Miss Harbord 1885



Most readers will know that the suburb and beach to the immediate north of Queenscliff has flirted over the years with the names Freshwater and Harbord.

The Freshwater name came first and arose locally and naturally. It applied to the beach, the origin presumably being the presence of a freshwater creek that drained to the sea from the vicinity of today’s Jacka Park. The name was given further status when the land immediately adjacent to the beach – Thomas Bruin’s original 50-acre grant from 1815 – was subdivided in 1884 and advertised as the Freshwater Estate.

Two years later, in 1886, the government subdivided a large amount of land to the north of the beach.   They put it to auction under the name Harbord Estate. Why Harbord?

In late December 1885, the new governor of NSW, Lord Carrington, arrived in Sydney, accompanied by his wife Cecilia, their three children and his wife’s sister, Judith. Both women were quite young. Judith Harbord - for that was Lady Carrington’s family name - was 23 years old and single. Lady Carrington was 29.

From the start of their tenure, Miss Harbord frequently accompanied Lord and Lady Carrington as they carried out their duties. On 19 January 1886, only weeks after their arrival, the threesome visited Manly to attend an evening concert in the pavilion in Ivanhoe Park.

The two Harbord sisters were attractive and vivacious and were a great hit with the public wherever they went. The name Harbord was in the news almost as often as Carrington. Presumably seeking to curry favour, government bureaucrats applied it to the new subdivision. However, they prudently included a Carrington Parade (at today’s South Curl Curl) and also used the governor’s name in association with another subdivision at Balgowlah, Carrington Heights.

Richard Michell, Contributor, Peninsula Living Magazine

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