Until 1933, Malabar was a small fishing village perched at the edge of the ocean. Sydney-siders referred to it either as Brand Bay or Long Bay. Then, in 1931, a cargo steamer named Malabar was wrecked there during a wild storm. Locals spent the next two years petitioning to have their suburb’s name changed to commemorate the wreck. It’s easy to understand why. Looking down the bay in Malabar, you get a sense of the vastness of the Tasman Sea, its power and unpredictability; you get an understanding of why locals wanted to celebrate this by changing the suburb’s name. Malabar has a unique atmosphere, very much tied to the ocean. Although Sydney’s CBD is a short drive away, Malabar feels like it’s a world away.
Increasingly, homes in Malabar are built to capture ocean views. Many of Malabar’s ocean-front homes are large, double-storey dwellings with excellent amenities. Still, more modest homes remain in the area, with some weatherboard cottages on large blocks available. Although freestanding homes dominate the suburb, some semidetached dwellings and apartments – usually in small complexes – are also on offer.
Malabar offers residents a relaxed lifestyle – and the suburb’s cafés and restaurants help to make it so. The Lite Hearted Café on Anzac Parade gets good reviews and On the Bay Café provides gorgeous views across parkland and out to sea. Locals rave about the casual dining available at the Randwick Golf Club – while you’re dining here you can drink in some of Sydney’s best ocean views.
Malabar has been popular with families for years and it offers excellent childcare and educational services. Malabar is home to the Malabar Occasional Childcare Centre and the John Mewburn Childcare Centre. School-aged children are served by the local government primary school, Malabar Public and St Andrews, a Catholic primary school. You’ll also find government and non-government secondary schools in nearby suburbs. Two tertiary institutions are within easy reach; Randwick TAFE and the University of New South Wales are both nearby.
Malabar was a popular destination for day-trippers in the nineteenth century and there are still plenty of local attractions. Malabar is home to Pioneer Park, Cromwell Park, the Randwick Golf Course and the Anzac Rifle Range. Together, they give the suburb a huge amount of green space, much of it overlooking the ocean.
Malabar has a great shopping precinct. Situated on Anzac Parade, the Malabar Shopping Centre provides all the essentials, including a newsagent, chemist, grocery store, butchery and bakery. Conveniently, the post-office, council-run library and community hall are located here too. Westfield Eastgardens – with its huge range of boutiques and department stores – is a short drive away.
Malabar is a fabulous place to get outdoors. Malabar Beach – with its leafy backdrop – attracts swimmers and surfers and it’s also popular among local walkers and joggers. Malabar Rock Pool is a great spot for kids. Refurbished in 1997, it provides a lovely, protected place for swimming. Locals are also in the fortunate position of having the Malabar Riding School on their doorstep. The school – located on Franklin Street – offers lessons to children and adults. The experience of riding on horseback so close the sea is something special. A wide range of sporting competitions are also offered in the area including netball, basketball, tennis, football, rugby, rugby league, baseball, and athletics. Malabar’s golfers are well-served by Randwick Golf Club, which offers fantastic views over the ocean.
Malabar is 11 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD and is easily reached by car. Malabar’s residents have good access to public transport. State Transit buses operate frequently along Anzac Parade and the trip to the city takes about 40 minutes.