Freshwater lies over the hill from Queenscliff, the most northern stretch of Manly Beach. Previously named Harbord, the suburb is a small busy village, up Moore Rd from Freshwater Beach. With convenient travel to central Sydney, yet distant enough to retain its coastal town feel, many people call Freshwater home for its beauty, local businesses, schools, recreation and leisure facilities and friendly village atmosphere.
Originally Freshwater, as it was named in the early 1800’s, due to a freshwater stream running into the ocean, was virtually uninhabited until the 1880’s when it became a working men’s only camp, where tents were pitched, and ladies allowed Sundays. Over much controversy, to encourage housing development in the early 1900’s, the suburb name was changed to Harbord in 1923, after Cecelia Margaret Harbord, the maiden name of the then wife of New South Wales’ Governer Lord Carrington.
Recently in 2003, a request was submitted to Warringah Council to support an application to the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales to rename the suburb of Harbord back to Freshwater. This application was finally passed in January 2008.
Freshwater is also known for the birth of surfing in Australia. On December 23rd 1914, during a swimming exhibition at Freshwater beach Kahanamoku, also known as the “Duke”, demonstrated the art of board riding. Originally from Hawaii, Kahanamoku popularised surfing across in both Australia and United States. The board he fashioned for his Freshwater debut is still hanging in Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club, and his bronze statue can be found on the northern headland of Freshwater Beach.
With Mounties, Harbord Diggers RSL, the famous Harbord Beach Hotel or “The Hilton” to locals, and numerous restaurants and cafes, Freshwater is abundant with places to sample fine coffee, fresh seafood and a cold beer.
Our community supports local business, with an IGA store, hairdressers, butchers, growers market, real estates, lawyers, dentists, doctors and its own Freshwater Community Bank® Branch. We are a self sufficient village within greater Sydney, and proud of it.