February 27 - March 5, 2022: Issue 528
Barrenjoey Boathouse In Governor Phillip Park Has Been Part Of Our Community For 75 Years In 2022: Photos From The Collection Of Russell Walton, Son Of Victor Walton, Pilot + Extras
Please note that Warringah Council records of Minutes from Council Meetings name this beach as ‘Barrenjoey Beach’. This record names it as ‘Station Beach’ as per original Broken Bay Customs Station records and Pittwater Council records. The name Barrenjoey Beach was applied to the section on the ocean side and stretching northwards in pre- North Palm Beach SLSC era of 1929 onwards.
On November 2nd 1930 Palm Beach S.L.S. Club wrote to the then council suggesting that some means be taken to prevent the public surfing on Barrenjoey Beach, or that the Council afford some means of protection to those surfing there. The council responded that the club were to be informed of the Notice Board they had installed, warning against surfing already there.
What is unique about this boathouse is that it was, on occasion, also a hangar or pontoon of sorts for Aquatic Airways. Opposite the original Barrenjoey Boathouse was a fibro, some state, structure known as ‘the Beacon store’. These buildings, among and on the fringe of the camping represent in a way our crossover from the times when you could pitch your tent and perhaps even build a shelter on the edge of the estuary if you decided you like the place and would stay. The Beacon Store was older than the original Barrenjoey Boat House but both were constructed from simple materials, the boathouse raised in post-WWII scarcity.
In 1923 10 acres of Lighthouse Reserve (southern portion) was be set aside as a recreational reserve named Governor Phillip Park. The middle portion of the reserve was set aside for public recreation purposes on May 17 1929, and the northern portion set aside in March 1934 as a reserve for public recreation purposes to be managed by the Warringah Shire Council.
The boathouse jetty and the structure built as the Barrenjoey Boathouse were erected between late 1946 and early 1947 by Aub Allen, which means its place on our landscape, until the recent demolition for a rebuild, has reached 75 years. Aubrey Allen's family appear to have been storekeepers at Camden originally, and were well respected in that community going back a few generations.
Brian Friend OAM recalls his nickname here was 'Strawbury'.
Barrenjoey Boating Service Pty. Ltd. commenced on June 19th, 1947 during a period when Australians were determined to make a return to normality as quickly as possible:
FERRY FOR BROKEN BAY The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company announced yesterday that the Rover is expected to sail tomorrow from Circular Quay to begin a ferry-boat service at Broken Bay. The vessel will join the three other ferries operating in the Palm Beach, Hawkesbury River, and Pittwater-area. During the war the Rover was used as a patrol boat by the R.A.N. FERRY FOR BROKEN BAY. (1946, May 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17992931
Post World War II lack of materials for building has been a common theme when interviewing older residents and for the ‘untidy’ description ascribed to many of the simple structures that rose around Pittwater in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Stated in some records to have been constructed by Aubrey Allen, the jetty and structure we still call the Barrenjoey Boat House, and the boating services at the north end of this building was then, as now, called ‘Barrenjoey Boating Services’.
Warringah Council records of 1948 show J W M and Kelynack, the council's solicitors, forwarding advice that the lease for the proprietors' solicitors had sent in can be granted:
July 28th 1948: J W M and & Kelynack, 7/7/48 re: Barrenjoey Boating Services Pty. Ltd. (Carr & Mcllwraith) forwarding lease for completion under Council's Seal. Resolved - That the lease be completed under Seal of the Council. (crs. Butcher Kent).
Barrenjoey Boating Services Pty. Ltd., 15/11/1948, giving further charges for the hiring of their existing fleet of canoes and pulling boats, as requested. Referred to the Parks & Reserves Manager to obtain information as to charges made elsewhere.
The leases are interesting as they show the shift in who was doing what when. Apart from the permissions they had to get from council, Governor Phillip Park, being Crown Land, required the 1995 created and April 2003 abolished Department of Lands and Water Conservation permission, who authorised the lease for the Barrenjoey Boathouse until 2022. A lease of Crown land gives exclusive use over a particular piece of land for a specified term and purpose. Generally, leases are sought over Crown land where longer-term security is important, such as for commercial purposes.
Some of those leases:
Barrenjoey Boating Services Pty. Limited, of Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach. Parish Narrabeen, county Cumberland, portion 157. Title limited to the surface and a depth of 50 feet below the surface. Area, 23 ½ perches. Boatshed jetty and slip. 1st January 1963 to 31st 2002. £73 6 shillings annual rent NOTIFICATION OF GRANTING OF SPECIAL LEASES (1964, December 18). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 4145. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220346090
Barrenjoey Boating Services Pty. limited, of Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach.
Parish Narrabeen, county Cumberland, portion 157, title limited to the surface and a depth of 50 feet below the surface. Area, 23 1/2 perches. Boatshed, jetty and slip – 1st f January 1963 to 31st 2002. £73 6 shillings annual rent. NOTIFICATION OF GRANTING OF SPECIAL LEASES (1965, February 19). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 516. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220356381
When you add gas:
Sydney, 19th June, 1970.
Alteration of purposes and conditions of SPECIAL LEASES
IT is hereby notified that the purposes and conditions of the undermentioned special leases have been altered as shown below.
T. L. LEWIS, Minister for Lands.
Land District—Metropolitan; Shire—Warringah Parish Narrabeen, County Cumberland, Special Lease 1963-86, portion 157 of 23 1/2 perches, title limited to the surface and a depth of 50 feet; holder, Aubet Enterprises Pty Limited, c.o. The Manager, 310 Whale Beach Road, Palm Beach; from "Boatshed, jetty and slip" to "Boatshed, jetty, slip and storage purposes (Porta Gas)". The existing conditions attaching to lease are varied by the inclusion of condition 35 of Regulation 106. Annual rental remains unaltered. Ten. 70-2621. ALTERATION OF PURPOSES AND CONDITIONS OF SPECIAL LEASES (1970, June 19). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 2445. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220183911
Early in 1972 a second story and accommodation, consisting of bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and dining/lounge room were added on, necessitating a change in the lease and more money being paid:
Sydney, 28th April, 1972.
ALTERATION OF PURPOSE AND CONDITIONS OF SPECIAL LEASES
IT is hereby notified that the purpose and conditions of the undermentioned special leases have been altered as shown below.
T. L. LEWIS, Minister for Lands.
Land District—Metropolitan; Shire—Warringah
Parish Narrabeen, County Cumberland, Special Lease 1963-86, portion 157, of 23 1/2 perches: holder, Aubet Enterprises Pty Limited, c.o. Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach; from "Boatshed, Jetty, Slip and Storage Purposes (Porta-gas)" to "Boatshed, Jetty, Slip, Storage Purposes (Porta-gas) and Residence (Caretaker's Accommodation)'. The lease will now be subject to the following conditions: Regulation 106, subsection Nos 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 to 14, 25 to 28, 35, 44, 57, and 59 and to the following special conditions: "
(a) The provisions of the Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act, No. 20, 1948, as amended, shall be observed, particularly clause 17a as contained in amending Act No. 12 of 1955. The tenant shall conduct all operations in such a manner as not to cause erosion of foreshores either directly or as a result of the destruction of trees and vegetation,
(b) The lessee shall not be exempt from the provisions of the Mooring Site Regulations, N.S.W., and shall at all times comply strictly with the provisions of all other relevant Regulations and with the Acts administered by the Maritime Services Board of N.S.W.
(c) For the purpose of appraisement of rent the term of the lease shall be divided into four (4) periods of ten (10) years each. The rent for the second, third and fourth periods may be reappraised either upon reference by the Minister or at the request of the lessee made during the first six (6) months of the affected period. The annual rental is increased to $146.60. Ten. 72-1395. ALTERATION OF PURPOSE AND CONDITIONS OF SPECIAL LEASES (1972, April 28). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 1495. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220140940
By 1986 the Walton family were running their businesses here - the success of Aquatic Airways necessitating acquiring more space:
Sydney, 21st November, 1986.
ADDITION TO HOLDING
IN pursuance of the provisions of section 164, Crown Lands Consolidation Act 1913, the Crown lands described hereunder are added to the holdings specified.
J. R. HALLAM, Minister for Lands.
Land District—Metropolitan; Shire—Warringah Parish Narrabeen, County Cumberland. lot 297, D.P. 721519, of 1 293 square metres, be added to Special Lease 1983-86, as from 22nd November. 1986, subject to existing terms and conditions, rental value of added area, $4,200: holder, Victor Walton and Carmel Eugene Walton (as tenants in common in equal shares), of Barrenjoey Boathouse. Governor Phillip Park. Palm Beach 2108. MN80H1345.
Note: Following addition of the area referred to above. Special Lease 1983-86 now comprises 1 887 square metres consolidated as lot 298. D.P. 721522. ADDITION TO HOLDING (1986, November 21). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 5746. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article231674784
DRAFT ASSESSMENT OF LANDS AT BARRENJOEY BEACH, P1TTWATER, UNDER PART 3 OF THE CROWN LANDS ACT 1989 AND THE CROWN LANDS REGULATION 1990
THE Minister for Land and Water Conservation has prepared a draft land assessment for Crown Lands situated at Barrenjoey Beach, Pittwater, being the land described hereunder.
Inspection of this draft assessment can be made at the Blacktown District Office of the Department of Conservation and Land Management, 22 Main Street, Blacktown; and the Town Planning Department of Pittwater Council, Unit 9, No. 5 Vuko Place, Warriewood, during normal business hours.
Representations are invited from the public on the draft assessment These must be in writing and lodged, within twenty-eight (28) days from the date of this notice, with the District Manager, Blacktown District Office of the Department of Conservation and Land Management, P.O. Box 878, Blacktown 2148.
Minister for Land and Water Conservation.
Parish—Narrabeen (J); County — Cumberland;
Locality—Barrenjoey Beach; Land District—Metropolitan;
Local Government Area—Pittwater
1,887 square metres of Crown Land below mean high water mark of Pittwater, fronting Governor Phillip Park, comprising Lot 298, DP. 721S22 and known as the Seaplane Wharf, currently held under Special Lease 1963/86 by Barrenjoey Boathouse Partnership, who have made application for a new lease so that the term may be extended. File No.: MN80 H 1345/4. Enquiries: Vic Austin, tel.: 671 8854. DRAFT ASSESSMENT OF LANDS AT BARRENJOEY BEACH, PITTWATER, UNDER PART 3 OF THE CROWN LANDS ACT 1989 AND THE CROWN LANDS REGULATION 1990 (1994, November 11). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 6695. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article231931420
Besides the above on hire aquatic fun vessels, these gentlemen also advertised boats for sale, the variety of which increased:
CABIN CRUISER IDLE HOUR …. 4lt loaded Powered by new 6 cylinder Chrysler Royal Marine Engine Installed end 1947 two bunks two settees wc wash basin sink etc This magnificent craft in first-class condition is Ideal for big game fishing or ocean cruising Inspection at Barrenjoey Boatshed through Golf Links, Palm Beach Barrenjoey Boating Services Pty Ltd Palm Beach. Advertising. (1948, January 31). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18059510
BARRENJOEY BOATING SERVICES have One 36 foot Ocean Going Cabin Cruiser fitted with new Chrysler Crown Engine. for Sale at £ 400 Vessel is on slip until 14th June for Inspection BARRENJOEY BOATING SERVICES Governor Phillip Park Palm Beach Tele. Palm Beach 261. Advertising. (1948, June 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18073977
Barrenjoey Boating Services Pty Limited v Peattie. LAW NOTICES FOR TO-DAY. (1950, November 16). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18186718
FOR SALE. 21ft CABIN LAUNCH. 4-cylinder Chev. motor, lust over-hauled 2 bunks £210. 16ft OPEN LAUNCH. Chapman. Good condition. £85 NEW 16ft CEDAR HULL. £120 12ft DOUBLE-ENDED DINGHY, excellent condition. £25 13ft REDWOOD FLAT-BOTTOMED DINGHY, £30 8ft FOLDING DINGHY. Plywood and Canvas. £15 10ft PLYWOOD SURFBOARD £5.INDIAN CANOE. £ 12. BARRENJOEY BOATING SERVICES. Governor Phillip Park. Palm Beach. Open every day Phone. Palm Beach 4261 SAILING DINGHY. 8ft. fair cond. complete with good sail XW7427. Advertising. (1951, March 26). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18205661
FOR SALE Cabin Cruiser 24ft x 10ft 6 n 4 berth W C sink stove radio c1 light Vortex pump 12 li p Simplex motor full headroom throughout Only built 2 years ago. Condition as new Dinghy£ 7- BARRENJOEY BOATING SERVICES Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach Phone Palm Beach. 42bl. Advertising. (1951, September 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18230259
BARRENJOEY BOATING SERVICES, Governor Phillip Park Palm Beach have the following for sale: ROOMY Twin-screw Vi-cabin launch about I8ft x 7ft 8in 2 built and mattresses 6 H P CLAR motor th reverse and 3 H P HALL about 4 years old little used In first class condition. CABIN Cruiser about 24It x 10ftSleep 4 Completely fitted 10 H P SIMPLEX. HALF-CABIN Launch about 16It6 H P CLAE with reverse Exceptionally strongly built in excellent condition. CABIN Launch about 21 x 8 ft5 H P CHAPMAN Phone Palm Beach 4261 Open week-ends Advertising. (1952, March 8). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18248479
Jan. 30 1954 - Advertising - Trove Barrenjoey Boating services
Palm Beach/Barrenjoey isthmus, circa 1955, shows single storey boatshed still - photo courtesy Dave Whiteman - taken from a family slide
The Beacon Store had been constructed a fair while prior to 1947, in 1929, by members of the Gonsalves and Goddard family. This was also just preceded the time patrols by campers commenced on North Palm Beach as the 'Barrenjoey Surf Club'
From Warringah Shire Council minutes of meetings:
Item 15. Palm Beach S.L.S.Club. 2/11/30. Suggesting that some means be taken to prevent the public surfing on Barrenjoey Beach, or that the Council afford some means of protection to those surfing there. The Club to be informed of the notice warning against surfing already there.
Claude Neon Ltd., 30/3/40, applying for permission to erect at H.F. Gonsavles' "The Beacon Store", Palm Beach, a single-faced horizontal box sign bearing the words "TIM'S CAFE" on both sides, 16 ft. long and 2 ft. high. Resolved, - That approval be granted. The 18th Battalion which were stationed on Barrenjoey Headland during WWII used to report in to headquarters at from a telephone at the Beacon Store.
A few examples of works required at the Boat House courtesy of Warringah Shire Council minutes:
12/12/1960: Mr. Warwick Kells, c/- Post Office, Palm Beach, 29/11/60 - requesting permission for the P.M.G's Department to run a telephone cable from the Beacon Store in Governor Phillip Park to the beach on the Pittwater side, where a submarine cable will then be buried in the sand below water level; adding that the request is in connection with a telephone service at Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Also stating that the application was recommended by the Police Department, and has been approved by the P.M.G. subject to Council's written concurrence. 46.Resolved - That this matter be referred to the next meeting of the Works Committee with a report thereon from the Engineer. (Crs. Fisher/Bertram.)
23/10/1967 North Palm Beach Boathouse. Repairs to doors completed, other repairs in hand.
REPORT OF THE SHIRE ENGINEER SUBMITTED TO THE ORDINARY MEETING OF WARRINGAH SHIRE COUNCIL HELD ON 5th DECEMBER, 1968. W6. North Palm Beach Boathouse. Rusted iron on roof replaced, glass in windows repaired and wire screens fitted to deter further breakage. Louvres replaced in bunk room and new work painted. North Palm Beach Surf Clubhouse. Repairs and repainting of roof completed. Palm Beach Dressing Sheds. Minor repairs to interior and posts erected at both ends of promenade to prevent vehicle access. Palm Beach Wharf (Pittwater Park). Waiting shed on wharf repaired and repainted and decking respiked where necessary. Numerous bolts under steps and wharf tightened. Broken pile removed. Rotted kerbing on south side of jetty in course of replacement.
Beacon Store circa 1988. Image: © and courtesy Martin Brannan
The June 25th 1980 Warringah Shire Council minutes of meetings records states:
AGENDA FOR A MEETING OF THE FINANCE, PROPERTY & STAFF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, 25TH JUNE, 1980 B.P.REF. 2.0 PROPERTY - LAND ACQUISITION/DISPOSAL 2.1 Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach- 315-317 Por. 132 "Beacon Store" (611/190/1) 2.2 Forestville R.S.L. Youth Club - Proposed Purchase of Building (121/156) POR. 132, 'BEACON STORE' (File 11/190/1) A letter has been received from the Land Board Office in regard to Beacon Store, requesting Council to comment on the need for a kiosk in this area to serve the reserve and whether Council would be prepared to accept Trusteeship of the land including the structures now used as a kiosk. This matter first came before Council in December, 1978 when the Management Consultants for the Lessee of the kiosk wrote to Council seeking Council's support for the retention of the Beacon Store . Por. 132 is presently excised from the surrounding Crown Reserve R61140 for Public Recreation (notified 17.5.29 Council Trustee 25.1.52). The 184 perches was held under a Permissive Occupancy from the Lands Department which was to terminate on the 28.2.79. According to the Minister's adopted Management Plan (1973) the building was to be demolished in March, 1979. It should be noted that the building has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair due mainly to a moratorium imposed by the Land Board on any development or maintenance 10 years ago. The reason given by the Land Board for the termination of the Permissive Occupancy was that Warringah Shire Council required Por. 132 for the proposed redevelopment of Governor Phillip Park. This matter was considered by the Property Management Panel at its meeting of 2.3.79, and the Panel's recommendation was subsequently adopted by Council in the terms that 'the Lands Department, on termination of P.O. 76/25 Metropolitan and the demolition of improvements thereon, be requested to add Por. 132 Parish of Narrabeen to Crown Reserve R61140. and further that the Reserves Planner expedite the preparation of the revised Management Plan for Governor Phillip Park. ' Both the Lessee and the Lands Department were notified of Council's decision in this regard. A further letter was received from the Land Board dated 4.6.79 which quoted the Lessee, Mr Franicevich, as saying that Council intended to either construct a new kiosk or improve existing structures with a view to initiating a new Lease of the premises from Council. Their letter also indicated that the Lessee had no intention of vacating the premises. In view of the aforesaid, the Land Board requested Council's confirmation of whether removal of the structure was still desired. It was stated if Council's proposal Is unchanged then arrangements would be made for eviction of the Lessee and demolition of the building and the subsequent addition of the site to the reserve would be further discussed. A letter from Council was subsequently forwarded to the Land Board indicating that Council's position had not changed from - its previous decision.
A further letter was received from the Land Board dated the 17.7.79 indicating that the Lessee had been directed to vacate the premises and remove the existing buildings by 31.8.79. The letter also requested an estimate for the cost of demolition and removal of the structures on the site and an indication as to whether Council would be prepared to undertake the necessary task if the Lessee failed to comply at the end of that time. The Land Board also indicated that no further correspondence would be entertained with the Management Consultants. Subsequently a letter was sent by Council to the Land Board indicating that Council would be prepared to undertake the necessary task of demolition and the estimated cost of such work would be $1,100. A recent inspection by staff at the weekend revealed that the store is still being operated by the Licensee. Recent informal discussions with the Lands Department also revealed that the Department is having second thoughts about forced removal of the occupant and demolition of the structure. The basis for their second thoughts was not revealed. In regard to the specific questions asked in the current letter from the Land Board, it is considered that there is a need for a kiosk in this area which is substantiated by the current patronage of the facility, although there already exists a concession in the Barrenjoey Boating Services Building immediately adjacent. This latter concession consists of a small cafeteria at the front of the premises which is let to Mrs Harper who supplies coffee etc. and take-away food. Summer patronage would seem to be sufficient to support both concessions, but this comment is based upon observation rather than research. In regard to the Land Board enquiry as to whether Council would be prepared to accept Trusteeship of the land including the structures, the Building Planner and Project Supervisor has indicated that he is happy with the structural soundness of the building. It is felt as long as the structure was developed along the lines as proposed by the Lessee in his letter to Council dated 16.2.79, then Council could regard the facility as an asset to the reserve which through an annual rental could return to Council a reasonable income. This income in turn could be used for upgrading of facilities within Governor Phillip Park. The Reserves Section is still awaiting finalisation of coastal engineering advice from the P.W.D. before finalisation of a management plan for Governor Phillip Park. Although the details of the P.W.D. advice are not known as this stage, it is felt by the Reserves Planner that the retention and upgrading of the Beacon Store would not be in conflict with the management of the Reserve.
23/7/1980 – same as above for some reason.
The following year:
8/9/1981: GENERAL MATTERS 5.1 "Beacon Store" Portion 132 Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach (611/190/1) 334 Report to Finance, Property & Staff Management Committee 8th September, 1981 5.1 "BEACON STORE" PORTION 132 GOVERNOR PHILLIP PARK PALM BEACH (File 511/190/1) The kiosk at Governor Phillip Park known as the "Beacon Store" was included back into Reserve 51140 for Public Recreation (Governor Phillip Park) by the Department of Lands by gazettal published in January 1981 Council thereby became responsible for the operation of the kiosk. Prior to this the proprietor of the kiosk occupied same by way of a lease with the Department of Lands. The proprietor now has no formal or legal right of occupancy whatsoever. The Land Board Office has advised that if Council wishes the operation of the kiosk to continue it must formalise a lease agreement between Council and the proprietor. The operation of the kiosk and the condition of the building itself would be considered to be far from satisfactory. Over the years considerable interest has been shown by members of the public in the kiosk and in fact several propositions have been put verbally to Council by people who would wish to substantially redevelop the kiosk as a restaurant in conjunction with the kiosk operation. It would seem that the location lends itself ideally to this type of use. It is envisaged that Council could anticipate quite a good return for a long term lease for this type of operation. That the Property Management Panel's recommendation be adopted; VIZ. 1. That the building and site be inspected by a Real Estate Valuer/consultant in conjunction with the property officer with a view to: a. Ascertaining a rent to be payable by the present occupier; and b. ascertain what potential there is for future development 2. On receipt of the above advice, the matter be referred back to Council for determination of the future of this building. COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATION AND COUNCIL'S DECISION (8.9.1981) 952 that the foregoing recommendation be adopted AND FURTHER THAT interested Councillors be invited to join the inspection.
This is an interesting record as it registers the period when John Webeck of Bungan Castle was a Warringah Shire Councillor, ditto Bob Grace:
Ordinary Meeting, 29th November 1983: 2. SUBMITTED BY CRS GRACE, BECKMAN AND WEBECK SUBJECT RESCISSION - GOVERNOR PHILLIP PARK, PALM BEACH - SAILBOAT SCHOOL AND HIRE FRANCHISE – BARRENJOEY BEACH (File 617/1) MOTION That the decision of Council at its Special Meeting held on 22nd November 1983 reading:- "1. That Council seek the co-operation of MSB in- the granting of aquatic licences from Barrenjoey Beach, by forwarding to the MSB details of the 4 most acceptable tenders (ie Nos 4, 9, 10 and 11) and indicating Council's preference for tender No 11. 2.That the proceeds from the approved franchise to be spent on improvements to Governor Phillip Park. 3.That in the process of consideration of the development application, the situation of any existing illegal operators be addressed." Be and is hereby rescinded and in lieu thereof the following motion be adopted:- 1.That the Council seek Captain Walton's view on the safety aspect. 2.That pending the view being obtained, no tenders be accepted. 3.That Captain Walton be notified that his view be in writing and delivered to Council within two (2) weeks. COUNCIL'S DECISION (29/11/1983) 1205 DEFEATED. Proceedings In Brief This item was recommitted and after further discussion regarding Captain Walton's views on the matter, the motion was again DEFEATED.
The next year the council was again calling for tenders for the above, for a lease period of 3 years, as well as looking into whether to invite other operators of businesses to run these from Station Beach. There were also discussions about renovating The Beacon Store and leasing this out to new proprietors - a similar proposal for the Palm Beach Pavilion. This all went on for a few years....the site all the time occupied by a paying fees to the council tenant.
By September 1988 the Council stated the building should be vacated within a month and immediately demolished. The records of Warringah Shire Council record:
Report to Special Meeting, 11th October 1988 64 THE BEACON STORE - GOVERNOR PHILLIP PARK, PALM BEACH (File: 315/147/04) The Property Management Panel considered, at its meeting on 21st April 1988, the ongoing tenancy of the subject property. The current tenant originally occupied the property in February 1983 pending Council's intention to invite interested parties to redevelop or upgrade the existing store facility for a restaurant/kiosk. The Panel resolved that in view of the condition of the property, in particular the sanitation arrangements, it should require vacant possession. That resolution of the Property Management Panel was not acted upon, as the Senior Management Team, following discussion, advised that the existing pan service could continue until May 1989. In the interim further deterioration in the condition of the property has resulted in Council requiring the property to be vacated from 31st October 1988. Accordingly, the question to determine at this time, is the future of the premises. The Deputy Chief Health & Building Surveyor notes by memo dated 9th September 1988 that the building is in a seriously dilapidated state with particular note being made of failed brickwork due to serious corrosion of certain architectural bars over the windows, the rotting of window frames and window sashes, defective or non existent guttering, defective facia and barge board, corroded corrugated iron roofing, failed brickwork at the eastern end of the building where an old coke breeze section of the wall has seriously deteriorated, etc. Further, it is also obvious that the interior of the property is substandard and the cost of rebuilding or maintenance would cost tens of thousands of dollars. He advises that the architecture of the building is totally out of keeping with the environs of Governor Phillip Park and that, if in future Council proposes to develop the area as a coffee lounge or discreet take away food outlet, the architecture of this building would obviously have to be in keeping with surrounding topography and vegetation. Accordingly therefore, his recommendation is that upon vacant possession being obtained, the building be immediately demolished. The Town Planning Branch advise that the property is not included in any heritage study schedule at this stage and that there are no town planning objections to the building being removed, nor to it being retained for any other permissible use. Appended to the Town Planning Branch comments is a copy of the relevant page of the consultant's report relating to Palm Beach which concludes that the building in its present dilapidated condition detracts from the amenity of the area but that given its prime location in the park, its range of suitable uses includes its renovation as a kiosk/outdoor restaurant to total removal of the whole structure to free the area for Open Space. However, given its present condition, renovation must be seriously questioned. The subject property has formed an integral component for the production of the "Home and Away" series presently being shown on ATN Channel 7. The Production Manager of that series by letter dated 23rd September 1988 has advised Council that ATN Channel 7 would be happy to enter into a residential lease on the property for a period of 4 months from 1st November
During this time the popular television show Home and Away had been using the exterior of the store for a year and it had become part of the 'Summer Bay' community and storylines.
On hearing the news about the upcoming demolition the Seven Network contacted the council with a proposition. If the council were willing to give the store a stay of execution, Seven would take on a 4 month lease at a rate of $200 a week from November 1988. During this time they would work the store’s demolition into their storylines - and it would be burnt down. Council agreed to this. In March 1989 the Beacon Store went out in a blaze of glory, both on-screen and off-screen and the H&A series filmed the store’s demise. The site has now been landscaped and become part of the surrounding parkland and picnic area, with no trace of the former building remaining.
The Minutes of Meetings of April 4th, 1989 record:
4/4/1989: DEMOLITION OF COUNCIL PROPERTIES Report to Corporate Services, Finance and Personnel Committee Meeting, 4th April, 1989 (Item cont) DEMOLITION OF COUNCIL PROPERTIES Project: Demolition of 'Beacon Store' Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach and cottage at 1102 Pittwater Road, Collaroy for Open Space. Status: A contract was let for $5,000 to B A Leer Excavations to demolish and work was completed Thursday 22nd March, 1989.
The boathouse complex continued and included a daytime café with outdoor seating overlooking Station Beach and Barrenjoey Boating Services who hire a range of boats for fishing and recreational boating. Adam Hillier also had a barge business that operated on Pittwater.
Prior to the commencement Aquatic Airways at the Boathouse in 1975, it is understood that a man Sid Parsons and his wife operated a café from the boatshed selling fish and chips. After the Walton's took over the main lease, the Parsons moved out and Carmel Walton opened a successful new café 'Carmel's by the sea'. Carmel Eugenie Hey had married Victor Walton in 1957. Carmel Walton retired in 1998 and the lease was taken up by a local lady Jackie Burns.
Aquatic Airways was mentioned in the Warringah Shire Council records of 1975 when a letter, dated 13.5.1975, from Mr. R. Sanderson, 73 Trappers Way, Clareville, wrote advising he has been informed by Barrenjoey Boating Services that they will be starting joy flights on Pittwater in about three weeks with a five seater seaplane. He was asking the council how this could arise without ratepayers having the opportunity to object and what action has the Council taken to have it stopped. Prior to discussion, the Shire Clerk had advised that the matter is still under consideration by the Maritime Services Board. The council resolved that 'Council disapproves of the application, it being inimical to the amenity of the area, and that Council seek a deputation to the appropriate Minister in charge of the Departments who will be deciding this issue to express Council's complete opposition to it and its concern that it has not been consulted in the matter.' this was filed under 'Joy Flights On Pittwater' initially.
On Monday, 24th January, 1977 there was a letter from Mr. G. Druitt, 17 Palm Road, Newport, seeking approval to hire out catamarans at Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach, as an expansion of an existing service provided by Barrenjoey Boating Service. Mr. Druitt proposed bringing four Hobie catamarans (3 x 14', 1 x 16') each day by car trailer to the car parking area, north of Barrenjoey Boating Services boatshed and placed on the beach with hiring on an hourly/daily basis with lifejackets included. All transactions would be carried out in a small tent or from a car. Note: The existing service by Barrenjoey Boating Service (Permissive Occupancy Site) is conducted from the boatshed. Council's Policy was: To refrain from entering into any lease for any purpose on Narrabeen Lake, Pittwater and Environs and recommended that the application to hire out catamarans from the beach at Governor Phillip Park be refused.
Worth noting is that Palm Beach Sailing Club, which launches its catamarans from Sandy Point Pittwater currently, once used Station Beach as their launch point too.
Russell Walton, son of Captain Victor Walton, who has provided the photographs of the changing Barrenjoey Boat House pictures below, said in a 2012/2014 chat; -
Russell Walton: My father purchased the boatshed lease off Aub Allen in 1975. My father passed away about 20 years ago and then myself and my mum, Carmel Walton, ran it up until about six years ago when Greg Freemore bought it. My father also started Aquatic Airways back in 1975. I started my business up there, Barrenjoey Boating Services, which was hire boats and barges, and almost 19 years ago now. He also had the Beacon Store – the shop across the road from the boatshed. Tom Preisovich had this originally.
Captain Victor Walton used the boatshed to operate his seaplane business Aquatic Airways, Australia's Coastal Airline, which began operations in December. In 1977 Aquatic Airways purchased a second Cessna 206 VH-FVW used for tourist and commuters and was so popular another Cessna was purchased in 1979.
By 1980 Aquatic Airways was granted a Regular Public Transport licence by the Department of Aviation to run an airline service from Port Stephens to Palm Beach, and later to Rose Bay. They were very popular. These articles share insights into some passengers:
AQUATIC Airways, who ran Joy Flights as an added attraction. Left passengers, right pilots Ross and Peter. CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS (1977, September 1). Nota (Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens, NSW : 1970 - 1999), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255225510
The Editor, Nota. Dear Shirley — I wonder if you'd be kind enough to print the following letter, it is from me personally, not Aquatic Airways. To the residents of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens.
It appears that the floatplane operation, I conducted from the Myall River a few weeks ago, was newsworthy enough to make the Newcastle Herald. The local correspondent of this Newspaper (The Herald), does not check the facts. The report stated together with items of less concern, that a trawler had been forced to swerve to avoid a collision. At no time did any craft of any sort have to take avoiding action. At no time was a landing or take-off carried out with any craft manoeuvring on the water way, and on some occasions, I delayed five or ten minutes, to ensure a clear run. There were reputable people observing every takeoff and every landing from the shore. Moreover, I asked all persons I met, for their opinions, regarding the flights and not one made a criticism, in fact they were unanimously enthusiastic. Now, if there were residents who objected, who were they, and to whom did they object?
The floatplane displays clearly its normal registration letters and its Maritime Services number, plus the name Aquatic Airways and the telephone number. Mr Hutton of the M.S.B. later, interviewed me and was satisfied with our operation as demonstrated at Salamander Bay. I admitted to having exceeded the speed limit on the river, and do not plead ignorance. However, I observed many boats speeding along the same stretch, creating as much noise and more wash than the floatplane, which makes almost no wash at all. Moreover, I'd point out that we were there by invitation, and it was a happy time for us. The moment we were aware of possible objections, we discontinued the flights from the river, our strict policy being never to upset anybody.
Aquatic Airways operates two floatplanes every day of the week from be base at Pittwater and provides service to numerous inaccessible places along the coast. We have had no complaints in over two years. I wonder if anybody would like to comment, to this paper or direct to Aquatic Airways, Palm Beach. This letter is from me personally and I'd like to thank those of you who flew with us and at the same time apologise if I upset anyone. ROSS HORNE, (Pilot).
Dear Readers, As I was the person who initially invited Mr Walton to bring up the floatplane, as an added attraction for our Centenary Celebrations, giving a percentage of his takings to the school, I feel very upset that so much unpleasantness and ill feeling has been caused. So many folk were unable to take a flight, that weekend because of all that was going on, that the pilots decided to return and keep faith with those desirous of so doing. I feel that all who were fortunate enough to have a flight have only praise for the pilot, and the consideration shown to many people, some less fortunate than most, with free rides, was considerable. I feel that if people had objections they might have at least spoken to the pilot. As far as the criticism of the noise, unless I spotted the floatplane, I didn't know whether it was here, speed boats passing the end of Binda Street, made just as much noise. In regard to the birds being frightened, I feed many wild birds in my garden, and when I, or my neighbours use a lawnmower, the birds leave but when the noise has subsided, they return. Have you noticed, how they leave the water when a boat approaches? When all is quiet they soon return. I understand that in the Wyong Area there are four such planes, privately owned, and the owners commute daily to work in Sydney, without apparently, upsetting the locals. We will grow up, one of these days, I hope! Sincerely, Shirley Barron. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (1977, November 1). Nota (Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens, NSW : 1970 - 1999), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255226540
Seen and heard
Heard that Aquatic Airways (you'll remember that it was one of their floatplanes which gave rides during the school centenary celebrations and later joy rides) have received permission from the Port Stephens Shire Council to run a Charter service from Salamander Bay to Sydney.
It's a pity that they were not made more welcome here — a journey of little over one hour, between here and Sydney, with no hassle was a pure delight. Seen and heard (1978, November 1). Nota (Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens, NSW : 1970 - 1999), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255232264
Seaplane flight to a restaurant
Take a seaplane flight to a restaurant and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world on the way to lunch. Aquatic Airways offer the most exciting way to go to lunch. Departing from their own wharf on the eastern side of Sails Restaurant, Lyne Park, Rose Bay, the seven-seat De Havilland Beaver wings away across Rose Bay and heads across the harbor to Manly.
The flight path then follows the majestic sandstone cliffs and golden beaches to the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. There are several restaurants to choose from at Palm Beach or you can charter an aircraft to one oi the restaurants on the banks of the Hawkesbury River.
At Palm Beach there is a choice of three top class restaurants:
- Jonahs, overlooking Whale Beach and the coastline, is silver service and very elegant;
- Barrenjoey House has a delightfully unusual menu and a smart casual atmosphere, seating either inside or under cover outside surrounded by beautiful greenery;
- Reflections, a small restaurant, but very elegant, which provides magnificently presented gastronomic delights.
On landing at Palm Beach the courtesy bus drives to any of the restaurants and. picks you up for your return flight.
Flights from Rose Bay to Palm Beach leave Monday to Friday at 12 noon and return from Palm Beach at 3.50pm. Saturday and Sunday departure from Rose Bay is at 11.30am returning at 3.30pm (winter schedule).
Charter flights to the Hawkesbury River restaurants include Berowra Waters Inn’s internationally famous cuisine; Cottage Point Inn’s fine seafood; and Peat’s Bite for large servings of barbecue steaks, spare ribs and fresh seafood with an alfresco atmosphere.
Scenic flights over Sydney and up the northern beaches can be arranged seven days a week.
Or perhaps you are travelling to the Central Coast for business or pleasure — Aquatic Airways have five flights a day, Monday to Friday, from Rose Bay to Palm Beach and Gosford. Seaplane flight to a restaurant (1985, August 8). The Australian Jewish Times (Sydney, NSW : 1953 - 1990), p. 23. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article263190443
The restaurant called Reflections was opposite the old Palm Beach Post office site on the corner of Nabilla and Barrenjoey roads in the little cottage that once stood on that site.
In 1989 the Barrenjoey Boat House again needed repairs and was on the list for demolition as costs were anticipated to be too high. Channel 7's Home and Away program was using the site as an iconic part of their popular series. They offered to renovate and repair the building and pay a lease for access to the premises when required for filming episodes. Maintaining the continuity of a storyline and its setting in this case, with perhaps a large dash of altruism, kept for the community and its visitors a boathouse more in keeping with Pittwater then cheek by jowl concrete.
The North Shore area of Sydney was struck by a devastating storm January 21st 1991, damaging one of the Aquatic Airways floating Beavers, which was later rebuilt as well as a company office. Aquatic Airways ceased operations in 1993 and was replaced with Sydney Seaplanes flying a regular service over Pittwater to Newcastle and back, as well as charter and sightseeing flights.
Victor Walton had been a Nomad Test and Demonstration pilot. He was also prevailed upon to test new Australian invention planes such as the FSRW -
Aeropeida tells us:
The FSRW, constructed almost entirely of fibreglass, was initially a development project of the Sydney University School of Aeronautical Engineering in 1974. Designed as a two-seat amphibian with a flying-boat hull, the aircraft was intended for amateur construction. However, as it involved what were then fairly new construction methods, progress was slow and many parts had to be made a number of times to find the most economical and satisfactory way of constructing them. German experience in epoxy fibreglass construction of sailplane wings was employed in the wing construction.
A number of new features were included in the design. At the time construction commenced, it was the first flying-boat design to be built almost entirely of fibreglass (although others have since appeared in the amateur built category). It was designed as a short take-off and landing aircraft and was fitted with double-slotted flaps and leading-edge slats. Theoretically it had a take-off run on land of 37 m (120 ft), and a stalling speed of 43 km/h (27 mph). When first built power was provided by a Rolls Royce/Continental O-240A engine driving two wooden Hawker de Havilland-built propellers by VEE-belt drive, the propellers being mounted on two pylons above the wing.
The prototype, known as the FSRW-1, and later registered VH-XWS, was constructed on a property at West Pennant Hills, NSW. The aircraft made its first flight at Schofields, NSW, on 16th of March 1983 and was demonstrated to the public shortly thereafter at the Schofields Airshow with well-known Sydney Victa and GAF test pilot, the late Victor Walton, at the controls. On December 2nd that year, after a considerable amount of development, it made its first water flight from Pittwater near Palm Beach, NSW.
This article in The Bulletin edition of May 9th, 1978 tells you a little about Victor Walton:
Left to right: Russell Walton, Tony Wright and Vic Walton, famous test pilot. Photo: Walton family albums
In 1992 there is a Council note regarding the concurrence of the Pittwater Municipal Council and that Warringah Shire Council consent to the assignment of the Licence Agreement for the Non Motorised Boat Hire operation at Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach from Mr R Walton (Barrenjoey Sailboards) to Mr W Francis of 64 Edgecliffe Boulevarde, Collaroy Plateau, subject to all costs associated with the Assignment of the Licence Agreement being met by the assignor and assignee.
When Victor passed away, Rusty and his mum Carmel took over running operations. This entry in blogspot (Blogger.com) shares a review after a visit to 'Carmels by the Sea' in 2011:
Carmels By The Sea, Palm Beach
Carmels is set in a wonderful position, on Station Beach by the seaplane wharf. Tables and chairs are set out on huge wooden decks, and there is indoor seating too. There are meals and snacks, hot and cold drinks and cakes and ample space for strollers.
The decks are large enough for children to run around, but take care as the fencing is not completely childproof. Excitable junior seaplane lovers may zip off along the wharf.
The first level of the deck is under an awning; umbrellas provide shade for the tables and chairs on the lower deck.
Toilets/baby change: Toilet block in car park nearby.
Children's menu: Some meals and snacks.
An early morning drive down through the lush greenery of the Wakehurst Parkway and winding along on top of the ridges to Palm Beach evoked a lot of memories. The location has certainly put some polish on since this blogger last visited some years ago now. The smell of the salt in the air a perfect balmy morning and an excellent location. A lot of conversation about the inhabitants of this area, our politics, Qantas grounding and the state of the nation as well as what next our next visual treat in the cinema is going to be. We were entertained by the young wait staff who had a relaxed casualness about them perfect for the place. We were amused by the way coffee arrived one at a time and the incomprehensive mumble announcement of what was being delivered. Views out on Pittwater, spectacular and the place hasn't changed for some years. See a painting of the original wharf by Lally Low.
Food was excellent and the berry frappe served in the old style milk-bottles where a hit. Avocado, bacon served on rye with a tomato salsa and a squeeze of lime, and green (pesto)eggs and ham all went down very well. Brunch was a peppered with a number of calls with some furious phone bidding at an art auction - a purchase made!! Post brunch we toured the area looking at the real estate for sale. Oh to be so lucky!! to have a home in this heavenly place.
ANDREW: Tired from the birthday parties celebrations. But, still loved the beauty of this Palm Beach Café as well as my scrumptious food and beverage. 4.5 golden eggs.
BRAD: 4.5 golden eggs. Chichi, age shall not weary them.
SAL: I love this place - 5 golden eggs!! great food, great location, wonderful ambience.
In 2008 the Walton's sold the main lease of the site to a syndicate of Greg Paramor, Nick Burton-Taylor and Rick Hutchens, who, after they'd settled in, changed the operation to a new café 'The Boathouse'. They ran the café in the Boat House up until February 2014. Their food and service made the Boathouse one of Pittwater’s most popular places to eat.
Barrenjoey Boating Services, which was run by the lovely Adam Hillier until he passed away in 2019, was still in operation too, and still offering traditional Hire and Boating services.
Adam at his desk in 2013, inside the shed tacked onto the side of the boatshed. Below; BBS Support crew inside the 'shed' - Peter Verrills, Brian Friend OAM in the background, Tom Gilbert to right:
The trifecta on their stomping ground; Station Beach and Barrenjoey Boathouse, January 2013
Tom and Adam outside Barrenjoey Boating Services shed in 2014
Since then the Boat House in Governor Phillip Park has become part of the Boathouse Group and remained a popular eatery many of us visit frequently.
In recent weeks the demolition of this structure has taken place as those who hold the lease seek to rebuild the same in the same place, but with a better structure. This process commenced with plans submitted to council in May 2021.
That DA tells us the works include demolition of the existing two-storey building on the site; Construction of a new two-storey building in the place of the previous; Replace and extend existing lean-toon north elevation of Boathouse maintaining the form of existing; Raise the level of the building to an RL of 10,430 (to address flood inundation and wave action and ceiling heights required) and raise the level of the seaward decking; Install disability access from eastern side; Reconfigure front landscaping elements and entrance path from Barrenjoey Road accessway southwest to face Pittwater(which will include the installation of native plants); Addition of further landscaping east of loading bay, north of parking bays; Dune stabilisation north of Boathouse Boat Ramp; Amendment of parking bays to meet compliance standards; Install path running north from eastern side of Boat House to the Barrenjoey Beach; Construction of new ancillary building, replacing existing outbuildings southeast of the boathouse for use as additional bathroom amenities, storage and a refuse area; and Install a concrete and stone seawall at the southern junction of the deck and foreshore.
The footprint will remain the same and there are even passed plans to improve public access around the structure. The jetty will continue to be used for a range of recreational uses including boating, seaplanes and informal pedestrian access.
The subject site(s) are owned by The State of NSW and legally described as follows;
- Lot 298 DP721522 containing the existing Boathouse Café structure is bound by the Mean High Water Mark along the eastern face of the existing structure and extends into Pittwater.
- Lot 298 is zoned E2 Environmental Conservation.
- Lot 7005 DP1117451 comprising the licensed area extends from the Mean High Water Mark easterly for approximately 25 metres, generally in line with Barrenjoey Beach and the foreshore. Lot 7005 is zoned RE1 Public Recreation.
- Lot 7002 DP1117592 is the most eastern portion of the site and generally covers street frontage of the site, the street and the adjacent access road car park.
- Lot 7002 is zoned RE1 Public Recreation.
The Development Application includes landscaped areas to the east of the Boathouse premises that are proposed to remain in public use. It is noted that the existing landscape setting of this area had been significantly altered such that is appears as land that is occupied and managed by the Boathouse, with elements such as signage, enclosed landscaped areas, and furniture styled to match the interiors of the Boathouse but located within the public domain. To any visitor it is obvious that the existing arrangement is perceived to be that the area is part of the Boathouse and not for public use. Parks Referral advise that this public land area shall clearly be perceived as public land and that the landscape proposal submitted with the Development Application is to achieve this outcome, and Parks Referral deferred to Landscape Referral on this matter.
Approximate Proposed Public Access Area; 850.89m² (outside tables area facing to ocean)
Approximate Public Access to Crown Leased Land Area 254.11m² (wharf and walkways around)
Approximate Licensed Area 935.43m²
The ancillary building, which has been reduced by 40% from the original proposal, has a bin room, storage for boats and male and female WC's. As per plans and the Aquatic Ecology Report, pontoons north of the jetty cannot be reinstated without approval of the relevant authority.
The current use operates The Boathouse Café premises under a lease agreement with Crown Lands whilst the adjacent carpark, landscape area and amenities area currently operate under a license agreement with the Northern Beaches Council as Manager of Governor Phillip Park on behalf of the Crown.
Last week Cameron Greaves sent in the following photos on February 8th and 16th 2022 showing the stages of demolition - the place hasn't look like this since early 1946!. The Boathouse will reopen in 2023.
The site of protest rallies, the launch and return place for Lion Island Challenges, the place where families gather to let little ones splash about in the estuary while they sip a coffee or tea. The Barrenjoey Boathouse during its 75 years of being a part of the community has become an institution loved by locals and visitors alike. The Boathouse will commence its 76th year looking brand new, literally, even if just the same.
the late great Harvey Rose OAM, in full flight during the Barrenjoey Rally, July 14th, 2013 - Below: Pittwater Councillor Bob Grace:
Filming Home & Away, 2013:
Cameron's demolition photos:
Walton Family Photos Of The Boathouse, Station Beach, Governor Phillip Park; From 1975 On
Victor and Carmel Walton at front of photo
Boathoue at Palm Beach 2011 - 2022
Photos: A J Guesdon
Barrenjoey/Station Beach from Barrenjoey Headland 2013