“The DUKE” December 2022 Edition

The Duke Newsletter December 2022 Edition



Memo for those who have yet to renew their membership

Our community group continues to work to make Freshwater an even better place to live.  Being a financial member helps the group support a vibrant community.

We would appreciate your financial support for 2023.  It is only $20 per family and easy to become a member here.

Ocean Festival – Ocean Action Pod returns to Freshie on 11 December 2022
By Byron Merzeo

 The Ocean Festival organized by Northern Beaches Council returns again this year with the Ocean Action Pod exhibit at Freshwater Reserve from 9:00am to 2:00pm on 11 December 2022.

Ocean Pod – Sunday Dec 11 – Freshwater Park

Kids and adults are welcome to join this interactive and educational display to learn how our litter harms the environment, and how we can reduce it.

More details are available here:





Former long standing Warringah Councillor gets lookout named after him

By Peter Harley


Many would claim that the South Curl Curl to Freshwater Board Walk is one of the most useful public facilities ever developed by Council. Few would be aware that a local resident and former Warringah Councillor, Brian Green was at the heart of this initiative.

Brian Green – past Warringah Coucil Mayor

Brian Green has been a life-long resident of the Northern Beaches where he served as a Warringah Councillor (1980-85, 1987-99), Deputy Shire President (1981-82, 1984-85, 1988-89), Shire President (1991-93) and Mayor of Warringah Council (1993-95). In 2002, Mr Green was awarded the title of ‘Emeritus Mayor’ in acknowledgement of his service in the role of Mayor. Mr Green was in office for more than two terms and played an integral role in the initiation and delivery of a range of projects and programs that were of benefit to our community.

Renamed Brian Green Lookout

In 1995, Green was awarded the Paul Harris Rotary International Fellow and a 50-year service award for service to the Australian Surf Lifesaving Association by the Freshwater SLSC. In 2001, he was awarded a Centenary Medal for service as a former Mayor and for active services to the community and local government.

This naming proposal is for the sandstone viewing area above the South Curl Curl rock pool on Carrington Parade. Brian Green lived nearby and was closely involved in the initial concept for this section of the coastal walkway. This viewing area adjoins the boardwalk recently named the ‘Harry Elliffe Way’. This naming proposal for Brian Green is limited to the sandstone viewing area only.

This naming proposal is consistent with Council’s Naming Our Reserves, Facilities and Roads Policy, in particular that Council will consider honouring individuals if they have: “Made a highly significant contribution to the specific area or community [including] Two or more terms of office on local government council.”

The location of the area proposed to be called Brian Green Lookout can be seen in this photo:


Proposed boardwalk extension from South Curl Curl Pool to McKillop Park Lookout

Sketch of the proposed path extended boardwalk

By Peter Harley and Rob Keeping

The Freshwater Coastal Open Space Masterplan, adopted by Council in 2018, identifies the construction of a link between the end of South Curl Curl Boardwalk (Harry Elliffe Way) and McKillop Park Reserve.


This project has now been fully funded and an environmental review is on exhibition from 18 November to 18 December 2022. The report and further details can be found at the link here:

Submissions will be reviewed following public exhibition and the design will be finalised. The construction contract will then go out for tender with the aim of construction taking place in Winter 2023.

This boardwalk extension will provide a safer and more accessible connection along the headland. It was originally envisaged in the initial construction of the Board Walk but the funding ran out and the walk concluded at Lumsdaine Drive.

Sketch of junction of new and old boardwalk



This extension will remove the need for pedestrians to use the stairs to Lumsdaine Drive to continue their walk along this beautiful stretch of coastline. It will also connect the existing boardwalk to the public artwork that will be installed in 2023 at McKillop Park Reserve.

Due to the environmental sensitivities and rich biodiversity of the area, extensive work has been undertaken to ensure the design of the boardwalk has limited environmental impacts.



Renaming of Undercliffe Reserve to Irene Crump Reserve

By Peter Harley

The renamed Irene Crump Reserve

Our community had a big win with the name change of Undercliffe Reserve to Irene Crump Reserve. It was approved by Northern Beaches Council on 22 November 2022.  A report prepared for Council can be found on the Northern Beaches Website at Council Meetings/ Agenda/ 22 November/ page 143-147. Further details are on our Facebook page.

This is outstanding recognition of a prominent former member of the Freshwater community.

Council will prepare a press release based upon information already provided by Friends of Freshwater. Interestingly the Council Officer who prepared the Report was a former student of Irene’s.  A small world indeed.

The next step will be for the Geographical Names Board approval, which is a formal but necessary process.


The Friends of Freshwater is intending to join with Council and the Harbord Pre-school Kindergarten to hold a name changing function in the Reserve (probably in early 2023 when schools resume). We would want preschool children in attendance for obvious reasons. Neighbouring business and landowners will also be invited, as well as former pre-school parents and students. Harbord Pre-School in the period of her tenure was no known as “Crumps’ Academy” for nothing.

New signage and Irene’s compelling story will need to be displayed and the Undercliffe Reserve signage removed.

This will be a significant occasion as the Northern Beaches has very few parks, reserves, lookouts and landmarks named after prominent women.

We note also that a great group of local FoF volunteers under the leadership of Cathy Wagner and Denver Bevan have been working very hard to remove decades of weed infestation in the Reserve to bring it back to its natural state.

Freshwater Success Stories — Marilyn Annecchini and Giovani Pilu

By Peter Harley

In the recently published SMH Good Food Guide, the highly successful local restaurant, Pilu at Freshwater, was again awarded two hats for its culinary attributes. This restaurant is now deeply embedded in our community and while most of the high end awards to restaurants go to those located in the CBD or where medium density populations are located, this suburban and beachside restaurant continues to shine. Clearly, the model established by Marilyn Annecchini and Giovanni Pilu is working. It is based on excellent and interesting Sardinian/Italian menus, outstanding service, value for money, an unbeatable venue beside an iconic beach and a supportive local community.

Marilyn Annecchini and Giovanni Pilu

When the world was plunged into uncertainty with the Covid pandemic and with widespread lockdown a widely used government response, the first industry to be widely impacted was hospitality.  Restaurants in the newly deserted CBD’s closed down and often never to re-open. In Freshwater, Pilu had a relatively high exposure with three outlets, a fine dining restaurant, café (Pilu Baretto) and a pasta/pizzeria (Aqua Fresca) in the Harbord Diggers Club. It soon became clear that lockdown meant that everyone was working from home and in need of food deliveries.  Pilu pivoted into a takeaway menu and staples from the fine dining menu such as Suckling Pig, Fregula and Bottarga di Muggini. Such was the take up that Pilu was boxing up 100 lasagnas per week. Giovanni laughs that at the end of the lockdown period, he was suffering from “lasagna elbow” from lifting so many boxes. This pivot allowed Freshwater to enjoy famous fine dining dishes in their own home. It also saved the restaurant from closure and dispensing with highly valued staff.

What became obvious is the close linkage between the Freshwater community and this two-hat restaurant formed from nearly two decades of experience.  As a local community, we take quiet pride in the fact that we have a two-hatted restaurant in our midst which is now used for weddings, milestone family events and literary lunches. Many Freshwater people have even taken the opportunity to travel to Sardinia to taste further this unique cuisine.

Armistice Day events in Freshwater – Remembrance Day, Friday 11th November 2022

By Wendy Machon

Wall of Honour – Jacka Park

On Armistice Day, 9.30am Friday 11th November 2022, a footpath plaque was installed outside 60 Soldiers Avenue commemorating the amazing life of Wal Edwards OAM, a WW2 veteran, who after the war, committed the rest of his long life of 104 years serving his fellow man. The unveiling ceremony included Michael Regan, James Griffin, Zali Steggall, Ministers from St. Matthews Church Manly, plus church members and the Edwards family.

All then made their way to Jacka Park, where at 10.25am a special Remembrance Day service attended by 150 members and guests commemorated the Wall of Remembrance upgrade which was unveiled by both the Mayor Michael Regan and the Hon. James Griffin MP.

Night Time – Walll of Honour Jacka Park

For the last 6 months or so, many of you may have been wondering what was happening to the Jacka Park’s Wall of Remembrance site.  With a generous grant and manpower supplied by the Northern Beaches Council as part of their refurbishment and upgrade of Jacka Park in conjunction with funds and expertise provided by the Harbord RSL sub-Branch and the Soldiers Avenue Stakeholders Committee, there had been a flurry of activity to get work finished for the Remembrance Day Jacka Park Wall of Remembrance re-dedication on Friday 11 November.  The scope of change was enormous in this short period of time and many a day and night was spent by dedicated members from all sections to finish in time.


Blessings were upon us as the day bloomed mild and sunny.  Workers were still finalizing things from early that morning, however by 10.15am all was sparkling and a crowd of over 150 had gathered for the official opening with Mayor Michael Regan and the Hon. James Griffin MP officiating, along with President Sean Rout’s address thanking all who contributed and worked so hard to finalize this day.

Highlights of the morning included family members from the late sub-Branch & RSL Life members and WW2 veterans, Wal Edwards and Keith Tucker, adding their name plaques to the Wall of Remembrance, two new memorial benches were officially unveiled, the laying of the wreaths and the Catafalque Party’s presentation by 2/17 Battalion RNSWR, plus three special plaques telling the stories of the history and timelines of Jacka Park and the planting of a Warrnambool Lone Pine, grown from seeds which had originated from the original Gallipoli Lone Pine tree.  Two magnificent new park benches were unveiling and new wall plaque with the words of the Turkish General Ataturk.  Harbord Public School’s full band played the National Anthem and Reveille, along with St. John’s school and their young students addressing the audience with their beautiful heart felt “Poppy Poem” and “A Poem for Peace”.


‘Charlie Hughes’ -acted by Joel Davis-Sparks

The morning was wrapped up by the  appearance of “Charlie Hughes” a local soldier from WW1 who surveyed and spoke from the heart on what he is seeing and how it means to him after the passing of 103 years.  Charlie was acted by Joel Davis-Sparks, an outstanding young 17-year-old Balgowlah Boys Campus student.


Below are photos of the new Jacka Park’s Wall of Remembrance Day and night, plus the magnificent benches showing the appearance of “Lest We Forget” when the sun shines.


Wonderful new park benches


The Duke “Blue Plaque” is installed at Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club

By Peter Harley

 The State Government has introduced in 2022 a $5m “Blue Plaque” program in order to give recognition to the extraordinary people that have helped shaped New South Wales and their stories. The first Plaques have been created and installed for 21 people in the 2022. Our Local Member, James Griffin, is the current NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage.

Blue Plaque heritage for Freshwater Beach

The Blue Plaque program derives from a 120-year-old Greater London Program and has been replicated in major cities around the world.

After a century, Duke Kahanamoku is now an adopted Freshwater character. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1890. Learning to swim and surf in the famous beachside area of Waikiki, his talent as a swimmer was soon obvious. In 1912, he qualified for the US Olympic swimming team. That year, Duke won a gold medal in the Stockholm Olympics in the 100-metre freestyle race and a silver in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay.

Following this success, Duke began to travel internationally to perform sprint-swimming demonstrations. Tall and charismatic, the young athlete also won plaudits wherever he went for his good humour and sportsmanship. Duke accepted an invitation to visit Australia, arriving in Sydney in December 1914, where he was persuaded to add a surfing demonstration to his itinerary. Surfing was still relatively unknown outside Hawaii, so Sydneysiders were keen to learn about the intriguing new sport.

With a date for the demonstration fixed for 24 December at Freshwater Beach, Duke set about crafting himself a surfboard from a piece of sugar pine he bought locally. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald from 25 December 1914 described Duke’s performance:

“The conditions were against good surfboard riding. The waves were of the ‘dumping’ order … Then, too, Kahanamoku was at a disadvantage with the board. It weighed almost 100lb, whereas the board he uses, as a rule, weighs less than 25lb. But, withall, he gave a magnificent display, which won the cordial applause of the onlookers.”

Given that the Blue Plaque is about heritage, it is fitting that it is permanently attached to a heritage listed building, Freshwater SLSC.


Stink Bugs Are Smashing our Citrus Trees

By Peter Harley

 November and December is the time when a little pest, the Bronze Orange Bug (commonly called the Stink Bug) emerges onto our citrus trees after hibernating in winter.  Many Freshwater properties have citrus trees.  This bug (musgraveia sulciventris) is quite obnoxious because of its defensive spray which can injure humans, animals and birds. It damages native citrus including lemons, limes, finger limes and cumquats.

In Freshwater Community Garden, we now have a bad infestation of Stink Bugs attacking our citrus trees. These bugs damage plants by feeding on new, young, growth and fruit, causing fruit to turn yellow and drop off. This is worse than past years due to wet weather and climate change. We now have populations on our lemon trees, limes and cumquats.

To get rid of them, we either spray them with Yates Nature’s Way Citrus and Ornamental spray or make up a simple concoction of hot water, white vinegar and washing up detergent (2 cups of hot water; 1 cup of vinegar; half a cup of dish soap). Alternatively, we can pick them manually from the tree but they have a dangerous stinking and staining spray.  Some gardeners even vacuum them off and then dispose of the catch.

Bronze Orange Bugs

Citrus trees are particularly prone to infestation. The Department of Primary Industries recently surveyed community gardens including at Freshwater for the presence of an introduced Asian citrus psyllid moth.  With the possibility of this arriving via containers, Governments are vigilant to keep this out of our community.