“The Duke” Newsletter August 2019


August 2019

Friends of Freshwater
Community News
Volume 16 ,2019 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.


The weed-infested Undercliffe Reserve on Freshwater Beach’s southern headland is gradually being cleaned up.

Volunteer activity from the Friends of Freshwater over a number of years, with professional supervision from Northern Beaches Council, is now being supplemented by professional contractors, Dragonfly Environmental, on a grant of $12,000 provided by NSW Land Care to Northern Beaches Council.
Where once noxious weeds such as lantana, madeira vine and phoenix palms predominated the pathways, now beach views are re-appearing and healthy native species are coming into their own.

Century Old Time Capsule Discovered at the Harbord Literary Institute

Recently, a group including members of the Sterland family, the Mayor, Michael Regan, Council staff and former members of the Harbord Literary Institute Committee, watched as a Council worker very carefully extracted the Foundation Stone which was set in place by the Hon. A.C.F. James M.L.A, Minister for Education over 101 years ago on the 13th July 1918. This revealed a glass time capsule.

Forgotten for over 100 years, knowledge of this capsule only came to light late last year, when a worker, cleaning out a unit in Balgowlah, found an old ledger, belonging to Mr. Thomas Arthur Sterland, a former Deputy President of the then Warringah Shire Council. It was full of Manly Daily cuttings and other memorabilia spanning from WW1 years to the 1930’s and had been handed down, over the years, to a family member.  Among his many local accomplishments including the establishment of Soldiers Avenue, Tom Sterland was one of the founding fathers of the then named Freshwater Literary Institute (later changed to Harbord).  The gentleman who found the ledger was able to pass it onto Keith Sterling, a Freshwater local, who is the grandson of Tom Sterland.   He read the ledger cuttings and discovered in a Manly Daily article written at that time, that a capsule had been inserted behind the Foundation Stone over 100 years ago.

The Manly Daily article of the time had also included this information:  “The Chairman then stated that behind the tablet had been placed a copy of the local and city papers of that date, along with coins of the realm, also a type-written copy of the history of the hall”.

Needless to say, there was a fair amount of doubt that anything would actually be behind the Foundation Stone laid so many years ago.
There were gasps of delight when witnessing the first sight of the glass capsule as the stone was lifted away.

The capsule has now been taken away for investigation by experts in this
field and, once evaluated, will be on show to the public at a special presentation (date to be announced). The coins of the realm will probably be no more than tuppences, halfpennies, bobs, shillings and quid’s.


Again many thanks to those 121 families who wrote submissions in support of this Foot Path. It was so low on a Walk Plan priority list, that it would never have been built.  Council to its credit, and on the back of such outstanding community support, changed tack and gave the footpath immediate priority. It is now built.
Freshwater locals in and around Soldiers Avenue are understandably thrilled with this outcome.
This footpath literally paves the way for Australian soldiers to be remembered for their brave sacrifices abroad in World War I.
Freshwater identity Sean Rout thanked Council for the completed works.
“Soldiers Avenue is an iconic venue which means plenty to so many people on the northern beaches.
“When we approached Council about our plans, they were happy to accommodate what we had in mind for the community, particularly Mayor (Regan) and our local Councillors.
“It is vital we remember our fallen soldiers, they are the reason we are fortunate to live the way we do today,’’ Mr Rout said.

Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan was delighted to hear Soldiers Avenue now has its own unique honour heritage footpath.
“What a great local, community driven project. Thank you to those local legends driving this project so all of the community benefit.
“I cannot think of a better way to remember those selfless men who put their own lives on the line to ensure the future of our great nation,’’ the Mayor said. “The previous Warringah Council was happy to support this project, so it is great that the new (Northern Beaches) Council is finishing this project off.
I look forward to the end product at Soldiers Avenue.”


Council has accepted a proposal from a Freshwater local, Tim, the Organic Scarecrow, to bring pop-up stalls to the Harbord Institute pocket park (See grassy area near Vintage Cellars).

It is clear that the demand from the community to access fresh fruit and produce is very strong.  Organic Scarecrow have been encouraged to trial a solution.
Tim from the Organic Scarecrow will bring a small, quality offering of organic and chemical free produce to the village.  The seasonal supply will include leafy greens, fruit, vegetable, yogurt, eggs, olive oil and local honey.  Bulk wholefoods, such as flour and nuts, and deli cheeses and olives are also potential inclusions.
Council had previously heard of the business community’s reservations about a large market, and have shared this feedback with Tim.  The Organic Scarecrow is a small family business, and wants to see Freshwater Village succeed.  He will be letting customers know about the great flowers, meat, bread, fish, coffee, fashion and homewares that are in the village – and won’t be selling these items himself.  We encourage local businesses to refer their customers to Tim too!

The Organic Scarecrow pop-up will be a modest scale.  Initially it is expected that up to five marquees will be erected on the site, which is adjacent to the Vintage Cellar car park.  Starting on Sunday 25 August 2019 the Organic Scarecrow will be on site for four weeks.  After those four weeks, Council will undertake a review of the operation to consider extending their permit.


The Freshwater community is still without an essential food provider as wrangling over the empty 1200sqm space at the “Freshwater” continues.

Amid unconfirmed allegations that the landlord has gone into receivership, reports of recent creditors’ meetings and that legal action for recovery of debts is afoot, it is unclear as to which supermarket operator will eventually trade from the retail space.
The community has lived with the rumour that either a Super IGA or Woolworths would be the retailer.  Friends of Freshwater has been unable to substantiate either as the occupant.
Whatever the case it would take at least two months from a decision for an operator to be in a trading capacity with fit out, stock and staffing.
The site has been empty but ready for occupancy since October 2018.
Needless to add that this lack of an anchor tenant is having a debilitating impact on the vibrancy of the Village, shopkeepers’ trading capacity and its pedestrian traffic.


It has been 5 years since the Growers Market ceased operation in the Village and the absence of a major supermarket with essential grocery items and fresh fruit and vegetables is keenly felt, especially by the shopkeepers who specifically gain from a major anchor tenant nearby.
However, we can do something about this by deliberately purchasing products from these traders.  Purchasing meat from the gourmet butcher, fish from our fishmonger, bread and baked items from two outlets, gifts from local shops, hairdressing, fashion, sheets and towels.
The old rugby adage applies equally to Villages…USE IT, OR LOSE IT.


A development application has been assessed and approved by Northern Beaches Council for this site. It has been lodged by Sky World Climbing and the cost of set-up work currently being undertaken is listed as $625,000. It is intended to use the premises as a recreational facility for 100-150 mainly mature age audience.
Bouldering is a fast growing sport which will be featured at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo. The listed proprietor is already a member of the Australian Climbing Team.


In the last couple of weeks you may have seen a new house built in an astonishing ‘2 days’ in the block next to the ‘overflow’ car park at Freshie beach. It’s creation came from delivery on the back of 5 very large truck trailers and then got loaded onto its prepared site. It was actually built in a factory in Melbourne and took 4 days to be transported here on these trailers.

It arrived early on the thursday morning but it’s final transit along Albert St and ultimately down Ocean View Rd was not incident free. One of the buildings was too high and ‘hit’ overhead power lines and cables. Bringing live wires, damage and blackouts for many in the street.

But all ends well and the new residents will be moving in later this month.

JOIN the Friends of Freshwater for 2019- 2020

If you are thinking of becoming a member of FOF, or simply renewing your membership for 2019-2020, then hop on line to our website at for easy subscription.
This year our projects are focussed on:

  • Seeing various aspects of the Freshwater Coastal Space Master Plan through the planning stage including the upgrading of Beach reserve playgrounds and public amenities: completion of the missing segment of the coastal walkway from South Curl Curl Pool through to Freshwater Beach: bush regeneration of Undercliffe Reserve to bring it back to a natural state, and implementation of a Reserve Management Plan for Freshwater View Estate. 
  • Continuing to grow the Freshie Community Garden in Crown Reserve as a model of urban sustainability.
  • Work on the next stages of the Freshwater Village Public Art project with a focus on Freshwater’s early settlers and surfers.
  • Refurbishing the Soldiers Avenue Honour for its Centenary Year 2019
  • Continue to closely scrutinise all significant Development Applications in Freshwater for compliance with planning requirements
  • Getting the basic necessities of life such as provision of fresh fruit and vegetable; public toilets and footpaths upgraded.
  • Ensuring Freshwater’s fair share of the Council Capital Works Budget.
  • Revitalise the weed-infested southern headland of Freshwater Beach with volunteer and professional assistance.
  • Continue to apply for Grant funding from the three tiers of government for various projects in Freshwater.


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