Would you like to support local journalism?

(with some quirky flair)

Regular News FEEDINGS via social + online. by locals for locals

HomeNewsHow times have changed: Dee Why's first home to convert to wellness...

How times have changed: Dee Why’s first home to convert to wellness spa

The historic former Salvation Army hostel and Heritage-listed Pacific Lodge building at Dee Why will remain intact but alongside a new apartment development set to modernise the site.

The property was constructed in 1892, and will be retained for future use at the site within the new complex, which will contain a number of one and two bedroom dwellings.

Overlooking Dee Why Library and the Council Chambers, with views over the town centre and the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Lodge site development, known as Hamptons, is being delivered by the Rose Group.

The project is described by Rose as “an exquisite collection of generously sized one and two bedroom apartments with a limited release of rare three bedroom apartments and a few individually crafted penthouses.”

Manly Observer spoke to Paul Ferrari, Head of Projects for Upstate Realty about how the 130-year-old Pacific Lodge will feature in the finished design.

“Pacific Lodge is the centrepiece of this stunning site. It has been pivotal in the design of our landscaping. Capturing the timeless elegance of the coastal lifestyle, we are consulting with the heritage consultants to bring it back to its former glory.

“Pacific Lodge features rendered masonry, corrugated iron hipped roof with tall rendered chimneys, a veranda on three sides with cast iron balustrade, columns and valence.”

“Hamptons by Rose is designed to blend in the 5,500 square metres of landscaped open spaces preserving the mature angophoras, tallowwoods, banksias, cypress pines and the majestic Norfolk pine standing sentinel before pacific lodge.

“This was the very first permanent home built in Dee Why and will be returned to its former grandeur, surrounded by its revitalised formal gardens.”

Pacific Lodge, the Heritage-listed former Salvation Army-run aged care home in Dee Why. Photo: Alec Smart

How will Pacific Lodge feature in Hamptons?

In May 2016, the one-hectare block of land was offered for sale as a prime development site with approval for four buildings and over 100 residential apartments.

The development site, which the Australian Financial Review reported in August 2016 was sold for around $25 million, is currently undergoing specialist asbestos removal.

Will Pacific Lodge be converted to multi-use or single-client retail premises during the redevelopment of the Fisher Rd site, or perhaps something else, perhaps a museum?

“We are looking for a very particular tenant that will enhance the space and provide the least interference to our residents,” Mr Ferrari said.

“The layout and design of the current Pacific Lodge has many small rooms inside the house. We have sought a beauty or spa/wellness client for the site.

“The building will only have one tenant as per the strata. We feel a high class wellness facility is just the right mix and the least disruption to our residents.”

Considering Pacific Lodge is an historic building of major importance to the Northern Beaches, and is recommended on the Dee Why Heritage Walk, will there be public access to Pacific Lodge after completion of the residential apartment buildings alongside, such as a public footpath through the site?

“There will be public access in the essence of clients attending the wellness spa,” Mr Ferrari explained.

“The public footpath is actually part of the heritage listing and needs to stay in its current formation with access from Fisher Road.”

The original development approval listed four buildings on site. Does that include Pacific Lodge, and will the residential premises be high-rise towers?

“There are actually only three apartment buildings on site. East Hampton, Hampton Bay and Seacliff, and are only four stories from the ground, not towers, set amongst stunning gardens and sweeping vistas to the sea,” Mr Ferrari said.

“Rose Group are known for their attention to detail in their landscape design and Pacific Lodge is the focal point of it all. The home being on the grounds has created physical space distinction between the three new low line buildings as well as bring a sense of class and style of yesteryear to the stunning rock top site with sweeping views through the Pacific.”

When will Hamptons and the refurbished Pacific Lodge at its centre be open? 

“The project completion is due early 2025 and will be the same date for both residents and the new spa tenants,” Mr Ferrari said.

Pacific Lodge. Photo: Alec Smart

History of Pacific Lodge

The Pacific Lodge is an important relic from the European settlement of Dee Why. Originally built for Salvation Army officers to enjoy seaside holidays, over time it evolved as a care facility.

Dee Why Library’s History Hub description of the building’s successive uses, states:

“Built in 1892 by the Salvation Army as a Home of Rest for Salvation Army officers in need of recuperation, but soon after became a centre for the treatment of ‘inebriates’ and from 1939 as the Pacific Lodge Aged Men’s Home. The Salvation Army finally sold the property in 2016 and moved all residents to new facilities in Collaroy.”

The Salvation Army once owned almost the entire seafront acreage between Dee Why and the headland south of Mona Vale (where Mona Vale Hospital now sits) – 1740 acres. This included Dee Why Lagoon and what later became Narrabeen, Warriewood, Collaroy and Long Reef.

This territory they were initially partially-granted, and later bequeathed, by the previous landholder, Elizabeth Jenkins.

Elizabeth herself was bequeathed a parcel of land in North Narrabeen from a family friend in 1821. Upon her father James’ death in 1835, she inherited an 1800 acres estate encompassing all the aforementioned foreshore land from Dee Why to Mona Vale.

James Jenkins, an emancipated convict (who, with his brother, was originally sentenced to death for the theft of seven sheep in Wiltshire, England, their sentences commuted after five years to transportation to Sydney), was a highly successful property owner, farmer and shipwright.

Jenkins opened up the Northern Beaches to farming with the construction of a main road between Collaroy and North Harbour, Fairlight, crossing 13 bridges along its route (today followed by Condamine St, Old Pittwater Rd and Pittwater Rd).

Pacific Lodge, under renovation. A beauty or spa/wellness client will likely lease the building. Photo: Alec Smart

Elizabeth, a devout Christian, began giving parcels of land to the ‘Salvos’ in 1885, in exchange for a family annuity – £175 per annum.

The Dictionary of Sydney states:

“Elizabeth entered into a mutually beneficial arrangement with the Salvation Army. The collapse of the Australian Banking Company in 1892 left Elizabeth feeling potentially liable as a shareholder. An intensely religious person worried by her position in relation to the bank, she decided to transfer her land and property to the Salvation Army in return for an annuity paid to her and her family by the army.

“Elizabeth never married and died in 1900. After her death, her nephew Phillip challenged the arrangements Elizabeth had made in her will, questioning both her mental health and the influence the Salvation Army held over her. Probate was finally granted to the Salvation Army and the annuity ended with Phillip’s death in 1931.”

In Dee Why district the Salvos built a boys’ home (east of Pittwater Rd) and a girls’ home (south of the lagoon) and between them an industrial farm to employ disadvantaged youth.

From 1911, Dee Why was subdivided and sold for residential estates, schools and churches, at the insistence of the NSW Government.

For most of her adult life, Elizabeth resided in a homestead in what is now Homestead Avenue in Collaroy. Ironically, although Elizabeth’s old property has been long demolished, the Salvation Army’s new Pacific Lodge Aged Care Centre is built on Elizabeth’s former estate on Homestead Ave.

 The Salvation Army describe the new Pacific Lodge in Homestead Ave, Collaroy, as:

“…a state of the art facility consisting of 50 private rooms with modern en suites, desks and televisions for each resident. The Centre includes free-flowing communal areas, such as sunrooms, lounge rooms and television rooms, as well as fresh tea and coffee facilities, and a spacious and tranquil sensory garden for residents to enjoy…”

Support quality local news

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!

Kim Smee, Editor

Become a supporter