Streetscapes of Manly on Moreton Bay: 1890s-1950s

Goodwin, Kathleen M. (2002). Streetscapes of Manly on Moreton Bay: 1890s-1950s MPhil Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Goodwin, Kathleen M.
Thesis Title Streetscapes of Manly on Moreton Bay: 1890s-1950s
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2002
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Supervisor Rod Fisher
Ross Johnston
Total pages 154
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
160810 Urban Sociology and Community Studies
430101 History - Australian
Formatted abstract

In occupying a position along the shoreline of Moreton Bay, Manly is rare among Brisbane's southeast suburbs. Early European occupation in the vicinity was constructed around a rural lifestyle. This continued once Manly became a popular seaside resort. Similarly, the importance of its seaside position remained a feature even after it became a suburb. As Manly's suburban identity became more apparent, however, a reflection of its waterside location in its commercial centre faded.

After 1925 the commercial centre underwent an abrupt change. This is obvious from subsequent alterations to the number and types of business in Cambridge Parade, Stratton Terrace and the Esplanade. That year therefore signifies a watershed in the centre's development.

From the 1890s to the 1950s, the dynamic interaction of the physical and social environments, both within and beyond Manly, had various effects on its commercial centre. At the stage when the occupation of Manly was based on its rural character and position by the bay the physical environment seemed just as important that its socio-political one. The political and economic environment gained increasing significance as Manly changed from being a ward of Wynnum to a suburb of Brisbane in 1925. Moreover, although the importance of economic considerations was already becoming evident by then, it was not until much later that they gradually became more vital than issues of a political nature.

There were a number of social processes relevant to the growth of the Manly business centre which reached a turning point about 1925. Within a short period, at least three developments coincided to have a crucial effect within Cambridge Parade, Stratton Terrace and the Esplanade. These were the amalgamation of Greater Brisbane, rail transport being usurped by the arrival of the motor vehicle and the rising popularity of surfing beaches to the north and south of Brisbane.

Two distinctive periods can therefore be identified in the history of Manly's business precinct between the 1890s and the 1950s. Prior to 1925, the business centre benefited from Manly's heyday as a seaside resort. During the following period commerce almost maintained a plateau as Manly entered more fully into suburbanisation and was forced to cope with issues related to the expanded horizon.

Nevertheless, throughout both periods the commercial precinct underwent a number of additional changes. These are obvious in sub-periods of the two major ones. Through the changing nature and number of businesses, within smaller phases of five or six years, the sequential occupations of individuals who operated from within the business centre are revealed.

The ensuing fluctuations present a challenge for suitable, causal explanations to be found. It is obvious that some adjustments within the centre were often the consequence of wider cycles of events, such as depression and war, or changes within the economic structure. These, however, were not consistently the primary processes at work as the impact they had on the commercial centre differed.

Events within the Manly shopping centre were subject to processes which initially were aligned with local activities but were later related to increased external pressure. Alterations in the numbers of business and their types largely depended on Wynnum's position vis-a-vis its political independence or other factors such as centralisation, the contemporary method of transport or attitudes to the seaside. These were defining stages of more lineal progressions, earlier aspects of which had underpinned the establishment and development of the Manly business centre. It was therefore inevitable that significant modifications within processes outside of Manly's control became detrimental to the centre's commercial development. Even so, it was often through a combination or conflict of factors associated with lineal and cyclical historical processes that certain characteristics of the centre dominated at particular times. Therefore, the dynamics of intrinsic or extrinsic social processes and Manly's physical environment produced various layers in a succession of streetscapes associated with its commercial precinct.

Keyword Streets -- Queensland -- Manly -- History
Commercial buildings -- Queensland -- Manly -- History
Stores, Retail -- Queensland -- Manly -- History
Manly (Qld.) -- History
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Document type: Thesis
Collections: Queensland Past Online (QPO)
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Wed, 09 Dec 2009, 12:22:16 EST by Ms Natalie Hull on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service