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Lisa Sutton Lipman’s love of beautiful Manly has led her to create three stunning calendars – which may just help save the iconic Manly ferries. Not only that but she’s done it from the other side of the world in Norway.

With over 27,000 members, the hugely popular Facebook Group Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches is dedicated to celebrating the area’s history, culture and famous Many ferries. Its convenor, Lisa Sutton Lipman, branched out in 2020 to create an online shop producing a Lost Manly ferry calendar for 2021 titled ´Save our Freshwater Class Ferries´, which was a sell out success.

This year, she has produced three full-colour, souvenir gift calendars for 2022, each featuring 14 eye-catching photographs. The images capture Manly’s history, heritage and outstanding natural beauty, and have already wowed the Facebook group’s members, who are just as passionate about their local history as Lisa is.

The South Steyne, having made her return to the seas after the fire that gutted her in 1974. Photo by Geoff Eastwood, 1993, as featured in the 2022 calendar.

“It came at a time when the beloved Manly ferries were under threat of early retirement, and we needed our voices to be heard over all the political noise going on. We needed good old ‘people power’ to make a difference, and a difference we have made,” says Lisa.

”I was incensed by the news that Sydney’s iconic Freshwater Class ferries were to be phased out,” she recalls. “I wanted to do something to support the cause of saving them. I was determined to help draw attention to the situation, and celebrate their iconic status. I really wanted to join hands with all the others in the fight, and to inspire the community to call on the NSW State Government to rethink their decision to retire the ferries. The Manly Ferries don’t just belong to Sydney – they are a treasure that have been enjoyed by people from all around the world for decades.”

“Those Australian-made workhorses of the sea were built to last another 30 or 40 years,” says Lisa , who is determined to keep up the fight, despite the fact that she now lives a world away in Norway.

“From that desire to help, the idea of a special calendar, ‘Save Our Freshwater Class Ferries’, celebrating the Manly Ferries was born and it was a sell-out success,” says Lisa. “This year I’ve been busy producing three calendars for 2022, which are on sale now at just $20 and free postage if you buy all three.”

The MV North Head, 1978, from Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches Group. Photo: J.Y. Freeman

Lisa’s own history is fascinating in itself. Her connections with Manly – and Norway – go back to 1901 when her great grandfather, Norwegian sailor Claus Clausen, jumped ship and ended up working on the docks at Walsh Bay. Claus later ended up piloting the Manly ferry.

Marrying a local girl, Claus had 10 children, and was one of the early inner city dwellers who built a ‘weekender’ in Soldiers Avenue in Freshwater in the early 1900s. Lisa, her mother and grandmother, were born and raised just a few streets away.

Back in 2000, in the process of researching her Norwegian roots, Lisa met her Norwegian husband Ole online. After a five week visit in 2002, Ole took a year off his job as an oil engineer in Stavanger, Norway, to come and live on the Northern Beaches.

Ole and Lisa

When Ole was due to return to his job in Norway, Lisa’s employer went into voluntary liquidation and without warning, closed its office two days before Christmas, leaving the entire office of 15 staff, without pay and without work. Taking it as a sign it was time to fulfil a lifelong dream of walking in her ancestor’s footsteps, Lisa packed her bags and joined Ole on his return to Norway.

“It was the start of the greatest adventure of my life,” says Lisa. “I only intended to stay for a year, but 18 years and many travels with Ole later, as husband and wife, I am still in Norway, with plans of returning to the Northern Beaches when Ole retires from his job.”

Over the years, Lisa missed the Northern Beaches so much that she spent time researching her family history there. It led to her starting the Lost Manly and Northern Beaches Facebook Group so she could share her passion with others. It filled with 250 members on the first night.

Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches helps stave off the pangs of incredible homesickness I have felt over the years,” she says. “Don’t get me wrong. I love living in Norway – but even though you can take the girl out of the Northern Beaches, you can’t take the Northern Beaches out of the girl, as many would understand.”

‘Afternoon at Manly Beach’ by Max Dupaine 1940s. From Lost Manly and the Northern Beaches Group

Eight years later, the Group is fast approaching 30,000 members worldwide who share their own memories, images and stories of growing up on the Northern Beaches. The iconic Manly ferries feature often.

“Our Group’s members include ferry deckhands, ferry masters who steer the ships, photographers with a penchant for taking ferry photos amongst many others passionate about the Manly ferries – including the owner of the South Steyne [the most popular of the old Manly ferries, which was a floating restaurant in Sydney but is currently in need of a public wharf to be open again],” says Lisa.

Thousands were up in arms over the threat to the Freshwater ferries, which were being retired and replaced by vessels that appear to be proving unfit to service the Manly Ferry run.

“The latest turn around to bring back the MV Narrabeen, has proven a victory for the people, proving that PEOPLE POWER still rules the waves, when we keep on keeping on and don’t give up the fight! Now we just need to bring back the MV Queenscliff too,” Lisa says. “That is why this year’s ferry calendar is all about the Manly Ferry heritage, featuring the Queenscliff, the Narrabeen and the SS South Steyne, Queen of the Sea.”

Save Our Manly Ferry Heritage Calendar

With requests from not only all over Sydney, but also all over the world for the commemorative calendars, Lisa realised that Manly and the Northern Beaches had made a huge impression on many. In the year since her first Lost Manly Calendar launch, she has added to her Northern Beaches local history inspired collection, with an impressive collection of vintage posters, cushion covers, logo t-shirts, polo shirts and tanks and much, much more – all personally designed by Lisa. You can view the collection here: https://www.lostmanly.com.au/collections

This year’s trio of calendars are ‘Seven Miles from Sydney’ featuring vintage photos of Manly and surrounds; ‘Save our Manly Ferry Heritage’ and ‘Moods of Manly’, a collection of gorgeous moody sunrises and sunsets by Sue Halford.

“The calendars make wonderful gifts that can be shared around the world. We will post them to you and for you Australia wide and overseas. And we will even wrap them in Christmas paper and include a Christmas card on request,” says Lisa.

The calendars are available online at https://www.lostmanly.com.au/collections/calendars-and-posters

They are also available for pick-up and delivery across the Northern Beaches from 36 Quirk Street, Dee Why by calling Kerrie Hoare on 0410499532.