May 24 - 30, 2020: Issue 451
Pittwater's Ocean Beach Rock Pools: Southern Corners Of Bliss - A History
THE ROCK POOL.
God in a delicate mood parted these headlands,
Bade His unwearying waters fret Him a bay.
All the bright breakers sang at the chance to adore Him,
All the blue breakers rolled from His feet to obey.
Cream as the clouds curves the sand where the light foam races,
Green, all a-patterned with grey is the gown of the land,
The land stepping down, austere, from the hill-top places
The sky in her hair and her silver feet in the sand.
There is a pool by the cliffs that the waves wash over,
A clean-cut pool where a child may dive and play.
Low on the rocks it lies, like a sky-dropped mirror,
Never a light but it catches the live-long day.
For I have waked with the sun not over the headland,
All of the sea sun-grey, with one thrust of jade,
And in the heart of the pool, like a jewel lying,
One point of light from the cold green thrusting made.
Nearer the top of the hill, the slow sun struggles,
Primrose drifts on the sea with one purple stain,
And now in the pool's pale silver, is lying, lovely.
Violet, amethyst, amethyst, violet again.
Wild rose in the pool, white clouds and the sunset's rainbow,
A moon in the pool, a shy moon, bathing alone,
And, as I sleep, the stars sown in millions around me,
One shoots down and drowns in it like a stone.
God, in a delicate mood, parted these headlands,
God let the breakers fret Him this delicate bay,
Man made the pool, the clean-cut pool in the boulders,
God, in a delicate mood, glances its way.
PALM BEACH. (1926, February 6). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16265379
A few members of The Barrenjoey Breakers - about to dive off Palm Beach Rock pool - November, 2014
The Rock pools that form a feature at the southern ends of five Pittwater beaches remain one of the most popular places to meet up with friends and enjoy a dip or do laps. They are places our children learn to swim, places we can sit and relax, for hours, places where those young and not so young anymore maintain fitness and good health, all year round.
There are still swimming clubs associated with our rock pools; at Palm Beach the Barrenjoey Breakers swim on Mondays, Bilgola pool hosts the oldest, Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club and Citizens' Pool Committee, still running as the Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club Inc and Mona Vale is home to the famous Pittwater Pirates who are focused on Winter swimming. In the past Newport has been home to swimming events and quite well known swimmers of their times.
We have not included the North Narrabeen pool in this overview as it is situated at the north end of that long stretch of sand - a future page - however:
Rock baths were built at North Narrabeen Headland at a cost of £494. This is the tenth rock bath built by the council. THE COUNCILS. (1934, January 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17038853
In the wonderful poem by Seven Little Australians author, and early Palm Beach visitor, the mother of Sir Adrian Curlewis and grandmother of Ian Curlewis and Philippa Poole, it is clear natural rock pools of sorts formed at southern extremities on most of our beaches. These natural pools were taken advantage of when 'surf-bathing', and doing so out of rips or waves became more popular with many of our early 'rock baths', as they were named then, a simple extension of excavating more rock out of these. Some were concreted, others were not. Some had safety chains, others didn't. Some have been gone for a while.
Newport Beach had at least three over the years, two at its south end, with one named for Bungan Beach, while Avalon Beach has had five if you count the three residents recall from their childhoods at the north end of the beach and the two, including a children's pool, at the south end. With new information and new vintage photographs, a reprise of a popular earlier History page, by request - as part of our 10th year celebrations.
As with many things from and about Pittwater, the need was met by community members first and then backed up by the august political bodies of their times.
Mona Vale Beach
Mona Vale Beach, the place many still visit when coming to Pittwater, led the charge into safe salt waters:
SEA BATHS AT MONA VALE
At a meeting called by the local surf club it was decided to sink a bath at Brock’s Reef 100ft long by 60ft wide, and from 7ft to 2ft deep. The sinking is through soft shale, estimated to cost 2 shillings per cubic yard to excavate. It is, however, strong enough to stand any erosion of the new, and will cost nothing to keep in repair. It is estimated to cost £100. Local subscriptions totalling £11 10s were collected in one day. SEA BATHS AT MONA VALE. (1909, March 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15042417
Mona Vale Beach was still called 'Bongin Bongin' in some earlier articles and this one also shows that beaches or the resreves attached to them were not public spaces as they are now:
TO HELP SURF-BATHING. GOVERNMENT GRANT TO THE WARRINGAH SHIRE.
The Department of Lands has notified the Shire Council of Warringah that a grant up to £100 would be made to assist surf bathing on three of the beaches in the shire, viz., Freshwater, Bongin Bongin, and Curl Curl. This means that £200 will be spent. The Government suggested the grant should be expended as follows: £50 for Freshwater, Bongin Bongin and Curl Curl to divide the remaining £50.
Public recreation Reserves and bathing conveniences on the beach at Bongin Bongin and Curl Curl will be renovated and added to. At Freshwater the matter is not so easy as the beach down to high water-mark is in the hands of private owners. The grant is offered on the understanding that the councillors can make arrangements for the satisfactory disbursement of the money. If the owners will grant a long lease at a small rent of sufficient beach for the erection of the conveniences for the use of surfbathers they would reap the benefit and become as well public benefactors. TO HELP SURF-BATHING. (1909, June 30). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115499903
"In the surf, Mona Vale" ca. 1900-1927, Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card Publishers Image No. a106014 from the collections of the State Library of NSW.
The Warringah Shire Council has constructed baths on the ocean beach at Mona Vale, and the official opening took place last Saturday afternoon in the presence of a big gathering of visitors and residents. It is confidently anticipated the facility will prove a valuable asset to the district. Councillor Duffy was the originator of the scheme, and with the zealous assistance of Councillors Quirk (president) and Williams was able to have it given effect to. The formation of a Swimming Club was mooted by the president of the Shire when making the official declaration. THE SURF AND SURFERS. (1914, December 26). Saturday Referee and the Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1912 - 1916), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117415633
CEREMONY AT MONA VALE.
The Warringah Shire Council is intent on encouraging surf-bathing. Great improvements have been made on the various beaches during the past two years. On Saturday afternoon, in the presence of a large number of people, including several prominent surf-bathing representatives, the president of the Warringah Shire Council (Mr. E. W. Quirk) performed the ceremony of opening the new clubhouse erected for the life-savers and surfers at Mona Vale. The council also have a number of lifeboats in course of construction. The first of these was launched at Mona Vale during the afternoon. When the remainder are completed they will be placed at Narrabeen, Curl Curl, Freshwater, and other prominent beaches in the shire. Mr. A. Lord (president of the Surf-bathing Commission) and Mr. J. J. K. Taylor(instructor to the district life-saving clubs) referred to the good work the life-saving clubs were doing on the beaches. CEREMONY AT MONA VALE. (1915, February 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15554799
This was one of many 'rock baths' that was then improved during the early 1930's - as a Depression employment program, and because they may well have needed repairs by then. This 'pictorial' shows this first 'rock-bath'
Top: MONA VALE BEACHES, With rock-bath shown in left-centre of picture. A regular hourly service of motor buses takes 'trippers' to this beach. From: (1915, April 7).Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 34. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166255867
The switching on of lights at Mona Vale rock pool was cause for celebration - from Warringah shire council minutes of meetings:
68. Mona Vale Rock Pool Carnival Committee 29/11/32, Mona Vale inviting the Councillors and Officers in the switching on of Rockbath the electric light at the rockbaths by Cr. Austin on 17th December at 8 p,m. Resolved, - That the invitation be accepted. (Crs. Sterland, Pox)
A swim, on this occasion, included a demonstration of surfboard riding by a Hawaiian:
SURF LIFE-SAVING. AMERICANS AT MONA VALE.
Frank Kurtz and Malola Kallil were the guests of Mr. W. W. Hill and the Mona Vale-Alumni Surf Life Saving Club at Mona Vale Beach yesterday Mr. Hill, who was the foundation secretary of the Australian Swimming Union, entertained the two famous Americans. Mr. J. Dexter, chairman of the council, Mr. D. Hellmrich, Hon. secretary, and several members of the executive of the Amateur Swimming Association, were also present.
Kallil gave a demonstration of surfboard riding, but found the choppy sea a trifle strange. However, he performed skilfully, and also gave an exhibition of freestyle and backstroke swimming in the Mona Vale rock baths. He caused Interest and amusement by his Imitations of J. Weissmuller and other famous swimmers with whom he has come In contact In other parts of the world. SURF LIFE-SAVING. (1933, March 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16972951
Malola Kallill (U.S.A.), and Phil Hooper (Randwick and Coogee) in a happy pose immediately after the former had defeated the Sydney swimmer in the 100 yards international invitation scratch race. Kallil's time of 54sec established a new Australian record. Glimpses of Australian Sport and Sportsmen (1933, March 1). Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), , p. 18. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135318880
Looking northward along Mona Vale ocean beach from the heights of Narrabeen Park. LATE AFTERNOON SEASCAPE—ROOF LIFTED BY GALE—WITH THE FLEET ON MANOEUVRES. (1935, February 15).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17159640
Mona Vale, like Avalon Beach, has a pool for big people and a pool for small people - toddlers. The larger version measures 30 metres currently.
FROM: Album 57: Photographs of the Allen family, 2 May 1911 - 7 October 1911 Digital Order No. a3289054; 'Enlargement of view taken from Brock's house, 3rd of September, 1911'. Courtesy State Library of NSW.
Mona Vale Beach, Mona Vale, New South Wales, Australia, c1913
Newport beach, popular through the thousands brought to the Newport Wharf as 'excursionists' on steamers from the 1860's and 1870's on, also needed not only a pool but lifesavers for those who would walk from the estuary to the surf beach.
There is evidence that a pool prior to the one we are familiar with, completed in 1935 in its present position, one that was in use prior to that 'rockbath' and prior to that finished in 1926 at the north end of the beach, towards Bilgola (see below). At the south end a pool we went looking for and may have spotted from the clifftops at 'Crossing waves' (Crossways), overlooking the Newport Reef rockshelf at the southern end of the beach - as always, confirmation from those with further information to add into this page would be appreciated. The images and articles that sent us looking for the first Newport pool:
In Newport Rock Baths.
Enjoying the Sun. Both from - EX-SERVICE WOMEN'S CLUB CAMP. (1922, March 8). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169771675
From Canterbury Bell: 'I am having such a lovely time at the beach, surfing twice a day, and sometimes three times. Nearly every evening we all go round the rocks; it is great fun. Sometimes we gather wood for the fire. Every morning before breakfast I go down and paddle or build sand castles. I love getting a strainer and straining the sand from the pieces of shell on the beach. When we were first down here there was a little boy staying with us; we had great fun together. There is a bathing pool down here, it is awfully nice at low tide, you have to cross some very slippery rocks to set to it though. … AT NEWPORT. (1923, March 4). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), , p. 7 (SUPPLEMENT TO SUNDAY TIMES). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120549549
Finding Newport's second rock-pool, Easter Saturday Investigation!, March 26th, 2016 - this is too symmetrical to be 'natural': Top is close up of cement edge and below this the whole of - can be seen from view available at 'cross-waves' - Newport Beach.
Bungan Head, 1920 - Land sales at Bungan - Yewen 'Bungan Head Estate' - note pool.
The above pool can be seen in the photograph below it from 1920 which was used to advertise land sales for the Yewen family at Bungan Head. Even as late as 1940 it was called the Bungan Beach Rock Pool by advertisers for this bungalow, 'Cooinoo' (built circa 1907-1912) overlooking the southern end of Bungan Beach, just a little north of the 11 Mile Store:
RAINE AND HORNE LTD
Under instructions from PERMANENT TRUSTEE CO. OF N.S.W. LTD
Executors of Will of late John Bateman, Newport
"COOINOO" NEWPORT ROAD
With WATER-FRONTAGE to BUNGAN BEACH. On main bus route, Palm Beach - Wynyard; just beyond Mona Vale.
AN ATTRACTIVE OCEAN FRONTAGE PROPERTY, in splendid order, replete with every modern comfort and convenience, and commanding MAGNIFICENT PANORAMIC OCEAN VIEW.
THE MAIN COTTAGE is of Rusticated Weatherboard on brick piers with roof of iron and comprises a very large LIVING ROOM, large DOUBLE BEDROOM, second BEDROOM, modern BATHROOM (with Roman bath, syphonic suite and pedestal basin) and has WIDE VERANDAHS on three sides.
ANNEXED and built around a Garden Courtyard, are large BILLIARD ROOM (with Fireplace and Ingle nook and 2 large Alcoves the whole measuring about 28ft by 36ft) 2 BEDROOMS in Basement also 2 MAIDS ROOMS, staff DINING ROOM, MAIDS' BATHROOM, KITCHEN (sink and 2 stoves) LAUNDRY etc.
ELECTRICITY, CITY WATER, 6 TANKS DETACHED are GARAGE, MAN'S ROOM, TOOLSHED, SUMMER HOUSE, extensive FOWL RUNS.
THE GROUNDS are extensive and well laid out with Terraced Kitchen Garden, gravelled Drive, well grown Hedges etc.
The land has an area of 2 acres 0 rood 34 perches, with a frontage of 264ft to NEWPORT ROAD by depth of about 360ft through to Bungan Beach, where there is a rock Bathing Pool
Furniture may be acquired.
Vendor's Solicitors: Messrs. Norton Smith and Co.
RAINE and HORNE LTD, in conjunction ROBEY, HANSON and STRONG PTY LTD Manly, will offer the above at PUBLIC AUCTION, in THE ROOMS, 70 PITT STREET on THURSDAY 12th DECEMBER, 1940 at 11 a.m. Advertising (1940, December 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17701531
This notice in early Warringah shire council records shows a few problems with the north end of the beach rockpool:
42. John C. Webster 11/11/25. requesting Council to render the swimming pool at Newport Beach safe for bathers, and offering to contribute towards cost. 43. F. P. A Booth 7/11/25. on the same subject, and stating that Professor Cotton, the leading geological and authority in the State has offered to confer with the Engineer on the ground, with a view to obviating the dangerous overhanging cliffs; also stating he is willing to guarantee £25 of the cost, and expressing willingness to raise sufficient to cover the whole cost of the work. 44. Arthur S. Colwell. 11/1/125. on same subject: They be informed that a report is being asked of from Professor Cotton, and Mr. Penman B. E., and they be thanked for their offers of financial assistance. 46. W. Pryer. 5/11/25, requesting permission to use the night- soil at present being deposited at the Sanitary Depot at Rocklily for his vegetable garden: Referred to Inspector for report as to the advisability of declaring the land a depot.
"My first reef bath" - Newport, NSW, March 1913, image bcp_01413, Courtesy State Library of NSW
Among these articles we find Newport Beach has a surf club in time for the Summer of 1909 and that the beach has become part of Crown Lands once more:
SURF-BATHING AT NEWPORT
A club has been formed at Newport by the surf-bathers, who have been assisted financially by the Warringah Shire Council. The following office-bearers were elected; Patron, Dr. Arthur M.L.A.; President, Mr. W. Trevor-Jones, hon. Secretary. Mr. Lewis, hon. treasurer, Mr. S Grieg, vice-president. Cr. Quirk. Messrs. C. D. Paterson, J. Barrett, S. Grieg, F. Meddows, and Slater; general committee; Messrs. W. Boulton, L. Scott, R. Boulton, T. Bulfin, J Sykes. SURF-BATHING AT NEWPORT. (1909, November 10). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15101480
For further see; Newport SLSC 1909 - 1938 Part I Overview
BAYVIEW-NEWPORT. TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
Sir,-This pleasant pleasure resort is drawing many rest-seekers to its beautiful surroundings of mountain and waterside attractions. While the place has its own bathing facilities, many of its habitues would like easy access to the surf-bathing offered by the ocean beach at Newport. During nine months of the year a launch plies between Bayview and Newport landing-places, as a means for school children to attend school while in session; but now during the long Christmas vacation this service is suspended. I am informed that the service is subsidised for this purpose, but the owner cannot see his way to continue running, because the traffic would not pay. This letter is written to submit that the authorities should so far favour visitors as to enable them to cross the water between the two localities through-out holidays by slightly Increasing the subsidy to the owner of the launch, and thereby give visitors the additional enjoyment of surf. I am. etc., VISITOR., Bayview, Dec- 24. BAYVIEW—NEWPORT. (1910, December 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15250241
NEWPORT BEACH OPENED.
The official opening of Newport Beach, recently resumed by the Government, took place on Saturday. Amongst those present were the president of the Warringah Shire (Councillor Ralston), Councillor Quirk, Dr. Arthur, M.L.A., Alderman C. D. Paterson (Manly), and several prominent visitors. Newport Beach is one of the many beautiful spots resumed by the Lands Department and handed over to the Warringah Shire.
The 'Opening' Ceremony - photograph courtesy of and from Newport Surf Life Saving Club - The First Century 1909-2009 - compiled by Guy Jennings
The members of the North Steyne Surf Club gave the first life-saving demonstration. Councillor Ralston said that the shire had been in existence close on five years. They had control of two beaches at first, Curl Curl and Bongin-Bongin. Then Freshwater Beach, which was alienated from the public, was secured, and it is now the premier surf-bathing beach in the State. Mrs. Nielsen, wife of the Minister for Lands, was presented by Councillor Ralston with a pair of silver scissors, and in severing the ribbon declared the beach open for all time to the people. NEWPORT BEACH OPENED. (1911, April 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15235233
Another rock pool (rock bath as they were then called) is named as at Newport Beach and was built at the northern end of Newport Beach, and was actually the first official 'Newport' beach rock bath - Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings records:
25. A. L Marsh, 15/12/1918, regarding proposed construction of rock bath at Newport, and stating that contributions to the amount of £20 have been promised : Dealt with in Work' s Committee.
It was the practice of the council then to have the residents contribute between one third to half, to all of the cost of the construction of the pools, depending where they were along the peninsula, thus the reference to £ collected. A few years later the one here or at Bungan/Newport verge is referred to again:
Newport Surf & L. S. Club, 23/4/22, drawing attention to the unsafe condition: of the cliff overlooking the Rock Bath and also of the hand-rail over the Newport Lagoon Resolved- (Crs. Hitchcock, Quirk) That the hand-rail be repaired, and...
Baths have been constructed in the rock at the north end of the beach...FAIR NEWPORT (1923, November 10). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246003398
AT NEWPORT ON BOXING DAY.
It is a very pleasant run from Sydney to Newport, and will be much more enjoyable when the Spit bridge is a reality and the wearisome wait for the punt is a thing of the past. Motoring (1924, January 2). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 37. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166151463
And soon after the above item in the Sydney Mail, Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings records:
Newport Progress Association 14/4/24,requesting (i) estimate for new rock bath at the southern end of the beach; (2) that a fence be erected to prevent people using the old bath; (3) Materials be supplied for two sanitary conveniences on the reserve at the north end .pf the beach to be erected by .voluntary labour; and(4) that a drain.be formed on the north of Queens Pard 224; between Barrenjoey Road and Bishop Street 8212; Resolved Crs. Corkery and C'ampbell) that the requests be referred to the Representatives of A Riding.
14. Newport Progress Association 12/6/24. requesting that Council increase its contribution towards the rock-bath at the southern end of that beach to half cost : Resolved, — (Ors. Hewitt, McKillop) . That the Council, adhere to its previous decision.
Newport Rock Bath A letter from Messrs. J. Maund and Co. 12/9/24, Council's Solicitors, further re Newport Rock Bath; and stating substance of an interview which Mr A. S. Colwell had with them, Resolved, (Crs. Hitchcock, Hewitt) A. Mr. Colwell be written to and asked for particulars of the new scheme which he has submitted to Mr. Maund. A letter from Maund and Co.. 17/9/24, re transfer from James Wheeler to the Council of the land comprising Wheeler’s Hill Quarry, Narrabeen (purchased) Narrabeen was read. Resolved, - (Ore. Campbell, Hewitt) That the assurance asked for be given namely, - That the existing pathway on the land will not be obstructed or closed until proper access shall have been provided by the Shire over the site of the right-of-way.
Newport residents decide to get a new (?) rock bath at Newport will require them!:
CIVIC SPIRIT AT NEWPORT.
At yesterday's meeting of the Warringah Shire Council, a letter was received from the Newport Progress Association requesting that a special Improvement rate of /1 in the £ be levied In Newport. It was also suggested that tenders be called for the construction of a rock-bath at the southern end of Newport Beach. The association stated that local residents would contribute towards the cost of the bath.
The civic spirit of members of the association was applauded by several members of the council, and it was decided to ask for particulars of the area to be included under the proposed special rate, and also for information regarding the improvements to be carried out. It was also decided to call for tenders for the proposed rock-bath, and to accept the offer of co-operation in the matter. CIVIC SPIRIT AT NEWPORT. (1924, September 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16168520
From Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings - May 10th, 1925:
4. Newport Progress Assn. Re: dangerous state of cliff at north and of Newport Beach and requesting that the Shire Engineer confer with Professor Cotton, who has shown interest in the matter. Resolved, - (Cr8. Hewitt, Bayner) That the suggestion be adopted, and the Engineer get in touch with Professor Cotton, 6, Newport Parents citizens Assn. 1/5/25, on the need for swimming baths on the bay side of Newport. Resolved, - (Crs. Hewitt, Rayner) That a reply be sent pointing out that it has been the general practice, when constructing swimming baths in the shire for the public to contribute one-third, of the cost, and asking them what their' proposal is in this direction. Also enquire as to The site, if any, they have in view.
A few weeks later:
A letter 27/5/25, signed by Andy Robertson, W. J. Lynn . J. H. Blake, L. P. Davies, B. Sheldon and M M. Trevor Jones guaranteeing to be responsible for £25 each towards the £250 contribution required for the construction of Newport Rock Bath was read, and it was resolved, - (Cr. Hitchcock, Rayner) That the guarantee be accepted, with the elimination of the last clause which provided that they should not be bound beyond the amount of £25*. . Mr. Jeffery and Mr. Blake afterwards waited on the Council in regard to the tame matter. Mr. B]ake stated that he had interviewed a number of residents and ratepayers and had received promises of contributions up to a total of £125. H . Mr. Jeffery stated that the Boulevarde Estate had agreed to contribute £40 in addition. He also Stated, and Mr. Blake concurred that they would be able to get guarantors for the whole of the £250. Resolved, - (Crs. Hewitt, Parr): That the verbal assurance given by these two gentlemen that a guarantee for the £100 balance will be forthcoming at an early date, be accepted, and that the contract with T. Birmingham for the construction of the bath be now signed.
A few swimming seasons later:
MONA VALE'S DAY At Newport's Carnival
MONA VALE did well at Newport's carnival yesterday. Jock Blackwood, a N.S.W. Rugby Union forward, and Lester Hill, son of Billy Hill, noted amateur all-rounder, won the 75 yards relay handicap from Carmanola and Dudley Laidlaw, of Prymont. C. Robertson collected the 75 yards handicap in 49 1-5 sees., from Dyer and Blackwood. Misses Mattle and Ethel Mealing, N.S.W. champions, gave exhibitions, the former 75 yards backstroke in 03 2-5, and the latter the same distance free style in 60 4-5 secs. MONA VALE'S DAY (1926, January 31).Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), , p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article168723733
New Bath for Newport A number of swimming enthusiasts assembled at Newport yesterday to witness the opening by the Chief Secretary (Mr. Lazsarini) of the new rock baths. They are very fine, and have cost £560. Miss Mattie Mealing swam 75yds backstroke in 63 2-5 sec, and sister Ethel covered the same distance free style in 50 4-5sec. Their efforts were loudly cheered. SYDNEY RACING (1926, January 31 - Sunday).Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), , p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128124866
NEWPORT'S OPENING. Good Sports Work for New Bath
NEWPORT'S new bath was opened with due ceremony, and it promises to fill a long-felt want in the district. The pool built up on the rocks is 113 feet long by 50 feet wide, and has an average depth of 4ft 6in. Its situation will allow splendid accommodation for spectators, and yesterday's show was a fine one. Amongst the hard workers for the new club are Geoff Snell, a captain of Mosman Club in its early days, and Gus Widmer, an ex-100 yards track champion of New South Wales, and rep. Rugby Union player.NEWPORT'S OPENING (1926, January 31).Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), , p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article168723782
Opening Day for the Newport rock baths:
NEWPORT ROCK BATHS.
The new rock baths at Newport were opened on Saturday afternoon by the Chief Secretary (Mr. Laszarini). To mark the completion of the baths the Newport Progress Association, in conjunction with the Newport Amateur Swimming Club, held a carnival for the purpose of raising funds to complete the payment for the construction of the pool.
Mr. T. B. Nossiter (president of the Progress Association) presided. He stated that the cost of the pool, which was 37 feet in length, was £560, of which amount the Warringah Shire Council had contributed £310. The balance of £250 was being found by the association, which already had in hand £176. Councillor McKillop (president of Warringah Shire Council) paid a tribute to the civic spirit of the members of the progress association. The Newport rock baths were the seventh constructed in the shire,(the others being at Harbord, Deewhy, Collaroy, Mona Vale, Avalon, and Palm Beach.
The principal events resulted:
Boys' handicap, 37yds: E. Hope,' 22s, 1; 3, Thomson, 10s, 2. ...handicap: First heat: Colin Robertson (Newport), 11s, 1; V. Dyer (Newport), 23s, 2. Second heat: Gordon Robertson (Newport), 12n, 1; 0. Clarke (Mosman), 9s, 2. Third heat: L. Mulhall (Newport),. 9a, 1; J. O. Blackwood (Mona .Vale), 7b, 2.Final: Colin Robertson, 1; V. Dyer, 2; J. E. Black
Girl’s' handicap, 37yds: Miss B. Bolton, 40b, 1; Min 8. Hope, 33, 2; Miss J. Booth, 11s, 3. 76yds brace relay race-First heat: J. O. Blackwood and L. W. Hill (Mona Vale), 10s, 1; A. Caniomnll«and D. Laidlow (Drummoyne), 4s, 2. Second beat: G. Crockett snd 0. Clarke (Mosman), 4a, 1; J.Walker-Smith and T. 0. Arndell (Mosman), acr., 2..Final: Blackwood and Hill, 1; Carnemolla and Laid-low, 2; Crockett and Clarke, 3. During the afternoon Miss E. Mealing (50 yrds State champion) and Miss M. Mealing (back-stroke champion), gave exhibition swims. NEWPORT ROCK BATHS. (1926, February 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16261163
ROCK BATHS AT NEWPORT. - ' THE NEW ROCK BATHS AT NEWPORT WERE OPENED BY THE CHIEF SECRETARY (MR. LAZZARINI) ON SATURDAY. ROCK BATHS AT NEWPORT. (1926, February 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16261204
'Bathing Pool, Newport', from album Scenes of Newport, N.S.W., circa 1900 to 1927, by Sydney & Ashfield : Broadhurst Post Card Publishers. Image No.: a106121h, courtesy State Library of NSW - The Mitchell Library
And, as always, a bit of correction, and a reiteration of the pool's length - 37 yards = 33.8328 metres - the length of Newport's current rockpool is 50 metres:
The honorary secretary of the Newport Progress Association, writing in reference to the report of the opening of the new Rock Pool at Newport Beach on Saturday, states that Mr. Nossiter is not the president of the Newport Progress Association, the name of this gentleman being Mr. W. Dougall Laing. The length of the pool is 37 yards. TRADES HALL. (1926, February 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16280391
And the residents clearing the debt in the way we know how - have some fun!:
NEWPORT.— Mrs. H. St. John Bodle was crowned Queen of Newport at the Newport Hotel last night, in the presence of a large number of prominent citizens. The queen competition was held in connection with the debt on the rock swimming pool at Newport, and not only cleared it, but left a substantial sum for expenditure on a concrete path to the pool, over £252 being raised. . Mrs. Bodle won the competition by over 10,000 votes. BITS OF IMPORTANT NEWS (1926, June 6). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), , p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128122789
The Newport Progress Association, which is co-operating with the Warringah Shire Council in effecting local improvements, has raised £262 by a queen competition, which concluded last week. The primary object of competition was to raise the balance of £40 due on the Newport rock swimming pool, which was opened a few months ago. The surplus will be devoted to other improvements in the district.
The queen competition was won by Mrs. Harold St. John Bodle, who secured 15638 votes, the other candidate being Mrs. Lawton Greig with 5548 votes. Councillor A. G. Parr, president of the, Warringah Shire Council, presided at the crowning ceremony, which was performed by Mr. Victor Holland. NEWPORT IMPROVEMENTS. (1926, June 8).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16297442
Later that year - from Warringah shire council minutes of meetings:
Newport Progress Assn. 15.9.26. requesting (1) that plans and specifications be prepared, and tenders called for making wall of approach at swimming pool, with path leading from end of wall to bank of rocks; (2) that a path be made along the rocks, similar to the one made last year, and (3) that Specifications and Estimates be prepared for a permanent sea-wall commencing at the swimming pool, andextending as far as Menzies Lane Resolved, - (Crs...Hitchcock, Hope) That the plans and specifications mentioned in the first and. third requests be furnished, and the Association be informed the Council all regrets it has no funds available for improving the path, as requested by them, at the present time. 6, Same. 15.9.26. requesting that dressing sheds and lavatories be erected at the swimming pool at the southern, end of Newport Beach . Resolved, - (Crs, Hope, Simpson) The Association be informed the Council proposes to install a septic tank with lavatories on the beach, and regrets it cannot do more than this, at the present time
During the Depression, when funds for works were not easy to come by, some works were done and improvements were made and the Rock Pool where we now know it to be was built, in all likelihood under the Depression 'relief work' scheme:
Newport Progress .Assoc. 14/4/1930. (1) proposed Marine Drive, and requesting that the Main Roads Board be urged to complete the construction of Pittwater Road before dealing with any such proposal, (2) drawing attention to the neglected and dangerous condition of the scenic drive Road around Bungan Head, Newport, (3) requesting that the pathway around the recently constructed dressing sheds Newport adjacent to the rock bath, particularly on the eastern side Rock-bath be completed and widened, and (4) requesting that steps and a pathway be constructed in concrete connecting the sheds and the wall of approach to the swimming pool
16/7/1930 Newport Progress .Assoc 3) drawing attention to the defective levels in the new dressing sheds at the rock pool, (4) requesting that the defects in the walls of the rock pool be repaired..
A CREEK AT NEWPORT BEACH, (Photo: C. S. Harnett.)
The Warringah Shire Council experienced difficulty in 1934, mainly because of the rapid development in the shire. The 13 beaches in the shire constituted both an asset and a liability. While they attracted thousands to the shire and had been largely responsible for its progress, they also entailed a big expenditure on necessary improvements and conveniences. New beach buildings were erected at Newport, Avalon, Mona Vale, South Narrabeen, and North Curl Curl, at a total cost of £5800. Extensions were being made at North Narrabeen, and £2000 was being spent on a modern building at Harbord. The clubhouse at Collaroy would shortly be ex-tended. In addition, rock baths were provided at North Narrabeen.
An effort was made to secure the surroundings of Deewhy Lagoon as a public reserve. The Minister for Lands gave a sympathetic reply to a deputation's request that the Government should resume the area. The matter went to the Cabinet for consideration. Farrell's Lagoon at Newport was converted into a recreation area, as an unemployment relief work. Reserves throughout the shire had been improved.
The problem of communication between the city and the shire was one of the problems of the council. The Main Roads Department carried out work on Pittwater-road, Warringah-road, and Condamine-street, and the roads connecting with Roseville. These, it was stated, were providing speedier access from the northern suburbs to the beaches. It was hoped that a scheme would shortly be carried out to make a marine drive from Manly through Harbord, Curl Curl, and Deewhy.
Building in the shire continued to improve. In the quarter ended September 30 last, the value of buildings approved was £35,595, the largest quarterly total in the history of the shire. THE COUNCILS. (1935, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28022988
Another reminder of how humans change the landscape around them and that the 'Aussies' have been held at Newport!:
SURF CARNIVAL PREPARATIONS
A bulldozer levelling Newport beach in preparation for the Australian surf life-saving championships, which will be held there to-morrow. In the background, members of the Western Australian team can be seen training for the championships. SURF CARNIVAL PREPARATIONS (1953, March 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 4. Retrieved March 2, 2016, fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18361487
Newport Beach Rock Pool 2016 - 50 metres long, the pool 'floor' is the rock platform still
That wonderful tucked away paradise also had a pool from the early 1920's which needed maintenance according to one resident, by January 1929 - Summer time!
As there is no rockpool on Bungan Beach, a lack it shares with Warriewood Beach, Minutes from Council meetings recording a letter from one A.W..Albers who is;
'Criticising the Council for attempting to whitewash the shortcomings of the late Council; draws attention to the neglected state of the dressing sheds on Bungan Beach, the dangerous state of Bungan Head Road, the faulty condition of the shark-proof pool and the dangerous condition of the steps leading from Bungan Head to the rock baths, and the lack of dressing accommodation at those baths.' - January 1929
You have to wonder to what Mr. Albers is referring. Is this the pool on Newport Reef rockshelf - were there once steps down that cliff face to reach this 'pool' - was there a fenced off with posts and wire area on the beach, such as those found on the estuary during this era? As can be seen above, that rock pool at 'Crossways' Newport, on Bungan Head, was referred to as the Bungan Beach Rock Pool.
People certainly swam at Bungan Beach but this image has been taken at Palm Beach - visit: The Pink House (Craig Family) - Palm Beach
Top: Dancers from the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet with two Australian friends, left to right, Jean (Jan) Hoyer, Anna Skarpa (crouching), Nathalie Branitzka, unidentified dancer, the two friends, and Igor Youskevitch, 1936 or 1937] Part of Dr Ewan Murray-Will's album of photographs of performers from the Ballets Russes, on tour in Australia, 1936-1937 Courtesy National Library of Australia.
Remnant of 'Bungan Beach Rock Pool' off Crossways, Newport - Bungan Head
Avalon had 'natural attributes' and had a bonafide 'rock pool' to begin with and existed from at least 1921. Geoff Searl, president of the Avalon Beach Historical Society, states;
The ‘Bathing Pool’ was as close to a natural rock pool as geologically possible. In 1917 A.J.Small lodged a cheque with Warringah Shire Council to allow workmen to formalise the shape and level the bottom of the pool to improve its use. Access to the pool at the time was somewhat difficult and at your own risk with some huge boulders to climb over.
'The Bathing Pool. Avalon Beach' by Rex Hazelwood, circa 1920 - courtesy State Library of NSW
In 1922 this was 'improved':
IMPROVING AVALON. ROADSIDE TREES PLANTED
Since the sale of Avalon Beach Estate at Christmas additions and improvements have been effected on the estate.
The rock pool baths at the southern end of the beach have been extended 18ft., and are now 57ft. long, with a smooth -bottom. Ladies' dressing sheds have been erected Immediately at the roar, on a spot once occupied by a jumble of rocks, and a general store and refreshment room of original design has been built close to the beach.
Several landowners are already building homes on their lots. A new, wide road has been constructed, giving the land direct access to the beach, and at the side of all the roads, trees, of eight different varieties, chosen as specially suitable for the land land atmosphere, have been planted: One of these is the Illawarra Flame Tree, which carries blooms of fire color.
IMPROVING AVALON (1922, March 22). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 10 (FINAL RACING). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225222882
THE ROCKY COAST OF AVALON.
Avalon is near Palm Beach, that exquisitely beautiful spot beyond Newport, which in recent years has become a fashionable holiday and week-end resort. These young people an enjoying themselves at what is known as the Avalon bathing hole, a natural rocky bath, which has been improved by the residents in the locality. Current (1923, January 17). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159024708
A J Small, Avalon Beach developer is writing to council in May 23rd 1925 stating that a recent storm has damaged the swimming pool, the dressing sheds for these and the ladies dressing sheds on the beach - here too the swimming pool is referred to as 'Avalon Beach Rock Bath' during this era:
THE ROCK BATHS AT AVALON BEACH.
As a part of its policy the Warringah Shire Council has instituted enclosed baths at all the popular beaches under its control. Some, as at Avalon, are cut out of the solid rock, while others have been partly excavated and built up with concrete walls. They form a valuable adjunct to the beaches on account of their freedom from danger. THE ROCK BATHS AT AVALON BEACH. (1927, February 2). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), , p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169144831
The popular rock baths at Avalon, skirting the (3) Three (3) Beaches Estate. (See advertisement on this page.) No title (1929, June 30). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), , p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131640629
From The National Library of Australia NLA Pic 24770604 - Unidentified People Swimming in Rockpool, Avalon Beach, New South Wales,1930 (members of the Williams/Fox Family state and one of these girls is Sophie Iris Williams)
This photo shows the extent of the dressing sheds and showers in 1930 - those at the southern end would have been the rockbath ones: 'Motor cars, some with tarpaulins attached, parked adjacent to Avalon Beach, New South Wales, 1930', nla.pic-an24768648, Part of Prospectus photographs of Avalon, 1930 [album], courtesy National Library of Australia.
'Panorama of beachgoers at Avalon Beach', New South Wales, ca. 1925 (1920; no mid-beach dressing sheds in picture as there are in the 1930 picture) - section enlarged to show dressing sheds on Avalon Beach at this point in time. The beginnings of Norfolk Pines, planted by A J Small are in the white wicker tree guards. Image No.: nla.pic-vn6217968 by EB Studios, part of the Enemark collection of panoramic photographs, courtesy National Library of Australia.
The bathing pool Avalon Beach - photos by Rex Hazlewood, circa 1920-1929 Images Courtesy The Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, No.: c046220002h and c046220014h
As you can see in the photos and articles above, the waves would come in over these rocks and perhaps make for a bathing experience that wasn't as safe as it could be. Something that persisted for a few years.
The Bathing Pool Avalon Beach - photos by Rex Hazlewood, circa 1920-1929 Images Courtesy The Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, No.: c07771_0004_c and ' Swimming Pool' c07771_00043_c
At the June 15th, 1925 Warringah Shire Council Meeting a letter was read from A J Small: A: J. Small, 27/5/25, drawing attention to the damage' done during recent storm to (a) swimming-pool; (b) The Avalon Beach dressing shed at swimming-pool, and (a) ladies dressing shed on beach at Avalon ; Resolved, &#8212; (Crs. Hewitt, Hithcock) That the Engineer attend to the swimming pool, and the Inspector to the dressing sheds.
The Avalon Beach and District Progress Association began in March 1933 to ask that "an additional swimming pool be constructed at Avalon, or, alternatively that the existing Rockbath pool be increased in size and deepened" while another letter, a week later from this same residential body 'submitting plan of proposed dressing sheds at Avalon Beach, stating Mr. Rowe; Architect, is willing to prepare Proper plans, etc free of cost to Council.' This second submission was "Received".
During this same month the Avalon Beach District Progress Association was also asking when land would be resumed to create a Reserve for Avalon Beach and that the problem of straying cows and horses be addressed by introducing a compound.
In July 1935 the Avalon Beach Progress Association is asking that 'the path to the around the rockbath rocks be cleared of boulders; (b)that the safety chain be reinstated; and (c) that the plug be replaced.'
This request was granted and would be completed by the work gang who were at present at Whale Beach rockbaths attending to works needed there, but by October another letter stated the ' temporary plug' was completely 'inadequate'
In February 1936 the Avalon Beach Progress Association is 'inquiring whether anything has yet been done in regard to resumption of land adjacent to the Beach reserve to permit of safe approach to the beach by the public; requesting a statement showing how the money in the proposed loan for "A" Riding is to be expended; inquiring what steps have been taken regarding the enlargement of the rock pool, whether it in the intention to fit the valve in the pool, and reporting that the baths are without water at low tide;'
Interestingly this same letter is asking about the acquisition by Council of 16 allotments adjoining old Barrenjoey Road at Avalon, and inquiring 'for what purpose these were acquired, what was the purchase price, and how many Councillors inspected the land before or after the acquisition'.
By June 1936 the Association is again asking whether a provision has been made for the enlargement of the pool, suggesting this be done prior to the beginning of the 'surf bathing season' and are informed that the loan for A Riding does not include this project.
The following two years make reference to a water supply for Avalon Beach surf club now being part of monies allocated in November of 1936 and the need to redo the floor of the surf club building. A request that the association had to re-request with a result on April 14th, 1937 of: ' Council's decision to consider in six months' time the question of regrading and reconstructing the floor of the Avalon surf building, pointing out that steps towards doing this work should be taken in order that the work will be completed before next season. Resolved, - That £60 be voted for cementing and regrading the floor in accordance with the Inspector's report to last meeting and that the work be done in time for the next surfing season. '
Finally, on January 18th 1938, the Avalon Beach Progress Association, is thanking council for 'the splendid bathing pool now available, but pointing out that the depth of the pool is such as to preclude use by small children, and suggesting the formation of a children's pool at the northern end of the rockbath at a probable cost of £20.'
There is also a note in these January 1938 Minutes that the fixing of the surf club floor be 'expedited'. While on 7th of June, 1938, 'Avalon S.L.S, Club, again pressing the Council to comply with its request for extensions to be made to the Clubhouse during this winter in order that the Club may increase its membership, and be thereby enabled to patrol this beach properly, pointing out that it is useless to resume land at the beach to attract more people unless the Club is placed in a stronger position,' What was 'Resolved' in this request was 'That the letter be marked "received".
The mission to achieve a kiddies pool at Avalon Beach was similarly one that needed vigour and stamina. In August 1938 an inquiry whether provision had been made to make a children's pool part of the Avalon Rock baths was met with the response that it had not been. the reply expressed 'consternation' that it had not and requested that it be so - this was answered with a decision that ' the Engineer make inspection and furnish the Council with an estimate of the cost — of a new pool for the children, and that he get in touch with Dunbar, Secretary of the Association, and get him in consultation on the matter.'
By November 1938 the Association was again requesting a pool for the children, 'adjoining the northern side of the existing pool at Avalon; submitting sketch of proposed pool, and requesting that the work be undertaken.'
Unfortunately the Association were informed that there is no money available for the work at that present time, but, 'should there be any surplus from the camping and parking fees collected at Avalon, consideration will be given to the application of this money to the work'.
In May 1939 the Association again brought up the request for a children's pool, also stating that the bottom of the pool needed to be cleared of stones and that a rock wall between the cliff and sheds was needed. This time the answer was, 'that a children's pool be constructed at the Engineer's estimate of £75, and that the cost be charged to the Avalon Beach Income A/c, (Crs. Hitchcock, Latham).
Hurley, Frank. ([ca.195-?]). [Sea baths and beach, Avalon Beach, New South Wales] Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-160160048 National Library of Australia Picture No.: http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-160160048
There were also rock pools at North Avalon. Both Geoff Searl of ABHS and Margie Charlton (nee Watt) recall natural pools that residents would clean out of rocks and debris so they could be used. Marghie states:
There were three rock pools along the rocks at North Avalon that local people used to clear out to keep them free of rocks. The first one was a small baby one, then there was a middle one, and the end one, which is where I spent most of my childhood either fishing for toads, swimming around or just laying on the little sandy beach there. At high tide it was magnificent, and really quite deep. And that was what I based that artwork on – that third rock pool.
Avalon Rock pool in 2016 - showing the children's pool
Avalon Rock pool in 2016
Although Palm Beach had a bathing place from 1912 on the estuary side at Gow's Jetty as part of the Palm Beach Land Company's subdivisions, and a rock bath of sorts from the mid 1920's, it too required improvement and support from those who used the area to be completed or maintained:
EXTENSION OF TERMS OF SPECIAL LEASES. County Cumberland, parish Narrabeen, below high-water mark, Pitt water, portion Sp. L. 1912 4 ; Ms. 3,922 Sy. Area, 1 rood 20 perches.
1917 -1176 Barranjoey Co., Ltd., 14 Castlereagh-st., Sydney. No. of Application – 1912 – 4, Metropolitan Bathing Place – from 1 Jan. 1917 to 31 Dec. 1921
Special Lease 1912 4, Metropolitan. Barrenjoey Company, Limited.—The lease shall be subject to subsections 1, 3, 4, G to 0, 11, and 13 of Regulation No. 10G (notified 20th April, 1917), and to the following special conditions:—(a) The lessees shall permit children attending any school in Warringah Shire, and in charge of teachers, to have the free use of the baths without payment on one day in each week between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., such children to provide their own towels and bathing costumes. (b) The lessees shall have not less than three life-buoys readily available at all times. (c) The lessees shall be responsible for the proper conduct and cleanliness of the baths, and shall compel bathers to wear suitable bathing costumes, (d) The lessees shall, after determination of the lease by forfeiture, effluxion of time, or otherwise, and within such time as may be given, remove the structure or all or any material from the lanel at their own cost, and without compensation, if required by the Minister in writing to do so. ) The lessees shall, within six months from the date of notification in the Government Gazette of the granting of the extension of the term of the lease, enclose the land with a shark-proof fence, and maintain such fence in efficient repair throughout the currency of the lease. (e) A breach of any of the conditions, or the occurrence of any indecent or disorderly conduct, will render the lease liable to forfeiture. EXTENSION OF TERMS OF SPECIAL LEASES. (1917, November 2). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 5968. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article227328341
The Palm Beach Progress Association on February 19th 1926 asked that the Warringah Shire council's Engineer meet their Executive-and discuss improvements to the rock bath, costs to be borne - on the £ for £ basis. The Palm Palm Beach Surf L.S. Club, were also requesting repairs and improvements to the rock bath.
It was 'Resolved' that, 'A. Riding Councillors, with the Shire Engineer, make a tour of inspection of A. Riding, and when such inspection is being made, the Association’s representatives be met at the Bath; further that the Engineer send a maintenance men down to clear away the prickly weed referred to by the Surf Club, and that regarding a request by W. H. Wolstenholme, that steps be taken to prevent blocking of Lot.84, Ocean Road, which gives access to the Palm Grove Reserve, by the parking of cars thereon, that the fence which was originally along the front of this lot be re-erected there.
This was also the Council Meeting where; 'The Council here adjourned for the purpose of holding a Special Meeting for the election of a President in place of the late Councillor McKillop.
A letter from A. J. Hordern, offering £10 towards stopping the leak in Palm Beach Rock Bath, and the clearing out the stones, provided the work be completed by November 1st, is found amongst records of 1926.
Palm Beach Rock Pool 1920's donation to Mona Vale Library
Enlarged section from EB Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.). (1917). Panorama of Palm Beach, New South Wales, 7 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-162484891 - from Rock Bath Road, Pool end
Palm Beach: West across rock swimming pool and water to timbered ridge with scattered houses - photo by Rex Hazlewood, circa 1920-1929 Image Courtesy The Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, No.:c046220005h
A further one;
Mr. A. J. Hordern 's letter of 3.12.26, offering to advance the Council £100 at 4% for the completion of Palm Beach Rock Bath; provided the work be done by Xmas, was read. Resolved, (Cr. Hope, Simpson) That Mr. Hordern's offer be accepted, he be told of the Engineer's difficulties in the matter, and that an earnest endeavour will be made to Rock Bath have it done by the time mentioned
The work was completed, and at only half what was offered.
Above courtesy National Museum of Australia (NMA)
This view over the beach from a 1933 article shows, just faintly, a still small excavated out of rock pool in the southern corner below the house. It is from the article attributed below it, in the Australian Women's Weekly during Summer.
'PALM BEACH, nestling in the curve of the sea-shore'. "BEAUTY Born of MURMURING SOUND". (1933, December 16). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 27. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article53243910
And the one closer to what we know today shows the Palm Beach extension was also part of depression era 'relief works' for those who needed work and wages, an idea that commenced soon after the wonderful Narrabeen Rock Pool works began and were completed, from Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings dated December 5th, 1932:
(Crs. Austin,Hughes) Item 4. Nuisance arising from dogs on beaches and swimming in Palm Beach rock baths: 'Resolved, That noticeboards be erected at Palm Beach, as suggested, and also one at Whale Beach and that in the latter case the notice to be put near the store
On May 21st, 1934
Palm Beach Progress ASSOC. 14/5/34, forwarding plans of proposed Olympic rock bath at Palm Beach for the Shire Engineer's perusal, opinion, and return: Referred to the Engineer.
By June 16th, 1934:
Palm Beach Rock bath - submitting plan from Palm Beach Progress Assoc.. Palm Beach Surf Club for enlargement of baths: Resolved – That the Engineer meet the Palm Beach Progress Association on this matter.
At the August 13th, 1934 Meeting:
Re proposal for construction of a rock bath at Palm Beach Palm Beach on the site of the existing bath: Resolved; - That the Engineer give a rough estimate of the cost of constructing a bath as described in his report.
L. Lane, 1/10/34, again complaining of the condition of the baths at Salt Pan, Pittwater. Referred to the Overseer Depts for an estimate of the cost of repairing the baths. Palm Beach Progress assoc., (a) requesting Council to apply for an advance from the Unemployment Relief Council for the carrying out of proposed improvements to the bath;
The next month the work of enlargement had commenced:
The Completion notice appears in a rural newspaper:
XMAS is coming! Palm Beach once more wide awake; its rock-pool enlarged to full Olympic size, and flood-lit for the benefit of — yes- benefit!) of midnight bathers. The Jottings of a Lady About Town (1934, December 23). Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169334727
By the Spring of 1935:
Let us turn to Warringah Shire Council! In the report of the Shire President, covering the last three-yearly term of the council, the following works are shown Surf buildings at Newport, Avalon, Mona Vale and South Narrabeen, £5200; surf club house, North Curl Curl, £600; extensions, North Narrabeen, club house, £400; modern surf buildings, Harbord commenced, £2000; additions, Collaroy Club House, £388; sundry additions, £325; other works and, services incidental to surf bathing,.£3000; improvements to Collaroy rock bath, £225; new rock bath at North Narrabeen, about £500; rock bath at Palm Beach, £575; TOURIST TRAFFIC. (1935, September 26). Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 - 1940), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103389449
Apart from being the place the Barrenjoey Breakers leap off on Mondays. Palm Beach Rock Pool remains the place Jack 'Johnny' Carter teachers youngsters to swim each Summer. See a 2013 page on this legend HERE
Palm Beach Rock Pool - 2016 - Palm Beach SLSC Members still Patrol this pool during the Season - this rock pool is 50 metres long
The Whale Beach rock pool is another that had its first 'installment' as one excavated from rock, without concrete, during the 1926 rockbath boom. This too had to be a part 'by the community' venture. On the 3rd of March, 1926, a vote by council decided that, 'a swimming-pool be constructed on the rocks at the southern, end of Whale Beach at an estimated cost of £80, provided a £ for £ contribution is received'.
Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings records on 24th of May, 1926: Whale Beach Rock Bath: Resolved; - (Crs. Simpson, Hitchcock) That as the greater part of the contribution towards the Whale Beach rock bath has been received, tenders be called for carrying out the work.
Of course, that didn't mean further work wasn't carried out. From the Warringah Shire Minutes of Meetings of 21st of March, 1927
Alex. Newlands 14/3/27. Forwarding further contribution of £12 towards the improvement of the Whale Beach Rock bath, and submitting suggestions for the improvement of the bath. Referred to the Overseerto report on the suggestions contained in the letter.
Later that year, 17th of October, 1927:
Resolved (Crs. Simpson, Hitchcock) - That £8 be voted for inserting an additional pipe in the Whale Beach Rock bath, and the expenditure on cleaning out Rock baths in A. Riding,at an estimate of £38, be confirmed
September 9th, 1929:
That £20 be voted for installing a cast iron sluice valve at the Whale Beach rock bath.
These enlarged sections from panoramas of Whale Beach from around 1930 show this first pool when it can be seen it is being built and then dated from March 1930 shows it is finished:
Section from 'Panoramic view of Whale Beach', New South Wales, ca. 1917 - 1930 / EB Studios, PIC P865/108a, courtesy National Library of Australia
Whale Beach [aerial view]: by Frank Hurley, ca. 1930s, courtesy National Library of Australia. PIC FH/7555 LOC Cold store PIC HURL 239/4
Publication of above photograph Frank Hurley photograph can be seen and dated from this small item:
The view looks south towards Manly, some 15 miles away. Several new roads in the vicinity have made this quiet and secluded spot, where good fishing and surfing may be had, more easily accessible to visitors. WHALE BEACH. (1930, March 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 13. from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16629881
Houses dotted on the hillside around Whale Beach, Sydney, ca. 1930s PIC/15611/14451 LOC Cold store PIC/15611 Fairfax archive of glass plate negatives, courtesy National Library of Australia
Whale Beach, NSW: Photographed by Lisle Lewis-Hughes; L to R: H K Lewis-Hughes, Jean Starkey, Marjorie Taylor, J H Lewis-Hughes, Joyce Starkey Image No: bcp_06093, courtesy State Library of NSW
Whale Beach rockpool rock platform - 2015
Members of the Allen Family surf bathing at Bilgola, Sunday 30th of November, 1913, Pic a3292030h courtesy State Library of NSW. The Allen Family were frequent visitors to Bilgola Beach and Cottage - bringing Dame Melba there for afternoon tea in August, 1914
Members of the Allen Family swimming in 1913 at Bilgola Beach (shows southern rock cliff face. Pic No:3292031h courtesy State Library of NSW - The Micthell Library.
Bilgola has always been a popular beach, has needed a pool since early times, and was the site of numerous fatalities prior to the installation of much safer alternative to the 'Newport Express' when you want to dip your toes into the salty sea. See: Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways Bilgola Beach - The Cabbage Tree Gardens and Camping Grounds - Includes Bilgola - The Story Of A Politician, A Pilot and An Epicure by Tony Dawson and Anne Spencer
One example of a family tragedy also records one of the early variations of the spelling of this Pittwater beach:
It is feared that Norman Whiteley, aged 22, of Chatswood, who had been holidaying at Belgola Beach, Newport, may have fallen a victim to' sharks. The young man was seen at about 7 o'clock on Monday morning leaving the cottage where he was staying and going towards the beach in h is bathing 'costume. He has not been seen since.
Several hundred pounds have already been subscribed to the testimonial which is being raised for Mr. Jack Chalmers. The .Surf and Life-saving Association have decided to move at a public meeting to inaugurate a fund, out of which acts of bravery will be recognised. The association has also decided, for the first time in its history, to confer on Mr. Chalmers its 'Meritorious Award.' LATE NEWS. (1922, February 10). Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1938), p. 45. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102317560
The Rock pool for Bilgola came about through the work and offers of Bilgola land holders. From the Minutes of Meetings of the then Warringah Shire Council:
11. F. G. Pratten. 4/1/26. suggesting the advisability of the Council contributing, half the cost of the Bilgola-Newport Rock bath, and that £300 be expended instead of £200: Resolved, - (Crs. Hope, Simpson) He be written to saying if they will contribute £150, the work will proceed, when the Council has the funds available, at a cost of £300, or if they are anxious that the work should be expedited, they should advance the whole of the money, and the Council will repay then half later.
In the records of 15th of March 1926
51. Surf life Saving Association of Australia. 6.3..2. Bilgola drawing attention to the need of life—saving appliances on Whale Beach and Bilgola Beach : Resolved, - (Crs. Hitchcock, Bttating. Simpson) That Honorary Ranger Allen be asked whether he would take care of a box outfit and line if placed on the beach, and also enquiries be made to ascertain whether some weekender or permanent resident at Whale Beach would take charge of an outfit there,' , 52. Same, 8.3.26,on the inefficient state of the box outfit at the northern end of Deewhy Beach : Resolved - (Crs. Hope, Corkery) That the Deewhy Surf Club be asked whether in the event of the Council making good the defects in the Outfit, they would make periodical inspections of it.
And at Bilgola:
8. Mrs..H. Maclurcan and F. G. Pratten. 14.4.26. Bilgola further re Newport- Bilgola Rock Bath, and guaranteeing, jointly, to pay the balance of the contribution when the Rock Bath work is complete : Resolved, .- (Crs. Hitchcock, Hope) That the guarantee be accepted, and the work be proceeded with.
And the following year:
Mrs.. H. MacIurcan 12/9/27, Requesting certain improvements to the rock bath at Bilgola Beach. Referred to the Overseer for an estimate.
On March 5th, 1928 (Minutes from Warringah Shire Council Meetings):
Cr. Hitchcock verbally reported that he and Cr.Simpson, in company with the Shire Engineer, made an inspection of the pathway to Bilgola rock bath from the northern end of Newport Beach, and that they found it inadvisable to construct a path, on account of the danger from overhanging rocks. It was resolved to accept the recommendation, and to inform Mr. Pratten of it.
F. G.Pratten. 16/3/28. Expressing disappointment at the councils' decision not to construct a pathway to Bilgola rock bath from Newport Beach, and requesting that some stones be removed to facilitate access to the bath. Resolved (Crs. Hope, Hitchcock) - That a warning notice be erected as recommended by the Overseer.
Bilgola Beach - Frank Hurley Aerial photograph - shows Bilgola Surf Club being built and the 'rock pool' at the southern end at this stage. Photograph courtesy National Library of Australia.
The Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club was formed in the summer of 1949 when a small band of locals commenced patrols on Bilgola Beach.The first clubhouse's construction began in 1950. It was 1954 before it was officially opened:
HIGHLAND PIPERS. More than 300 people will go to the New Year's Eve’s dance held in the Newport, clubhouse of the Broken Bay R.M.Y.C, where Highland pipers will usher in the New Year and dancing will continue until dawn. Dancing and a barbecue are on the programme for the 300-odd people who will tonight "christen" the clubhouse (to be opened officially on January 30) of the Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club. "Come in disguise" are the instructions which Mr. and, Mrs. Bruce McWilliam have given all who will attend their New Year's Eve party at their Palm Beach home, Pebbles. More than 350 members and their guests will attend the New Year's Eve dance at Elanora Country Club, and another 150 will be present at the formal dance at Killara Golf Club. At Davis Cup. (1953, December 31). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18402896
New Clubhouse. Bilgola surf club will open its new £7,000 clubhouse during its carnival next Sunday. Officials say the clubhouse is one of the most modern in Australia. Bilgola will conduct its annual restricted carnival on Sunday. New Clubhouse. (1954, February 16).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18410172
Surf Clubhouse Opening Sunday. Bilgola Surf Club will open its new clubhouse next Sunday. Heavy seas last month prevented the club from staging the carnival, and the opening function had to be postponed. Surf Clubhouse Opening Sunday. (1954, March 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18414852
Bilgola pool was something that also sprang from the residents. Warringah Shire Council early Minutes of Meetings records their determination:
Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club. and J.D. Hillier and M. Jessen on behalf of the Citizens' Pool Committee, 1/3/61 - notifying they have now cleared their financial liabilities in respect of the Surf Club building which the Club itself erected, stating that there is a definite need for a swimming pool at Bilgola Beach and that a Committee representing local citizens and the Bilgola Surf Club has been formed to negotiate with Council in regard to construction of a swimming pool on the rock shelf at the southern end of Bilgola Beach adjacent to the Clubhouse. Preliminary discussions with consulting engineers to construct a 45 or 55 yard pool have revealed that the estimated cost would be in the vicinity of £8,000. The Surf Club is prepared to enter into an agreement to raise £2,000 over four years and already has £400 in hand, and the Citizens' Committee is also prepared to raise £2,000 and have indicated that £1,000 can be raised without any delay. They ask that Council combine with them in the construction of this pool on the basis that Council will allot to them £1,000 this year and contribute £1,000 per annum thereafter to a maximum of £4,000. If agreement could be reached on this issue, the Club would approach the Bank or other financial people to raise the total money required so that work could be commenced during the winter season and the pool ready for next summer. A Committee would be formed on which they would ask A Riding Councillors to be Members, also the Shire Engineer or his nominee - the other Members would be elected by the Bilgola Surf Club and local citizens. All work and expenditure would come under the control of this Committee and Council would of course have to approve of the proposed development and the pool specifications that would be prepared by the Committee's consulting engineers. They asked that Council agree and make £1,000 available now so that they can proceed with the project. 53. Resolved, - That this matter be referred to the Parks and Reserves committee for consideration. (Crs. Brown/Bertram.)A.,
Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club, Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club and Citizens' Pool Committee, 5.10.62 - Asking that Council appoint Honorary Rangers of the Bilgola area to patrol and enforce by-laws and other regulations on the beach and the pooland suggesting the following Bilgola residents and/or-officials be appointed:- Messrs. W. Eams, J.W. Heffron, and L. Chater all of The Serpentine, Bilgola Beach. 55. Resolved,- that the contents of the letter be noted and Messrs. Earns, Heffron and Chater be invited to interview the Shire Clerk or his Deputy and if considered satisfactory be appointed-as Honorary Rangers under seal. (Crs. Brown/Wilson).
This is now Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club Inc.: www.avalonbilgolaswimming.asn.au/
Their Season is from mid October till end of March. Easter Saturday was their last week of swimming for the Summer.
About the Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club, from their website
Avalon Bilgola Swimming Club is a non-profit organisation which exists for the enjoyment of our members. We have been in existence since the mid 1960's, and currently have around 200 members. We swim down at Bilgola Rock Pool, on Sydney's northern beaches, during the summer months on Saturday mornings. Races start at 9:00am, entries close 8:45am, with events for all the family. We have a 100/200/400m event then 3 handicap (15/25/50m) events in Freestyle and 2 of the other strokes or 2x50m Relay each morning.
We cater for all standards of swimmers, from the social swimmer to those who enjoy some fun Competition. Being handicap events everyone has a chance of winning with a big emphasis placed on the pointscore.
We also have a twilight meeting on the occasional Wednesday evening with 2-aside relays and a larger team event.
Warriewood, alike Bungan and Bilgola, and despite this published Notice, remains without a pool in its southern corner;
The Warringah Shire Council has decided to construct a new rock baths at Warriewood Beach for use during the coming surfing season. BUILDINGS CONTEMPLATED. (1931, September 1).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16825334
With School Holidays commencing at the end of this week, and the weather still warm and the ocean at 20 degrees, we hope all those on holidays make the most of these rockpools, south or north, during their break, and find lots of sea life and shells to wonder over before putting them back, maybe build a stone sculpture or two and pause for one moment to appreciate what a beautiful place we live in - how lucky are we?!
Warriewood's southern corner - December 2015
Surf Bathers on a Sydney Beach
The fascination of surf bathing in the summer months draws vast crowds of Australians, young and old, to the soft, warm beaches. The time will surely come when the beauty and lure of our golden sands become famous throughout the world. Our picture was obtained at Bondi, one of Sydney's most popular seaside resorts, but similar joyousness prevails during the week-ends at Coogee Bay, Manly Beach, Freshwater, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Avalon, Palm Beach, and many other spots near Sydney, as well as at Newcastle, Wollongong, Kiama, and other towns along the coast. Surf-Bathers on a Sydney Beach (1926, October 7). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 23. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166521272