December 10, 2023 - January 20, 2024: Issue 609


avalon beach historical society: december 2023 meeting slide night featuring the original avalon beach community library, the avalon stomp, the hail storm of 1956

Avalon Parade and Avalon Store - reliably dated 28 August 1956 - Geoff Searl OAM. ABHS photo

A large crowd of locals thoroughly enjoyed the presentation by President Geoff to the meeting of a good old-fashioned ‘slide night’ (though digitally projected).

The air-conditioned Annexe on Dunbar Park provided the ideal ‘cinema’ for the screening of a host of early photos from eras and local areas.

Some illustrated the fact that there were 5 libraries in Avalon Beach before the current Community Library was born in 1983 and some also showed the drop we received in 1956 from the biggest hailstorm to hit our area.

The hit of the night was probably a 7-minute clip from July 1963 from the original video of when Brian Henderson brought ‘Bandstand’ to stomp on Avalon Beach – well the grassed area to the south of the original dressing sheds!

Col Joye and the Joy Boys along with Judy Stone provided the music to stomp by and a host of locals enjoyed the chance to stomp their hearts out – 60 years ago!

A fabulous Christmas Supper was laid on after the presentation which provided home-made Christmas cake, mince tarts, rum balls and some yummy shortbread.

The executive committee would like to thank all members, locals and guests for supporting the society this year and we hope you enjoy a safe and fun-filled festive season. We look forward to your company in 2024.

Avalon Beach Hail storm 1956

This is Avalon Parade just past the present Pittwater Palms entrance on the right and Ruskin Rowe on the left - 1956. ABHS photo:

Older residents recall:

Doreen Cherry OAM (R.I.P.) and her husband John Cherry came to Avalon Beach after WWII and started 'Avalon Fashions For Me', said:

'' The shop used to flood up to the steps. The floods in Avalon were caused by inadequate drainage behind the sand-hills and there used to be a lot of tents and camping there. I can recall people camping began to float and their things began to float to Careel Bay; the kids got on those blow up mattresses and took the exciting trip!

So that was finally done properly, and other drainage works installed; and then there was no more camping; but the tide can still come up and flood that corner. I did some training at the shop called ‘Tradewinds’ in Avalon Beach and one day I came home for lunch one day in the early 1960's  and I had to go back with my skirt rolled up to my hips because the water on the other side was always much deeper.

One latter instance was when all the cars were floating which will tell you how deep it was; this was in the car park is now near Woolworths. I also remember another phenomenon we had was the freak snow storm, call it what you like…in 1956.''

''My sister remembers this hail storm in June 1956. She and my mother drove down to pick up our brother from the cinema in Avalon. You can see her Armstrong Siddely car parked outside the butcher on the corner.'' - Jane Durham 

Extra Photos: family album of Jane Durham:

ABHS December 2023 Meeting