Incredible pictures from a popular shop on the Manly Corso in the 1920s provide an insight into how the iconic strip once looked.
The black and white image, from the Manly Public Library, shows the Jazzland Refreshment Room at 55 Corso bustling with life and energy.
The establishment burned down in 1925 and was eventually demolished. An Oakley sunglasses store now stands in its place.
The Jazzland was owned by James Pitcher, who could be the man standing behind the counter, and wife Jemmima who lived above the Refreshment Room with their daughter and two sons.
The picture is among a number of photos obtained by Daily Mail Australia of Manly’s evolution from a small coastal town into one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
The Jazzland Refreshment Room was once a popular milk bar along Manly’s iconic Corso. Run by the Pitcher family, the Jazzland burned down in 1925 and was demolished in the 1960s
The bar featured a marble soda fountain, large marble pillars and table tops, and a mirrored back bar, It sold ice creams, chocolate and milkshakes.
The Corso, which links the Manly Wharf to the beach, was built in 1855 with the Hotel Steyne and The Pier hotels bookending its walkway.
By the 1920s it was the business epicentre of the Northern Beaches and was filled with people and trams.
On May 2, 1925 the Pitcher family awoke to smoke and flames after a blaze broke out in the storeroom, according to files in the Manly Public Library.
Jemmima and the children fled but James stayed to battle the inferno.
Once the beloved Refreshment Room at 55 Corso in modern day 2021 is now an Oakley store – one of many outlet stores that line the iconic walkway
The Manly Corso is now a highly-developed strip lined by cafes, restaurants and bars
Unable to extinguish it, he tied a rope to the family sewing machine to use as a weight and lowered himself out of the upstairs window to safety.
The local fire station eventually put out the fire, which caused £1,000 worth of damage – a figure that would now be more than $100,000.
The Pitchers declared bankruptcy in 1931 as a result of the Great Depression. The milk bar was demolished three decades later in the early 1960s.
Pictured: The south Steyne Surf Paviliion in the 1960s – a popular beach for surfers and still remains that way today
Decades later Manly is still one of the most popular beaches for residents of the Northern Beaches and tourists alike
The Fairy Bower end of Manly and its now demolished surf club. The large structure on the left was the beach’s shark tower
Manly has undergone a complete transformation since its early days as a mere link between the Northern Beaches and central Sydney.
The iconic Manly Wharf was purely for transport, a large structure that hosted ferries, trade ships and fishing boats.
The upgrade to make the Spit Bridge a bascule bridge (partially lifts to allow for larger boats to pass underneath) in 1926 saw the removal of tram tracks – due to the lack of industrial demand.
Lined with double-decker buses and with a large clocktower, it’s unrecognisable from the bustling structure that sits at the end of the Corso today.
The wharf is now home to dozens of upmarket restaurants, boutique stores and a wide range of fast food options.
The Manly ferry transports as many as 50,000 people per day in summer as people travel between the Northern Beaches and the city – with spectacular views of the CBD.
The Wharf under construction in 1940 paints a vastly different picture to its current form – the double decker buses and old-fashioned cars providing an insight into the British influence of the time
It’s now home to dozens of restaurants, shops and bars as the Manly Ferry services as many as 50,000 people per day
The Steyne, Manly’s most famous and popular bar, was built in 1859 and is one of the few buildings in the area that remains largely unchanged – at least from the outside.
Developer Henry Gilbert Smith took a gamble placing the hotel on the corner of the Corso and opposite the beach, given waterfront views were not in fashion at the time.
The move has paid dividends for the hotel owners and its patrons, as it now provides one of the best locations for a drinking session in Sydney.
In 1859, not long after its opening, a huge swell smashed through the Steyne and swept publicans across the Corso. There was no seawall in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
By 1863 the majority of Manly’s then 200 residents called the Steyne their second home.
Recent renovations have taken some of its soul, but it still remains one of the most popular spots for Northern Beaches locals of all ages.
The Manly Sea Eagles’ beloved fortress Brookvale Oval has also undergone a dramatic facelift over the past century, with the famous stadium once sitting on a bare paddock.
Images from 1903 show a festival being held on the field which would eventually become home to the NRL side, with a horse and cart visible in the foreground travelling up what would become Pittwater Road.
Brookvale used to be called Greendale, but changed its name to adopt that of an estate built at the time. Some eight years after the image was taken Brookvale Park was established, before becoming a showground by 1921.
The stadium now has a capacity of 23,000 – highlighted by the traditional hill where Manly fans gather on matchday.
Opposition fans of the Sea Eagles would suggest the surface itself has not improved in the 118 years since the photo was taken.
Incredible images from 1903 show the paddock where Brookvale Oval once sat – with people gathering for a meeting of some kind as a horse and cart travels past on what would eventually become Pittwater Road
Brookvale Oval in 2021 – home of the Manly Sea Eagles who have played at the fortress since their inception in 1946
An advertisement for the Hotel Steyne pre-dating 1920. It is one of the few establishments that not only remained throughout Manly’s history but largely remains unchanged on the outside
The Steyne in 2021 – the beating heart of Manly’s social scene and the bookend to its famous Corso
The harbourside of Manly once boasted a large ocean pool moated by a promenade extending off the wharf.
The walkway has since been demolished to allow for more boats, larger ferries and better views for waterside bars Hugos and The Bavarian.
The ferris wheel and carnival rides in the picture below made up Manly Fun Pier, which opened in 1930 – the Northern Beaches’ very own Luna Park.
Combined with the aquarium, which opened months earlier, the area quickly became a tourist hotspot.
The Fun Pier would eventually close in 1989 when new developments saw the wharf become largely as it resembles today.
The ferris wheel and carousel would remain after its closure, but were removed shortly after as Manly Cove residents complained of noise as the area began to increase in residential density.
Despite its many cosmetic changes, there are still nostalgic fragments of Manly’s romantic beginnings.
A ferris wheel rises above the Manly Wharf as part of Manly Fun Pier that was opened in 1930. It was eventually demolished in the late 1980s due to development and complaints from locals
The Manly Wharf now provides the aquatic gateway to the Northern Beaches from Sydney’s Central Business District