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[Page 39]


Manly began to change.   The traders had grown complacent and the crowds were drawn away by other attractions.   The car was Manly's enemy, choking the Corso and giving visitors the mobility to go elsewhere.

        Worse, that bastion of free enterprise, the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company, had allowed the ferries to run down.   The last Manly ferry had been built in 1938 and the rest of the fleet was much older.   A vicious cycle had started, with the service curtailed as patronage fell off.

        The old entrepreneurs had gone.   The village went into a long, painful decline.

        In 1965, Robin (later Sir Robert) Askin won power as Premier of N.S.W.  He was long-time resident of Manly, choosing to remain in the Municipality rather than to live in his electorate of Collaroy, which was wholly within the Shire of Warringah.   A self-confessed "knock about type", Askin used the informal veneer to perfection.   He could be seen in pubs, drinking with locals and talking knowledgeably about football and racehorses.   It was rumoured that his interest in gambling went far deeper than idle chatter.   Nevertheless, he was seen to be respectable.   Having worked in a bank, he could adopt an authoritative, soothing air, which persuaded the voters to entrust the State's fortunes to him--a responsible manager.   If

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