The name Collaroy is aboriginal for “big reeds”, and the suburb began its life as part of Narrabeen. In 1881, the steamer “Collaroy” ran aground on Long Reef at the southern point of the suburb. Crowds came from all around the district to see the wreck that subsequently gave its name to the suburb. Its anchor can still be found at the Narrabeen Primary School.
Collaroy has grown slowly from a farming area to beachside retreat into a desirable residential area.