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Parsley Bay is a long, narrow, shallow bay fronting onto Sydney Harbour. It lies between two sandstone headlands and is approached by descending a steep road down a gully.
Originally a creek (known as Parsley Creek) flowed down the gully, across the beach (then much more extensive sand flats) and into the the bay.
Parsley Bay is part of the suburb of Vaucluse.
Bridge, Seawall and Picnic Area
In 1912 a suspended cable bridge was built across Parsley Bay not far from the beach at the head of the bay. In 1934 a seawall was built across the bay. Much of the sand from the sand flats were reclaimed and used to build the large lawn area and picnic area that are currently enjoyed by visitors.
In 1907 the NSW State Government acquired land surrounding the bay and formed the Parsley Bay Reserve. In 1908 control of the Reserve was handed over to the then Vaucluse Council who from then on were responsible for its ongoing management.
Fixing the Marine Environment
Dredging in the 1930s and in the 1960s caused a decline to the marine environment. Woollahra Council, Clean Up Australia and the Friends of Parsley Bay collaborated to implement the Parsely Bay Remediation Project to fix this problem. The Project removed black sediment which had settled in dredged areas, restored the gently sloping seabed, installated stormwater pollution control devices, restored bushland vegetation, and undertook community education programmes.
Visit of Japanese Antarctic Expedition, 1911
From May until November 1911 a group of Japanese Antarctic explorers, led by Lieutenant Nobu Shirase, were forced to winter at Parsley Bay after a failed attempt to reach the South Pole.
At the back of the Parsley Bay lawn area is the spot where these intrepid explorers set up their camp more than a hundred years and near there is a memorial plaque (in English and Japanese) where visitors may read about this interesting event. (To read more about the visit of the Japanese Antarctic Expedition, click here.)
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)