A stunning lookout at Fairlight is to be named in honour of former Manly Mayor Jean Hay AM.

The popular spot on the Fairlight Walk is on the point just to the west of Fairlight Beach, near Arlington Drive, Fairlight. Although known as the longest serving (and last) Mayor of Manly, and as a Manly Councillor for 30 years, it is Ms Hay’s multitude of other accomplishments for which she is being recognised.

Jean Hay AM

Jean Hay

“In 1985, I pioneered ‘Life Education’ on the Northern Beaches, which is a mobile classroom. It went to 40 schools and I did that for 20 years, until the state took it over. I raised all the funds for it.

“I chaired the Manly District Support Committee for 30 years. I started it originally because I was approached by a teacher from Manly Village School in the early 1980s that some kids were going to school without breakfast. So, we raised money for underprivileged kids to pay for their excursions and such,” said Ms Hay.

Proposal to name popular Fairlight lookout after Jean Hay AM

“For 15 years I was the coordinator of the Warringah Mall Community Club. Every Wednesday, around 200 people would come to the community rooms, and I’d have entertainment, a guest speaker and have raffles to raise money for charity.

“I got involved with Bear Cottage in 1995, when I was approached by Dr Michael Stevens who was head of paediatric oncology at Westmead Children’s Hospital. We had a big fight to get that, and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead made me an ambassador and gave me the honour of laying the first brick at Bear Cottage. It was a great honour for me,” said Ms Hay.

Her achievements also include raising $2m for the Sunnyfield Association for a business and training centre; creating the Manly Pathway of Olympians and Paralympians; redeveloping the Seaforth TAFE site with new community facilities at no cost to ratepayers; and redevelopment of the Manly Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre.

Proposal to name popular Fairlight lookout after Jean Hay AM

Ms Hay also chaired the Manly Scenic Walkway Committee for 20 years, and was instrumental in improvements to the pathway on which the lookout, which is a popular location for outdoor weddings, is to be named after her is located.

“Where they are naming the lookout is a stone’s throw away from where I grew up as a child. I would have walked past there a few thousand times going to Fairlight Pool, where I used to swim. I grew up at Bolingbroke Parade, and would walk along what was then a dirt track,” recalled Ms Hay.

Proposal to name popular Fairlight lookout after Jean Hay AM

The motion to name the lookout after Ms Hay was moved by Northern Beaches Councillor Karina Page, who previously served on Manly Council with her.

Karina Page

Karina Page

“Jean [Hay] has worked tirelessly for over 60 years supporting the community, many charities and serving as the longest female mayor on Manly Council. It’s well overdue that she is recognised for all her contributions.

“This is the least the community can do for such an inspirational woman, who I am proud to call my friend. I think the lookout at Fairlight is the perfect position as this is very close to where Jean and David [her husband] lived for so many years, and because Jean was the chair of the Manly Scenic Walkway Committee,” said Cr Page.

Proposal to name popular Fairlight lookout after Jean Hay AM

Northern Beaches Mayor Sue Heins said the tribute is fitting given Ms Hay’s 50 years of service to the people of Manly.

Sue Heins

Sue Heins

“A lifelong resident of Manly, Jean Hay AM has made an enormous contribution to Manly and our community and so in recognition of her efforts this beautiful location has been chosen to commemorate her.

“She has been awarded several accolades over her lifetime, including the Member of the Order of Australia and the Centenary Medal for services to the community through local government, community action and sporting groups, and fund-raising for welfare and health education programmes,” said Mayor Heins.

The Northern Beaches Advocate spoke with Jean Hay AM about her extraordinary life and commitment to community in July 2020. Watch the interview below.

The ‘Jean Hay Lookout’ proposal was voted for unanimously at the last meeting (27 February) of Northern Beaches Council and will be on public exhibition until Sunday, 07 April 2024.

Should it proceed, Council will upgrade the existing picnic setting at the location and install an interpretative sign to further acknowledge Ms Hay’s contributions to the community.

Council says the naming proposal is consistent with its ‘Naming Our Reserves, Facilities and Roads Policy‘ and does not require the approval of the NSW Government Geographical Names Board.

Images and video: Northern Beaches Advocate

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