The “Duke” February 2021 Edition

The “Duke” February 2021 Edition

Community News

Volume 26, 2021 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.



Many thanks to the 287 Freshwater residents and some former residents living as far away as Hobart, Lennox Head and the Sunshine Coast, that have renewed or have become members of the Friends.  There has been a significant uptake in January/ February for which we are very appreciative as this strengthens our voice in those forums where a formal voice is needed.  

If you value the fact that a not-for-profit, apolitical organisation in this community will campaign for good urban planning and against over-development then it is time to renew or join with us.

Likewise, if you value the fact that there is an organisation that will campaign for better public amenities, our heritage, urban sustainability, public transport and pedestrian safety, then please join with us and tell your friends, as some of the 1600+ people who check us out on Facebook, that  simply ‘LIKE’ing  us on Facebook does not mean they are a member.

Petition to save “the Freshwater” Class Ferry Fleet reaches 23,000 signatures.

An E-Petition calling on the State Government to save all four of the Freshwater Ferry Fleet has triggered a formal debate on the decision in State Parliament. Petitions of 20,000 + are required for this to occur and the number is deliberately set high so that the matter is regarded with seriousness. 

This Debate will be held on Thursday 25 March. Petitioners are urged to attend a rally outside Parliament to support the Parliamentarians who will be speaking in this debate.


The Government’s decision to phase out the ocean-going, double-ended, Freshwater Class Ferries is extremely disappointing and one that we feel is wrong. It is meeting fierce and growing opposition from the Northern Beaches community and especially from nearby ferry commuters. These large ferries function at their best with peak hour, events and weekend demands, where large scale, efficient movement of passengers is required.  The rigorous demands of a crossing across Sydney Heads require robust sea going vessels and there is great doubt that their proposed Emerald class replacements will be able to cope.   


Previous double ended ferries such as the South Steyne and North Head plied the Manly route for decades.  The North Head did so for sixty years whereas the Freshwater Ferries are only in their 3rd decade of service and relatively youthful in terms of hull life.

All were built in Newcastle by local, highly experienced shipwrights and welders at Dockyards in the early 1980’s and are named after beaches in our local community.  They are built to last.  Can this be said of their Chinese and Indonesian-manufactured replacements which had to arrive from overseas on the foredeck of a freighter, and have yet to be fully tested?


Progress on Recharging stations for Electric Vehicles

With news that the major vehicle manufacturers such as BMW, Tesla, Toyota, Volvo, Mercedes Hyundai and Subaru will be selling all Electric vehicles with Solid State batteries from 2021, the pressure is now on to generate readily available Recharging Stations for these vehicles. Already in Freshwater, individual houses have installed Tesla recharging equipment and there are recharging bays at the Harbord Diggers and nearby shopping centres.

The initiatives are moving apace with announcements of battery and charging bases at both Beacon Hill and Mona Vale.

The NRMA is also seeking to develop recharging arrangements across the State.

There is now a great opportunity to capitalise on the Ausgrid/Jolt initiative and utilise the dozen electrical supply kiosks that are located around our neighbourhood.  These would give a free 15-minute charge and more with costs applying.  One could also foresee parking bays being provided in the Oliver Street Car Park adjacent to the Ausgrid 14 KV Electricity Sub Station.  Perfect synchronicity of purpose.


Developments in Freshwater Village

  • The long-awaited IGA in the Freshwater Apartment complex is currently being fitted out, with another 6 weeks likely before opening. This is nearly 3 years since the space was completed and the story of the delay would make a television series. The tenant, Karellas Bros and the landlord, Chris Rose, have apparently come to some accord enabling the supermarket to progress to operation.
  • Freshwater Community Bank is settling into its new street front premises which it has purchased in the “Oceans” Development.  It has also purchased office space on the second floor of the Freshwater Village Plaza. This is a strong vote of confidence in the Village and gives the Bank a vote on two Strata bodies.  In order to encourage a “buy local” ethos, it is also providing “pop up” space free of charge to small business clients in order to display their wares. This is on a two-week turnaround and currently jam and chutney maker, Sticky Pot is exhibiting. 
  • Our only medical practice, Freshwater Family Medical Practice, which has been operating for 30 years on the first floor of 23 Lawrence St. has purchased the street level space beside the Bank in the Oceans Development. It is also likely to move there soon.  Its upper storey space, long held by the Wong See family, will likely be leased.
  • The former Community Bank Branch building (which was previously occupied by a Westpac Branch until it abruptly left Freshwater in 2000 (never to return), is currently being defitted as a Bank and a DA will be lodged with Council to convert it to restaurant.
  • Gradually the empty shops on the southern side of Lawrence Street are being leased with fit-outs to occur.




The weekly meetings of the Friends of Freshwater Executive have resumed as face-to-face meetings. Since lockdown, we have been meeting on Zoom and now we are meeting again at local cafés on a regular basis.  Last week we met at the well-patronised Three Seagulls on Harbord Road.  This week it will be at the renovated Harbord Hotel and following that it will be Shaka on Moore Road. No surprise that the respective proprietors Sam Marsh, Glenn Piper and Brad McMaster are also members of the Friends of Freshwater.




We applaud the achievements of three outstanding Freshwater residents who have been variously recognised for their contributions to our community.


Crown Road resident, Dr Susan Rowley, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2021 Honours List. She has been a GP since the 1970’s both at Mona Vale and Royal North Shore Hospitals as well as, for 25 years, in her own practice at Mosman. While at Mona Vale Hospital, she pioneered a new way of urgently bringing patients for treatment…via helicopter. She also discovered that there was not a Doctor on board and she thus became the first Westpac Rescue Helicopter Doctor. This, on occasions, involved treating patients in the helicopters cabin or being winched onto sinking vessels to treat injured patients.  She did this for the best part of two decades. Now it is commonplace for helicopters to transfer patients to large specialised hospitals, which nowadays all have landing facilities.


Loch Street resident, Bruce Loudon, has received a 2021 Outstanding Community Service Award from Northern Beaches Council for his lengthy, voluntary contributions to many organisations and charities over the last forty years. This includes as Secretary of the National Serviceman’s Association and as a Senior Layman of the Freshwater Uniting Church. People like Bruce Loudon are the beating heart of our community.


Specialist bookbinder, Barbara Schmelzer, has had her bound book  “Blakes Delay 2019” included in the recently concluded Northern Beaches Council Library Artists Awards for 2021. These awards recognise the detailed and artistic work of bookbinder, photographers and artists.  The works of the Award winners are now on display at MAGAM on west esplanade, Manly. 



As previously reported in December, Council has received State Government funding to construct a shared pedestrian/cycle pathway that will complete a pathway linking Manly town centre to Freshwater Village. It has now formalised the Design Plan (see attached) and the route it will take. This route was initially intended to proceed from Somerville Bridge in Queenscliff via the shared footpath along Queenscliff, Darling, Cavil and Crown Rds., and then down Dowling St. to Freshwater Village.


This Plan generated considerable pushback from residents along those Streets and Council is now proposing to take the Pathway up an existing pathway alongside Freshie Community Garden in Crown Reserve.  This pathway has long been used as an alternative route for those with prams, cycles, or simply for step-free pedestrian access.  Council is proposing to make some modifications to the pathway to improve its safety. Members of the Freshie Community Garden, a project of the Friends of Freshwater, have met with Council on two occasions to voice their concerns and will again be seeking to minimise the impact of the pathway on the orchard trees that are immediately adjacent to the proposed widened Path. The gardeners have commissioned an arboreal report to assess the possible damage to their orchard trees from the expanded pathway.


In its natural state, Freshwater Creek emerges from two tributaries above what is now known as Jacka Park. At Raffo Lane, its flow was stalled in a Swamp and then meandered down to the Beach via Soldiers and Kooloora Avenues. In earlier days it was swimmable and had a small pedestrian bridge across it at Soldiers Avenue.  In storm events, these streets would regularly flood as would nearby houses. It is important to note that Freshwater Creek was used for millennia by local aboriginal tribes and there is much midden evidence.  It was also used by the Holloway family as a source of water for its nearby large nursery in Eric Street. It also flowed into an estuarial lagoon at the Beach in similar fashion to other lagoons along the northern beaches. In the 1930’s, its water flow was channelled into a storm water pipe that, when constructed, took the course of the Creek underground and out to the ocean at the northern end of the Beach. This Pipe also took in groundwater flows from Lawrence Street and was poorly constructed and led to subsidence of land along its path. This was particularly the case in Eric Street, lower Soldiers Avenue and Kooloora Avenue.  

As the photo below shows, taken by the late Tim Dummett, who then lived in Charles Street, a major civil construction project was undertaken by then Warringah Council to replace the ageing, 50year old pipe. Major excavation and reclamation work was undertaken in 1980’s which reshaped the Dunes and the Reserve behind them. The Lagoon was drained, and a major pumping station was also installed to lift major flows from its lowest datum in Kooloora Avenue up the slope to the Beach. The artificial dunes have now both stabilised and grown. They act as an effective barrier to flooding of Ocean View Road, which was a common occurrence in the past.


Further refinement was done in the last decade to ensure that sewerage overflows did not get into the storm water flows and onto the Beach.  Underground storage tanks were installed at both Wyndora Avenue and Soldiers Avenue to catch and store excess flows. 




Council considered at its meeting on 23 February, an update report on the public art proposals for the Coastal Pathway. As it passes through Freshwater, McKillop Park Lookout, Freshwater View Reserve, adjacent to Pilu, and the foreshadowed upgraded children’s playground will be the recipients of public art. Funding will come from, in part, the Aboriginal Art and Storytelling Project, Club Grants, Government Grants and benefaction.




FOF INC Objectives for 2021


Please see our full list of objectives for 2021 at this link.