Head to Bradley’s
Each year, visitors to Bradley’s Head enjoy one of the best views for the New Year's Eve fireworks along the harbour foreshore and also one of the best vantage points to see he beginning of the iconic Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Boxing Day.
As one of our most significant and historic areas, Bradley’s Head was named by Captain John Hunter on January 28, 1788, in honour of Lt William Bradley of the HMS Sirius.Lt Bradley had helped Captain Hunter on an early boat survey around Sydney Harbour. Sirius Cove was named after the HMS Sirius.
It was a place of lookout and surveillance for the first Australians when the British arrived on our shore and from that time onwards, was considered a suitable site for Sydney's early defensive fortifications.
The Aboriginal name, Burrogy, appears on 19th century maps alongside Bradley's Head. The area was inhabited by local tribes, including Bungaree, who was known as king of the Broken Bay tribe and was an explorer and Aboriginal community leader.
Bungaree first came to prominence, when in 1798 he accompanied Matthew Flinders on a coastal survey as an interpreter and negotiator with local indigenous groups He later went with Flinders on his circumnavigation of Australia between 1801 and 1803, where the first complete map of Australia was produced.
Governor Macquarie eventually relocated Bungaree and his family from Bradley's Head to Georges Heights in 1815, with the offer of land to farm.
Sydney Memorial Mast
Bradley’s Head is the site of a foremast from HMAS Sydney - the first Royal Australian Navys ship to go head to head during World War I - with an enemy ship Emden.Early after the outbreak of World War I, the German cruiser Emden had caused havoc in the Allied Forces by sinking ships and bombing ports. On November 14, 1914, a group of Australian transport ships were making their way across the Indian Ocean and the Sydney was one of those in charge of the convoy. The Sydney crew were told an “unknown cruiser” was off the Cocos Islands. It turned out to be the Emden and the two engaged in battle with the loss of the Emden. It was the first battle of the war involving an Australian ship.
When the HMAS Sydney was decommissioned and dismantled, the mast was taken to Cockatoo Dockyard where it remained until 1934.
A Mosman resident, Mr Norman Ellison lobbied the Mosman mayor of the time, Alderman Jack Carroll to have the mast installed as a permanent memorial at Bradley's Head.
It was taken from Garden Island by a huge floating crane and laid in place on November 4, 1934.
An article in the local Mosman Daily at the time described the scene.
“Under weather that was all that could be desired, representatives of three branches of military service, local school children, the Red Cross, girl scouts and boy guides witnessed a ceremony which will remain in the memory of those that attended for a lifetime.”
Alderman Carroll, in his speech from Bradley's Head remarked “The mast of the ex.HMAS Sydney, under the shadow of which we now stand is dedicated with no militant spirit. It is a dedication in the spirit of peace and respect and gratitude to the great and many sacrifices of that silent but efficient service.” He said his fervent wish was that the mast would become a "treasured memorial”.
The mast had become an enduring memorial to the brave actions of all navy personnel in all battles since it was erected. In 2014, then Prime minister Tony Abbott, attended another important ceremony, dedicating a memorial walk of 22 trees and plaques. It also commemorates the other HMAS Sydney's World War II service and the battle with Kormoran in 1941.
Mosman's deputy mayor Carolyn Corrigan says she loves any opportunity to visit Bradley’s Head near Taronga Zoo.
“I really think it boasts one of the most spectacular views in Sydney Harbour,” Cr Corrigan tells North Shore Living as she overlooks the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour.
The vistas reach down the harbour to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House and out to the heads.
With the erection of the HMAS Memorial Mast and the dedication of the navy memorial walk it brings important military and heritage knowledge to residents and visitors.
“Hopefully the opening of our walking tracks through the lower North Shore will also bring many people to Bradley’s Head to explore the area,” she says.
“Its one of the best points on the harbour and is known for its privacy and amazing views. We are so privileged to have these hidden treasures here. It's been faithfully nurtured as part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.
“It's an absolute gem!”