A new port



Residents of Newport may perhaps imagine that their suburb was named after Newport in Wales or, alternatively, Newport Rhode Island. In fact, it was christened, literally, as New Port.

Prior to its naming it was referred to briefly as the Pittwater Marine Village.

Although today we see the retail and commercial centre on Barrenjoey Road as its focal point, Newport was originally founded on the shore of Pittwater. The area was officially designated as a port as early as 1834, but its real start was 1879.

In that year, Charles Jeannerett built a pier at the end of today’s Queen’s Parade West. Jeannerett was a major player in steam ferries on the Parramatta River. He hoped to gain the rights to carry mail to Brisbane Waters, greatly shortening the route from Sydney.

However, he also saw an opportunity for tourism and land development and in 1880, in partnership with George Pile, a real estate speculator, agent and auctioneer, he built a hotel alongside the pier and laid out a small village. Pile produced an eight-page pamphlet extolling, and showing in sketches, the beauties and attractions of Newport, Pittwater and the Hawkesbury Lakes (Brisbane Waters and the lakes beyond).

Jeannerett provided coaches to bring guests and tourists by road from Manly and also ran excursion steamers from Sydney to Newport on the weekends. This trip out through the Sydney Heads and round Barrenjoey Headland into Pittwater was an exciting and popular outing.

The success of his twin ventures – hotel accommodation and real estate development - can still be seen in today’s The Newport hotel and the thriving suburb to its east. Much has changed but the area continues to prove attractive on both fronts – recreation and residential.

Richard Michell, Contributor, Peninsula Living Magazine

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