“The Duke” Newsletter August 2016


                                  August 2016 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.


It is amazing that we are now approaching Spring with the wattles beginning to bloom, and the coastal rosemary flowering.  Big seas and heavy downpours of rain have battered and scoured our northern beaches in the last few months, but the sand is returning, and we are venturing out into the lengthening sunlight.


The South Curl Curl beach sinkhole that emerged after the major April 2015 storm provided a powerful indication of storm power. The southern corner of the beach was eroded to bedrock, the integrity of the beach ramp threatened and the pavement was undermined.  Northern Beaches Council has just spent $700k+ in buttressing the sea wall structures with wire anchoring into the sandstone at the rear of the beach. With the return of the sand, it is hard to see any evidence of this engineering work but be reassured that it is there to combat future storms. The large tonnage of rocks dumped into North Curl Curl Pool is another question and it may have to be removed by explosives prior to summer.

Along the South Curl Curl Boardwalk, there are minor signs of uplift and misalignment, but it held up well.

Amazingly, Freshwater Beach came through largely unscathed with minimal beach erosion. The prevailing science confirmed that its dunes, along the full length of the beach, acted as an affective buffer.


Work is nearing completion on the third stage of the upgrading of Queenscliff Steps with only permanent safety railings to be installed. The steepness of the steps has been reduced and potholes removed. The first two stages were completed earlier in the year, and a $100,000+ contract has been let to local company Performance Concrete Pty Ltd. to re-lay the last stage that links Queenscliff to Freshwater Beach.

These Steps are heavily used and form an important part of the Sydney Coastal Walk.

They were first created in 1880 by stonemasons employed by John Lewers, Freshwater’s first postal agent, who owned the Kiosk at the southern end of Freshwater (now Pilu at Freshwater). This enabled, for the first time, pedestrian access down a steep cliff, and through Undercliffe Reserve to the Beach and the Kiosk.  Previous access was only by boat, or around the rocks at low tide. Lewers’ stonemasons also carved a tunnel at Queenscliff Headland in a failed attempt to create a walkway to Freshwater Beach, (the tunnel is still there).

Local Stonemason, Mick Leslie, improved the carved 1880 datings in the 1970” s. These now appear in relief at both ends of the walk.

Friends of Freshwater still has a major concern about the inadequate pipes that have to cope with the massive amount of storm water that cascades down these Steps, from the hard surface areas of Crown Road and Pavilion Street, into Undercliffe Reserve and out to the ocean. We have been campaigning for the last 5 years for an upgrade of these storm water facilities and the stairs.  Overflows of nutrient laden storm water have become more frequent, and the new stairs will continue to bear the brunt of storm events.  Any overflows always lead eventually to weed infestation of the Reserve below.

Friends of Freshwater has been successful in gaining a $10,000 Land Care Grant to develop a vegetation management plan and undertake bush regeneration in this heavily weed-infested Reserve. Initial work is being done along the pathways to the Beach, and already lantana has been removed to reveal again the spectacular views.

A welcome addition will also be the provision of a bicycle rail along the Steps to compliment those installed in earlier stages.


In an act of wanton vandalism, the new Steps have already been tagged by someone with a dislike of joggers and people from western Sydney.  Where do these attitudes come from in our otherwise very tolerant and accepting community?  And why joggers?

“BUSH TUCKA” Project in Freshie Community Garden

 At its meeting on 9 August, Northern Beaches Council approved a Community Development Grant of $2,000 to enable the Freshie Community Garden to mount a project focussing on indigenous foods.

With these funds the Garden will be able to plant native fruits including quandongs, kutjera, muntries, kunzeas and finger limes. It will also assist with the planting of native vegetables such as warrigal greens and wild parsnip. It is intended that indigenous food workshops will also be conducted at the Garden by Permaculture Northern Beaches.


While we are on the subject of indigenous food, local chef and television presenter, Ed Halmagyi, has been promoting neglected, largely unknown and forgotten foods that are all around us on the edges of our beaches, in our parklands and on our footpaths. These include dandelions, nasturtiums, pigface, turkey rhubarb and cobblers peg. Tetrogonia (also known as Warrigal greens, native or beach spinach) is readily available in Undercliffe Reserve.

Halmagyi has a recipe for Tetrogonia Ravioli which involves pasta dough, and range of ingredients and 6 cups of washed Tetrogonia. A word of warning is that the leaves have to be blanched in boiling water for 20 seconds or until wilted, and then refreshed in iced water.


In early August, 45 people attend a forum hosted by Curl Curl Lagoon Friends. Council provided an overview on the health of the lagoon. It is getting better, with very low bacteria and lots of phytoplankton. What it lacks is biodiversity caused by lack of seagrass for example.

Dr Vicky Cole from Sydney Uni  also spoke and is an expert on oysters (which are excellent as filters and creating habitat).

Oyster balls have been trialed successfully in Manly Lagoon recently. They filter massive amounts of water and create habitat for things like tube worms and marine plants to attach to.

Northern Beaches Council is hoping to take the same approach with a research trial in Curly Lagoon initially in the channel east of Griffin Rd bridge. It hopes to install plastic sea grass in 4 places in the lagoon. This is unusual process, but seagrass is difficult and almost impossible to transplant. Artificial grass allows essentials foods to grow on it and fish are attracted to the food, and as habitat. Although the memories of the old Curly Dump linger, we may even get to see edible fish and eels again.


Our submissions to Council to gain a share of the Sect 94 Developer Contributions (this year alone + $2m) have fallen on deaf ears. The bulk of funding has gone as per usual to Dee Why and its need for Town Centre infrastructure.

We recently addressed a full Council meeting on 23 August as to projects in Freshwater which we thought had been funded or at least evaluated.

These included the Jacka Park Public toilets (we have been waiting 30 years);

Footpaths on the norther side of Soldiers Avenue (these were previously approved as long ago as 1935 but never built); an above tidal zone walkway from the recently upgraded Freshwater Rock Pool through to Ocean View Road (to enable disabled access to a pool that has disabled access); and upgrading of Freshwater Beach children’s playgrounds (not touched since 1990’s).

We hope to gain access to the Stronger Communities Fund of $15m which was created out of State Government funding for the Council amalgamation.

The Administrator, Dick Persson, stated at the meeting that he would like to look at these sites with the Executive of the Friends of Freshwater.


The heritage-listed trees in Soldiers Avenue will have minor trim on September 2 to enable clearance of the insulated aerial bundle cables. At the same time, Ausgrid has agreed for some arboreal reshaping of the trees which had been severely misshapen from harsh pruning. Progressively we hope to get these trees back to a normal shape.


In a major coup, the Administrator, Dick Persson, has announced that $200,000 has been allocated from State government funding to extend the Board Walk from South Curl Curl Rock Pool to Freshwater Rock Pool.

Readers of “The Duke” will be aware that FOF has been campaigning for this outcome for a number of years, given the fact that the Board Walk is part of the Sydney Coastal Track, is heavily utilised, but is frustrating for the disabled, those in wheelchairs or with prams, who have to turn back at a set of stairs.

It is our hope that these improvements will pave the way for access to all and not just the able-bodied.


Currently Freshwater and Curl Curl are being beset with truck movements through its narrow streets. The Ganellen Harbord Diggers site alone has 300 B-double truck movements per working day. This will continue for the foreseeable future as 150,000 cubic metres of sand stone is progressively removed from the site.

Mostly these trucks are queuing in pre-dawn light in Griffith Road awaiting a call to load excavated materials. They then proceed on a predetermined path around Lumsdaine Drive and then, fully laden, return back along Carrington Parade. Many undertake this journey in convoy.   However, some rogue drivers are breaking out from the agreed traffic plan and taking short cuts through Freshwater Village and random streets. In their haste, street signs have been knocked over, chicanes, roundabouts and street surfaces damaged and pedestrian crossings made unsafe.  Dust and spoil is everywhere in the Village.

A similar situation applies to the former Growers Site, and nearby Kahana in Marmora Street. Fully laden B-double trucks are exiting the Growers site across Albert Street and up Lawrence Street. These are an imposing sight for pedestrians wanting to cross the Villages 3 pedestrian crossings.  Cement trucks have essentially taken over Marmora Street whenever there is a concrete pour with as many as 6 being nearby at the one time.

Friends of Freshie members in Kooloora St and Carrington Parade have reported disrupted sleep from large trucks idling nearby with engines running at 5.00am.

Clearly Council’s Traffic Management planning for these site is largely non- existent and very much at the whim of the construction company. Traffic control is deficient and pedestrians have to negotiate their own way along these streets.

Complaints to Council and the individual site foremen tend to fall on deaf ears. Even Council fines are simply regarded as normal daily business by these builders.

We can only hope that this construction phase will be soon over. “Kahana” with its 16 apartments will be finished in April 2017.  Likewise, “the Freshwater” with its 23 apartments, although slightly behind schedule, is also aiming for a 2017 completion. Stage 1 of the “Diggers New Dawn” is scheduled for 2018 but the site construction is currently two weeks ahead of schedule.


Although beauty is largely in the eye of the beholder, the 6-storey, uninhabited, building on the Queenscliff headland, known as 5 Pavilion Street, is plainly pug ugly, and in need of aesthetic re-development.  It has DA approval for a new building to replace the existing concrete-cancer riddled structure. It has been sold by the block’s 12 owners for $10 million to a developer. This values each apartment at $800,000. We will keep you posted of further plans.


The Heritage Office has listed the Duke Surfing Memorial at Mckillop Park for local heritage listing. Friends of Freshwater is of the view that it is worthy of State Heritage Listing given the international significance of Freshwater/ Manly and its World Surfing Reserve in the history of surfing. The listing did not acknowledge the Centenary of Duke’s Day nor the emerging sister city relationship with Waikiki in Hawaii.  This is not the end of the road and there is clearly work to be done.


An amalgam of Freshwater community groups known as the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Stakeholders Group, is seeking to have both the Jacka Park Wall of Remembrance and the Soldiers Avenue of Honour jointly registered as community war memorials under the heading of “Freshwater Anzac Precinct”. The group is applying to NSW Department of Veteran’s Affairs for this to occur.

© Friends of Freshwater Village Incorporated

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