The Palace Hotel, Watsons Bay, c1912
The Palace Hotel, believed to have been designed by the architect John Kirkpatrick, was built in about 1886 alongside the Watsons Bay wharf. The first proprietor of the hotel was Thomas Strange, formerly of the Greenwich Pier Hotel (now Dunbar House) also at Watsons Bay. The Palace Hotel was demolished to make way for the Watsons Bay Hotel, designed by architects Scott, Green and Scott, and built in 1937.
Ferry arriving at Watsons Bay wharf, c1905
Watsons Bay has long been a popular destination for tourists and picnickers with a ferry service operating from Sydney to Watsons Bay from as early as 1854. The public wharf at the bottom of Military Road was built by 1881 and rebuilt in 1910. At the time this photograph was taken the ferry service to the bay was operated by the Watsons Bay and South Shore Steam Ferry Company.
The Road to South Head, c1894
Formed in 1811, the Old South Head Road winds its way towards Watsons Bay. The South Head Signal Station, built in 1838 to the design of colonial architect Mortimer Lewis, sits near the cliff. Opposite are the South Head Family Hotel, the first licensed premises in Watsons Bay, and the Grand Pacific Hotel. Visitors to South Head at this time were reliant on the ferry service and horse drawn vehicles as trams did not reach South Head until 1903.
Children playing on Watsons Bay Beach, 1958
Watsons Bay was originally home to the coastal Dharug language group the Birrabirragal, but in 1793 this waterfront land became part of the first land grant at Watsons Bay to Edward Laing. The boats lining the beach attest to the bay’s ongoing popularity as a fishing destination. Boats were available for hire from a boat shed on the beach and refreshments could be found at the Ozone Café (later Doyles Restaurant) and the Watsons Bay Hotel. (Photographer: Ian Scott)