Sydney is full of surprising hidden wonders and Parsley Bay Suspension bridgeis one of the rare gems within Sydney Harbour. The reserve’s prominent feature is the century old cable suspension footbridge set amongst 14 acres of natural harbour reserve. It is one of Sydney’s most charming and least used facilities although well known by the locals.
Parsley Bay is a narrow inlet of Sydney Harbour, Containing the parsley Bay suspension bridge and the surrounding land enhanced with caves and rock overhangs, a small watercourse and dense native vegetation. The foreshores of this tiny but beautiful bay have long been one of Sydney’s favourite harbour-side places, and since 1906 have been officially reserved for the enjoyment of the public. History of the site and its surrounds The traditional owners of this land were members of the Birrabirragal band, a coastal group which clustered around the periphery of Sydney harbour, their culture, way-of-life and economy attuned to the natural characteristics of their foreshore environment. The former presence of this people is evidenced today by rock art sites and shell middens in the South Head and Vaucluse areas. European occupation officially began in 1792. In that year, a grant of a land was given to Thomas Laycock, Deputy Commissary-General and a Quartermaster in the New South Wales Corps. The grant was described as ‘eighty acres of land … at the head of Parsley Bay’ – the earliest known use of this name, the origin of which uncertain. Laycock called his property Woodmancote. The land, gradually consolidated with neighbouring parcels, passed through the hands of a succession of subsequent owners, including Sir Henry Brown Hayes and Captain John Piper, before its acquisition by the Wentworth family in 1827. The foreshores of Parsley Bay, as one small part of the Wentworth family’s 105 acre Vaucluse Estate, were to remain in private ownership for a further eighty years. There is considerable evidence, however, that Parsley Bay was a popular setting for picnics and camping before the establishment of the reserve that validated public access.