a sangria on arrival
$60 includes sangria throughout the workshop
$70 includes sangria throughout the workshop and canapes

Colour Consultation Workshop - 2015 Date TBC, $75.00

A colour consultant will instruct you on the history and the power of Colours. Find out what is the best colour for your fashion, hair, makeup and how to use a colour palette. Discover 10 Makeup tips to look younger, styling and accessorising. Morning tea will also be included.

Styling Evening - 2015 Date TBC, $40.00

Latest fashion tips from a stylist over drinks and canapes.

Film Festival for Foodies - Date TBC, $75.00

Enjoy a film festival and dinner from that region as a package i.e. French film and French Dinner.

Margot can also organise Bespoke special events for any occasion. Great ideas for corporate team bonding events or any special celebration you have coming up where you want to do something unique.

For example your group could go on a Aboriginal Cultural Cruise: this is an indigenous harbour cruise where you learn about the cultural history of Sydney Harbour. Included is a tour to Goat Island and then an indigenous cultural performance. Plenty of crowd participation which is a great team bonding experience.

Events range from foodie workshops or brewery tours to an art or fashion workshop, plus more active or sporty outings. Otherwise you may be interested in purely social events such as a themed dinner. So whatever occasion you have in mind, get in contact with The Festival of Life and they will organise a fabulous unique event.

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*Seafarrwide was invited as a guest
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Why? If you enjoy Historical Walking Tours
When: Contact the website for the next available tour
Phone: Contact through email via website
Where: Manly Wharf
Cost: $20 per person
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