June 23 - 29, 2024: Issue 629


Stephanie Galloway Brown - Finalist In The 2024 Archibald Prize

Issue 100's Profile of the Week featured renowned Elanora Heights Artist Stephanie Galloway-Brown, as she was bringing out her 'Face of Extraordinary: Volunteers' exhibition and accompanying book. 

Stephanie has been a long-term member of the Pittwater Artists Trail, which holds its Winter Open Studios Weekend this July 27-28, 2024, was very active in Pittwater Community Arts as well as pulling together and overseeing the great Pittwater ArtFest 2012, and has offered classes to others - all atop being a wonderful mum, wife and pursuing her practice in an approach that lends insight into what it means to be a working Artist.

Her 'Face of Extraordinary: Volunteers' project not only celebrated local volunteers, it brought into sharper focus the extraordinary work being done by Stephanie herself.

At the time Lorrie Morgan, the lady who was the dynamo behind so many years of promoting Pittwater Artists, said - ''You watch, Steph will be in the Archibald one day, she's so good''.

This year Stephanie has done it, and become one of the 2024 Archibald finalists. 

When her portrait of Kathrin Longhurst was announced as a 2024 Archibald Finalist Stephanie said:

''I’m absolutely thrilled my portrait of Artist Kathrin Longhurst has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Archibald Prize. Thank you Kathrin for trusting in me, you are such a huge inspiration.''

Kathrin Longhurst - by Stephanie Galloway Brown, Oil and wax on Canvas, 121.5cm x 91.5cm

German-born, Sydney-based artist Kathrin Longhurst is best known for her large, highly realist portraits of women. She has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize on three occasions, winning the Packing Room Prize in 2021 with a portrait of singer Kate Ceberano.

‘Our childhoods couldn’t have been more different,’ says Stephanie Galloway Brown, a first-time Archibald finalist. ‘Kathrin grew up behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin, while I spent my early years in quiet tranquillity on our family farm. And yet there is a deep connection. Not only was I an accidental witness to the revolutionary protests in Berlin before the wall came down in 1989, I am also inspired by Kathrin’s empowering support for women.

‘The background of the painting is an allegory. The grey represents the Berlin Wall; the red ochre, our sunburnt country,’ says Galloway Brown. She has included the text from the sign at Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known Berlin Wall crossing, which reads in English, Russian, French and German: ‘You are entering the American sector / Carrying weapons off duty forbidden / Obey traffic rules.’

‘In her early work, Kathrin was inspired by war-propaganda imagery and the promise of life on the other side of the wall. She reworked the propaganda by replacing powerful male figures with female warriors, rewriting history. She continues to champion feminism today.

‘I have portrayed her as strong, determined and itching to get back to work.’

On June 8, 2024: 

''All I can say is WOW what a party! 

Such an incredible opening night at the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes 24. Still pinching myself and so honoured to be a part of this prestigious exhibition among many of my idols. 

Huge thank you to my extraordinary sitter Artist Kathrin Longhurst so ecstatic to share this momentous occasion with you, such a privilege  and thank you to my suffering +1 hubby Craig Brown .

Here's few pics from the last couple of days, wish I’d taken more but too much excitement for one little gal.

Thank you also to the Art Gallery tour guides for the wonderful Artists Lunch event, lovely to meet so many incredible people. My heart is full! '';



North Narrabeen Boardriders Club Win The 2024 Heavyweight Rumble

Finalists from the day - North Narrabeen, Avoca, Frenchmans and North Avalon. Photo: James Robinson/ Surfing NSW

Sunday June 16 2024 marked the completion of a new club event  - The Ryde Heavyweight Rumble, hosted by Surfing NSW and URBNSURF! This was the first-ever Sydney boardriders competition held in a surf park, where we saw an inter-club competition like no other. With 32 clubs taking to the pool, it was North Narrabeen Boardriders Club who walked away with the champions belt and $15,000 in prize money.

It was a day to remember as surfers from all over NSW came together for an epic day of surfing and fun. With perfect waves and an electric atmosphere, the event showcased incredible talent, sportsmanship, and the vibrant surfing community spirit. All teams brought their A game and no one left without a smile. 

Local teams taking part included NASA, Newport Plus BRC, Bungan BRC, Mona Vale BRC, North Narrabeen BRC, North Steyne BRC, Queenscliff, Long Reef BRC, Curly United, and the Dee Why Surf Fraternity.

Sydney's new Urbnsurf Wavepool, known for its consistency and customisable waves, provided the ideal setting for this high-octane competition. Unlike the unpredictable ocean, the wavepool delivered perfect swell for every heat, ensuring a level playing field for all 32 teams. Giving athletes the chance at scoring waves on the advanced and expert (barrel) setting. Spectators were treated to a close-up view of the action, with every carve, cutback, and tube executed right before their eyes.

The day featured 32 teams from NSW. Teams travelled from as far as North Ballina to compete at this special event. Each team composed of five surfers of varying experience levels, included some seasoned professionals, enthusiastic amateurs, and rising young stars, all united by their passion for surfing and their club. This mix of talent made for thrilling heats and surprising upsets throughout the day. 

The day kicked off with an energetic opening ceremony, as many athletes were witnessing the dreamland pool for the first time. The day then filled with action both in and out of the pool. We had music, dancing, drinking and cheering coming from all angles. Midway through the event, the competition intensified. With Quarter and Semi-Finals the pressure was on. The crowd roared as surfers stepped up to the plate. As we moved over to just the right side of the pool, the left was looking a bit lonely and no one likes to see an empty lineup with perfect waves rolling through. So we decided it was only right to gift Deewhy Surf Fraternity a spot for an hour as they were the highest scoring third place Round One finishers who had been knocked out of competition. After that, unfortunately it was Boardrider Clubs Scarborough and North Shelly who just missed out on spots in the final, placing close thirds in their desired semi's. 

NASA' s Letty Mortenson

As the sun set, the awards ceremony honoured the top teams along with some novelty awards. The 2x Australian Boardriders Battle (ABB) champions North Narrabeen came away victorious over Avoca, Frenchmans and North Avalon (NASA) in a close-call final. 



Mona Vale Road East Upgrade: The Final Pictorial Update - June 2024 + Mona Vale Road West Project Has $5.5million Allocation In 2024-25 NSW Budget

The 2024-2025 NSW Budget has announced a $5.5 million allocation towards the Mona Vale Road West project, McCarrs Creek Road to Powder Works Road.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson confirmed on Friday June 21:

''The budget allocation for the Mona Vale Road West upgrade is for Transport for NSW to continue finalising the detailed design to support future delivery of the project. 

The Mona Vale Road East upgrade project includes the construction of a 950-metre long embankment on the northern side of the road next to Tumburra Street at Ingleside. This road embankment will be landscaped to minimise soil erosion in preparation for any future Mona Vale Road West upgrade.''

Also allocated under the Infrastructure 'Connecting Sydney Roads - Upgrading the Sydney road network to support population and employment growth in Sydney. Key projects include:

  • $72.4 million for Wakehurst Parkway with 2024-24 allocation being $7.903 million
  • Warringah Freeway Upgrade - Continuing upgrades of the Warringah Freeway for surface roads, bridges and interchanges along 4 kilometres of the freeway corridor, which started in early 2022. Estimated total cost: $2.0 billion. Expenditure over four years to 2027-28; $788.0 million

In the 2023 PON updates a Transport for NSW Spokesperson stated to Pittwater Online;

''Earlier this year, the NSW Government undertook an independent review of the state’s infrastructure pipeline, tasked with identifying projects and programs that should no longer proceed, be delayed or have their scope altered. As a result of this review, the Mona Vale Road West project has been deferred for two years. 

Transport for NSW remains committed to the delivery of this project. ''

On November 8 2023 Infrastructure NSW released the updated NSW Major Infrastructure Pipeline and the 2023-2024 State Infrastructure Plan.  The 2023-2024 State Infrastructure Plan outlines drivers and market context for the NSW Government’s infrastructure program over the next five years. It provides project specific information to support transparency to industry via the NSW Major Infrastructure Pipeline.  

The Mona Vale Road West upgrade project was deferred for two years following the 2023 NSW Independent Strategic Infrastructure Review. 

Listed on page 21 of the 2023-2024 State Infrastructure Plan document is the Mona Vale Road West upgrade, McCarrs Creek Road to Powder Works Road showing Procurement will commence in the final Quarter of 2025 and be completed in the first Quarter of 2026, with Construction of the works to commence in the second Quarter of 2026 and be completed by the second Quarter of 2029 (estimated completion dates).

As part of the works, the contractors have also been constructing a new road formation along the northern side of Mona Vale Road next to Tumburra Street at Ingleside - referred to by locals as 'the piles of dust'.

As confirmed above, part of the 2024-25 allocation , once the earthworks are complete, means the area will be bitumen sealed and vegetation planted to minimise soil erosion. These early works form part of the next stage of the Mona Vale Road West upgrade and will prevent runoff into the adjacent Garigal park areas, local creeks and Narrabeen Lagoon.

This photo from the last Pictorial update on the MVR East upgrade, taken at the end of May 2024, shows those works have progressed:

The great news is that the Mona Vale Road East project has been largely completed and made available, from Thursday, March 28, 2024, an additional lane in each direction between Manor Road, Ingleside and Foley Street, Mona Vale, with new widened shoulders and median separation.

“We’re excited to be opening the Mona Vale Road East upgrade to traffic in time for Easter,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said then.

“As a steep road corridor often used by heavy vehicles, the move to two lanes in each direction on this part of Mona Vale Road gives drivers safer opportunities to overtake.

“This vital road corridor upgrade will improve journeys for thousands of motorists each day in this part of northern Sydney.”

A new signalised intersection, in place of a roundabout at Ponderosa Parade and Samuel Street, was also part of the upgrade along the 3.2-kilometre stretch of Mona Vale Road.

A 60km/h speed limit has remained in place while work continues to complete the new emergency truck arrestor bed, as well as fencing and landscaping work.

Some of this landscaping was planting out Sydney's first overpass fauna bridge.

Transport for NSW thanks motorists for their patience during this time.

Then Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes announced on November 2nd 2018 the NSW Government had awarded the construction contract for the upgrade of Mona Vale Road East.

The then slated to cost $140 million project, between Foley Street at Mona Vale and Manor Road at Ingleside, involved building additional climbing and descending lanes to improve travel times, and the introduction of median separation and a heavy vehicle arrester bed to help address the road’s tragic crash history.

The contract was awarded to Georgiou Group Pty Ltd and onsite works were expected to commence in February 2019, after the Summer holiday period. The project was expected to be completed in 2022. 

The total cost for the MVR East project is stated to be over $250 million  - as per the previous Coalition Government announced in June 2022 as part of its Budget allocations;

  • $340 million over the next 4 years to upgrade Mona Vale Road WestWork on the $250 million Mona Vale Road East project is expected to be completed within the next 12 months. 
  • $11 million to continue upgrading Mona Vale Public School (total project cost $52.8 million).
  • $15.5 million to commence the upgrade of the Narrabeen Education Campus (total cost subject to tender).
  • $40 million for safety and capacity improvements on Wakehurst Parkway (total project cost $150 million over next 3 years).
  • $2.4 million for the construction of a dedicated pedestrian/cycling link between Newport Beach and Bilgola Beach.
  • $1.09 million for ongoing campus configuration improvements at Mona Vale Hospital.

The $100+ million increase in costs can be attributed in part to the increase in costs of all construction post-Covid, see; Increases In Building Materials Costs Adds Pressure To Fixed Price Contracts - Construction Industry and may even be costs associated with modifying the Truck Arrestor bedHowever, this significant cost increase has never been officially explained in any detail. 

The signage that was installed when the project commenced, and is still in place as of June 2024, continues to state the project cost is $140 million:

This Issue runs what will be the final Mona Vale Road East upgrade pictorial - for the records - running from near the turnoff to Kimbriki tip at Ingleside to the eats and Mona Vale.

One aspect noticed during these quarterly updates over the past six years is the reduction in images run from those first pictorials for the record to those run in this last pictorial. Although this is due in part to less works being done to make a record of, it is also a sign that although the upgraded road follows the same old footprint of the Mona Vale Road East sections, those sections are definitely smoother and faster, even at the same speed limit.

The MVR East Upgrade 'making a pictorial record' series has provided a platform for community discussion that has included calling for modification to the truck arrestor part of the project, a suggestion the noise reduction walls become a mural with a celebration of welcoming all to Pittwater to prevent graffiti, although the new Minister for Transport has advised a graffiti-proof paint was the chosen option, and even answering a call from Pittwater Online's youngest Readers, the 3 to 11 year olds, for some details about The Machines Helping Build The Road (June 2020 editions).

The only sour note is apprehension among residents that the building of a wider faster road means more people crowded onto already full roads as, as one resident put it this week;

''The Mona Vale road and Wakehurst Parkway upgrades have always been about cramming in more people and never about current residents. I have never understood why people have been so eager for these upgrades.

Councils' merger and the creation of our greater Warringah Council was all part of the plan.

Dee Why in Pittwater.''

The celebratory Mona Vale Road history page that ran when works commenced also runs this Issue as an extra look into how much this road TO Pittwater has changed over the century and more the 'Road to Lane Cove' and 'Road to Gordon' has connected our part of the eastern seaboard with all points west.



autumn in pittwater 

Turimetta Beach erosion due to storm swells, Monday June 17, 2024. Photo: Joe Mills
Turimetta Beach erosion due to storm swells, Friday June 17, 2024. Photo: Joe Mills
Drenched baby Rainbow Lorikeet, Careel Bay, June 2024. Photo: A J Guesdon

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