“The Duke” Newsletter November 2017


At its meeting on 28 November, Northern Beaches Council approved a recommendation to release its Freshwater Coastal Open Space Master Plan for public comment.

This Draft Plan was prepared by Council staff with input from a project team consisting of reps from Freshwater SLSC, Harbord Diggers, Friends of Freshwater and people drawn from the local community. Funding for its implementation is to be drawn from the Amalgamation funding provided by the State Government.

From the perspective of the Friends of Freshwater, this is a once in a generation opportunity to inject some fresh thinking into the workability and amenity of these spaces.

We have been campaigning for a number of years for the missing link of the Coastal Walkway to be completed from South Curl Curl through to Ocean View Road; the two beachside playgrounds to be upgraded; removal of weed infestation in Undercliffe Reserve, and a Management plan for Freshwater View Reserve.  The current Diggers development also provides the opportunity to have a fresh look at the configuration of McKillop Park and surrounding streets.

It is without doubt that Freshwater Beach and the surrounding public open space forms some of the most stunning sections of the Palm Beach to Manly Coastal Walkway. The park area immediately behind the beach has been developed in an ad hoc fashion as land was acquired by Councils over a period of time, and is dominated by car parking. This dominance compromises the ability of this important space to function in a way that best serves the community.  Additionally, access to the beach area and adjacent headland reserves such as McKillop Park and Freshwater View Reserve, is far from ideal.

Maps of the three principal areas under consideration are attached. They extend from Queenscliff to South Curl Curl.

Public submissions are being received by Council on its website and at drop-in sessions that are being held adjacent to the Kooloora Avenue playground this Saturday, 9/12, from 8-11am, and on Wednesday 13/12 from 8am to 11am. Council can also be contacted on 1300 434 434.

Should you have any concerns about aspects of this plan, we urge you to put your thoughts in writing to Council.

Needless to add that Friends of Freshwater will also be making a submission to Council


An Armistice Day Ceremony to commemorate those men and women who served in WWI, was held in Jacka Park on the eleventh hour of the 11 November, as it has been done for the best part of a century. More than 400 attended including local dignitaries, defence service personnel and descendants of those who gave service. More importantly, Armistice Day is about recognising the fragility of peace and the impact of war on families. This is as poignant now as it was then.

The lessons of the 5 years of intense war during 1914-1918 still reverberate almost a century later.

In the Freshwater Anzac Precinct of Jacka Park and later in the Soldiers Avenue of Honour there were some magical moments on this day that illustrate the essence of peace and the depth of emotions for forebears long departed.

Pippas Peace Prose

Pippa Ravenscroft is the 2017 School Captain of Harbord Public School and within a few months, a high school student. She spoke of peace in her own crafted prose at the recent Armistice Day Ceremony.

Peace is special. So special, that sometimes we dont notice it, ad take it for granted, as it has always been there. And it hasnt.

But in my lifetime, peace is all I have known.

In Freshwater, my generation has grown up in a community that is safe. We’ve never had to worry about living in fear. When youre not living in fear, you have the freedom to be hopeful about what you can achieve in the future.

Peace is extremely precious and we have to look after it. We wont always agree with one another, but if we treat others how we like to be treated, and look at things from other peoples perspectives, it could help create a more peaceful future.

Future peace lies in our hand and I hope we dont throw our chances away.

I hope that people never have to wake up in fear for the future

I hope for a world where everyone lives in peace and harmony.


A cameo theatre-in- education role was conducted at the Suggate Tree on the corner of Soldiers Avenue and Marmora St.  Local Soldiers Avenue resident, Wendy Machon played the role of William “Billy” Suggate’s mother, Mary, who planted the tree in 1925.

Suggate died, aged 19, a century ago, in the battle for Passchendaele, Flanders, Belgium.

As “Mary” explained, Dad and I were never able to visit where our beautiful boy was buried. We shared our grief with dozens of our neighbours. With so many sons and husbands lost, we needed somewhere to grieve. Many towns and villages came up with the idea to plant a special tree for each soldiers memory. Our good friend, Mr. Holloway, donated the trees in this memorial street from his nursery. This is our Billys memorial tree, planted on this corner by Dad and I.

It didnt need to rain; our tears did that.

A century later, Harbord Public School, Deputy Principal, Brian ORourke unveiled a footpath memorial plaque at Billys Corner.



The State Government has embarked on the roll out the container deposit scheme across the northern beaches. However, there are very few reverse vending machines to cope with the demand and only 16 shops on the northern beaches allocated as collection points.

In Freshwater, only Polar Bar on Harbord Road is so licensed.

Soft drinks, juices, flavoured milks and bottled water have all gone up in price, while a carton of beer has increased by $4 a carton due to the introduction of the scheme. An apparent short term windfall for the bottlers.

Friends of Freshwater is a strong supporter of the Scheme due to the experience of plastics fouling the beach.



The poisoned Norfolk Island Pine in Kooloora Avenue, on which we reported last month, has been removed by Council. This tree had its roots poisoned by someone wishing to gain an unexplained advantage.  It will be replaced by a new pine in this heritage listed stand of trees.


We are still seeking further formal feedback on the first of our public art project pods…. the First Peoples Pod.

Many people have sought more information about the Aboriginal Artist who painted the pod façade. Leanne Tobin has worked as an artist for three decades. She is of Darug descent and grew up in Western Sydney. In 2011, Leanne won the Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize for her art work, “Defending Country”. She is currently the Artist in Residence at Blacktown Council’s Art Centre.


In response to a spate of anti-social behaviour at Freshwater beach which has involved under-age drinking, and widespread community concern, Northern Beaches Council and the local area Police Command have resolved to establish an Alcohol Prohibited Area to cover the beach reserves from Undercliffe Road in the south, the public car park adjacent to Freshwater Beach extending to Ocean View Road.  In addition,

An Alcohol Free Zone will be established for Freshwater Village to included public roads, footpaths and carparks within the area from the corner of Oliver and Lawrence Streets through to the junction of Albert St. and Ocean View Road. Police assert that these are needed public space management tools to combat anti-social behaviour associated with excessive consumption of alcohol.


Freshwater resident, Tim Trumper, has recently been appointed Chairman of the NRMA after being a Board Member since 2014. His Board responsibilities as a Director in that period have included the Northern Beaches, where he has been active in a wide range of motoring issues. He has been vocal on upper age driving limits and has stated that our view is that there is no driver upper age. Its about your driving ability and your awareness of that ability

Tim is closely monitoring new motoring technologies such as the introduction of driverless cars and alternative fuel sources.


One of the downsides of sky-high real estate prices is that the assessed value of property keeps rising, as do rates and taxes.  Landlords have to pay these increased costs and often pass them on to tenants in the form of higher rents.

In Freshwater, a real estate hotspot, commercial rents are inordinately high.  This has led to a number of shops becoming vacant and remaining unfilled for lengthy periods. Something has got to give.

“The Duke” Newsletter October 2017


A well-attended function was held last weekend, in what was left of the old Diggers Club building. It marked the temporary closure of the Club prior to its re-opening on Lumsdaine Drive in 2018. The last remaining section of the “Old Lady” will shortly be demolished to permit the construction of the final phase of the development. This will include levels of apartments atop a gymnasium and two swimming pools.

Some permanent staff have been relocated to jobs at the Manly Bowling Club (which is owned by Mounties Group) and others are being bussed each day out to the Mount Pritchard Club premises of Mounties. It is intended that when the new Club is completed that these highly trained staff will return.

Work on the residential construction is continuing apace and the Carrington Drive aligned apartments are scheduled to be available for occupation in February 2018. Already the sandstone facings of the apartments are being realised. This section also includes a pre-school facility

Also completed is the major storm water pipe that will remove excess storm water from the site. This will be discharged into the ocean nearby.


The combined impact of major construction projects nearby, changes in retailing and high rents has placed the Village in a period of transition.

In a short space of time, the newsagency has closed; a travel agent has moved to other premises in Curl Curl; our two laundry shops have closed and 6 shops on the southern side of Lawrence Street lay empty. Soon our baby health centre will close, and families will have to hop into a car to travel to the Mall for neo-natal and midwifery services. When these services disappear, they never return.

On the plus side, we are soon to get a Super IGA supermarket and the return of Bakers Delight and possibly a new tenant for the current IGA space.


A family friendly remembrance service will be held on 11 November 2017, and a Flyer is attached with details. Each year, our Nation pauses on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November to remember the 60,000 Australians who lost their life in this tragic war.

Did you know that: –

  • The Soldiers Avenue of Honour and Jacka Park are now known as the Freshwater Anzac Precinct.
  • The Soldiers Avenue of Honour (established in 1922) is unique to Sydney.
  • Soldiers Avenue and Jacka Park were declared a community war memorial in 2016 by the State Government.
  • Trees in Soldiers Avenue are heritage-listed and the Heroes Tree was first planted in 1923. Each tree was planted to recognise the service of a local soldier.
  • 129 men from Freshwater served in WW1 from a total Freshwater population of less than 1500. 34 were killed in action. This loss reverberates with their families today.

This annual event is organised by the Harbord RSL Sub Branch and the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Stakeholders Group and next year will be the centenary.


The 26“Freshwater’apartments on the former Harbord Growers Site are due to be completed by year end. Already major internal fit-outs are proceeding apace and scaffolding systematically removed.

At 5 Pavilion St, the 6-storey cliff-top apartment block has now assumed its permanent profile.  This should be a welcome improvement on the dog of a building that it replaces.


Liquor and Gaming NSW has advised that the Liquor Licence application by Cellarbrations has been withdrawn.  This was for a packaged alcohol retail outlet in the new “Freshwater” apartment complex (formerly the Growers Market site).

With more than 50 submissions from the Freshwater community opposing the application, along with those of the Northern Sydney District of the Department of Health; Northern Beaches Council and the NSW Police, this is a pleasing outcome.


A mature Norfolk Island pine on the beach end of Kooloora Avenue is dying and Council has earmarked it for removal. It is part of a stand of mature Norfolk Island Pines in this Avenue that are heritage listed.

Upon being alerted to the poor state of the tree by a neighbour, we spoke with Northern Beaches Council Tree Preservation Officers. They have been investigating its demise and are of the opinion that it was poisoned by someone.  A note to that effect has been placed on the tree and Council is looking for further evidence and offering a $10,000 reward. The Tree will also be replaced.

The Friends of Freshwater is frankly disgusted at this turn of events. View enhancing at the expense of trees is the stuff of some beach communities where well-heeled individuals feel that they can do as they please.  This has not happened so overtly in Freshwater before and never on a heritage listed tree.


SBS is filming segments for a Series on prominent Australian citizens of Italian background. The Series is entitled “Passionate Italians” and will include a segment on Freshwater restaurant owner and chef, Giovanni Pilu.

His much-lauded restaurant was recently recognised with a National Award for Best Italian Formal Restaurant. The judging criteria for this Award is based on a ranking by consumers of their dining experience. Clearly there are many contented diners.

Giovanni is also known for his campaign to include local produce in restaurant menus and it was fitting that filming of him was partly done in Freshwater Community Garden where gardeners, often from apartments nearby, are growing their own produce.

Fortunately, at the time of filming and despite the record dry, the Community Garden was looking like a green oasis.


Popular Café Calm Owner and Chef, Cedric La Page, is recovering from an horrendous motor bike accident at South Curl Curl. He was thrown from the bike and had various body injuries including two broken wrists, one of which required micro surgery. For a Chef, one’s hands are tools of trade and the accident has forced him away from the Café, while he recovers.


The first of five concrete pods in Freshwater Village Plaza has been the subject of artistic treatment by a well-known aboriginal artist, Leanne Tobin. See photos attached. The other four pods are also to be part of an ongoing public art project. These pods, that currently have a range of functions including as protection for a major storm water pipeline passing underneath, will be used to depict the various phases of the history of Freshwater. This will extend from the millennial occupation by our first peoples; the arrival of our early settlers in the 19th Century; our surfing and Anzac history, and a pod devoted to the future.

A project team with Sean Rout as Chair, and Stacey Berkman, Kent Bull, Tai Ropiha and Peter Harley as members, has been working for the last two years on this project.

On Saturday, September 30, a public launch of the Project coincided with the installation of a painted artwork which depicts Freshwater Creek moving to Saltwater.  This is very apt, given that Freshwater Creek snakes its way through our community and down to saltwater at the Beach. There is also a great deal of local evidence, including middens, to suggest that the Cammaraigal clan used both the environs of Freshwater Creek and Beach as regular sources of food, and cave overhangs for shelter.

This project has the support of Northern Beaches Council as part of its place-making strategy to make Villages and spaces on the Northern Beaches more vibrant.

Friends of Freshwater has been successful in gaining a grant from Council to assist with this project, but for its full realisation it will require further crowd-funding.

The Duke Newsletter – April 2017


Our campaign to have both the 4G and 3G Tower equipment removed from public land at McKillop Park has now finally succeeded with the removal of the electro-magnetic equipment on 30 March.  Photos attached show the transition.

Behind this removal is our other negotiated achievements that should be re-iterated, including:

  • Real community consultation including transparent notification of intending tower location and construction (not simply a postage stamp advertisement in the back pages of a local newspaper)
  • Lodgement of a DA with all the processes for community submissions
  • No Towers to be erected in Public Parks and Reserves

Our campaign and its community backing led to the involvement of both State and Federal Governments and these arrangements have apparently now been adopted by the telecommunications industry and are to apply Australia-wide.


Optus has confided that it has not encountered such a concerted community campaign against one of its towers. The volume of submissions was unprecedented.




Approx. 150 people participated in the community consultation and walking tour at Freshwater Beach Reserve on 25 March.


Through this process, OF is campaigning for: –

  • Completion of the Sydney Coastal Walk missing boardwalk link from South Curl Curl to Freshwater Pool
  • Improving access to Freshwater Pool from Ocean View Road with the construction of a path above the tidal zone and goat track
  • Upgrading existing playgrounds in Freshwater Beach Reserve to a standard enjoyed by other Beach Reserves such as at Collaroy and Dee Why.
  • An enhanced vegetation management plan for Undercliffe Reserve to progressively remove weed infestation, replace with native plantings and highlight the substantial drystone rock terraces in the Reserve.
  • Improve storm water pipes and drains to the Southern end of Freshwater beach.
  • Formulate a Plan of Management for the heritage-listed Freshwater View Reserve which includes a safe lookout above Secret Rock and bush regeneration of the two lower terraces.
  • Link Freshwater Village more tangibly with Freshwater Beach with a common tree scape along the full length of Moore Road.
  • Upgrade parking and traffic turnaround at the beach end of Moore Road.
  • Install more Recycling bins to cater for weekend waste.


Two members of the Friends of Freshwater have nominated to fill positions on the project team.



A determined group of Freshwater organisations including the Harbord RSL Sub Branch; Freshwater Surf Club; the Harbord Literary Institute and the Friends of Freshwater, has been steadily refurbishing the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Living Memorial to its former grandeur.  A century ago, grieving mothers who were involved with some of these organisations, were at the heart of its initial establishment. In the process, the century long history of those who served in international conflicts and their families is being rediscovered.

Along the way, the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Stakeholders Group has garnered support from the three tiers of government and even the energy utility Ausgrid, which last year undergrounded all high voltage cabling in the Avenue at an estimated cost of $500k, in part to protect the 66 heritage listed trees. Northern Beaches Council has also provided new footpaths, historic street signage and permission to install public verging.

Currently the Avenue of Honour has local-heritage listing but by 2018 we hope to achieve State heritage listing for the Memorial.

Recently the NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs, David Elliott, visited the Avenue of Honour and provided another cash boost with a small grant from the Community War Memorials Fund. This will be put towards the installation of footpath memorial plaques beside heritage-listed trees.


Everyone recognises the need to upgrade the Freshwater Coastal Reserves and their amenities, but it is great to observe local beachfront businesses getting in first. Both Café Calm and Pilu have recently upgraded their kiosks/cafes. This has involved additional seating, outdoor decks, lighting and comfortable furniture. With the aid of extended liquor licences, they are now able to serve wine and beverages in a controlled outdoor setting. Pilu has one of the best wine lists of any restaurant in the country and this will be at the disposal of its Café Bar called “ Il Birreto”.  Likewise, at Café Calm, owner Cedric La Page, displays his French lineage, with his reliable choice of wines and cocktails. On a splendid Freshwater day, there is nothing better than a glass of wine in these distinctive  settings.


The construction industry is well accustomed to delays caused by wet weather (and even builds its probability into contractual agreements), but nothing could have prepared for the constant March deluges including the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

Pumps have been going overtime and workers have had to resort to indoor work. Concrete Pours have been hampered and some sites have been working extended hours.

The 16 apartment complex “Kahana” at 18 Marmora St looks to be nearing completion with residents anticipating a mid-year occupancy.  The FRESHWATER 23 Unit Apartment and retail complex looks to be making up good ground after delays and its structure is nearing ground level. The New Dawn Diggers appears to be ahead of schedule with structural work above ground level on the Carrington Road/Lumsdaine Drive boundary.

Surprisingly Mounties on behalf of the builder has resurrected its Modification for an extension of working hours in midweek to 8pm and on Saturdays until 4pm.  The previous proposed modification of building hours was withdrawn in November 2016.

Friends of Freshwater will again lodge a submission opposing this and protect the community amenity.


A re-union on 23 April 17 of the descendants of World War 1 soldier, Sapper Fred Reynolds, will be held at his memorial in the Soldiers Avenue of Honour. Reynolds grew up in Crown Road Freshwater and enlisted in the AIF in 1914 as an Engineer. His military experience was cut short by his abrupt death on the shores of Gallipoli as our troops were attempting to land on the peninsula. His dead body is depicted in a famous photo of the Anzac Day landing. This image is now cast on the Information Plinth at the entrance to the Soldiers Avenue of Honour.  His memory is also recorded in a Footpath Memorial Plaque beside a Lone Pine tree planted in 2015 in his honour.

Reynolds’ descendants, including the Mazen, Anderson and Austin families, will gather there on Sunday 23 April at 11am. The Sunday before Anzac Day is traditionally a day of Commemoration in Freshwater.


The amount of plastic products floating around our oceans and its impact on marine-life is a cause for great concern. This is more so because we have caused it and there are relatively simple strategies to fix it.

On any given day there are Freshwater residents walking our beaches and picking up gross pollutants such plastic bags, take-way coffee cup lids and used sushi sauce sachets. These have either been flushed down from our storm water system or have been washed up with the incoming tides

Is it possible that we could have a Plastic-free Freshwater?  Already society is swiftly moving in that direction with some supermarkets not issuing free plastic bags, charging for them, or replacing with paper substitutes.

One of our Friends of Freshie members, Mark O’Brien is screening a film on the subject at his premises, Qi Yoga, at 2 Albert Street, Freshwater, on Saturday 22 April. A flyer is attached and will also be circulated on the FOF Facebook site.


Arthur Costin’s great folly, the heritage listed Freshwater View Estate (now called Freshwater View Reserve) passed into the care and control of Warringah Council in 1962 upon Costin’s death.  He had owned this property since before WW1 and had grand plans for a mansion with extensive gardens which were never realised. Located behind a high stone fence in Pavilion Street, its three stone terraces offering spectacular views across Freshwater to Palm Beach are now a cherished asset.

Costin was the “Great Gatsby” of Freshwater and his properties included a housekeeper and resident gardener cottages and his own cliff- hugging camp (of which the foundations still exist).

Unfortunately, only the upper terrace of this Reserve is available for community use. It is also booked for functions and is a favourite wedding venue from which Council earns a tidy income. The lower Terraces and stairs to Costin’s former Camp and thence the beach, are overgrown and unloved, except by those who seek to reach the notoriously dangerous ‘Secret Rock’. At this place, four people have died in recent times.

Through the process of the Freshwater Coastal Space Master Plan, the Friends of Freshie will be seeking to have a Freshwater View Reserve Plan of Management instigated which will seek to prioritise the whole of this Reserve. We would particularly advocate a safe lookout to be established above Secret Rock so that the whole community can enjoy this view. The former Manly Council achieved this at Fairy Bower, and Pittwater Council at the Warriewood Blowhole.


It comes as a shock to find that children and even teenagers across western societies have little understanding of where their food, vegetables and even water are sourced.

It is heartening that 4-5 years-old children at Harbord Community Pre-School (based in the Harbord Literary Institute) are currently learning about sustainability and food production. Recently their teachers took them on an excursion to Freshwater Community Garden and they were able to see, taste, smell and feel a range of herbs and vegetables being grown. At the garden, they learnt about Australian Native Stingless Bees, compost worms, irrigation systems, soils and fruit trees. They saw that water was being collected in a tank connected to the roof of a nearby garage. They also saw frogs in a frog pond. And all of this at a pre-school age.

The Duke can only wonder what was spoken around the dinner table that evening.





The Friends of Freshwater is one of the biggest apolitical activist community groups on the northern beaches. If you wish to join or renew membership for 2017 then please see the details at the foot of this page.