A Customs House was built in 1843 to combat smuggling which had been rife in the area. New buildings were added in 1862 and survived until they were destroyed by fire in 1976.More on Barrenjoey Head
It is thought that Pittwater has probably been inhabited for around 40,000 years but it wasn't until the 15th of May 1788 that it was given the name Pittwater (after the British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger).
Captain Arthur Phillip R.N. (Governor of the new settlement of Sydney Cove) coined the name in a letter to Lord Sydney. It seems he didn't bother to ask the Garigal people what they had been calling for the previous 38,000 years.
Click here to read the letter.It's more interesting than it sounds!
Thirty acres of the land around around Salt Pan and to the top of the escarpment was a grant to James MacDonald. John Farrell was granted 60 acres to the west of the Village Reserve. John Farrell was an Irish convict transported in 1813 after having been found guilty of possessing an illegal bank note. Farrell prospered in the colony and owned land in Macquarie Street and a farm at Pittwater. It was Farrell's servant Tumey who alerted the authorities to the smuggling episode involving the Fair Barbarian. Farrell died in 1851 and his Pittwater lands were inherited by his son, also John Farrell. Pittwater was a wild territory last century and the settlers were not always good neighbours. Farrell was involved in a case of disappearing cattle. Ten cows owned by James Therry, a nephew of the pioneer priest went missing and the remains of one was discovered on Farrell's property. Farrell was committed for trial and more of Therry's cattle vanished while Farrell was on bail. An employee of Farrell informed to the police and Farrell was subsequently convicted and sentenced to seven years hard labour in 1864. Farrell apparently never served the sentence for in 1869 he was resident at Manly Lagoon and the licensee of the new North Steyne Hotel in 1871. His Pittwater farms passed to his son, Johnny Farrell. From convict origins the Farrell family became respected citizens. In 1925 he purchased a further 45 acres for £3000. They had a butchery on Manly's Corso and were proprietors of Manly's Colonnade Hotel, offering 'FirstClass Accommodation'. Johnny Farrell died in 1933.More on Salt Pan Cove