“The Duke” Newsletter June/July 2016


                                  June / July 2016 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.


In the Duke edition of May, we thought that that there might likely be major coastal damage from a succession of east coast lows. The UNSW at Manly Vale’s Water Research Laboratory, from its monitoring, was stating that a gathering storm might turn ugly.  It proved to be too close to the mark, but little did we anticipate that this would be the equivalent of the 1974 storms in wreaking havoc along the Northern Beaches.  Throughout June, we had two major storm events on June 6 and 20, combined with heavy seas, high rainfall and king tides… a dynamic and clearly devastating combination.  


From North Curl Curl to Freshwater and along the Manly to Shelley beachfront, there are obvious signs of the ferocity of the storms. None more obvious than the tonnage of sandstone dumped into the North Curl Curl rock pool. Some of it was heaved by powerful wave action over the safety railings. At Fairy Bower, the top capping of the storm wall was hurled into the rear wall of the nearby cafe. Luckily no-one was inside but the Cafe was nearly demolished. 

At South Curly, the southern end was again scoured, and work to fortify the footpath and ramp was suspended. It has since resumed.

Further along the South Curl Curl Boardwalk, there are minor signs of uplift and misalignment, but the structures 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. Previously, when the Beach had an esplanade/sea wall along its length (it was destroyed by storms in 1979) old photos confirm that there was regular flooding of Ocean View Road at the northern end of the Beach.


Damage to the Collaroy/Narrabeen beach erosion hotspot is well documented and provided an early test of the response capacity of the newly amalgamated Council. Less known is the swift work to rectify the damage done to North Curly Pool and the South Curl Curl Boardwalk (which was temporarily closed, but is now open again).


Work is proceeding on the third stage of the upgrading of Queenscliff Steps. The first two stages were completed earlier in the year, and a $100,000 contract has been let to improve 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 ( the tunnel is still there)

A massive amount of storm water cascades down these Steps into Undercliffe Reserve and out to the ocean. Friends of Freshwater has been campaigning over the last 5 years for an upgrade of these storm water facilities, the stairs, and effective lighting, as overflows of nutrient laden storm water had become more frequent, and the stairs more worn and less safe particularly at night. These overflows had also led to major weed infestation of Undercliffe Reserve. 

Friends of Freshwater has been successful in gaining a $10,000 Land Care Grant to undertake bush regeneration in this heavily weed-infested Reserve. Initial work is along the pathways to the Beach, and already lantana has been removed to reveal again the spectacular views. We are always on the lookout for voluntary assistance every Thursday fortnight for a couple of hours.

Of course this small grant pales into insignificance in comparison to the $500,000 spent on the Green army project in the dune below.

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


Sections of the Harbord Diggers Club (also known fondly as the Old Lady) are currently being demolished with frightening speed. Once completed, the excavation phase will commence. A convoy of trucks queue from early morning and are waiting throughout the day in Griffith and Harbord Roads for the call to take away the debris.


Freshwater as a community does not feature in any of the NBC operational plans for funding of much needed  community projects such as  public toilets and playgrounds. In fact, for the last decade, Freshwater has not got one cent from developer contributions. It appears the lion’s share has always gone to the Dee Why inthe near future.Town Centre sinkhole.

Friends of Freshie has made submissions on both Council’s Operation Plan for 2016-17, and its Sect.94A Developer Contributions Plan, seeking a contribution from the $2million of developer contributions made by Freshwater Developers.  

We await an outcome.  


Economists often say that the “crane index” is a good indicator of economic activity. In Freshwater, we could likely have 4 crane in the near future  A ground-operated untethered crane was installed in the first week of July at the “Kahana” site at 17 Marmora. Nearby, Hindmarsh Construction on the “Freshwater” former Growers site will install a much larger crane in August. Neighbour approval has had to be gained for the cranes to utilise the air space above their residences and offices

The Soldiers Avenue of Honour,Stage II

The Friends of Freshwater has also been successful in gaining a $29,000 grant from the State Government as part of the Centenary of Anzac Stage II for 2016.  The funding will be used to install Footpath Memorial Plaques to commemorate those young Freshwater men who served, and in some cases died, at Gallipoli or on the Western Front in WW1. These Plaques will be inserted into the footpath beside nominated, heritage-listed trees.

Florist Closes Her Door in Village

Well known Freshwater Village florist, Tina, has not renewed her lease and is vacating her Lawrence Street site after 16 years of service to the community.  For all of that time, she has been preparing wreaths for Anzac Day, floral tributes for memorial services, and flowers for all occasions. The Freshwater Rose will be missed.


It seems only yesterday that the last of the Big Banks left Freshwater without any banking services whatsoever. The community rallied around and a Community Bank was formed with a franchise agreement established with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. 

The success of this initiative is now marked by the $2mill in sponsorships provided over the last decade to our schools, sporting teams, surf clubs, charities, environmental groups and university students. It is also marked by the high level of service given to the community by the Bank’s staff, all of whom are Freshwater residents. Its volunteer Board is also comprised largely of Freshwater residents, many of whom work nearby and implicitly understand the need for a good banking service.

Recently Freshwater Community Bank was adjudged the winner of the NORTHERN BEACHES LOCAL BUSINESS AWARDS IN THE SPECIALISED BUSINESS CATEGORY. This is great recognition for the outstanding contribution of  the Bank to our community. 


As you can see, we constantly need to raise our voice as a community, and keep it strong, on a variety of issues. Join us and strengthen our voice and yours. 2016 memberships are still open at $10 per year via a simple transfer to FOF’s account at Freshwater Community Bank (633000/138650791). 

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