Club History

History of the Club

The origin of the Manly Warringah Athletics (Sydney Pacific) dates back to the 1980s in the Ku-ring-gai and Manly-Warringah areas of Sydney. 

The  Ku-ring-gai Athletic Club was formed in the early 1980s and operated from Turramurra Memorial Park and for a time at Hassall Park, St Ives. Turramurra Memorial Park was established in 1926. The current oval area where Manly Warringah Athletics (Sydney Pacific) squads train was a market garden prior to the oval being constructed.

The Ku-ring-gai Athletic Club held a winter cross country series in Bobbin Head bushland.

One of the Ku-ring-gai Club’s early coaches was Jackie Byrnes OAM who was to coach Australian Olympian and 100m and 200m sprints champion Melinda Gainsford-Taylor for over two decades.

In 1986 the Ku-ring-gai Athletic Club secured an annual sponsorship from Reebok valued at around $20,000 per year in cash and in kind competed as Reebok Ku-ring-gai Athletic Club.

In 1987 the Reebok Ku-ring-gai Athletic Club merged with the long-established Manly Warringah Athletics & Harriers Club with the new entity competing as the Reebok Athletic Club.

The Warringah Harriers Club was formed nearly 120 years ago in the late 1890s. Its first competition was held in June 1897 at Clifton Gardens near Mosman. 

The Manly Amateur Athletic Club was established in 1919. In its early years, the club was famous for its annual ‘Manly Modified Marathon,' a race of some twelve or thirteen miles from Manly to Narrabeen and back, open to allcomers.

Manly Council purchased Ivanhoe Park on 17 December 1883. In the 1890s it became known as Manly Oval. In the 1920s Manly Oval and its surrounding areas were used by the Manly Amateur Athletic Club, the Manly Cricket Club, the Manly Bowling Club, the Manly Lawn Tennis Club and the Manly Rugby Union Club.

The Manly Amateur Athletic Club ran very popular winter meets every Wednesday night in the early 1920s.......'last Wednesday, when the 2-mile sealed road race was decided, there was a large crowd of onlookers. The race was popular among members, and some surprise runners came to light.' (Manly Daily, 16 July 1920)

In March 1921 and for several other years the NSW State Amateur Athletic Championships were held at Manly Oval. Other ‘interesting’ competitions held at Manly Oval in the 1920s included Goat Racing.

The Manly Amateur Athletic Club disbanded in 1968 after 49 seasons. In its place, the Manly Warringah Amateur Athletic Association (MWAAA) was formed. The Manly Amateur Athletic Club and the Warringah Amateur Athletic Club merged on 17 June 1968.

The Reebok Athletic Club, with the help of Reebok’s ongoing sponsorship, rapidly became a very large and successful club with over 300 members at its peak.

Sydney Pacific Athletic Club Limited was incorporated on 8 February 1994. It competed as the Reebok Athletic Club for a few more years until Reebok sponsorship ceased. The club then became known as the Sydney Pacific Athletic Club, or simply, Sydney Pacific (SYP). In 2023 Sydney Pacific Athletics Club Limited registered the trading name of Manly Warringah Athletics Club and now competes under the name of Manly Warringah Athletics (Sydney Pacific).

From its initial days,  Manly Warringah Athletics (Sydney Pacific) has maintained its presence at both Turramurra Memorial Park and the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation at Narrabeen. A winter track series was held at Narrabeen for many years.

In 1988 Robert Ballard became the first of many Club Olympians. Between the years of 1988 - 2012, at least one Club Member represented Australia at the Olympic Games.


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