The Duke Newsletter – February 2024

Freshwater – It’s Summer and it’s all about our beach


Freshwater Beach – January 21 2024 – a Perfect Day


Freshwater beach on January 21 and the Annual Surf Carnival on a “beach perfect” day.  The beach has recovered from all the previous storms with probably more sand on it and bigger in size than seen for many years, but it is also very popular, with more people on it than we’ve ever seen!

Because of the Surf Carnival, there were crowds of people with the tents from Surf Clubs from all around Australia and added to by hosts of people who came from far and wide to cool off in the northern section ‘Kiddies Corner’.  The trend of four posted  Coolibah Shades took up large parts of the beach real estate.

If there is a concern around over-development in Freshwater then, it is also visible on the sand with all the umbrellas and Coolibah tents – DA’s not required!

Freshwater is popular and getting very crowded in Summer! – See later article on Freshwater Precinct UPTOWN GRANT for Winter area promotion.

Additionally, all may the work being done on the Freshwater Beach Renewal project is making Freshie Beach a very attractive spot.

NB Council has done a pretty good job of sprucing up the amenities around the Freshwater Reserve and the Dunes. The addition of large sandstone blocks along the Dunes adds a nice touch to the landscape. There are new stairs from Undercliffe Rd to Moore Rd and the construction of the switch back in the upper end of the park is now underway. While we note a lot of new concrete has been poured, we hope that the character of our beautiful Reserve and iconic beach will be maintained and enjoyed.

Ivory Curl Trees on Moore Rd


Moore Rd Freshwater

Ivory Curls (Buckinghamia celsissima) in Bloom

It was always the dream of many and particularly our past President, Peter Harley, for Moore Rd to return to the beautiful boulevard and gateway to the beach it has been in the past. In his many walks around different neighbourhoods he commented on the potential of these beautiful plants to achieve the look we all wanted.  He made it his goal to ensure that this is now becoming a reality along Moore Rd.
This month January and February have seen these trees begin to prosper, grow and now bloom for the first time into what should become part of that future dream.

Art Installation to be called ’Signal Fire’; we report on the progress to date


New Mili Mili Art Piece – Signal Fire

Signal Fire at night

As you can see by the photos, Freshwater’s beautiful Mili Mili Art installation, newly renamed “Signal Fire” is getting close to completion.

At design stage this piece was to be named in a local language as ‘Wuruna’,  however using local Aboriginal language words is on hold until the Northern Beaches Council has an Aboriginal Advisory Board in place ensuring among other things that any Sydney language incorporated into Northern Beaches areas or projects is correctly documented with its story, meaning and source.

Many words in the Sydney Language have multiple meanings so to ensure that we have in fact used the correct language in the right context consultation from the local Aboriginal Groups is required for us to build upon our local culture.

 Artist Nicole Monks, is in support of the Advisory Group’s view and has renamed the artwork in accordance with it’s original theme thus the new name  ‘Signal Fire’. 

The name change was a surprise to many but according to Council, the naming of a piece of public art is at the discretion of the artist that created it and is accepted.

The Friends of Freshwater have recommended that Point itself be renamed as the old name was well liked and the actual point of land could be called ‘Wuruna Point’ as part of McKillop Park.

The area this year will host a number of changes with the confirmation that the park name McKillop Park will have a plaque recognising its naming after the ex Mayor of council (circa 192 ) Ramsey McKillop after whom the park was actually named (not Mary McKillop).  Later in the year will also see the completion of the boardwalk from Curl Curl to connect into McKillop Park as understood from NB Council plans.

Mounties Car Park revegetation


Proposed revegetation of old Mounties Carpark to a Green Park

Friends of Freshwater met with Northern Beaches Council about the Mounties Eastern Carpark and the plans to return it to the community as public green space. We know that this is Crown Land and we were informed that they are the ones now assessing the plans to remediate the land from an asphalt car park to much needed additional green space as was part of the commitment in the planning of  “New Dawn for the Diggers” project.
It has been a long time coming as the car park has been fenced off for years, much to the frustration of the locals.
We will be keeping close tabs on the plan and the aesthetic for the return to community.


Surfers Walk of Fame


One of many Mosaic’s on the Surfers Walk in need of repair

As you are all aware this is a long neglected World Surfing Reserve spot featuring an iconic statue of Duke Kahanamoku surrounded by gorgeous mosaics paying tribute to our World Surfing Champions.
The last mosaic medallion was installed sometime in 1994 and FoF have taken on the activity to repair, refresh and add to the walk.
Along with Northern Beaches Council, Hawaiian Airlines and Outrigger Hotels, FoF started the process that was to culminate in a clean up of the area in August last year. Unfortunately this was postponed due to the awful Lahaina, Maui fires. Meanwhile, despite this tragic event, the Walk garnered new attention.
This area is not part of the planned restoration of the Mounties car park as covered in the article above and Northern Beaches Council has indicated that they are interested in our vision for the preservation and expansion of the Walk.

In addition after the successful remediation of one of the Surfers Walk Plaques the Northern Beaches Council continue to work towards repairing the remainder of the weather torn Surfers Walk Mosaics.,

Council are hopeful of securing a NSW Crown Lands Reserve Improvement Fund Grant for the restoration project.

Council have also lodged a request for the installation of a roadside Surfers Walk directional sign at the corner of Carrington Parade and Lumsdaine Drive. This will open up the park to some of the many Northern Beaches Coastal walkers who pass by the Duke’s Statue.

It is a real hidden gem that should be marked as a destination in the Freshwater area. We will keep you all posted.

Masterplan Progress

The Masterplan progress has taken a break through the summer holidays but recently has begun again with next Stage 2 – the construction of the Switchback ramp that accommodates a gentler slope for handicapped and pram access from Moore Rd to the back of the Surf Club. It also involves the removal of the old Yellow concrete ramp.

1. A recent view 18/2/24 from the back of the Freshwater SLSC of contruction on the new Switchback

Construction has begun for the new stairs and walkway that will join the switchback ramp that starts near the Moore Rd, Showers shown in pic 2.

2. Top view at end of Moore Rd where the changed ramp and stairs to be constructed

This new start for the lower gradient ramp switchback will join the stairs being now constructed (See pic 3) to join it further back from along Moore Rd (See pic 4).


3. Cleared out nature growth prior to ramp construction

The vegetation has been cleared to make room for the new switchback ramp and it appears that a set of stairs that weren’t in the original plans has been constructed to the join the switchback and the path at the back of the Freshwater SLSC.

Frustration Mounts but EV Chargers at Harbord Diggers up and running again

In October 2018, Harbord Diggers took a commendable step towards sustainability by installing Tesla (Type 2 plug) and Chargepoint (Type 1 J1772) electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These additions aimed to provide a convenient charging solution for their patrons. However, a recent development has left EV owners disappointed and inconvenienced.

In December 2022, Harbord Diggers upgraded its charging infrastructure, replacing the original chargers with BMW EV chargers featuring a Type 2 plug. Unfortunately, the situation took an unfortunate turn in November 2023 when a payment system was introduced to the EV chargers but not implemented correctly. Resulting in the chargers being non-functional.

The most recent development is the EV chargers are working again, and the payment system has been removed. The payment system is likely to be reintroduced in the future, but there’s no specific timeframe for that to happen. In the meantime, happy free charging!


Jolt – EV Charger – Dowling & Lawrence St

The Public roadside JOLT charger on the corner of Dowling Street and Lawrence Street still is the sole streeside public charging station available.

DA updates


St Alma Proposed open side development

The St Alma DA has now been approved and we can expect their outdoor area to be completed in the next few months.

There has been no update on the Freshwater Surf Club DA,  which aroused many comments especially regarding the planned new restaurant.  We believe there is considerably more discussion to take place before any final decision is made.


Harbord Beach Hotel Construction

Also, the Harbord Hotel has begun slow construction on the upstairs modifications approved in their last DA. These include modifications to the roof line at the rear and additional space for patrons that will see the opening up the next floor and balcony, accessible by the stairs at the front entrance.

Curl Curl to Freshie Bike Paths

One area of intense interest to the Freshwater Community – the Oliver St to Curl Curl bike path seems to most to have gone quiet. This isn’t the case as we get lots of questions as to the status of the project.

This, as you may know, is a Federally funded initiative but is executed locally. To date we have seen several false starts and much public comment in opposition to the original and revised plans. NBC has advised that they have put this out for expert consultation as there has been a plethora of concerns not least of which has been safety, parking and rubbish collection issues.
While we all can agree that Oliver Street could use a refresh, it certainly has to be the right one and ensure that we don’t make more problems than are solved.
One concern for all of us is the abundance of kids on multiseat e-bikes. These bikes seem not to be limited by speed and they are ubiquitous around the area. They need to be taken into consideration due to their popularity when any plan is submitted as we don’t think they were really part of the picture when this project started.
An update was provided by one of our Councillors that this issue will be on the agenda for the March Council Meeing.

Freshwater Precinct UPTOWN Grant meeting

New branding to be used to promote FRESHWATER

FoF Committee members were invited along with shopkeepers other interested parties to a preliminary meeting of the Freshwater NSW UPTOWN Grant Committee that received the grant for $200K to market Freshwater.
This grant was awarded to communities around NSW but only to Freshie and Dee Why on the Northern Beaches.
It was learned these funds are being executed till August 2024 in promoting Freshwater businesses and  Freshwater as a destination.
The purpose of the grant is market Freshwater as a venue and bring trade to the shops, restaurants, beach and sites promoting the unique character of our precinct as place to be and ensure promotion year round to ensure local businesses flourish in the off seasons.
As part of the terms of the grant, none of the funding is available for events but only for branding and marketing purposes. The committee is looking at other avenues for additional funding that could assist in the area promotions like street fairs, etc. but not this time and under these terms!
Due to the limitations and concerns brought up at the meeting we encourage local businesses to ‘piggy back’ off this extraordinary promotional budget as much as possible and work together to ensure success.
The Committee introduced us to the teams who were engaged to create Branding and Promotionals and provided the audience with their visions.
The main point of contact will be via Instagram site and a website (TBA) but any enquiries should go to the Grant Lead, Jessica Fitzgerald, Group Marketing Manager at Harbord Hotel & The Beach Hotel, who was instrumental in winning this grant.
Jessica Fitzgerald and can be contacted at: