“The DUKE” October 2022 Edition

The Duke Newsletter September-October 2022




to be held at the Harbord Diggers Meeting Room on Wednesday, 19 October at 7pm.

We are holding our Annual General Meeting with members and all are invited to attend.


Voting for the 2023 Executive will be available only to current financial members.

A celebratory drink and nibbles will be provided by FoF.

Come and enhance and strengthen your voice in the community and beyond.




The transport sector is facing some stark realities

With nearly 20% of Australia’s carbon emissions being generated by transport, the rapid introduction of electric-powered vehicles is a no brainer. It is anticipated that 1 in 10 vehicles purchased in four years’ time will be electric. The only caveats will be both availability and charging infrastructure.

Currently there is a pent-up demand for EV’s. The $70,000+ Hyundai Ionic5, as an example, has a waiting list of 12 months due in part to a breakdown in supply for microchips. Other brands are facing acute time delivery days. All vehicles have to be shipped from their production bases (mostly from China, Japan or SE Korea) with inherent delays. Tesla, who only makes EV cars was the 3rd largest selling brand of all cars in last month shipping more than 3,500 cars.

When they arrive and are operating, there has to be reliable, local, low cost charging infrastructure. While most owners will charge their vehicles in their own homes, this is exceedingly difficult for those who live in Apartments, Townhouses or Units There are already strata issues around who pays for the power usage in these situations and whether the Unit’s total electrical infrastructure can cope with the added electrical load. Body Corporates are having a challenge coping with this change.

Freshwater already has one dedicated charging outlet via the Jolt/ Ausgrid site in Dowling Street with two spots for short term charging.  A new EV charging trial with 9 Councils taking part, including Northern Beaches Council will use “Green” power supplied by Origin Energy. The trial is funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The 5 chargers to be installed on the Northern Beaches will be supplied by Schneider Electric. These will be placed on power poles to convert them into charging stations.

The time taken to fully charge a vehicle is often long. Pay parking stations are unsuitable for this role given the parking fees per vehicle might outweigh the cost of a tank of conventional fuel.

In Freshwater, the Friends of Freshwater has long favoured the use of the both the large Ausgrid 14Kv open-air electricity Sub- Station and its location immediately adjacent to the Oliver Street Car Park.  Four parking places with the required EV charging infrastructure could be allocated for this purpose and it would attract long term business to the Village.

Volunteers are the beating heart of Our Community

On any given day in our community, you will find unpaid volunteers organising our sporting groups, tending to the vulnerable and aged, driving community buses, providing meals on wheels or guarding our beaches.

One such voluntary effort is a group of determined volunteers who have been working on bush at the southern end of Freshwater Beach. This piece of bushland had long been neglected and had been overtaken by every known coastal weed.  In 2016, local volunteers under the umbrella of the Friends of Freshwater, began the process of weed removal and replacement with healthy native species drawn from Council’s Coastal Natives List.

Each year since 2016, these volunteers have dedicated more than 500 hours annually to this project and their effort is now producing great, observable, results.

Cathy Wagner

Denver Beven

In particular, as an example of this commitment, two of the group, Denver Beven and Cathy Wagner, have dedicated as much as 3 days per week to the project, for the last two years. This has involved weed removal, terracing the steep site with found timber and selective planting of native species. Much of this work is quite physical, sometimes detailed and often involves re-aligning sandstone terracing that had fallen into disrepair.

As part of the Project, they have removed the congested veil of weeds covering the outflow of storm water flowing from Queenscliff above. This has revealed a splendid, unique, waterfall that, whenever it rains, cascades to the Beach below. In order to prevent erosion from frequent downpours, Denver Beven has manoeuvred sandstone into position to rock armour the water flow. This has enabled bird-life, fauna and frogs to return in numbers

Northern Beaches Council has assisted by providing initial supervision, supplies of mulch and nursery plants.

Northern Beaches Council has assisted by providing initial supervision, supplies of mulch and nursery plants.

This level of commitment and dedication is very worthy of recognition. The Reserve is a high profile part of the Coastal Walk and is now being greatly appreciated by both the local community and everyone who walks along its pathways.

Both have been nominated by the Friends of Freshwater for this years’ Council Eco Awards.


Project Homes Going Up Everywhere in Freshwater

Take a quick look around at the rapid rise of project homes in our community.

The Project Homes that are going up around Freshie are often at the expense of older dwellings that are either short of the required number of bedrooms or are unable to be renovated to modern floor-plan and drainage standards. The Project home with 4-6 bedrooms are attractive to those where land values are already nudging $2M+.

Project home builders such as ICON and others are currently constructing 8 homes in Freshwater and North Manly and our community is a hive of building activity.

What Price our Built Environment Heritage?

There are very few buildings heritage listed in our community. Old buildings are often considered a “knock down” rather than considered for preservation.  In the last few years, Freshwater has not had one building listed even though it has many turning 100 years old and replete with history.   There are some people who hold the view that having a building heritage listed is an impediment to its renewal. Others see only real estate dollars not the historical nature of a particular building. With real estate values rapidly escalating, the appetite for heritage listing is somewhat lacking.

However, there are buildings that are fine examples of our residential history that would be preserved if they had local heritage listing.  For example, in the 1930’s the early brick, working class houses, built by Stephen Raffo are worthy of note. He built 300 of these across Harbord, North Manly and Curl Curl.

They were the earliest version of the project home. Many of these distinctive 2 bedroom bungalows have been modified but some remain in their original structure.  Wayne Raffo, a descendant of Stephen Raffo, is working with Council’s Local Studies Library to do a pictorial audit of these houses. Some, such as “Mari” in Wyadra Avenue are nearing their century of residential living.

The late Wal Edwards was an outstanding citizen.

VALE Wallace Frederick Edwards (Wal) was born in 1916 died 104  in 2021

When Wal Edwards spoke at the Centenary of the Harbord Literary Institute it was an honour to observe a person 0f 102 years of age recounting with clarity his life experiences, who was actually alive before the Institute was built.

Wallace Frederick Edwards (Wal) was born in 1916 and lived in Manly during his formative years. He endured two pandemics a century apart and two World Wars.  He served with the Australian Army from 1942 –1946. During his lifetime he tried his hand at many ventures and enjoyed a successful business life.

Throughout his life he was always involved in community activities. He was a member of Rotary for 55 years. and for the last 26 years of his life dedicated himself as the Welfare Officer for Harbord Diggers RSL, visiting hundreds of people suffering and dying. He was also the Pastoral Partner of St Matthews Church Manly. Amazingly he held a drivers licence until he was 103.

Wal’s credo, until his very last days, was “SERVICE ABOVE SELF”. In 2015 he received the Order of Australia (OAM) and, later received Life Membership of the RSL for his charity work

Wal Edwards died on the 25 July 2021, aged 104.

A Footpath Memorial Plaque in his honour will be unveiled in Soldiers Avenue on 11 November this year as part of a Remembrance Day ceremony.




Buckinghamia Celsisima but more commonly “Ivory Curl”.

Those that regularly walk along Moore Road to Freshwater Beach will have noted that the road scape has changed with the planting of 26 Ivory Curl trees.  These have been planted at 30 metre intervals along both sides of the road and where the verge is wide enough to sustain a planting.


These are botanically known as Buckinghamia Celsisima but more commonly “Ivory Curl”.   They are a splendid tree with white flowers and colourful leaves. There is modest leaf drop unlike some other street trees favoured by Council. More importantly they provide excellent shade in summer.


The Friends of Freshwater persisted, over a 5-year period, with lobbying and letter writing to achieve this result.










Painted Rocks

On any given day children have been flocking to the Fairy Garden on the Southern Headland of Freshwater Beach. Created by local resident, Susie Parker, it houses a collection of ever-changing, painted rocks and spoons, colourful miniature houses and a log seat. Children have been bringing their own artwork and exchanging it for another that takes their fancy.


Fairy Garden on the Southern Headland of Freshwater Beach




This whimsical installation is for those who believe in Fairies to enjoy.

Ramsay McKillop all but forgotten

McKillop Park, a vital piece of remnant bushland on Freshwater’s Northern Headland, is often thought to be named in honour of Saint Mary McKillop.

In fact, it is named after Councillor Ramsay McKillop, a local Freshwater resident who was Mayor of Warringah from 1922 until 1926.

Sadly, he died in office in 1926 aged 69.  He was instrumental, as President of the Harbord Tramway League and Progress Association, in bringing a Tram Line which operated until 1939, from Manly to Harbord at the beach. This was no easy task as it involved substantial removal of sandstone along Oliver Street to create a cutting and improve the gradient suitable for a tram line from Pittwater Road.  The Tramway officially opened on 19 December 1925 at a ceremony held on the corner of Cavill and Lawrence Streets.

Ramsay McKillop was also one of the main protagonists for the suburb’s name change from Freshwater to Harbord. He was very well connected with state Labor politics having been President of the Trades and Labour Council at the turn of the 20th Century.

Upon his untimely death, Warringah Council named an uninhabited parcel of headland bush in his honour.  Nearly a century later, the Friends of Freshwater are seeking to expand the name of the park to Ramsay McKillop Park and, with the arrival of the Wuruna Sculpture at the headland lookout, we are seeking for it to be called WURUNA LOOKOUT.

Artist Impression of WURUNA art Installation – due Nov 2022



There has been much talk about circular economies and sustainable societies but actual activities are slow to emerge.  In Freshwater, we are making humble attempts via community gardening, composting, worm farming and litter collection to model how a sustainable community operates.

In the Queenscliff Range, apartment dwellers bring their vegetable scraps to the compost system at Crown Reserve replete with compost bins, compost feasts and worm farms.

This bounty is converted to rich soil by composting and enables community gardeners to grow produce in their allotments.

Freshwater Village in transition again

In 2023, we will see major demolition occurring again in Freshwater Village.  The Development Application for 50 Lawrence Street in 2020 has been approved and the building is likely to be demolished in 2023 to permit construction of 11 apartments and two shops. There will be a significant excavation of sandstone to enable underground parking.

At the same time, a DA is anticipated from the owners of the extensive property holding extending from the Arcade to Dowling Street on the southern side of Lawrence Street. Pre DA meetings have apparently been held.

We are also aware that the owner and lessee of the St Alma site have lodged a further DA for the loading dock area of the ALMA restaurant to be absorbed into the restaurant. This was the original plan but was knocked back by Council.

This is a second attempt and comes after the restaurant has been operating very successfully for more than a year with its coastal Mexican menu and vibe.  Owners Jack Leary and Tim Christensen converted the former premises of Freshwater Community Bank into a modern, well-appointed space. The Bank moved its Branch up the road into its own modern street-front space in the Oceans 11 development.

Late Breaking News

New Jacka Park Benches

The Reflection Benches have arrived from Tocumwal where they were manufactured and have been installed in Jacka Park, both positions in the Freshwater Anzac Precinct by Northern Beaches Council
Many thanks to Sean Rout and Ken Covey for their handiwork on this and for their effective liaison with Council on this project.
The motifs for Harbord RSL Sub Branch and the Soldiers Avenue of Honour are prominent on both benches as are the Poppies at either end.