This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (April 2010)
Prior to European settlement in 1788, the area the beach is in was inhabited by indigenous Australians speaking the Guringai language. Aboriginal sites are found in the bushland all around Georges head. The arrival of smallpox with European colonists meant that by 1795, the population on the northern side of Sydney Harbour had declined by as much as 90%.
In 1815, Governor Lachlan Macquarie dubbed Bungaree "Chief of the Broken Bay Tribe" and presented him with 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land on George’s Head. He was also known by the titles "King of Port Jackson" and "King of the Blacks". Bungaree spent the rest of his life ceremonially welcoming visitors to Australia, educating people about Aboriginal culture (especially boomerang throwing), and soliciting tribute, especially from ships visiting Sydney. Bungaree and his family kept a fishing boat on the beach.
In the early 20th century the beach was painted by artists such as Herbert Reginald Gallop, as well as being a popular site for picnics.
Obelisk Beach is about 100 metres (330 ft) in length and is off the beaten path looking out into Sydney Harbour. Little known among tourists, but known to locals in the Mosman district, this beach gets low traffic and tends to be quiet and tranquil. Officially sanctioned as a clothing optional beach, it is not uncommon to find bathers and beach-goers completely free of swimwear. The beach is frequented by quiet, respectful, and friendly people who enjoy an open and accepting setting. The beach is attended predominantly by homosexual men, and is considered a 'gay-friendly' beach by some.
If driving, the beach has ample parking in a public car park located at the intersection of Middle Head Road, and Chowder Bay Road. Park in any spot and walk south along Chowder Bay Road. Within twenty metres a footpath on the left-hand side of the road will be clearly marked. Follow the footpath another 30 metres, down the stone steps and you will arrive quickly at the beach.
The beach's car park is serviced directly by one bus route, Route 244 which services the stop about every 30 to 45 minutes on weekdays. The latest transit information can be found from the website, Transport for NSW. You can also call the free trip planning hotline via telephone at 131 500.
Nudity is only permitted on the beach. No overnight camping, fires or pets are allowed. Posted signs outline the area where nudity is permitted, pay attention and take care to avoid wandering into the nearby bush areas without clothing. Police and Park Rangers do patrol the bush area frequently. There is no rubbish collection from the beach or surrounding area, visitors are asked to take their litter away and dispose of it responsibly.
- Malkin, Bonnie (2005-10-28). "Exposure test in new swing-free zone". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-04-21.
- "North-coastal Sydney Aboriginal history". Archived from the original on 2016-03-31.
- "The area near Obelisk Beach, Georges Head, where Bungaree kept his fishing boat". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
- "Gay Sydney Beaches". Park Lodge Hotel Website. 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- Byrne, Dennis. "Excavating desire: queer heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- "State Transit route 244". Transport for NSW.