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Palm Beach
SydneyNew South Wales
Palm Beach NSW.jpg
A view of Palm Beach from Barrenjoey Lighthouse
Population 1,596 (2011 census)
 • Density 614/km2 (1,590/sq mi)
Established 1911
Postcode(s) 2108
Area 2.6 km2 (1.0 sq mi)
Location 41 km (25 mi) north of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) Northern Beaches Council
State electorate(s) Pittwater
Federal Division(s) Mackellar
Suburbs around Palm Beach:
Broken Bay
Pittwater Palm Beach Tasman Sea
Clareville Avalon Whale Beach

Palm Beach is a northern beachside suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Palm Beach is located 41 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Northern Beaches Council, in the Northern Beaches region. Palm Beach sits on a peninsula at the end of Barrenjoey Road, between Pittwater and Broken Bay. Palm Beach is sometimes colloquially referred to as 'Palmy'.

Palm Beach is used for exterior filming of the soap opera Home and Away, as the fictional town of Summer Bay.


Palm Beach is bounded by Broken Bay to the north, the Tasman Sea (within the South Pacific Ocean) to the east, Whale Beach, Avalon and Clareville to the south, and Pittwater to the west. Barrenjoey Headland, which is in the north of the suburb, is part of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The headland at the northernmost point rises quite sharply from the beach to over 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level, and features an operational lighthouse. The narrow sandy isthmus or tombolo linking the south side of the headland to the rest of Palm Beach had extensive fencing and shrub planting undertaken during the 1980s to combat sand erosion.


There are five localities at Palm Beach:


Barrenjoey Head from West Head
Barrenjoey Headland and Station Beach viewed from West Head
  • Barrenjoey Lighthouse
  • Palm Beach-Boanbong Water Reservoir
  • Palm Beach-McKay Water Reservoir
  • Palm Beach-Squaters Lodge
  • Blueberry Ash
  • Iluka Resort Apartments


Origin of the name

The southern end of the Palm Beach is marked as Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour on a map of 1832. Palm Beach was later named after the Cabbage Tree palms livistona australis that were near Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour. The plant's species name gave origin to Livistona Lane, off Palm Beach Road.

European settlement

The Southern end of the ocean beach is marked as Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour on a map of 1832. Palm Beach was later named after the Cabbage Tree palms livistona australis. Palm Beach, Barrenjoey and most of Whale Beach (400 acres) was granted to James Napper in 1816. During the 19th century, a few Europeans and Chinese lived at Snapperman Beach catching and drying fish.

In 1900 all land, except Barrenjoey Headland, which had been purchased by the government in 1881, was divided into 18 large blocks, listed as good grazing land, and offered for sale. None sold. In 1912, the land was offered again in smaller residential blocks, offering fishing, sailing, golf and rowing. Most houses were built from local sandstone, other materials were shipped in. Some were guest houses but most were second homes for those who could afford them.

Palm Beach wharf was the terminus reached by boat from Newport or Bayview. Hordern and Wiltshire Parks and Mackay Reserve were donated by RJ Hordern, who lived at Kalua, opposite the beach. Since World War II the area has become more residential but still remains a secluded peninsula at the northern point of Pittwater.

Timeline of history

  • Aboriginal inhabitants in area- Garigal clan of Guringai speaking people. Lands extended from Broken Bay to Port Jackson and to Lane Cove.
  • 1770- Captain Cook names Broken bay.
  • 1788-1789- area explored by Governor Arthur Phillip and Captain John Hunter
  • 1788- Arthur Phillip (1738–1814) 2 March 1788, named "Barrenjuee" (Little Kangaroo or Wallaby). Barrenjoey has had at least 9 different spellings.
  • 1789- Smallpox epidemic killed 50%-90% of local Aboriginal population.
  • 1806- A sole ship wreck survivor is rescued by Aboriginals in Broken Bay.
  • 1816 Land grant 400 acres (1.6 km2) to Surgeon James Napper RN by Governor Macquarie (1761–1824) - Headland to Whale Beach,8/- pa.
  • 1804- Pat Flynn had a large garden below Observation Pt (facing Pittwater south of golf course) to supply passing ships.
  • 1825- John Howard, an emancipist who arrived on the first fleet in 1788 lives at Barrenjoey in a cottage with two other fishermen.
  • 1843- Customs Station set up under John B Howard. Near ranger's cottage. Constructed Smugglers Track. Smuggling of rum, brandy, tobacco. Today drugs & narcotics.
  • 1840- Albert Black (1840–1890) becomes customs officer and adopted grandson of merchant Simeon Lord famous in early Sydney.
  • 1842- Four Convicts build a Customs House at Barrenjoey and build a track to the headland.
  • 1855- A navigation light is established on the headland.
  • 1863- A Chinese fishing settlement is established at Snappermans Beach.
  • 1881- Government repurchased headland for £1250 from the Wentworth family.
  • 1881- A stone lighthouse and three cottages are built according to the designs of Colonial Architect James Barnet.
  • 1893- A school is established at Palm Beach.
  • 1911- Palm Beach is subdivided and an extension to customs House is built.
  • 1912- Telephone is connected to Palm Beach.
  • 1916-1919 The oldest bungalows were built at Palm Beach during this period.
  • 1976- Customs House burnt down.
  • 1978- Mel Gibson stars in the movie "Tim" filmed mostly at Barrenjoey Customs House (1911)
  • 1988–present- Palm Beach is the location of exterior scenes for Summer Bay, the fictional coastal town featured in the long-running soap opera Home and Away.
  • 2004-2005- Construction of a Museum and a Public Toilet next to the lighthouse.
  • 2013-A fire engulfs the Barrenjoey headland, threatening to destroy the heritage listed headland. It is contained by local firefighters and no damage was done.
Palm Beach and Pittwater Panorama
The view south from Barrenjoey Headland


Palm Beach Seaplanes operate seaplane services from Palm Beach to Rose Bay in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, Cottage Point and Berowra Waters. Palm Beach Water Airport is located at the north end of Governor Phillip Drive and Golf Drive, just south of the headland. The Palm Beach Ferry runs a service from a wharf in the town centre to Ettalong, Great Mackerel Beach, Currawong Beach, Coasters Retreat and The Basin.

Palm Beach and Hawkesbury River Cruises runs a ferry service from Palm Beach wharf to Patonga. Barrenjoey Road provides access by bus or car. Bus routes servicing Palm Beach, are operated by Sydney Buses. Routes 190 and L90 go to/from city Railway Square.


The population of Palm Beach is 1,607.

Palm Beach features everything from cottages to grand estates, owned by some of the country's most affluent people. Many affluent and famous people can also be found holidaying at Palm Beach in summer.

Sport and recreation

Palm Beach has a number of parks, beaches, and sporting areas, including part of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and the beach which gives the area its name. Careel Bay Ovals Sporting Complex includes facilities for rugby league, soccer and tennis.

Palm Beach has a golf club, sailing club, surf school and two surf lifesaving clubs. The North Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club, is a set for television soap opera Home and Away and has 'Summer Bay Surf Club' painted on the beach side. Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club, founded in 1921, is patrolled by paid surf lifesavers on weekdays during summer and by volunteers from the Palm Beach SLSC on weekends. The Surf Club is one of the biggest in NSW, with members coming from all over Sydney. The beach also attracts rock climbers, due to there being two sandstone boulders with highly featured vertical and overhanging features allowing for bouldering.

Palm Beach Panorama


  • Avalon Soccer Club
  • Avalon Rugby League Club
  • Careel Bay Tennis Club
  • Palm Beach Golf Club
  • Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club
  • Palm Beach Ice Fishing Club
  • North Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club
  • Palm Beach Sailing Club
  • "Sand in our Souls - the Beach in Australian History" Leone Huntsman, MUP, 2001
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