Big crowds and beautiful weather made the 22nd Manly Ocean Care Day the best festival yet. 

The fun started with marching band Bateria61 leading a marine parade of aquatic creatures, onlookers and Manly's own Plastic Princess. 

There was a Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony before diver and marine campaigner John Turnbull gave the keynote speech - why Sydney needs a Marine Park. 



There were dozens of great stalls, with the prize for Best Presented going to Two Hands Project. They won a fabulous trip on Sydney Harbour, generously donated by Eco Boats - the self-guided electric hire boat company. 

Stalls pictured include the National Parks Association, Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay, the MEC tent and Two Hands Project and their "plastic princess", with a dress made from thrown-away plastic bags. 



And it wasn't just stalls.  A stunning wooden whale sculpture by Michael Greves rested in pride of place at the entrance to the festival. And on the beach behind, a beautiful seahorse and turtle gradually took shape in the sand. 

Whale visits Ocean Care Day Festival 2015




We had a huge program of music, talks and art.

Pictured L to R, and top to bottom: Abuka duo, Brendan Donohoe from Northern Beaches Surfrider Foundation, Taj Ralph, Sharnie Connell from No Shark Cull, Trent Williams, Fernando, artist Renata Bruynzeel with Manly’s Plastic Princess, artists Midori Furze and Tanya Murphy, music tent with bean bags, children working on Tanya’s marine masterpiece, Gemma Plesman from Sea Shepherd.


GLIDE through the Cabbage Tree Bay underwater wonderland with this video from recent MEC intern Alex Robinson.  Alex uses his scuba diving skills to film a giant cuttlefish, stars and stripes spotted puffer, red morowong, white ears, blue gropers, Port Jackson sharks and many more. It's a beautiful world down there and the video will make you feel like diving in too. Alex said he made the film to showcase the immense biodiversity found at Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. Here - in order of appearance - is what he saw: Southern Maori Wrasse, Stars and Stripes Spotted Puffer, Eastern Blue Groper (Male), Rough Leatherjacket, Zoanthid, Rainbow Cale, White Ear, Mado, Yellow Tail Bream, Mullet, Crimson Banded Wrasse, Giant Cuttlefish, Red Morwong, Black Reef Leatherjacket, Rock Cale, Common Stingaree, Port Jackson Shark, Hula Fish, Eastern Blue Groper (Female), and a Juvenile Port Jackson Shark.

On Sunday Manly turned out to celebrate all things environmental at our 22nd Manly Ocean Care Day Festival.

The festival, with the theme "Support a Sydney Marine Park", was a huge success with tens of thousands of people enjoying stalls, music, talks and art on Manly ocean beach front. 

The fun started with marching band Bateria61 leading a marine parade of aquatic creatures, onlookers and Manly's own Plastic Princess. 

There was a Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony before diver and marine campaigner John Turnbull gave the keynote speech - on why our city deserves the protection a marine park affords.

Mr Turnbull said Sydney has one of the most remarkable marine environments of any big city in the world. The harbour is a drowned valley, which until 10,000 years ago was inhabited by aborigines.  As a result it has a huge range of different habitats -  seagrasses, rocky reefs, kelp beds, boulder fields, sponge gardens and more - and a correspondingly spectacular array of marine life. 

Sydney harbour has almost 600 species of fish, more than double the number of species found in all the seas around the British Isles.  They include crimson banded wrasse, eastern blue groper, Tasmanian chromodorid, giant cuttlefish, moon wrasse, unicornfish, moorish idols, butterfly fish and splendid nudibranch.

A Marine Park for Sydney would extend beyond the harbour to include the entire Sydney coastline and all our ocean beaches and would be equivalent of an underwater national park. It wouldn't be the complete protection that has made Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve such a success, but it would be a great start. 

Images: John Turnbull was the keynote speaker; proposed Sydney Marine park stretcing from Pittwater to Port Hacking; the MEC Ocean Lab with huge map of Sydney Harbour and relevant fish species on the back wall. 


John Turnbull



BRIGHT coloured birds are flying across Queenscliff Bridge thanks to this year's Weaving Bridges Project. 

The  artworks are the result of over 200 local knitters and weavers, working together in our Yarn to Yarn community workshops.

Taking part in the fun were school children, community groups and individuals, with creative leadership from Manly Environment Centre, the Northern Beaches Aboriginal Community, Warringah Council and Manly Commuity Centre.

More than 220 birds were created, as well as 30 sculptured birds by artist and welder Maria Romeo. 

The project commemorates the unspoiled environment that was the ancestral home of the first Northern Beaches locals - the Kay-ye-my people.  It is part of the annual Garingal Festival, celebrating Australia's First Peoples' culture and heritage in the Northern Sydney Region. 

The project was launched by Manly Mayor Jean Hay, Warringah Mayor Michael Regan, and co-chair of Garingai Festival Committee Sue Pinckham. 

Lots of weavers and MEC volunteers were there to admire the culmination of their work, including lead weaver Karleen Green and Aboriginal Heritage Officer Karen Smith. 




This year the Guringai Festival celebrates 15 years of sharing Aboriginal culture and heritage in the Northern Sydney region. 

The events and activities start on Sorry Day, 26 May and run through June and up until the end of NAIDOC Week, the second week in July. 

The 2015 Guringai theme is Story of Place. 

This beautiful artwork was created by Kerrie Kenton to celebrate the northern Sydney Aboriginal community and the eleven local councils involved in the Guringai celebrations. 



For all the details, including information about events and activities, go to the Guringai Festival booklet here



This year's Weaving Bridges Project art installation is go. 
Thursdays @ 12 noon at Manly Community Centre, 12 Wentworth St Manly.

with STORY OF PLACE as the inspiration for this year's event. 

Join the Manly Environment Centre, Manly Community Centre, Northern Beaches Aboriginal Community and Warringah Council in a bridge-building collaboration to create a giant art installation. 

Individuals and groups are invited to participate in "Yarn to Yarn" workshops where you can  enjoy a laugh and a yarn with a member of the Aboriginal community at the same time. We need lots of helping hands for this project, so please join us and bring along your friends.

Like us on facebook to find out about workshops in your area.

The Weaving Bridges Project is part of this year's Guringal Festival.

When:  Weaving workshops throughout May & June

Where: Venues across Manly and Warringah (see facebook for details)

Launch:  Tuesday July 7, 10am – 12noon, Queenscliff

Go to: Weaving Bridges Project 

or contact: Robynne Millward (MEC) on 9976 2842 or 9977 1066, or


Gurginai Festival Event 

A Walk & Talk through North Head.

On Sat 30 May @ 9.45am for 10am start.

Meet Outside café at Little Manly beach

Manly Environment Centre invites you to join Karen Smith, Education and Aboriginal Heritage Officer, on a two-hour guided walk from Little Manly Beach to North Head Sanctuary, with the focus on Manly's  Aboriginal heritage. At North Head Foundation Nursery join Francis Bodkin, Dharawal knowledge holder and botanical author, on a walk in North Head, returning to the nursery for a morning tea of wattleseed scones and bush jams and teas.

Free event: Bookings essential for catering purposes. Limited numbers.

Deadline for bookings: Tuesday 19 May @ 5pm.




MARINE biologist and ‘Mermaid’ Alice Forrest has taken out Manly Environment Centre's 10th annual ECO-AWARD 

The 26-year-old received the award from Manly Mayor Jean Hay at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary last week, in front of a crowd of enthusiastic supporters and noisy Fairy Penguins.

Alice was chosen from a record 31 nominations for her passion, dedication and leadership qualities.

She has made a huge contribution to the conservation of Manly's environment, played a key role in many local campaign including No Shark Cull, Save our Marine Sanctuaries, Cash for Containers, the anti-CSG campaign Our Land Our Water Our Future, the Two Hands Project and Plastic Pollution rallies.

“Alice is an inspiring young woman, particularly in public forums," Cr Hay said. "Her contagious energy encourages and inspires other people to join in and be part of protecting the environment. And she is also a ‘mermaid’! She has a tail and is a member of The Mermaid Society with her own blog."

The Eco-Award judging panel was impressed by Alice's knowledge, energy and the diversity of her skills.

It was not an easy choice with many eco-warriers nominated for the award, including Dr Alicia Lloyd , Allyson Jennings, Angela van Boxtel, Anne Edwards, Aunty Frances Bodkin, Bram Nieskens, David Tribe, Diane Dean, Dirk Nagel, Franka Simkin, Hayley Brown, Howard Gilmore, Isabel Dreyer, Jake Tagg, Jenny Wilson, John Turnbull, Jools Farrell , Kate Leven, Loani Tierney, Mari Swinburne, Michella Burgers, Nicholas Vale, Patricia Griffen, Phyllis Brice, Rosanna Perillo-Boutin, Sarah Avci, Sue Mathews, Sharnie Connell, Stacey Randell and Wendy Ashmore.

Alice was presented with a painting by Mark Budd, a well known Manly artist whose exuberant works can be seen at the Manly Environment Centre and in many local restaurants and bars.

Pictures:  Collages of all prize winners, Alice Forrest with other award nominees; nominee Sharnie Connell congratulates Alice on her win; Alice and dignitaries; Manly Mayor Jean Hay; Sharnie, Alice; food and drinks served by ICMS students; previous winner Silke Stuckenbrock and Andy Vogt; wait staff team from ICMS; nominee Angela van Boxtel; and Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay Carmen, Janine and Wendy.  Thanks to Dave Thomas and Silke Stuckenbrock for photography. 









It's time for the 10th MEC Eco Awards 2015. 

Eco Awards 2014 winners 

Time to nominate your Unsung Hero - 

an ordinary person doing extraordinary things for Manly’s environment.


Do you know of someone who deserves acknowledgment for their outstanding environmental and conservation achievements to protect Manly’s unique natural environment? 

The Manly environment Centre is seeking nominations on behalf of members of the community  who have volunteered their time and efforts to benefit Manly’s diverse and valuable natural habitat.

The award is open to people over 18, from all walks of life – ‘Ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the conservation of Manly’s environment’.


Nominate your Unsung Hero in 3 easy steps:-


  1. Download a nomination form here
  2. Complete your nominee’s details
  3. Drop off or post to Manly Environment Centre at 41 Belgrave St, Manly NSW 2095 or email to


Nominations close at 5pm on Friday Feb 20.


Manly Lagoon's wildlife came out to shake their tail feathers on World Wetlands Day on Sunday. 

Louise Egerton - wildlife educator, author of Know Your Birds and blogger at - led an early morning walk around the edge of the lagoon. Fifteen well-equipped participants spotted an array of birds, including - the white ibis, the gorgeous chestnut teal and dusky moorhens putting on a show. 

AustralianWhiteIbis ChestnutTeal DuskyMoorhenSmall DuskyMoorhenFightSmall

Then there were -  glorious rainbow lorikeets, a statuesque great cormorant and elegant Pacific black ducks. 

RainbowLorikeetSmall GreatCormorantSmall PacificBlackDuck 

Also in the lagoons backwaters - shiny purple swamphens, pretty magpie larks, noisy miners and elegant wood ducks.

 PurpleSwamphenSmall MagpieLark NoisyMinerSmall woodDuckSmall IbisTree

Where were we? Walking along the north edge of Manly Lagoon, starting from Mill Park. Not shown on Google, but there's a thin little park behind the houses.  


Fabulous bird photos by Reg Gibson. Lots more at Reg Gibson Photos.  


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