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HomeLifestyleFrom a widow's vision to celebrity haunt: Jonah's marks 95 years

From a widow’s vision to celebrity haunt: Jonah’s marks 95 years

Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique hotel proved generous hosts as it celebrated its 95 years as that little house on the hill overlooking Whale Beach on Friday.

First opening its doors in 1929, the venue has bore witness to the development of the Palm and Whale Beach suburbs throughout its near century.

Jonah’s in 1929.

It first began with Constance Vidal, a British widow who travelled with her daughter to Australia. They noticed the increased use of the motorcar and had the vision to build their roadhouse on the cliffs overlooking Whale Beach (stunning views it still maintains in some directions today.)

The view from Jonah’s

Moving from roadhouse to fine dining following the Second World War, Jonah’s has become a favourite of the Palm Beach set, which often includes celebrities and politicians of note.

Among them have been Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger, Bono, Queen, One Direction, Elle McPherson, Billy Connolly with Pamela Stephenson, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, William Holden, Members of the Royal Family of England and of Monaco and, we are told, many more.

In attendance at owner Peter Montgomery’s private party on Friday, 26 January 2024,  was former Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove, World Surf Champion Layne Beachley and INXS member Kirk Pengilly, as well as were nine Olympians.

Layne Beachley – World Champion Surfer, and Kirk Pengilly – INXS member

Guests were entertained by the musical talents of Opera Maestro Lorenzo Rositano and the crowd joined in to sing the National Anthem and I am Australian.

The toast to Australia was given by Australian legendary author Thomas Keneally AO who referred to Jonah’s as having a “Shangri La cast above the waves and communing with the clouds and drawing all the graces from both of them”.

Thomas and Judy Keneally

He shared his memories of visiting many times over the years including when for him it was “the place to celebrate the night of nights”. He presented owner Peter Montgomery with a special edition of his work Schindler’s Ark (the Booker Prize winning novel that was turned into the movie Schindler’s List by Stephen Spielberg) as a gift for Jonah’s 95th birthday.



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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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