Sydney has two geographical features named Long Bay – one at Cammeray on Middle Harbour and the other on the Pacific coast at Malabar. this article is about the latter. Long Bay is a 1.3 km deep southeast-facing bay that narrows from 800 m wide at its entrance between Boota Point and Tupia Head, to the curving 200 m long beach at its base. Sandstone rocks, platforms and cliffs extend along either side of the bay, with the Malabar Sewerage Treatment Works located on the northern side, and the suburb of Malabar on the southern side.
Malabar Beach: Located in at the head of Long Bay, the beach receives lowered waves averaging less than 1 m, which surge up a steep reflective beach face, with deeper water off the beach. The beach is about 50 m wide and backed by a grassy reserve, with a car park and street parking along the southern side. A rock platforms extends southeast of the beach, with a boat ramp is located 150 m southeast of the beach and a rock pool 450 m to the southeast, with a car park above the pool. The Randwick golf course occupies the remainder of Tupia Head. It is an usually quiet beach for swmming, but with deep water just offshore. The bay features a rock pool located on the southern foreshore below Randwick Golf Club. For surfers, there is a left reef break on the northern rocks during larger southeast swell. The bay has are extensive, usually sheltered spots for rock fishing, together with a boat ramp. Access via Fishermand Road, Malabar.
Malabar Headland: Located to the immediate north of Long Bay, the headland includes dramatic sandstone cliffs and provides spectacular coastal views. The 177 hectare headland was first used by local Aboriginal people for fishing and cultural activities. Since European settlement, the headland has been used for several purposes including dairy farming and recreational shooting to military use as a training facility and a defensive position during World War II known as the Boora Point Battery. The central area of Malabar headland was used for waste disposal from 1968 to 1988. There have been several shipwrecks on the Malabar headland – the St Albans in 1882, the Hereward in 1898, the SS Tekapo in 1899, the MV Malabar in 1931, the Belbowrie in 1939, Try One in 1947, the SS Goolgwai in 1955 and a barge in 1955.
The rifle range on the headland has been in active use since recreational shooting first began in the 1850s and it is believed to be the oldest rifle range in Australia. The range was previously known as the Long Bay Rifle Range and was renamed the ANZAC Rifle Range in 1970 by the Army as a tribute to the rifle club members who served during two World Wars and the Korean Campaign. The rifle range has hosted numerous national and international shooting competitions including the prestigious Empire Matches, the Bicentennial Shooting Championships and the annual NSW Queen’s Prize competitions. The NSW Rifle Association is today the only Range occupier and user.
The use of the headland has more recently been shared by a number of recreational organisations including numerous rifle and pistol clubs, horse riding school, model aircraft flying club, bush conservation, bush walking, jogging, bird watching and rock fishing.
Long Bay Fortifications
Built in 1942, the military installations at Long Bay, Cape Bailly and Cape Banks were three of a number of fortifications built on the coast as first line defence against naval attack by the Japanese. Construction was pre-emptied by Japanese submarine activity off the coast of Sydney in 1941 and 1942 which included a number of homes in the eastern suburbs being shelled and the entry of three minisubs into Sydney Harbour. The Long Bay installation, on Boora Point, consisted of two 9-inch guns which had a range of 26.4 kilometres, a battery of anti-aircraft guns, barracks and an electricity generating plant. Its pair of gun circles are joined by two tunnels. The guns were fed by shell loaders bringing their defensive cargo up from baffled rooms below. They were never fired in anger as no further naval activity by the Japanese off Sydney occurred. The forts were decommissioned after the war.
Located on the Malabar Headland, the buildings of the Long Bay fort remain largely intact though in an advanced state of disintegration. A narrow gauge railway leads through a trench from the start of the Gun Circle tunnels, past a few storage buildings to the base of a three storey lookout tower, then on to emerge 400m west of where it started. The tower has lookouts on two levels, a storage room on the other. The mount for a machine gun still sits in the floor of one of the lookouts. A burnt out 1999 Jeep Cherokee sits in a trench, blocking the passage. A small lookout sits at the cliff edge on the flat area of Boora Point where the fight scenes in the movie Mission Impossible 2 were filmed.
Goolgwai shipwreck: A Canadian steel screw steamer, the Goolgwai ran into the northern headland of Long Bay on 29th May 1955, a little further offshore from the spot where the steamer Malabar had come to grief 24 years earlier. Great crowds gathered on the headland to see the wreck of the ship below.
Malabar Shipwreck: Malabar Beach and the suburb of Malabar are named after the Burns Philps ship, SS Malabar which was wrecked on the north side of Long Bay on 2nd April 1931. The vessel, a passenger and cargo steamer, was named after a small village in Java. While making its way from Melbourne to Singapore via Sydney in heavy fog, Captain George William gave an order for a change of course by 5 degrees to starboard so as to to turn the ship out to sea away from the coast. The helmsman misunderstood the instruction and turned it 5 degrees to port. The ship ploughed onto the rocks of Long Bay, its bow left high and dry. The 28 passengers and 109 crewmembers evacuated safely with no loss of life. The incident drew over 300,000 sightseers over the next weekend, mainly to see what they could recover from the cargo that was strewn all over the beach. Attempts were made to refloat the vessel but it broke up before it could be saved. The wreck site has been located and can be dived on.
Long Bay Correctional Complex: an Australian maximum and minimum security prison for males and females, is located at Malabar, approximately 14 km south of the Sydney CBD. The facility is operated by Corrective Services NSW, an agency of the Department of Attorney General and Justice, of the Government of New South Wales. The Complex accepts sentenced and unsentenced felons under New South Wales and/or Commonwealth legislation and comprises three separate facilities including the Long Bay Hospital (a maximum security institution for medical and psychiatric cases); the Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (a maximum/minimum security institution); and the Special Purpose Centre (a maximum security institution for inmates requiring special protection).
Long Bay was completed in August 1909 due to the imminent closure of Darlinghurst Gaol. The State Reformatory for Women was opened in 1909 and the State Penitentiary for Men was opened beside it in 1914. Gallows were in operation at the Complex between from 1917 to 1939. The reformatory became part of the prison in the late 1950s, known as the Long Bay Penitentiary. After the Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre (formerly known as Mulawa) was opened in 1970, the women’s prison was vacated and converted into a medium security prison for men. In the late 1990s the facility was redeveloped to offer special treatment units which offer programs for sex offenders; those with intellectual disabilities; drug and alcohol abuse; or the use of violence.
The new Long Bay Hospital is a maximum security facility which holds a total of 120 inmate patients in four wards. It is jointly administered by the Department of Corrective Services and Justice Health (NSW Department of Health). The hospital became operational in July 2008, replacing the old Long Bay Hospital which was completely demolished in October 2008. The site of the old Long Bay Hospital is now the Long Bay Forensic Hospital, which took its first patients in late November 2008.
Aboriginal rock art: On the north side of the bay 140 metres from the sandy cliff at the head of the bay was a carving of a sunfish. The carving was on rocks on the foreshore.