November 13 - 19, 2022: Issue 562


Avalon Recreation Centre Celebrations: 20 Years Since The New Building Opened Celebrated - Scout Hall Built By Early Avalon Beach RSL Served As Community Hall From 1954, Avalon Youth & Community Centre Opened November 1968

On September 6th, 2002 Pittwater Mayor Patricia Giles officially opened the new Avalon Beach Recreational Centre - a modern edition of a local community hub.

When speaking to Angus Gordon OAM, Engineer and General Manager of Pittwater Council at that time, he spoke of how the brief for the new building was to construct something that was both functional and would be geared to create a natural airflow instead of installing air-conditioning, to minimise any costs related to the same.

On Friday November 11th a small group of residents gathered in the Avalon Recreation Centre to share anecdotes and memorabilia from that time, including the first manager of the rec. centre, Judi Wilson.

Pittwater Council's 'Pittwater Report', Volume 8, No. 3 of November 2002, announced under 'Avalon's Jewel in the Crown';

'Avalon Recreation Centre opened in September to a fanfare of praise from our community. The beautiful building is designed to be a popular and effective focus for community and recreational activity, and operates seven days a week for a diverse range of interests. It houses a Council Customer Service Centre, Avalon Community Library, an Early Childhood Centre and facilities for hire, including a sports hall, four activity rooms and a meeting room. Residents living north of Mona Vale now have a convenient location at Avalon offering Council information and assistance with general enquiries, applications and payment of accounts.

The building exemplifies Council's commitment to sustainability, with its natural ventilation, use of glass and shades to ensure light without unnecessary heating, louvres to achieve crossflow ventilation, resulting in a light airy environment. This construction process generated a very economic building with low operating and maintenance costs. The old hall was retained and integrated back into the new building, which itself blends into neighbouring Dunbar Park, where the community can enjoy open grassed areas, soon to be further landscaped and beautified.

Avalon Recreation Centre represents a second phase of a significant change in the way Council operates within out community. The first phase was the development of the Pittwater website as a working site which allows residents to deal with Council without leaving home, as part of our policy to make information available to our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The second phase is the development of Customer Service Centres - at Warriewood, Avalon, and in the future at Mona Vale - which bring Council closer to our community. Residents who are unable to use the Internet or who wish to have face-to-face contact with an officer, can do so at these centres.

We pay tribute to our dedicated Avalon Community Library volunteers, who have endured two relocations before the final site, which all agree is ''just beautiful''. Hundreds of people have joined the library since opening in the new centre in September. Reading areas are located along the front of the library, affording magnificent views. The library is in the process of changing from a card system to an electronic index, which will improve service for customers. 

Two successful events have already been held in the new centre - Artfest and ''Meet the Authors'' cocktail party - with more booked in the future. A wide variety of hirers ranging from Belly Dancing to Japanese Language are taking advantage of the Centre's natural, relaxed ambience, as well as corporate clients holding training sessions. Please call Judi Wilson on 9970 1273 to book your function or activity at this wonderful building, which is already proving to be a ''hub'' of Avalon life.'

Geoff Searl OAM, President of the Avalon Beach Historical Society and Judi Wilson at the 20 year celebrations on Friday

Model for the 2002 opened Avalon Recreation Centre

However, this was not the first Avalon Centre in the village of Avalon Beach.

Local lore has it that the same Scout Hall in Dunbar Park, still being used for community events, was originally a shed placed there for the benefit of members of the Avalon Beach RSL Club, formed by the Returned Servicemen in 1947; the first official meeting was held at the rear of the general store and later at the Avalon Golf course. The Club was formed in 1950 with 60 members who purchased a temporary shed, which still stands in Dunbar Park. This building was the Scout Hall for many years and was renovated as part of the Plan of Management for Dunbar Park by Pittwater Council in 2012.

Old Warringah Shire Council records show that Avalon Boy Scouts Committee wrote, dated 5/9/52, stating that advice of the Council's intention to postpone consideration of the granting of land for a Scout Hall at Avalon until receipt of the Progress Association's "overall plan" for Dunbar Park, has been received with regret; contending that the Association does not necessarily represent the true wishes of the population of Avalon in this matter and that the Scout movement at Avalon represents directly at least 60 families, and that the Committee has raised about £800 towards the cost of building, and that building plans has been submitted to the Council; and requesting that the Council reconsider its original suggestion for a grant of Scouts land in Barrenjoey Road. 

In July 1953 it was resolved they could build a hall 'on Council's land' as long as the space in questions was filled in as required by the Department of Health, the area chosen being subject to floods and sitting in an old creek bed, as Avalon Guide Hall was when first built too. 

One newspaper report states the council was going to allocate £5000.00 for this edifice - nothing could be found to indicate it was.

Avalon Beach "Scouts are to have a Scout Hall built in Barrenjoey Rd., Avalon Beach, at a cost of £5,000. OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESS (1953, November 18). Construction (Sydney, NSW : 1938 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from

Geoff Searl OAM, ABHS President provides this insight and photo: In 1954 the Scout Hall was originally built in Dunbar Park, with its two front doors facing east on Old Barrenjoey Road (approximately where the entrance to the Recreation Centre is now located). It was later moved to make way for the new and first Community Centre to the southern side of Dunbar Park with its front doors facing north. In the 1990s it was relocated a second time to its present site in the north west corner of Dunbar Park with its doors facing west. It has been totally reworked and is now referred to as the Annexe of the Recreation Centre. 

Geoff states that the first Avalon RSL 'shed' was one of the demountables used at the Sundown Camp in Ruskin Rowe, purchased after WWII finished. This was not the first time one of these was repurposed in post-war shortages, Captain Taylor, in starting a school at Bayview, also used leftover surplus materials and sheds.

Avalon Beach RSL celebrates its 75th year in August 2023.

Avalon Scout Hall - photo courtesy Geoff Searl, ABHS

By August 1958 the Council had forwarded Notice of Intention to Resume on the owner of Lot 15, D.P.9151, Barrenjoey Road, Avalon (Mrs. Inez D. White - a lady who lived at Terrey Hills) for the purposes of Section 348 (recreation, etc). The land is zoned as Open Space, and is on the western side of Barrenjoey Road between the shops and the Scout Hall. Council decided, on the recommendation of the TP.D. Committee 2/6/58 (Min.8) that Lot 15 be adopted as the best site for a rest park and public conveniences, that its acquisition be expedited and that plans be prepared for the conveniences. This response was to calm J. Harry, of Elouera Road, Avalon Beach, and Messrs .A.E.& M.M. Geake, Avalon Health Foods, and two other lessees of the shops in question who were protesting against the Council's proposal to erect public conveniences on land adjoining these premises.

Members of the Avalon Beach Beautification Scheme, (letter dated 21.11.61) were advising Warringah Shire Council the Committee ''views with alarm the decision forced upon the Council by a Court decision to open Old Barrenjoey Road at the north section of Old & New Barrenjoey Roads opposite the Fire Station, as the planning of the layout of amenities and beautification of this area was on both beauty and safety for adults and Children and it is felt that the opening of this-road has produced a safety hazard, as this area contains a Village Green, Scouts, Hall, Girl Guides, Kiddies Playground and proposed Baby Health Centre and public tenets.'' They added the Committee trusts that every effort will be made by Council to have this decision rescinded.

The Council did:

Sydney, 15th December, 1961.

NOTICE is hereby given that application has been made under the Public Roads Act, 1902, for the closing and purchase of the road described hereunder, and that it is intended to close same, unless valid objections are found to exist. Any person desiring to lodge objections should forward them in writing addressed to the Minister for Lands within one month from the date of this notice.

K. C. COMPTON, Minister for Lands.


Land District—Metropolitan; Shire—Warringah

Warringah Shire Council, about 1 rood 36 perches. Public road (part Old Barrenjoey road, Avalon) extending between the south-easterly prolongation of the north-eastern boundary of lot 19, deposited plan 9,151 and the north-westerly prolongation of the south-western boundary of lot 8 in plan on dealing D. 111,647 at Registrar-General's Department, parish Narrabeen, county Cumberland. R. 60-1,273. APPLICATION FOR THE CLOSING AND PURCHASE OF ROAD (1961, December 15). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 3991. Retrieved from

Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings notes this letter from 1962:

E C Costello, 195 Riverview Road, Clareville - 5.2.62, re intended purchase by Council of portion of Old-Barrenjoey Road Avalon from the Department of lands in order to effectively close the same. Highly commending this action, as the through traffic, at present creates a very dangerous traffic, hazard at the shopping:- centre. Adding that local residents who have chosen Avalon for a home are danger of being driven out by commercial-interests: which ignore the requirements and safety of the community in their endeavours to further their own business. Council Resolved; that the contents of the letter be noted and the writer be advised that' this Council is grateful for the comment.

Warringah Shire Council's Minutes of a Special Meeting held on December 16th, 1965 note:

Avalon Community Centre and Library - Resolved; that this item, standing in the draft estimate at £30,000.00 be reduced to £15,000 on the understanding that if required, the balance of £15,000.00 will be listed for consideration in the draft 1967 draft estimates, and a Section 530A committee be formed to include representatives from various groups in the area.

On January 17th, 1966:

 "Avalon National Fitness Committee". Notice having previously been given by Cr. Creagh, it was moved by Cr. Creagh, seconded by Cr. Bookman, That the Council approve the establishment of a Section 530A Committee to be called "The Avalon National Fitness Committee", to comprise 2 representatives from the Avalon Junior Sports Club and the Avalon R.S.L. and 1 representative from each of the following:- Avalon P. & C. Association, Avalon Progress Association, North Avalon- Cereal Bay Progress Association, Avalon Boy Scouts, Avalon Girl Guides; the 5 'A' Riding Councillors to be ex officio members; for the purpose of investigating the setting up of a gymnasium and sports centre at Avalon on the High School site. That the Centre be subject to joint use by the community and the new High School, and be contributed to by the Council, the Education Department, and local assistance on an approximate one-third each basis. (Alteration agreed to by Council.) CARRIED. 

At the April 4th, 1966 Meeting:

FORMATION OF AVALON YOUTH AND COMMUNITY CENTRE SECTION 530A COMMITTEE - VERBAL REPORT BY.CR..D. LINDSAY. Cr. Lindsay reported that a meeting had been held on 30.3.66 for the formation of the proposed Avalon National Fitness Section 530A Committee at- which were present Councillors Beckman, Bridges, Creagh, Cr. Knight. and himself. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Avalon  Junior Sports Club, Avalon Beach R.S.L. Sub-Branch, Avalon-Palm Beach Assn. Girl Guides, Avalon Progress Association, Avalon P. & and the Chief Clerk, Mr. Gill.

Avalon Youth & Community Centre Section 530A Committee - contd. Cr. Creagh outlined proposals he had discussed with Mr. Young, the Director of Physical Education, regarding the setting up of a full scale gymnasium, for joint use by the community and the high school. After general discussion it was recommended that Council appoints a Committee to be called The Avalon Youth and Community Centre Section 530A Committee for the purpose of investigating suitable cites in the Avalon area for the establishment of the Youth and Community Centre building, the consideration of sources of financial assistance for the project, and the submission of recommendations to Council, and when erected, the care, control and management of the Community Centre. It was further recommended that the Committee comprise the five 'A' Riding Councillors as ex officio members, and nine ordinary members; such ordinary members being: - 2 representatives each from the Avalon Junior Sports Club and Avalon Beach R.S.L. Sub Branch; 1 representative each from Avalon-Palm Beach Local Assn. Girl Guides, Careel Bay-North Avalon Progress Association; Avalon Progress & Ratepayers' Assn.; Avalon P. & C.Assn;; 1st Avalon Group Boy Snouts. The representatives adopted the draft constitution, and pending ratification, the following office bearers were elected:- Chairman - Mr. Medcalf - Avalon R.S.L.; Secretary - Mr. Holman - " Progress Assn. Treasurer - Mr. Cherry Girl Guides Assn. It was recommended that the draft constitution, as submitted and tabled, be adopted, and the seal affixed; and that an amount of $100 be Voted to the Committee for preliminary expenses. It was further recommended that the Town Planner be asked to supply information to the Committee regarding suitable land which may be available for this purpose, prior to the next meeting of the Committee which will be held at 8 p.m, on 15.4.66 at the Avalon R.S.L. 43. Resolved, That the recommendations contained in the verbal report given by Cr. Lindsay be adopted. (Crs. Lindsay/Creagh). 

At the June 6th, 1966 Meeting:

Avalon Youth & Community Centre Section 530A Committee, 9.5.66, stating: "This Committee recommends to Council that the Avalon Youth and Community Centre be situated on the area bounded by Barrenjoey Road, Dunbar Park and the Avalon R.S.L. Club". 56. Resolved, That this item be referred to the Shire Engineer for report to the Works Committee on the cost of removing the Scout Hall.

At the August 8th, 1966 Meeting:

Careel Bay-North Avalon Progress Association, 25.7.66, requesting that the Council widen the representation on the Avalon Youth and Community Centre  Section 530A Committee to provide for 2 representatives from each of the Organisations now represented, and that additionally the Churches of Avalon and a Women's Organisation be included in the Committee. Further requesting Council to ensure that (1) a full time Youth Director is appointed; (2) that there be no encroachment on Dunbar Park as a result of any proposed building to house the Centre; (3) that before any decision is made by the 530A Committee to build, local organisations are consulted. 46. Resolved, That the representation on the Avalon Youth and Community  Centre Section 530A Committee be widened to provide for 2 representatives from each of the Organisations now represented; that Council ask the Churches of Avalon and a Women's Organisation whether they wish to be represented on this Committee; and the Careel Bay-North Avalon Progress Association be ad- vised that Council is investigating the siting of the proposed, building on Dunbar Park and the re-siting of the Scout Nall. (Crs. Beckman/Knight).

At the August 29th, 1966 Meeting:

Careel Bay-North Avalon  Progress Association, 18.8,66, giving names of Churches willing to serve on the Avalon Youth & Community Centre Section 530A Committee - Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist; suggesting that as there does not appear to be a distinctive women's organisation in Avalon consideration be given to the inclusion of representatives of the Avalon P. & C. Association. Moved by Cr. Creagh, seconded by Cr. Huntingdon, That the Churches of Avalon be represented on the Committee by two delegates only. An Amendment was moved by Cr. Knight, seconded by Cr. Thomas, That this list be submitted to the Parks and Reserves Committee with a view to that Committee bringing forward a recommendation to Council. 55. AMENDMENT CARRIED, and as MOTION, CARRIED. 

Mr. R.Cosgrove, 14 Wollstonecraft Avenue, Avalon, 26.8.66, advising a satisfactory arrangement has now been made for the holding of a Mardi Gras at Avalon; requesting that Council disregard his letter saying the arrangements could not be made for this function. (Min. 42 - P. & C. 23 64. Resolved, That Mr. Cosgrove inform the Council of any variations to the proposal which was submitted to the Parks and Reserves Committee when he was present at that Committee's meeting. (C:s. Knight/Creagh)

At the October 31st, 1966 Meeting:

Secretary, Avalon Youth and Community Centre Section 530A Committee, 25.10.06, advising the Committee wishes to inform the Council that it now represents a wide cross section of the community, and any increase would make it unwieldy and impede its efficiency; pointing out that many of the present members, as well as representing present member organisations, hold executive positions in various church groups. Also advising, that at the meeting on 21.10.66 the first steps were taken with regard to raising finance towards this project. ALSO: Letter from Avalon Baptist Church, requesting that the leaders of its Fellowship Society be given the opportunity of placing their views before the plans for the Centre are drawn up. Moved by Cr. Knight, seconded by Cr. Bridges, That those Organisations wishing to join the Committee be permitted to do so. DEFEATED. Crs. Knight and Bridges called for a division on the motion, resulting:- For:- Crs. Knight, Bridges, Mill, Jones. Against:- Crs. Creagh, Huntingdon, Job, Watts, Beckman and Thomas. 

At the November 21st, 1966 Meeting:

REPRESENTATION ON THE AVALON yawl & COMMUNITY CENTRE SECTION 530A CTEE. (a) Letter, 10.11.66, Avalon Baptist Church, making formal application for representation on this Committee. (b) Letter, 8.11.66, Rev. J.H. Boland, Parish Priest, making formal application for the Roman Catholic Church to be represented on this Committee. (c) Letter, 9.11.66, Careel Bay-North Avalon Progress Association, re representation on Committee. (Copy of letter supplied on agenda). Also (All) St. Mark's Church of England, 15.11.66, requesting representation . on this Committee. Before discussion on this item the Shire Clerk announced receipt of letter late today from the Presbyterian Church, requesting representation on this Committee. Moved by Cr. Creagh, seconded by Cr. Beckman, That the tour Churches which have applied be allowed one representative each on the Avalon Youth and Community Centre Section 530A Committee. An Amendment was moved by Cr. Knight, seconded by Cr. Bridges, That the four Churches be allowed two representatives each on the Avalon Youth and Community Centre Section 530A Committee. DEFEATED. LOTION ALSO DEFEATED, Crs. Job and Knight called for a division on the motion, resulting:- For:- Crs. Creagh, Beckman, Jones. Against:- Crs. Knight, Bridges, Mill, Miles, Huntington, Jenkin, Watts, Job, Alder, Thomas, Wilson, Lindsay. ADDITIONAL REPRESENTATION ON THE AVALON  YOUTH & CCMMUNITY CENTRE SECTION 530A COMMITT2E. 29. Notice having previously been given by Crs. Knight and Bridges, it was moved by Cr. Knight, seconded by Cr. Bridges that two delegates be appointed from each of the church organisations who have made application to Council for representation on the Avalon Youth & Community Centre 530A Committee. An amendment was moved by Cr. Creagh, seconded by Cr. Watts (proforma) that one representative be appointed from each of the churches in the area. DEFEATED. MOTION CARRIED. Cr. Huntingdon requested that his name be recorded as being opposed to this motion. 

The Minutes of a Special Meeting held on December 15th 1966 record:

Avalon Community Centre & Library - P.C. 14.11.66 $80,000 less amount in reserve $30,000 - $50,000. A motion was submitted that no provision be made in the estimates. An Amendment was submitted recommending that the sum of $50,000 be provided in the estimates, AMENDMENT CARRIED and became the MOTION. An amendment was submitted that the sum of $30,000 be provided in the estimates, DEFEATED. A further amendment was submitted recommending that the sum of $10,000 be provided in the estimates on the-understanding that the Section 530A Committee match this amount dollar for dollar. DEFEATED. 21. MOTION CARRIED. Avalon Community Centre & Library. 50. A motion was submitted recommending that this item which was earlier included in the estimates in the sum of $50,000 be reduced by $15,000 to $35,000. DEFEATED. Library Air-conditioning $24,000. 51. A motion was submitted recommending that this item which was earlier included in the estimates in the sum of $24,000 be now deleted therefrom. DEFEATED. ....   Inclusion of an amount of $50,000 for Avalon Community Centre & Library. (f) Provision of $6,000 for staff amenities at the Shire Hall, Brookvale. (g) Provision of $24,000 for air conditioning at the Shire Library, Dee Why. (h) Appointment of additional staff to the Dee Why Library $5,000. (i) Provision of $20,000 for Dec Why Surf Clubhouse and public amenities, to supplement $19,000 held in reserve by Council, being the proceeds of the sale of Glendowie Hall, and a further $25,000 estimated to be the proceeds of the sale of Dee Why Clubhouse jand, corner of The Strand and Dee Why Parade. (J) Mona Vale Clubhouse $18,500 contribution to be matched by an equivalent amount from the Surf Club....

The February 2nd, 1967 Meeting records:

Petition - C. Pentz, 15 Elouera Road, Avalon, and 34 others, 14.1.67, protesting against the nuisance caused by the Mardi Gras at Avalon between 10.1.67 and 14.1.67. Resolved, That the petitioners be informed that Council permitted the Mardi Gras in the interests of the youth of the district for the future building of a Community Hall at Avalon, and it will take their petition into consideration should any future request be received from the Organisation. (Crs. Knight/Miles). 34.(A2) Petition - P. Pratt, 715 Barrenjoey Road, Avalon, and 4 others, 18.1.67, protesting against the noise which persistently comes from a garage situated at the rear of Nos. 717 and 719 Barrenjoey Road, Avalon. Resolved, That the By Laws Inspector makes an investigation and report to the next meeting, and at the same time the Shire Clerk report as to the powers Council has to restrict noise under Section 289C of the Local Government Act. (Crs. Knight/Creagh). Crs. Miles and Jenkin retired from the meeting - time 11.05 p.m. 35.(A3) Narraweena Progress Association, 21.1.67, requesting that Council take the necessary steps to call a meeting to form a Section 530A Committee for the care, control and management of the Narraweena Progress Hall. Resolved, That the necessary action be taken. (Crs.Mill/Job). 36.(A4) Warringah Shire 'A' Riding Combined Progress Association, 15.1.07. requesting Council's support in an appeal which the Association has made to the Electricity Commission to lay its 132kV Transmission Line from Belrose to Mona Vale under the ground instead of overhead. Resolved, That the letter be received and noted. (Crs.Knight/Wilson). 37• (A5) Avalon Methodist Church, 18.1.67, requesting representation on the Avalon Youth and Community Section 530A Committee. Resolved, That two representatives from the Avalon Methodist Church be added to the Section 530A Committee of the Avalon Youth and Community  Centre. (Crs. Beckman/Knight). Avalon Youth & Community Centre 530A Committee, recommending to Council that Mr. D. Copland be elected architect for the Avalon Youth and Community Centre project; advising, that the details requested by Council regarding the building etc. will be forwarded as soon as possible. Resolved; That Mr. Copland be contacted and asked if he is willing to act as Honorary Architect for the Avalon Youth and Community Centre project. ( Crs. Wilson/Thomas).

The March 20th, 1967 Meeting records:

AVALON BOY SCOUTS HALL AND THE AVALON COMMUNITY CENTRE. Moved by Cr. Alder, seconded Cr. Beckman, that the amended plan, marked 'B', for erection of the building on section of Dunbar Park adjacent to the Baby Health Centre be approved, plans and specifications be prepared for the calling of tenders, and Mr. J. D. Copland be added to Council's panel of architects for the purpose of preparing these plans and supervision of the building; the 530A Committee to submit estimated cost of the proposed building to the Ordinary Meeting on 20th March and (b) the Scout Committee be advised that Council is unable to grant the site freehold by legal sale, but is pre- pared to allow the Scouts the use of an area at the rear of Lot 27 Central Rd. for relocation of the scout hall during the term of Council's pleasure, and the Scout Committee be asked to submit to Council for consideration a quotation for levelling and preparation of the site to their satisfaction and relocation thereon of the existing building. Cr. Jenkin arrived during discussion on the above item at 7.55P.m. Crs. Bridges and Miles arrived at 8.16p.m. An Amendment was moved by Cr. Bridges, seconded Cr. Mill, that consideration of this proposal be deferred until Council has firstly some indication from the 530A Committee as to the funds which they themselves can raise, or the community itself can raise within the Avalon area, and the secondly, until Council can get some definite word back from the Committee as to the siting of the hall. DEFEATED. MOTION CARRIED. Note: Cr. Mill gave notice of his intention to sponsor a Notice of Rescission on this item, which was handed in at the conclusion of the meeting. 

The April 24th, 1967 Meeting records:

SUBSIDY TO AVALON YOUTH AND COMMUNITY CENTRE. A letter has been received from this Committee asking that it receive a further subsidy towards its operating expenses; stating that last year's subsidy was spent on postage, stationery and drawing of plans. Comment by Deputy Shire Clerk. An amount of $1,100 is provided in the estimates to be divided equally amongst the eleven Centres in the Shire, thereby allowing each one a subsidy of $100. RECOMMENDATION. That authority be delegated to the Shire Cleric to allocate requests for subsidies upon application, each centre to be allocated a subsidy of $100

At the June 6th, 1967 Meeting a report was provided on:

PROPOSED AVALON COMMUNITY CENTRE. A conference took place on Tuesday, 30,6.67, those present being C. J. Barnett, Administrator; J. Morgan, Shire Clerk, and T. N. Stephens, Shire Engineer, representing Warringah Shire Council. Messrs. Helman and Fenwick, Rev. Mr. Prescott and Mr. Copland, Architect, representing the Avalon Community Centre Section 530A Committee. Points made were: (1) The Committee could arrange for the clearing of the Scout site but had never intended to arrange for the removal of the hall from its present site, this being apparently expected of the Council. (2) Although there are no toilets at present at the Guides Hall, which is along- side where the Scouts Hall is to be located, it was felt that when the Scouts are moved over to this site, toilet facilities should be provided. (3) The Lions Club will make the Community Centre its project for the year when it sees tangible evidence that it is going ahead. The R.S.L. will also help, but to just what extent is not known yet. (4) The Community Hall factors are paramount, basketball being secondary, but nevertheless desirable. (5) The Dunbar Park site is almost unanimously desired by the people of Avalon. (0) The 530A Committee strongly recommends the appointment of Mr. J. D. Copland as Architect. (7) Mr. Copland, who was present, stated that the job could be done for $80,000 and he would accept the proviso t6 that effect if he is commissioned to do the job, (8) Positioning of lavatories is to be reviewed in conjunction with plans for the new building. (9) Furniture/effects - the Council will not have to concern itself with providing funds for these, as the Committee would be prepared to undertake that responsibility It was pointed out to those present that the Council had in the past, for various reasons, found itself in the position of being forced to provide the furniture and effects, which meant that it had to forego other essential works and services. RECOMMENDATION: That Minute 11 of the Ordinary Meeting 20.3.67, reading: "That the amended plan, marked 'B', for erection of the building on section of Dunbar Park adjacent to the Baby Health Centre be approved, plans and specifications be prepared for the calling of tenders, and Mr. J.D. Copland be added to Council's panel of architects for the purpose of preparing these plans and supervision of the building: the 530A Committee to submit estimated cost of the proposed building to the Ordinary Meeting on 20.3.67 and the Scout Committee be advised that Council is unable to grant the site freehold by legal sale, but is prepared to allow the Scouts the use of an area at the rear of Lot 27 Central Road for relocation of the Scout Hall during the term of Council's pleasure, and the Scout Committee be asked to submit to Council for consideration a quotation for levelling and preparation of the site to their satisfaction and relocation thereon of the existing building", be and is hereby rescinded, and that the Council approve in principle the establishment of the Avalon Community Centre upon the site proposed by the Section 530A Committee. Further, that the $30,000 held in reserve plus the $50,000 provided for in the 1967 revenue estimates, totalling 00,000, be formally; voted for expenditure upon the Avalon Community Centre; that Mr. J.I4Copland be appointed as Architect and be specifically commissioned to prepare plans and specifications for the Calling of .tenders within the amount provided by the Council for the project; that 'Suet, plans provide for the re-locating of public toilets, and that the removal of the Scout Hall be considered upon receipt by; the Council from the Architect of the plans 

1970s Avalon Public School sports day in Dunbar Park - Scout Hall in background, photo courtesy Gary Clist

By February 26th 1968:

Avalon Community Centre Hall 
Amount of lowest tender 90, 397

Less reduction of P.C. Items 1,540817 
Add architect's fees 6,223
 Less amount held in reserve 80,000 
Contribution expected from Avalon  R.S.L. Sub-branch Club 7,500 
Amount to be provided from 1963/69 Loan Programme approx. 7,500 
Beacon Hill Community Centre  Amount of lowest tender 89,346 

At the March 11, 1968 Meeting:

AVALON YOUTH AND COMMUNITY CENTRE. (JM:MR) (See also earlier Report 18/68 submitted to 0/M. 30.1.68 for full details of tenders.) It will be recalled that the acceptance of a tender was deferred at Ordinary Meeting held on 30th January, 1968, until after the Council's request for a contribution of $7,500 from the Avalon Beach R.S.L. Club had been resolved. On the morning of 6th March, 1967, Mrs. C. Knapstein, speaking on behalf of the Avalon Beach R.S.L. Club, informed the Shire Clerk that at a Special General Meeting held the previous night it was unanimously resolved to contribute the sum of $7,500 to the Council towards the cost of the Avalon project. The cheque was received on 7th March, 1968. IT IS RECOMMENDED: (1) That the tender of Commercial Industrial Contractors Pty. Ltd., about whom the Council's architect has submitted a favourable report, be accepted for the nett sum of $88,857, made up as follows:- Tender price $90,397 Less reductions suggested by Council's architect: Door hardware. $100 Mosaic parquetry (semi live) 150 Mosaic parquetry (dead) 50 Timber windows. 250 Foam roofing. 850 Hot water unit. 40 Light fittings. 100 1,540 1,540 088,857 (2) That authority be given for the Administrator and Shire Clerk to enter into an agreement with Commercial Industrial Contractors Pty. Ltd., to be completed and furnished by Mr. Copland, Architect, in accordance with the pro forma of the Ibyal Australian Institute of Architects, embodying the price as outlined hereinbefore. (3) That it be recorded that the architect's fees of 7% of $88,857 will involve an additional cost of $6,220, bringing the total price foreseeable at present to $95,077. (4) That it be recorded that there will be an estimated nett over-expenditure of $7,577 on the project, after taking into account the $80,000 provided by the Council and the $7,500 provided by the Avalon Beach R.S.L. Club. (5) That the Avalon Beach R.S.L. Club be thanked most sincerely for its contribution of $7,500 towards the cost of this project. 

The March 25th, 1968 Meeting records:

AVALON COMMUNITY CENTRE. Comments. Prior to the commencement of the construction of the Avalon Community Centre it is necessary to relocate the existing scout hall on the northern side of Dunbar Park. This relocation, for which an amount of $4,000 was provided in the estimate, can now be placed in hand so that no delays will be experienced when construction is to commence on the Community Centre. RECOMMENDATION. That the $4,000 provided in the Estimates be voted for this

The June 3rd Meeting records:

AVALON BEACH YOUTH & COMMUNITY CENTRE  - J. D. Copland, Architect, advising that the builders have requested an extension of time for the above contract of 6 days, owing to following delays - two days for removal of scout hall and four days for wet weather. Comments. Mr. Copland approves these claims and advises that date of completion will be 11th October, 1968 if extension is granted. RECOMMENDATION. That extension of time to 11th October for this contract be approved. 

The Meeting held on September 23rd 1968 provides the following insight:

AVALON YOUTH AND COMMUNITY CENTRE. It is anticipated that the Avalon Youth and Community Centre will be completed early in October, although there is a possible hold—up in the delivery of a large holding tank for the building. 

In anticipation of the building being completed some time in October, it has been proposed that the building be officially opened early in November, and the Chairman of the Section 530A Committee, Mr. Fenwick, has suggested that I might officially declare the building open. I am prepared to declare the building open, and this I intend to do on Saturday morning, 16/11/68, the function commencing at 11.00 a.m. 

The Sect: 530A Committee has stated that it will require a number of chairs, approximately 600, at a cost of $4,140. The Committee does not have sufficient finance to enable the chairs to be purchased from its funds, but has plans to raise some additional funds between now and November. 

I recommend that the Council donates an amount of $1,000 towards the cost of of the chairs. 

I also recommend that an amount of $50.00 be voted under Section 504 of the Local Government Act, 1919, for the provision of morning tea for the official opening function. It will be necessary to arrange for a plaque to be made, and I recommend that the Council makes arrangements for this plaque to be so made for suitable wording on the plaque. (R.H. Cornish), ADMINISTRATOR. 20th September, 1968.

And so it was.

Warringah Shire Council was dismissed in April 1967 by the Askin State Government. This was triggered by the gaoling of two councillors for bribery. The Councillors involved, Dennis Thomas and George Knight, were prosecuted under the Secret Commissions Prohibition Act 1919 (NSW) for receiving bribes from a development company to influence planning and development decisions, and both received gaol sentences. C. J. Barnett, Department of Local Government, acted as Administrator April to May 1967. R. H. Cornish, Department of Local Government, acted as Administrator from November 1967 to December 1968.

These photos taken by Gary Clist in 1968 to 1970 provide an insight into how it looked then:

Gary said; ''I remember taking these as I liked the juxtaposition ( I learnt that word in photography class at Tech ) of the "old folk" outside the "youth" Centre. The irony now of course is that I'm in the same age group as they were all those years ago (1970).''

Until the early eighties booklovers in the Northern part of the Peninsula had to travel to Mona Vale to borrow the latest best-sellers. Then, thanks to the drive of the late Brenda Kable, and Joan Thompson, along with a small army of keen locals, in 1983 the Avalon Community Library was born. 

In those early days, the books came from donations from other libraries, publishers, and individual members of the public, and they were housed first in the old Baby Health Centre, then a demountable – or as some older customers say, “I remember when it was in the caravan” - to an old Woolworths’ site, then allocated space in the newer Avalon Community Centre - that low blue building so many of us recall from the 1980's and finally in 2002, they were allocated space in the present site in the Avalon Recreation Centre.

Avalon Community Centre in 1970's. Photo: Bill McCausland

1983 Avalon Community Centre. Photos: ABHS and Pittwater Council - note that none of the palms in Dunbar park are yet present

Avalon Community Centre Murals in 1988. Photo: Pittwater Council

ABHS display of the Avalon Community Library at the Avalon Beach Historical Society’s 10th Great Historic Photographic Exhibition, June 2022

Next year the Avalon Community Library celebrates its 40th year.

Angus Gordon explained in his Profile interview;

''The Avalon Community was a broken-down old structure and the Avalon library was located in another building at that stage. The problem there was that the whole was on a flood-prone area – rather than walk away from it as ‘too hard’ we built the new building so it was elevated out of the flood zone and we designed the building so it made good use of the great air circulate that is associated with the Avalon area. We also focused on building a structure that maximises the use of natural light. We were able to integrate an existing public hall, on the site, into the new building to become a multi-purpose space to be of general use for the community. Again, as with Village Park an old, poorly used, Baby Health Clinic was incorporated into the new building as a modern Early Childhood Centre.

That whole project at Avalon was, again, great fun, and an example of how innovative design and ideas, coupled with community passion and support, can manifest great solutions for purpose built public buildings on challenging sites.''

Contractors for the works, Brewster Hjorth Architects, stated;

''The building is formed by two double storey pavilions which are grouped around the shell of the original indoor hall which has been upgraded to integrate with the new work.  The pavilions are open, linking out to the street and parklands and also inwards to create strong sense of internal place for the facility.  The arrangement of the wings creates a central foyer and linking space which gives a visual connection between all major areas of the building.

The facility is the first major non air-conditioned public library to be constructed in this state for many years.  The internal volumes have been designed to encourage natural cross ventilation, a large proportion of the facades are formed by openable glass louvres designed to catch the sea breezes while the internal thermal chimneys give the roofscape a distinctive form.

The building is placed to address both the main street of the village and the adjacent park which is used as a village green.  The ope, light filled volumes of the centre are placed to define and link with important external public spaces and pathways, creating a strong focus for the community.

The Council required an open, youthful and friendly building which might suit the mixed surfing and seaside culture of the area.  The building responded with a ‘loose fit’ design approach using timber floors and ceilings offset against the exposed steelwork frame.

The northern and eastern facades were conceived of as ‘beach house verandahs’ and incorporate use of exposed structure and glass louvre walls.  Internally they create friendly, loose and informal spaces.''

Brewster Hjorth Architects' photo of finished project

So next time you're attending an Art Exhibition, a class, a community get-together, or launching a new community initiative from the steps of the Avalon Recreation Centre, pause for a moment and stand back and marvel at a structure built to withstand the tests of time, one that is innovative along with being open and sustainable, and was built by a little council with big ideas backed by an engaged community in pursuit of good design and residents who are passionate about keeping the 'communal' and 'common ground' in community.

The Big Sing, led by Samantha Shaw, on the steps of Avalon Recreation Centre

Avalon Boomerang Bags - launched from the steps of Avalon Recreation centre in June 2016

Avalon Youth Hub opened in the Avalon Recreation centre in May 2018

People queuing for Avalon Beach Recreation Centre pop-up Covid clinic on Thursday December 17th, 2020 - photo by Roger Sayers

Federal Election 2022 at Avalon Community Centre