“The DUKE” February 2022 Edition




Manly MP James Griffin – Minister for Environment and Heritage – release Feb 4 2022

Communities from Ballina to Bega will share in $1.8 million of NSW Government funding to reduce littering in their areas.

NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said 35 litter prevention projects are being funded across the State as part of the Litter Prevention Grants Program.

“Litter can have dire consequences for animals and the environment. We know that 95 per cent of the litter on beaches comes from our streets, after travelling down drains and through the stormwater system,” Minister Griffin said.

“This litter reduction program is part of the Waste Less Recycle More initiative that has already achieved a 43 per cent reduction in litter statewide since it started in 2013.

“This year’s recipients build upon that success, with funding going to innovative local initiatives including ‘swap and go takeaway’ container schemes, education campaigns and cigarette butt litter bins.”

Friends of Freshwater and the hard work of Bryon Merzeo with our Peter Harley were sucessfull in getting a grant of $14,600 for Freshwater Beach Reserve Litter Reduction


Litter Reduction Kickoff

Come down to Freshie Beach Reserve and help Clean Up!

Click the image above to go to our facebook Event details.

‘This project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy’


Freshwater Falls

There are few beaches in Sydney that have a splendid cascade of water flowing directly to the Beach – think of Collins and Shelley Beaches and the constant waterfall at Refuge Bay. Recent record downpours, combined with hot, humid weather throughout February, have made for a display of waterpower arising from the upper streetscapes of Freshwater Beach.

Of course, it is only relatively recently that we have been able to observe this cascade in its truest light.  After all, it had been hidden from view for decades by a wall of weeds. Council initially would not touch this Reserve at all, as it was too degraded. Now with a lot of hard work, it has reappeared. Of course there is still much to do in the two hectares of this Reserve.

Freshwater Reserve – in front of Pilu with Freshwater Falls in background

Recent work over the last few years, by a dedicated group of local residents under the auspices of the Friends of Freshwater, has led to the gradual removal of unwanted weed growth from this Reserve. Dominant noxious weeds such as Phoenix Palms, Introduced Cassia, Lantana, Madeira Vine and Asparagus Fern have been systematically removed.

The storm water channel emanating from Crown Road above, carves through the steep cliff and rocky landscape on its way, and volunteers have had to rock armour along its path with sandstone donated from local construction sites. This has ensured that the large flow of volumes of water does not erode the Beach.

Removal of the suffocating weed growth has also led to the identification of 38 species of birdlife and fauna such as blue tongue lizards.

Should anyone have a few hours to spare on a Thursday morning, you would be most welcome to join us.
Corporates are also invited to spend their corporate staff allocation on site.



Mrs Irene Crump – past Harbord School teacher and Activist (1977)


Mrs Irene Crump was a resident of Freshwater, community activist and environmentalist who dedicated much of her life to educating children and protecting the environment for future generations. She was the Director of Harbord Community Pre-School for more than two decades and is still remembered with great fondness by the Freshwater community, many of whom were then either parents of students, or students.

Irene Crump local Activist stops beach from over development

She is most renowned for saving, what is now known as Undercliffe Reserve. Its existence came about largely through Mrs Crump’s brave protest against a proposed development which would have enveloped the site with apartments. The Council had approved the development despite community outrage. As soon as Mrs Crump heard the development had started, she ran down from the Pre-school and perched in a tree. The Manly Daily quotes Mrs Crump: “They were cutting the branches off the tree and from around my legs and told me that if I didn’t move I could get hurt or even killed. So I told them there were more ways to die for your country than going to war.” The bulldozers were forced to stop and Mrs Crump took the matter to court and was successful. Undercliff Reserve was rezoned and returned to the Warringah Council.

This Development Application, along with other controversial building developments in then then Harbord area, led to Warringah Council being put into Administration for the first time. It also led to the promulgation of a new Local Environment Plan to ensure planning loopholes would not be exploited. This LEP was further refined in 1996 and again in 2011.

The community requested for the reserve to be named the Irene Crump Reserve. The Council rejected this at the time because Mrs Crump was still alive. In fact, she lived a long life and died on 11 March 2012, aged 91. Although, at the time, Council did agree to the installation of a plaque which read:


The Friends of Freshwater are now applying to Council again for the name of the Reserve to be changed to the Irene Crump Reserve as well as nominating her in the SheSaw Northern Beaches Augmented Reality Exhibition to ensure Irene Crump’s brave legacy lives on.


Boulevarde of Moore Rd Trees

Boulevard of Moore Rd Trees

Ivory Curl Tree in Blossom

Our long campaign for shade trees in Moore Road has been successful with 24 saplings being procured and planted by Northern Beaches Council . The trees planted are called Ivory Curls (Buckinghamia Celcissima) and they are beautiful trees, which will grow to form a shady tree-lined Moore Rd as they mature (see fully grown picture of Ivory Curl in full flower in nearby Curl Curl). They are non-allergenic, have a prolonged flowering period and have minimal leaf-drop


The Duke is fond of the anonymous Greek proverb.

“Society grows great when old people plant trees for those whose shade they know they shall never sit under.”

We are delighted with the work undertaken by Michael Yeo and Plateau Tree Services to install the 24 Ivory Curl trees on a roadscape previously devoid of trees.  As these trees mature they will give much shade cover to pedestrians and much colour to the street. In a planning sense they will also provide a ” boulevard ” connection between Beach and Village.
Thank you for selecting good tree stock and getting it done before the heavy rainfall.  There has been a very positive response from the community as well.





Stephen Raffo – supplied Family profile by W MachonThe late Stephen Raffo will be recognised for his World War 1 War Service and his lengthy support to the local community over a period of 50 years. A bronze plaque, recently installed in the Avenue of Honour, will be unveiled on 22 April 2022 prior to Anzac Day.

Raffo was a talented musician and composer who played the trumpet. He enlisted in WW1 and because of his talent, he was called upon to play trumpet and bugle for many military, ceremonial occasions including, sadly, too many funerals. When he returned to Freshwater after the World War 1, he played in a band that performed on the Manly ferries. He also showed his versatility by earning a living as a clown in Sole Brothers Circus.

Raffo produced a large family and was fortunate to win two lotteries. These allowed him to chase his other passion, building houses.  In Freshwater and then Harbord, he built no less than 300, two- bedroom, brick houses. These were the first of affordable housing in the new suburb and replaced the first wave of timber houses dotted across the neighbourhood.  These brick houses, with their distinctive Mediterranean design, are still readily observable in North Manly, Curl Curl and Freshwater, although many have been modified with second stories and more bedrooms added. Excellent examples on large blocks are still in evidence, including two in Wyadra Avenue. Stephen Raffo often provided mortgages to those couples who could not meet the stringent deposit requirements of Banks.  His grandson, Wayne, who still lives in the area, is currently doing a pictorial audit of those remaining Raffo houses that remain.

During World War 2, Raffo was elected as a Councillor to Warringah Shire Council and served throughout the war years. His descendants, including the current Deputy Mayor of Northern Beaches Council, Cllr. Candy Bingham, will be assembling at the plaque in Soldiers Avenue in his honour.


Bobby Lehane – thanks to Manly Daily

Freshwater’s Bobby Lehane was recently announced in Australia Day ceremonies as Northern Beaches Citizen of the Year. This was primarily for his “Rock the Pools 2021” initiative which raised $100,000 for Lifeline Northern Beaches and its mental health programs.  Bobby swam 250kms in 100 rock pools over 100 days.

The most surprising thing is that he only learnt to swim in 2014 after taking swimming lessons alongside his son. He then joined Freshwater Amateur Swimming Club and has become a stalwart of its activities.  His first Rock Pool swim for this challenge was appropriately at Freshie but he sampled a wide range of rock pools up and down the coast with many of them heritage-listed.

Bobby was raised in County Cork, Ireland, in a family of 15 and is now raising his own family in Freshwater.


The Jolt EV charger Cnr Lawrence & Dowling St Freshwater

In a partnership with energy company AUSGRID, the start-up, JOLT, has arranged for the conversion of a standard energy distribution kiosk to a EV charging Station.  Following a DA process, the newly approved facility has been installed on the corner of Dowling and Lawrence Streets. Essentially, a new metal box has been placed over the top of the distribution kiosk which has been modified to provide electrical power for the charging process.  Payoff for Jolt is the two frames of paid outdoor advertising that are displayed.



All types of EV vehicles can be charged by the Station including Teslas.  The first 15 minutes are free and the following 45 minutes are at cost. The site appears to have parking capacity for only one vehicle although currently the installation does not appear operational we have seen EV vehicles attempting to get parking in front with Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICE) parked too close for easy EV charging access.

Charging Sunday Feb 27 2022 – supplied Rory Keeping














While this is a welcome addition, the Friends of Freshwater would like to see a more expansive facility established in the Oliver Street car park so as to take advantage of the immediate presence of a 14kv Electricity Sub-Station. This will be of great advantage to those apartment dwellers who are unlikely to have recharging facilities in their premises and allow more people to replace their cars with fully EV cars and help reduce our climate use footprint.  Jolt assures us on their website they use 100% ‘Green Power’.

As one of our objectives for 2022, Friends of Freshwater wants to encourage the use of clean energy and ensure that the local infrastructure process is being put in place to support this.






Medical Centre Now Open

Finally, a new Medical Centre has opened at street level in Freshwater Village. Previously this was at the top of a narrow flight of stairs and was difficult for the elderly or injured to negotiate.   The Centre sits alongside the Freshwater Community Bank with its full range of banking services and obliging staff.  It is also closely located to Brook’s Pharmacy that has provided golden service to the community for many decades.

The Village now has a wider range of essential services including physiotherapy, dentistry and massage services.


A special thank you to all those who took the opportunity to renew their unrenewed membership. We hope to work assiduously on your behalf achieving the objectives which we have set down for 2022. These are published below.

Our Executive meet on a weekly basis for an hour, usually over a cup of coffee and rotating through the coffee shops and cafes of Freshwater. Over the years we have got to know the proprietors. Unsurprisingly many are current members of FOF.


Just google Friends of Freshwater at to take the next step.



    • With a focus on good urban planning, closely scrutinise all significant Development Applications in Freshwater for compliance with planning requirements. Directly lobby Council on procedural matters including the prevalence of complying development certification and effective community engagement. 


    • Hold regular meetings with elected Federal, State, Councillors and Council staff.


    • Work closely with Council to implement, more expeditiously, the various projects within the Freshwater Coastal Reserves Master Plan including the upgrading of Beach reserve playgrounds and toilet facilities: completion of the missing segment of the coastal walkway from South Curl Curl Pool through to Freshwater Beach:


    • Campaign for the conversion of the former Harbord Diggers eastern car park to green open space within McKillop Park and an upgrade of the World Surfing Reserve “Duke” site.


    • Support Council to establish an outstanding piece of sculptured public art at Mckillop Park Lookout.
    • Continuing to support the growth of the Freshie Community Garden in Crown Reserve as a community amenity and model of urban sustainability.


    • Work on establishment of a Freshwater Public Art Trail with a focus on Freshwater’s early settlers, soldiers and surfers at various sites in Freshwater.


    • Continue to work with other stakeholder organisations to refurbish the Soldiers Avenue Honour following its Centenary Year in 2019, including publishing a comprehensive study on WW1 personnel and their families, removal of rogue camphor laurel trees, planting of their suitable replacements, upgrading the Jakka Park community war memorial and the insertion of more footpath memorial plaques.


    • Get the provision of the basic necessities of life upgraded such as provision of fresh fruit and vegetables; public toilets, footpaths, safe vehicular traffic movement, pedestrian and cycle ways and public transport including suitable ferries.


    • Call on Council to conduct heritage reviews of significant items of Freshwater’s infrastructure and architecture.


    • Continue the revitalisation of the weed-infested southern headland of Freshwater Beach with FOF volunteer, corporate, government and professional assistance. Seek to rename the Reserve Irene Crump Reserve


    • Establish a boulevard of Ivory Curl street trees in Moore Road to provide a shaded link between beach and village


    • Encourage Council to identify suitable sites in Freshwater for free EV charging so as to facilitate the smooth transition to Electric-powered vehicles and a more pollution free environment


    • Continue to apply for Grant funding from the three tiers of government to support various projects in Freshwater.