“The Duke” Newsletter November/December 2019


November/December 2019

Friends of Freshwater
Community News
Volume 18,2019 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.



The great American writer and poet, Maya Angelou, once wrote that we should all have great respect for the past, because “if we don’t know where we have come from, then we don’t know where we are going”. 

Commemorating a Centenary, such as for Soldiers Avenue on 10 November, 2019, was all about giving due recognition to our past but understanding its importance and its lessons for our future.

A major event, organised by a group of Freshwater organisations including the Surf Club, Literary Institute, RSL Sub Branch and the Friends of Freshwater, was held at Jacka park and Soldiers Avenue.  A memorial Ceremony in the presence of Her Excellency the Governor, Mary Beazley AO QC, was followed by a traditional walk down Soldiers Avenue behind the full contingent of the Manly Warringah Pipe Band.  Along the way, a plaque was unveiled for the Surf Club Tree on the corner of Soldiers Avenue and Oliver Street to mark the large number of Surf Club members killed in WW1.  The Governor also planted a tree (the first since 1964) to mark the Centenary and unveiled a Plaque in honour of Rohan Tapfield who was killed in the European sector of the War. She also unveiled plaques to honour the Holloway brothers (Eric and Cyril) for their service, as well as for Sapper Fred Reynolds, who was killed at Gallipoli.  These plaques are being installed in the newly laid heritage footpath and bring to 14 the number that have been installed since the Centenary of Anzac in 2015.


When Warringah Shire Council first established the Soldiers Avenue of Honour a century ago, it was also tangibly recognising the grief that this community was feeling at the loss of a large number of its own who did not return from the great war. This grief again reappeared following the Second World War and subsequent international conflicts.


At the time, our community was setting about creating a permanent living memorial to the service of those people as one that would continue to grow over time. A century later, the now stately Soldiers Avenue trees sit alongside plaques for those who served Australia.  This Avenue of trees continues to bear witness to this service and provide hope and even inspiration to their descendants, many of whom were in attendance at the Centenary Commemoration on 10 November.

In Jacka Park, the splendid sculptures by Alan Somerville, of both a local nurse, Alice Le Messurier, and the unknown northern beaches soldier, are now a permanent and meaningful piece of public art for the community. They represent a great use of government funding for a community purpose



World War I enlisted soldier, Rohan Tapfield, wrote a large number of postcards to his children from the WW1 European Front. Many had some reference to his desire to again feel the Freshie surf and sand under his feet. Unfortunately, he did not survive the War.

[googlepdf url=”” download=”Download” width=”400″ height=”600″]In a beautiful evocation of this Soldiers desire to return to Freshwater, Harbord Public School, Year 6 student, Leonardo Anderson, delivered his poem to a gathering of 500 people on 10 November in Jacka Park, as part of the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Centenary commemoration.  A framed copy of the poem complete with Soldiers Avenue Centenary Logo has been requested by the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Mary Beazley AO QC to mark the occasion. This is an accolade to the author as it is likely to be hung in Government House.

Leonardo is also the 2019 School Captain and will undoubtedly shine at High School from 2020 onwards.  His poem is reproduced below.


In the footsteps of the late Gwen Gordon, local historian, Wendy Machon has been steadily compiling studies of large number of local families where one or more of their number enlisted in world War One.  Her work has been bolstered by support from the NSW Government’s Community War Memorial Fund and from a generous donation from John Thorpe AO. Eventually this research will emerge in book form.


Jacka Park Public Toilet Construction has commenced!


Readers of the Duke will be aware that we have long been campaigning for a public toilet amenity in Jacka Park. As everyone knows, This Park is in heavy use, mainly by children both of school and pre-school age and for events such as Armistice Day.  With nowhere to go, children invariably use the fence lines of neighbouring properties. Not very hygienic to say the least.

Here is the text of a message we received from our Mayor and Curl Curl Ward Councillor, Michael Regan. It is self-explanatory.

Michael Regan to Friends of Freshwater Inc.

FINALLY – A toilet at Jacka Park! Something that has been requested for many a year now (and was budgeted to be done the year the amalgamation happened) is now about to happen. Yes -The toilet at Jacka Park is about to get built. Here is the advice from staff this afternoon. “I’ve been advised that we have received today, approval from Sydney Water to connect to their existing services, so we (Council) will carry out that work this side of Christmas with an aim of starting the construction works in March/ April 2020.!”
I know better late than never. Thank you all for your support and for pushing us to deliver. 
#about time #overdue


Amid the shop closures, landlord machinations and the glaring lack of a supermarket, Christmas in Freshie might appear a bit subdued, but you may have noticed a few Christmas decorations in Freshwater Village recently. These have been attached to the maturing Water Gums along the streets.  There’s more to come: by the end of the month there’ll be a summery, festive flag program along Lawrence Street and into Albert Street. There is also a plan for a proposed Freshwater Fair for Sunday 8 December 2019, 8am – 2pm.

<Click for more details – Sunday Dec 8 – 8am – 4pm >

The intention of the Freshwater Fair is to invite people into Freshwater village for a day out, encouraging them to do some Christmas shopping, meet up with friends, grab some produce, get spruced up or buy a coffee/meal.  As well as providing decorations, Council will be programming some music/entertainment for the main areas and producing posters/flyers to pop around the village.  For this special event, businesses will be permitted to display merchandise outside their shop (even if they are not currently a permit holder) – noting that they must leave at least 2 metres clearance for people to safely walk past shops.

The Organic Scarecrow will also be part of the event.  On the day, Tim from the Organic Scarecrow, will be coordinating the market in the usual site near Vintage Cellars, but may expand his offering to include some retail stalls for the day.




The recently concluded Sculpture by the Seas from Bondi to Tamarama was marked by concern as to its future location. This event annually attracts both many thousands of visitors and a large number of entrants from sculptors.  To say that it is popular is an understatement. Our northern beaches coastline has been suggested as an alternative venue, given the stated intention of our Council to place install public art along the Coastal Walkway.
This includes the pathway from South Curl Curl to Freshwater.

One successful entrant in the Sculpture by the Seas event was from local Queenscliff ceramic artist, Sally Portnoy, (see image above) and it is clear that there will be no shortage of local artists willing to have their work displayed.


A new Executive has been elected to fill the following positions for 2020: –

  • President: Peter Harley OAM
  • Vice President: Phil Curry
  • Secretary: Stacey Berkman
  • Treasurer: Denise Goldstein
  • Committee Members: Christine Frith, Rob Keeping, John Oliver.

With fifty people in attendance at the Harbord Beach Hotel, Peter Harley outlined the highlights of the year including working closely with the 3 tiers of government on various community projects.
These include;

  • Scrutiny of all significant Development Applications and Modifications
  • Bush regeneration of Undercliffe Reserve
  • Refurbishment of the Soldiers Avenue of Honour including installation of a heritage footpath along its northern side
  • Upgrading community amenities such as toilets and playgrounds
  • Public art installations including sculptures, plaques. storyboards and murals.
  • Providing a model of sustainability via Freshie Community Garden.
  • Using our not for profit status to successfully apply for grants to assist community project
  • Seeking ways to generate a revitalisation of Freshwater Village.


This property at 29 Crown Road, Queenscliff, originally comprised a single storey dwelling with attached shop, on its corner site. Both its façade and awning are heritage listed as it is a rare surviving example of a typical corner shop with dwelling attached and provides evidence of the growth of local infrastructure in the early decades of the 1900’s.

It is prominently located on the pathway between Manly and Freshwater and has previously operated as a restaurant/café. The Duke has fond memories of the fare prepared by Chef Alex Berry in his tiny kitchen at the Restaurant. Sadly, it will never return to being a restaurant as the commercial kitchen has been removed.

The new development has a hipped & gabled roof to a two story dwelling & gabled roof to shop and veranda, over footpath, with corrugated metal skillion roof and simple timber posts and timber weatherboard walls.

While the fabric of the building has been altered, the integrity of its function and use has remained.

The property meets the residential height and scale limits.

The land is zoned R2 Low Density, Residential, however the cafe use of the building operates under existing use rights.

For a long time, the timber façade was poorly maintained but the current works have successfully restored the integrity of the building. The builders are local and have taken great pride in their work.



Local resident and reader of the Duke, Victor White, regularly walks down Queenscliff Steps and along the pathway through Undercliffe Reserve to Freshie Beach and has noticed the impact upon his walk of the systematic removal of weed infestation. He has seen the natural bush return and with it the views to the beach.


He noted that his employer, Sales Force, has provision for 7 “corporate days” for each employee per year, where staff members can work on a community project with other members.  This commendable initiative is part of a widespread organisational trend known as Corporate Social Responsibility. Mr White approached his employer and Undercliffe Reserve and its bush regeneration project were selected. 12 staff have now commenced work on the steep site under the supervision of Northern Beaches Council Bush Care supervisor, Andrew Lee.

His employer, Salesforce, is a cloud computing company that specializes in customer relationship management (CRM). Salesforce’s services allow businesses to use cloud technology to better connect with customers, partners and potential customers. The software has become the number one for customer success and helps businesses track customer activity, market to customers and many more services. Its world-wide revenue last year was 3.39 billion.



Beach Reserve properties at Freshwater have become highly prized and bankable. Recent sales in Ocean View Road, adjacent to the Beach Reserve, fetched high prices. Adam Gilchrist who runs Gymnasium franchising company, F45, now owns two neighbouring homes at the beach end of this road. He set a suburb high price when he purchased the three- level property (pictured) for $14 mill. At the southern end of the Reserve at the end of Undercliff Rd The ‘White Rabbit’ gallery owner  Judith Neilsen, is remodelling her Undercliff Rd/Bridge Street holiday home with bronze cladding and extensive sandstone surrounds will be an architectural piece of art with no expense spared to create a standout. Another property at 31 Kooloora recently sold in quick time for in excess of $4m.

Over at The Drive, a well-known cottage held by the same family for 78 years is now for sale.

Its owners were Len and Bonnie Walter who lived there variously with their six children, many of whom went on to make prominent careers in specialist medicine. Son, Len, still lives in the Drive.  Bonnie recently died aged 107, and for many years if one walked along the Drive it was a treat to hear her piano playing. When Len died in 2003, Bonnie, then 91, decided to paint the fishing cottage its distinctive lilac colour. Needless to say, Bonnie was well loved by the residents of The Drive and more widely in the community.  This cottage is rumoured to have a sale price in excess of $3.1m.


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