The Duke Newsletter – December 2023


Another year has passed and December with the Annual Freshwater Carols by Candlelight  – in Freshwater Reserve on Sunday December 3 had a huge turn out as usual, on a warm and sunny Freshwater evening.

It aways makes me laugh, as it won’t be dark for hours and kids will all be in bed by the time time they can see Candlelight.

Carols in the Park – Christmas December 3, 2023

The wind down to the Christmas celebrations and holidays has begun and we reflect on quite few updates to Freshwater in the latter part of the year with the eventual start of the Masterplan going through its ‘Stage 1’ implementation in the final quarter.  Although not still not quite complete, we expect 2 more stages and even the start of the Curl Curl to Mckillop Park Coastal Walk.


The implementation of the Masterplan is taking shape with new paths around Pilu including the sandstone blocks providing wonderful casual seating.

New ‘Chaise Lounge’ outdoor beach chairs dot the parkland.

There are new showers at the end of Kooloora Rd and further north.


Mid Carpark – Shower – Water Bubler & Bins

Kooloora Ave Shower & Water Bubbler with a doggy water dish on the bottom






The first stage of the lookout at the northern end of  the beach is complete with the viewing platform to be completed early in 2024.

Ocean View Rd Lookout

The path from Ocean View Road to Kooloora Rd provides a new safer passage for pedestrians who previously walked through the parking lot.

OceanView Rd to Kooloora Ave – Pathway

The path on the northern side of Moore Rd is also almost complete with the pathway to the Surf Club still to be completed from March 2024.


Moore Rd Path and BBQ Plinth

New Paths being done Moore Rd end to Irene Crump Reserve


Wuruna – under construction December 3 2023

The new artwork on the northern headland at Freshwater is taking shape and will provide a reminder of our indigenous heritage. After quite a few delays the structure has taken shape but still has quite a way to go before it will represent the pride of place that we expect. There has been a of preparation with the supply of power as this sculpture is essentially a ‘light sculpture’ that has led lights on its exterior lengths and an expected upward glow. This is representative of the original indigenous ‘fire structures’ that were used to warn others along the coast of the first settlers boats that were spotted passing out at sea.


If you haven’t renewed, now is the time to click our Membership button.

Financial Membership is just a small amount that remains at $20 until the January 1 when it will become $25 (cost of living adjustment).  This is just a token that help the Friends of Freshwater Inc to confirm our actual membership when we apply for ‘grants’ and offer a multitude of groups support for the benefit of the Community.


By Peter Harley OAM


Irene Crump Families with Mayor at Unveiling

It was the culmination of a years of public submissions, Council meetings and administrative process. but finally the name change from Undercliffe Reserve to Irene Crump Reserve was ratified by the Geographical Names Board.  This process started in 1996 when the Freshwater community sought to recognise Mrs Crump for her environmental work in saving this important pocket of land at the southern end of our iconic beach.  The Geographical Names Board demurred on that occasion as Reserves could only be named after persons who were deceased and Mrs Crump was very much alive then. The file was closed for the moment and the Reserve was named Undercliffe (with an E].  Council had inherited this pocket of land as a result of a major stoush with a developer, who had sought to cover the site, down to the beach, with apartments.  Developers in 1970’s were rampant in Freshwater and other parts of Warringah and this led to the emergence of a major local protest movement against unwanted development. It also led to the State Government putting the Council into administration (for the first time) and the subsequent enactment of planning provisions that would prevent excessive building height and density. These Local Environment Plans, in amended forms, are with us to this day.

It is well documented as to Irene Crump’s actions to save this Reserve (Manly Observer article).  Irene Crump was a local resident who was Director of the Harbord Community Pre-School for decades.  This is a very well-regarded institution, housed within the Harbord Literary Institute. Many locals still proudly allude to the fact that they attended “Crump’s Academy” and then graduated to Harbord University “, the so called College of Knowledge” (also known formally as Harbord Public School).

With the signage complete, Council held an unveiling ceremony. It was a very “Freshie” occasion which, due to inclement weather, was moved from the grassy verge near the Reserve above the beach to the Heritage Room in Freshwater Surf Club. The Mayor, Sue Heins, welcomed the Crump family including her three daughters (who were all raised in Freshwater), their husbands and their offspring. Also in attendance was Kris Merrington, the current Pre-School Director and a posse of pre-schoolers. They were going to re-enact the school excursion to the beach that Irene did in 1970 when she first discovered bulldozers demolishing trees on the site.

At the ceremony were those Friends of Freshwater members who had worked through the renaming and public submission  process and had re-invigorated the Reserve by persistent bush regeneration from its previously dilapidated state.

As a community, we take great pride in the fact that a prominent site has been named after a local woman because of her initiative.  Too often Parks and Reserves have only been named after men.

The ‘Team’ – the workers that toiled to create the wonderful – Irene Crump Reserve.



Over some time there has been discussion about speeding on the roads around Freshwater and especially in Freshwater Basin where there have been calls for speed limits restricted to 40Kmh and with a possible zone of 30Kph in the village and east of Charles St due to high pedestrian traffic and high speed vehicle traffic.

With specific requests to our local councillors we have received details back from Councillor Kristyn Glanville and from a request from the NBC Council – Transport & Civil Infrastructure Manager. They have responded to her enquiries with favourable responses about reducing speed limits to 40Kph.

However, it is not that easy as it involves the State Government Transport for NSW (TfNSW) who is generally supportive of lower speed limit zones in local streets.

The requirement is that a self-enforcing road environment need to be in place before TfNSW would agree to implementing a 40km/h speed limit. This means Council would need to demonstrate from traffic survey data that speeds are can be generally controlled within 40km/h in most streets within the proposed 40km/h speed limit zone.

To achieve this, additional traffic calming measures would be required in many streets as speeds are currently well over 40km/h. And thus funding needs to be found to do this work and it seems that there is a more elaborate system of  transport traffic surveys that needs to be completed to move this forward.

To progress, there needs more community feedback and the council needs to identify traffic calming techniques to achieve the lower speeds that also requires funding which has yet to be identified.

We need more feedback to help push this forward.




<CLICK HERE for link> Curl Curl – Freshwater Cycleway Upgrade Proposal.

For some years there has been much discussion around bike paths and a plan was approved by Council and the process begun. This plan was almost immediately stopped due to community uproar, the plan was scrapped and some of the changes were returned to their previous state.

A lot of locals, in particular homeowners on and around Oliver St have been impacted by the changes in the traffic as well as loss of street parking, bus stops and access to driveways which was not adequately taken into consideration at the time. These issues included general confusion and safety concerns. As a result the whole project was halted by the Council while they reconsidered a growing groundswell of discontent and anger.

Recently, a new plan for the bike path along Oliver St was released for comments. Comments must be submitted by December 10 (click image above for link). We encourage the community to take note of the changes proposed that are illustrated on Council website under Curl Curl Freshwater Connectivity and Streetscape Upgrade.

It will be important for members of the community to provide feedback to Council on this adapted plan.  There will be significant impact on residents along Oliver St and the surrounds. While it has the potential to provide an improved land and streetscape, there are still concerns with a major letter box drop by “cyclewayconcerns group” ( who are concerned about the changes and impacts.



Artist Impression of new building

The new complex on Lawrence St between Oliver St and Dowling St is progressing steadily.  This will provide 11 new apartments and two small retail outlets.

Approved Plan of St Alma Deck


The outdoor area at St Alma has been approved with limited outdoor hours and a six monthly review.  Friends of Freshwater met with the approving body to help them understand the benefits and impacts. This will add 15 to 20 new outdoor seats for the community which are sure to be popular.


St Alma Bar & Restaurant


There has been no further news on the Surf Club DA.  Although comments have officially closed if you haven’t added your comments they will be taken into account until a decision is made.

Crown Land currently leased by Mounties as an unused carpark

We are still awaiting the DA for the return of the Diggers eastern carpark to community use.  This is a headland that will provide a new facility for the community and links to the Surfer’s walk. Friends of Freshwater understand that Council has seen the plans and has provided some feedback. More to come and we will be sure to be on top of what happens here for the community interest.




A community compost system is about to be rejuvenated thanks to a Stronger Communities Grant from the Federal Government via the Federal Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall.  The Forest Community Mens’ Shed has kindly agreed to build the four bins in its Belrose premises.
The Mens’ Shed volunteer activity has recently produced native bee hive huts and even a full scale tram replica located at Narrabeen

Compost Bins working for the Garden


The $5,000 grant will allow the Freshie Community Garden to upgrade its compost storage bins which were previously constructed using pallet timber which is now deteriorating.  Such timber is not designed to be durable and will be replaced by more sustainable timber.

Old Style timber Compost units

Freshwater Community is one of only a handful of Community Gardens operating on the Northern Beaches and has been operating successfully for ten years. It operates on Crown Reserve.

Currently, 50 locals, living is nearby apartments, regularly place their vegetable scraps in the 11 subsidiary bins prior to their transfer by the community gardeners into larger bins for curing. After 6 months the scraps combined with leaves, other additives such as dolomite and water, convert into rich, productive, soil.

Although only  on a small scale. this is an important exercise in sustainability.


By Peter Harley OAM


Wars take a tremendous toll on those involved and their families, as we are currently observing.  In World War 1, more than 60,000 Australians (mainly men) lost their lives in service of their country.

The Australian Government, with details of the fatally wounded soldiers, conveyed a range of items to their families including personal papers and medals for known service in various theatres of war.  Freshwater families of fatally wounded soldiers such as Fred Reynolds, Joseph Saunders and Alfred Hughes, were informed of their son’s demise along with various memorabilia.  Included in this package was a surprising large copper medal known colloquially as the “ Dead Man’s Penny”. As the photo below indicates, it was so large that it could not be worn on one’s apparel as other medals are and was more of an ornament.  A macabre reminder of a traumatic event.

In September this year, only 105 years after it was issued, the “Dead Man’s Penny” of Joe “ Iodine Joe” Saunders was transferred back to Freshwater and is now safely in the keeping of the Harbord RSL Sub Branch.  For more details on Joe Saunders ( Iodine Joe ) click this link.

His plinth and plaque are beside his tree in the Soldiers Avenue of Honour and his full story, faithfully annotated by Freshwater historian, Wendy Machon, is attached



Freshwater Stone & Concrete Wall to Carpark

Looking back in time and pre the 1974 storm that took away all of Sydneys beaches – it also took away the old concrete- stone wall.
This picture was provided by a local member Denis Lynch and shows some unidentified kids in front of the Freshwater wall and car park, next to the Freshwater SLSC. The remnant of the wall remains under the vegetated sand dunes.

And if anyone had any ideas of what it is like under the car park this will give you some insight!


The diversion of Freshwater Stream to the construction of the Northern Outfall Stream diversion pipes