May 5 - 11, 2024: Issue 624


Bilgola plateau Parks for the People: Gifted by A. J. Small, N. A. K. Wallis + the green pittwater pathways to keep people connected to the trees, birds, bees - for children to play

The Palm Grove, Avalon Beach - ON 165/924  Item No.: c07771_0001_c photo by Rex Hazlewood, circa 1921 (appears in sales brochures/lithographs pamphelts), Image Courtesy The Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Sign reads; 'This Palmgrove Also 10 other Reserves, Are Included to be DEDICATED by the Vendors of the Avalon Beach Estates as Parks for Public Recreation.' The 'Vendors' was Arthur Jabez Small.
The Palmgrove Estate was a December 1921 sold subdivision by A J Small - see: Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Avalon Beach

The instances of 'parks for the people' formed part of Pittwater from the earliest days of the shift of the area from being a rural food bowl to a holiday resort and, during the 1920's, a potential suburban area. 

The preservation of the Barrenjoey peninsula has been enriched through the work of those who came before us who had connections and homes here.

Along with the focus that stemmed from such bodies as the Kindergarten Movement to ensure children in inner city areas had access to play areas, with Maybanke Anderson at the helm, whose son Harry was one of the Barrenjoey Land Company Directors, the Wildlife Preservation Society and Sydney Bushwalkers and Marie Byles of Sunrise road Palm Beach, and Annie Wyatt of the Tree Lovers League and National Trust, and the Boomerang Walking Club of children's champion Ella McFadyen, developers such as Arthur Jabez Small were founders of the NSW Parks and Playground Movement, which was then embedded in his membership of the Town Planning Association.

Annie Wyatt was also involved and, as this small report records, brought all these like-minded organisations together:

Aims of Movement. 

"That every child shall have a chance to play and every citizen the opportunity for recreation" was adopted as a chief aim in the constitution of the New South Wales Parks and Playgrounds Movementwhich held its first annual meeting at the New South Wales Cricket Association's Chambers on Wednesday

"The normal expansion of Sydneys playing fields should be, at a minimum, from 100 to 120 acres of level land every year," says the report of the movement. A report on the whole matter by the Surveyor-General, who was being assisted by a committee of the movement, was expected shortly. "In the meantime, the executive of the movement has taken up (as an Immediate measure) the question of pressing for 'Five More Moore Parks."

The meeting, which was a full one, delegates from 30 bodies being present, was concerned largely with the elimination by the Legislative Council of the parks clauses of the Greater Sydney Bill

'This meant', said Dr. C. E. W. Bean, honorary secretary of the movement, 'that, although the Greater Sydney authority, if established, could plan parks and playgrounds, it would not be able to acquire them, or even to accept them if given to it-powers which were possessed by greater-city authorities all over the world. '

On the motion of the chairman, Mr. A. J. Small, seconded by Mr. D. G. Stead, the meeting expressed its unanimous disapproval of the elimination of these powers from the billThe liability of all State school playgrounds to taxation while many private school grounds were exempt was also strongly criticised in the report, a case being cited in which public land lying Idle was heavily rated as soon as it was permitted to be used as a play-ground for State schoolchildren. 

On the motion of the chairman, seconded by Mr. R.A. Bennett, it was resolved to urge that, in the bill projected by the Government, exemption should be extended to all school play-grounds. A committee was appointed "to co-operate with the city authorities in their task of re-organising the playground system of Sydney," And It was also resolved, on the motion of Mr. Burrows and Mrs. Wyatt, to urge the preservation by some means of the Pymble State forest. Mr. A. J. Small (president of the Town Planning Association) was elected as first president of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement. PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS. (1931, September 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

Arthur Jabez Small and the 'Old Girl' in Angophora Reserve Avalon Beach this reserve was named for, pre-1954 - photo courtesy ABHS - Geoff Searl OAM

This wasn't just a New South Wales movement - this was happening worldwide. In America there was the Outdoor Recreation League and the Playground Association of America, in the UK the older public park movement, which started in the 1830s, sprang mainly out of a desire to improve health in the over-crowded conditions of the rapidly growing industrial towns. They had swapped the Village Green for the grim factories; they needed to be able to access fresh air and sunshine.

By the end of the Victorian era the need for public open space had become widely appreciated. Increasingly, parks additionally became symbols of civic pride, providing inhabitants and visitors alike with attractive surroundings in which to enjoy their leisure time. In the minds of their promoters they also assumed a social role as places of betterment for the lower levels of society. [2.]

Ultimately their aim was to make playgrounds a part of any public landscape and planning - something which did not exist until these people stood up and stated this should occur. 

People were distressed by the rapid destruction of bushland and the 'hemming in' of populations by the rapid expansion of urban areas and also was was cited as poor planning and filling every green spaces with buildings when these open spaces were needed for exercise, for sport, for contact with the natural world and all a connection to the changing of the seasons naturally brings in maintaining the physical health of the body and the mindful health that supports.

On September 20th 1935 a newspaper report records:

''The Parks and Playground Movement has protested against suggestion in the Macquarie Street replanning committee's report, that new Parliament buildings and additions to Sydney Hospital should be built on open land in the Domain and old Government House grounds..''

One academic states;

The Parks and Playground Movement was heavily influenced by social Darwinism, and declared that ‘clean sport is not merely preventive of crime; it is undoubtedly one of the most powerful positive character-moulding influences in operation in the world today’.

Many would also cite Sir John Sulman’s 1890 lecture ‘The laying out of towns’  as marking the beginning of town planning in Australia. He too was an influential advocate for open space and garden suburbs over the next 40 years. 

The vision, which was shared from its outset by the newly created Warringah Shire Council, was ensuring places were set aside so people may access green areas and places for play. The State Government also shared this vision and resumed and set aside larger portions of land - Long Reef Aquatic Reserve and Griffith Park are one example, the gradual resumptions or gifting to everyone of Newport Beach, Palm Beach and Avalon Beach, as well as lands alongside another.

The keeping of green spaces, places with views outwards to sea and bush, and bush areas within the streets was part of this - the 'closing in' isolation identified through the Kindergarten Movement that would apply once these areas had become urbanised was well-known from the outset and the remedy was to keep it greener. 

Apart from the coastal headlands where open coastal scrub thrived, areas beside roads, originally mere tracks, were cleared of much of the original thick bushland enthreaded with creeks, the huge trees shipped off to England for ship-building and other commercial use, and as part of what colonists were required to do - 'clear the land' - so the land could produce crops, and when that failed due to the poor quality of the soil in this area, dairies and cows kept these cleared places of now paddocks alike green areas in the centre of villages.

This may have made land sales easier as people could pitch a tent in the cleared space of a bought block prior to building, but it emphasised those areas not cleared lent themselves to being ideal places to set aside as 'parks where children may play' and as places where the bushland and views may still be experienced.

The National Fitness Council's camps at Broken Bay, Mona Vale and Narrabeen, with the Pittwater Youth Hostel opening as part of this, were intent on connecting children and young adults to the environment, exercise and good health.

This has been an ongoing local campaign in Pittwater - the Bible Garden at Palm Beach, one of the later established 'parks for people', was preserved in part so everyone could see that view over Palm Beach from that height that many subsequent house projects have blocked from those walking along the roads, despite Pittwater Council's 'view sharing' clause as part of any DA application still applying.

The current day residents association for Avalon Beach, the Avalon Preservation Association commenced in 1967 as a result of local concern about the indifference to the natural environment displayed by Warringah Council and exploitative developers. 

Our environment as the restorative of health and as the place to connect to the original church and Voice of many seasonal songs and habitat therein, as a place to walk, hike, hear and see wildlife, and as a place exhale, to sit quietly and just be, was being passed on by one generation to the next as knowledge of where what is worth more is stored. This was decades before the 1975 discovery of endorphins in pigs and calves, and humans, and that was years before the relation between exercise or being in the great outdoors increasing endorphins release in the body - or 'being en-dolphined' as it sometimes gets called around here after a particularly stoked session in the salty ocean or an hour or two strolling along Pittwater bush tracks.

The five parks and bushland reserves that form part of this credo for Bilgola Plateau predate the formation of the Parks and Playground Movement although they were the intent of A J Small from the outset of the Avalon Beach valley, Clareville and Bilgola Plateau subdivisions which stemmed from his work.

Bilgola Plateau came after the earlier and sales down on what was once called 'Priests Flat' beside the beach.

In 1927 Arthur Jabez Small handed over the selling of the portions of land to two gentlemen who were to become big land developers in New South Wales and later, other states, George Malcolm Willmore and Reginald N. Randell. Although there would be problems with this arrangement, and he would be left responsible for the same, A J Small went ahead as land at Bilgola Plateau, that overlooking the Avalon Beach side, was being subdivided for sale. Late 1927 newspapers record:


The following companies have been registered, shares being of the value of £1 each: Avalon Beach Estates, Limited, capital £25,000, to purchase, take on lease or in exchange, or otherwise acquire any lands and buildings, but In particular to acquire a certain parcel of land, containing about 180 acres, situated at Avalon, N.S.W. First directors, G. M. Whitmore, R. N. Randell, and A. R. Macgregor. COMPANY NEWS. (1927, November 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from


After 15 years of quietly developing a large tract of land at Avalon Beach, Mr. A. J. Small has disposed of his entire Interest to the Avalon Beach Estates. Ltd.

This new company was formed and registered to exercise the option to. purchase, and has now formally taken possession. The area, comprising approximately 180 acres, is situated right at and adjoining the beach, and completely surrounds the golf course which was laid out by the well-known professional golfer Mr. D. G. Soutar, who claims that it Is the best nine-hole seaside golf course in the State. 

Modern town-planning has played an Important part in this new subdivision, and generous allowance has been made for public parks and reserves. The selling agents are Willmore and Randall Ltd. and the first release will probably be offered to the public this week. REAL ESTATE (1927, November 16). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 23 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from

Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings record in January 1928;

Bilgola heights reserve - 47. A.J. SMALL. 18/1/28. Submitting plan Avalon Estate Avalon Estate No. 1  and residue Lots 24 and 25 Bilgola Heights Estate. Dealt with in the Engineers' report.

By 1929, when they're trying to launch the venture, they're asking the council:

17. Avalon Beach Estates Ltd. 30/4/29. Inquiring if the Council will affix its Seal to the Deposited Plans of the Avalon subdivision, if furnished with a Bond from the Southern Union Insurance Co. Ltd.. for an amount sufficient to cover the cost of completing the unfinished roads. Referred to the Works Committee. 

The Deposited Plan (DP16902) and plans drawn for the sales lithographs along with the advertisements for same show the extent and not so rapid uptake of the lots for sale. They also show in these drawings acres set aside for parks for people and the preservation of bushland areas, along with dedicated pathways between the streets and bush areas to connect people to these set aside green lots as well as other roads and main roads where bus transport could be accessed.

It is here that the first of 6 Bilgola Plateau 'parks for the people' and preservation of original remnant bushland appear on maps and in records - most of them gifted to the community and the future by Arthur Jabez Small as part of his credo, along with this aligning with the then Warringah Shire Council's policy from its commencement to set aside parks for public recreation of residents and visitors and to ensure all these early subdivisions allowed pathways over the hills and through to the foreshores to keep permanent access to these for all the people all the time as much as connect those that walk to the transport available along main roads and to connect to village centres without having to walk the whole street.

Avalon Beach Estate Bilgola Plateau and Palmgrove estate lots - DP16902, courtesy NSW HRLV

In October 1928 Plateau road, and a sketch of other roads, as well as the then being constructed torpedo wharf at Clareville, appears in Willmore and Randall advertisements:

Plateau Road is now open for traffic. This enables us to release 200 new and particularly choice sites — sites with glorious elevation, within easy distance of ...Advertising (1928, October 7). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 33. Retrieved from

Panorama of Avalon with Avalon Beach in the background, New South Wales, 1930, 3 PIC/8140/3 LOC Album 1059 Album 1059 from Prospectus photographs of Avalon, 1930. Courtesy National Library of Australia.  nla.obj-147287739-1 and enlarged section from to show bush of Bilgola Plateau:

Advertising (1928, November 11). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 37. Retrieved from

The Bilgola Plateau Parks for People and wildlife

In February 1931 the formalisation of the dedicating these parks is recorded in Vol-Fol 4469-13, over 5 acres all up, which included some of the well-known Bilgola Plateau parks:

Note the creeks threading through these parks - the same is in the landscape at Angophora Reserve and Hudson Park (dedicated later as a public reserve, in 1957) during this era, as shown when that was formally gifted by A J Small and had the Wildlife Presrevation Society as Trustees, and in Dunbar Park, when that was gifted as well:

Pittwater Pathways: the Bilgola Plateau 'Ginnels'

A ginnel is a word in various Scottish and northern English dialects describing a fenced or walled alley between residential buildings that provides a pedestrian shortcut to nearby streets. Ginnels are typically found in suburban areas, and do not contain any business premises, unlike some other types of alley. Other related terms include snicket, tenfoot and snickleway.

Suburban streets in Pittwater similarly feature "cut-throughs", which are fenced or walled passages found between residential lots that grant pedestrians easy access to nearby facilities situated on other roads or to public areas on the foreshores. They may feature a nature strip and are generally marked by 'public pathway' signs and at times secured by bollards to prevent vehicle access.

According to Collins English Dictionary, a snicket is 'a passageway between walls or fences', and a ginnel is 'a narrow passageway between or through buildings'. Editors of some Yorkshire glossaries asserted a connection between ginnel and a Scandinavian word for 'mouth', on the analogy of an opening.

Land given to create and maintain public pathways Vol-Fol 4468-3:

Note the then Warringah Shire Council decides to permanently 'lease' some of this public land in the Dress Circle connections in 1955:

Panorama of Avalon Beach, New South Wales, ca. 1925 [picture] / EB Studios. PIC P865/212/2 PIC P865 LOC photographs in Hurley Stack 52/4-Enemark collection of panoramic photographs and section from enlarged - nla.obj-162503612-1. Courtesy National Library of Australia

         AVALON GOLF COURSE circa 1938 . Image No.: a2802001h, courtesy State Library of NSW - and enlarged section from to show junction and Plateau road as it was then:

The three spaces given to the community and future generations by A J Small are:

Weetawaa Road Reserve

0.0726 hectare

A small neighbourhood park, adjoining residential lots on three sides. The park consists of flat Kikuyu lawn areas with scattered trees and shrubs, including Eucalypts, Casuarinas and a large Coral tree. The park has some play equipment, seating and a tap/bubbler;

 Weetawaa at Bilgola Plateau - Aboriginal meaning is “a place of fire” - compare the Aboriginal meaning of Wee Waa - "Fire for Roasting" - from the language of the Kamilaroi people.

Plateau Park

Plateau Park is located on Bilgola Plateau and fronts onto Plateau Road. The reserve is 1.8850 hectares and contains Duffy's Forest, a Threatened Ecological Community - there is an access pathway through to Bilambee Avenue and Loblay Crescent.

Bushland: 90% small developed park: 10%

This large lawn area functions as a "village green" and field area for school and community. It is a large reserve comprising mainly natural bushland adjoining Bilgola Plateau Primary School and has a playground area near the park's frontage to Plateau Road, lawn areas with native trees and pockets of bushland. Trees include E haemastoma, E gummifera and Angophora costata.

The vegetation in Plateau Park is Duffy's Forest a listed Threatened Ecological Community and dominated by Eucalyptus sieberi, Corymbia gummifera and Eucalyptus haemastoma. There is a diverse shrub layer with common species including Glochidion ferinandii, Acacia myrtifolia and Lambertia formosa. There are also rare species including Woody Pear (Xylomelum pyriforme) and Waratah (Telopea speciosissima).

The reserve contains a range of nectar-rich shrub species that are important for a range of birds and insects. Plateau Park acts as a wildlife refuge for local fauna, and provides an important link in the wildlife corridor for faunal movement between larger bushland areas.

The Pinnacle Reserve at Bilgola

Area: 0.61 hectare. 5A The Pinnacle, Bilgola Plateau - which connects through to Palmgrove road at the eastern end and has some great views east over the valley of Avalon Beach. 

To the right is a photo taken from this track in 2012.

The track through this bush wends, is quite steep and the bushland itself is thick - but this is a great way to descend from near the top of Bilgola Plateau and take the back way down the hill to the village. 

The vegetation here is described as Hawkesbury sandstone open forest and has some great Angophoa costata trees - even the street leading down the hill into this reserve has great examples of these beautiful trees. Black She oaks, Red bloodwood, old man Banksia and Blueberry Ash may be found here too.

Pinnacle access point from Bilgola Plateau end

Sydney red gum (Angophora costata) - pictures we took in 2017 at this site

Palmgrove Park

As can be seen above, a park was set aside at Palmgrove Road and Dress Circle Road, Avalon as well.

At: Dress Circle Road and Bellevue Avenue Avalon. Area (ha): 2.34 hectares - 0.7188 m2 (western part), 0.4969 m2 (eastern). Land Title Reference: Lot 100 and 101 in DP11462, and Lots 477 to 488 in DP16902.

This is what is classed as a 'medium sized reserve', bisected by Dress Circle Road, comprising mostly natural bushland in a steep sheltered gully in the western part and lawn areas with stands of mainly native Cabbage Tree Palms and Spotted Gums in the flatter eastern part. The park also contains some items of play equipment. A track with flights of steps links the eastern parts of the park with Palmgrove Road. Palmgrove Park contains a significant stand of Cabbage Tree Palms as part of the Littoral Rainforest and Pittwater Wagstaffe Spotted Gum Forest. 

Bilgola Plateau has two other parks for the public:

Betsy Wallis Reserve

At: The Circle Bilgola. Area: 0.0793 hectare, Land Title Reference:  Plateau Lot 491, DP 16902

A small neighbourhood park with a feature sandstone rock garden and bench 'Betsy's Corner', as well as some notable remnant Angophoras, Banksias and other planted species such as succulents, amongst natural rock outcrops and low stone walls. It is a memorial park and a prominent local landmark and is used for informal recreation.

This as given to the community by Norman Arthur Kingsbury Wallis on July 5th 1956 in memory of his mother. 

Algona Bushland Reserve

At: Algona Street and Joanne Place, Bilgola Plateau  Size: 0.15 hectare Small Park (5%) and Bushland (95%)

This is a predominantly steep bushland reserve with filtered views of Pittwater over Salt Pan Cove. Contains a small area of parkland with play equipment adjoining Joanne Place. The park is densely vegetated with remnant trees such as Angophora costata, Eucalyptus gummifera, E. piperita, Allocasuarina littoralis, and Banksia sp.

Algona Reserve is a small example of bushland containing regionally significant plant species and acts as a local refuge for fauna and a stepping stone between larger areas of habitat. 

The vegetation is Hawkesbury Sandstone Open-forest dominated by Sydney Peppermint (Eucalyptus piperita). The reserve protects a small example of bushland containing regionally significant species, namely of Cabbage Tree Palms stands which are very restricted in Pittwater

Grey Gums, a notable feature of Algona Reserve, form a stand in the mown upper part of the Reserve. These trees also have hollows suitable for other arboreal mammals, as indicated by numerous smaller scratch marks, and may be used by Sugar Gliders or the threatened Squirrel Glider. The understorey provide cover for small birds, reptiles and frogs.

Some animals which have been recorded in this reserve include: Eastern Rosella's, Grey Butcher birds, King Parrots, Powerful Owls, Rainbow Lorikeets, Striped Marsh Frogs, Whip Snakes and a Pacific Baza.

Algona bushland reserve - Google maps

One people may forget exists is:

Lower Plateau Reserve

This Reserve of 0.7 hectares may be accessed between 284 and 286 and 240 and 242 Lower Plateau road, Bilgola  and is listed as Lot 136 in DP12838. The vegtation is described as Bloodwood-Scribbly Gum Woodland

This vegetation community is categorised by canopy species such as Red Bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera) and Broad-leaved Scribbly Gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma) and Smooth-barked Apple (Angophora costata) and shrub species such as Banksia Serrata and Sweet wattle (Acacia suaveolens). Tree canopy height reaches 10-15 metres.

Lower Plateau Reserve - map, 1997: Pittwater Council

Lower Plateau Reserve access point - Google maps

This reserve is tucked behind the homes, underlining the maintaining of access to bushland is embedded in our community, and has been since the outset of the shift from a place to relax or grow food to an urban environment. This great old ABHS photo of people working to keep the edges of Hilltop Road at Bilgola underlines those who lived here permanently, or spent months here during Summer, worked as one team - and maintaining that access to a park to play in or a tree to sit under, with a view to the horizon before you, and listen to the birds sing - and exhale:

Bilgola 1912, Item: FL2703195, courtesy NSW Records and Archives

Bilgola Beach aerial, September 1949, Item: SLNSW_FL18904221, courtesy the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

References - extras

  1. TROVE - National Library of Australia
  2. Harriet Jordan. Public Parks, 1885-1914. Garden History, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Summer, 1994), pp. 85-113 (29 pages). Published By: The Gardens Trust.
  3. Explore All Those Pittwater Pathways To Public Lands & Reserves, Catch A Ferry, Take A Stroll, Have A Hike, Go Watching Whales, Dolphins, Birds
  4. Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Bilgola
  5. Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Avalon Beach
  6. Pittwater Beach Reserves Have Been Dedicated For Public Use Since 1887 - No 1.: Avalon Beach Reserve- Bequeathed By John Therry
  7. Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways Bilgola Beach - The Cabbage Tree Gardens and Camping Grounds
  8. Newport Surf Club Celebrates 110 Years On October 19, 2019 - A Few Club Firsts
  9. Wilshire Park Palm Beach: Some History + Photos From May 2022
  10. The NSW Women's Legal Status Bill 1918: How The 'Petticoat Interference In Government' Came Of Age - A 100 Years Celebration Of Women Alike Our Own Maybanke Selfe-Wolstenholme-Anderson
  11. Harry Wolstenholme, June 21, 1868 - October 14, 1930 - Ornithologist Of Palm Beach, Bird Man Of Wahroonga
  12. A Pearl Of An Idea: Long Reef Aquatic Reserve Celebrates 40th Anniversary
  13. Annie Wyatt Reserve: Palm Beach - Pittwater Fields of Dreams II
  14. Marie Beuzeville Byles - 8th Of April, 1900 To 21st Of November, 1979
  15. Ella McFadyen's Love Of Pittwater: An Environment, Wildlife and Children's Champion
  16. Ella McFadyen's Love Of Pittwater: Children's Champion - shorter version for youngsters
  17. National Fitness Centres At Broken Bay, Mona Vale, Narrabeen: Local History Shows We Like To Move It! Move It!
  18. The Pittwater YHA: Some History
  19. Grand Old Tree Of Angophora Reserve Falls Back To The Earth - Angophora Reserve History (Creeks)
  20. Angophora Costata Named Eucalypt Of The Year 2023: The Tree One Of Our Local Reserves Is Named For - A Celebration
  21. Avalon's Village Green: Avalon Park Becomes Dunbar Park - Some History + Toongari Reserve And Catalpa Reserve
  22. Roads In Pittwater: The Barrenjoey Road
  23. Palm Beach Bible Garden
  24. Palm Beach Bible Garden Regeneration – Official Launch
  25. Avalon Preservation Association - Profile + History by Geoff Searl OAM

IN the will of NORMAN ARTHUR KINGSBURY WALLIS, late of Avalon, in the State of New South Wales, company director, deceased, testate.—Pursuant to the Wills, Probate and Administration Act, 1898, and the Testator's Family Maintenance and Guardianship of Infants Act, 1916, and the Trustee Act, 1925.—Notice is hereby given that every creditor or other person having any claim against the estate of Norman Arthur Kingsbury Wallis, the abovenamed deceased, who died on or about the 17th day of November, 1965, testate, and probate of whose will was on the 20th day of April, 1967, granted by the Supreme Court of New South Wales to Emil Ebenezer Joseph Ford, of 310 George Street, Sydney, Solicitor, the surviving executor in the said will named, is hereby required to send particulars in writing of such claim to the said Emil Ebenezer Joseph Ford, in care of the undersigned Messrs Emil E. J. Ford & Co., at the office hereunder mentioned on or before the 5th day of April, 1968, at the expiration of which time the said Emil Ebenezer Joseph Ford will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims of which he then has notice and notice is hereby further given that the said Emil Ebenezer Joseph Ford will not be liable for the assets or any part thereof so distributed to any person of whose claim he shall not have had notice at the time of such distribution.—Dated this 25th day of January, 1968. EMIT. E. J. FORD & CO., Proctors for the Executor, Stationers Hall, 310 George Street, Sydney. 25-2901. 6048—$5. IN the will of NORMAN ARTHUR KINGSBURY WALUS, (1968, February 2). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 486. Retrieved from 

Norman Arthur Kingsbury Wallis, RANVR, rank:
20 Apr 1942 S.Lt.
20 Oct 1942 Lt.
1 Sep 1944 A/Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1950 Lt.Cdr.

HMAS Gympie (J 238) A/Lt.Cdr. Minesweeper Sep 1944 Oct 1945 

Descriptions of the early landscape
The Barrenjoey 'track' was called the 'road to Belgoula' when Dalley had a property at Bilgola, as well as the 'road to Newport' and 'Pitt Water road', with stretches named for those who first made them, such as Campbell's at Newport. This well worn path follows the first aboriginal tracks and, as with settlers further down the line, the first Land Grantees were expected to make their own tracks and roads. Many of these simply followed that old aboriginal track north, and in doing so have retained a 'songline' aspect to the road known as Barrenjoey.

Soon after the first European settlers made their ways into Pittwater people were calling for a road:


Among the many improvements called for in the Colony, it has struck us as most essential, that the means of communication should be opened, by road, to Newcastle, and the settlements at and near Broken BayThat fine settlement is almost unknown from the present want of ferries and roads; and we have no hesitation in saying that Broken Bay will, ere long be one of the most important districts in the Colony. Settlers, newly arrived, are beginning to cry out - ‘There is no land’, while millions of acres lie entombed upon the seaside. In America the finest land taken possession of, is generally that contiguous to water carriage, and with the convenience of good harbours. The North-east arm of Broken-bay is one of the finest enclosed pieces of water in any Colony, resembling, it is said, in extent and smoothness, the beautiful water of Lochlomond, in Scotland; and when the day arrives, which we trust is not far distant, when steam boats will ply from harbour to harbour along the shores of Australia, a grant of 1000 or 2000 acres in the neighbourhood of Broken-bay, Reid’s Mistake [Lake Macquarie], and Port Stephens, will be a fortune. "An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told." (1825, June 16)The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from 

For decades moving yourself or produce via boats was the easier way to shift anything, whether going into 'Sydney Town' or just across to the other side of Pittwater via the estuary. The open land between Mona Vale and Narrabeen allowed the carrying of goods via carts as time went on, as shown in the story of David Foley.

A description of the road north published in 1861 marks a start point in the pre-developments for mail runs and conjures up a rural idyll that was more bush and creeks than smooth thoroughfares built for soft tyres:

Passing Jenkins' farm there is a level piece of beautiful turf nearly two miles long, and a quarter of a mile broad, quite fitted for a racecourse ; forming the finest gallop anywhere near Sydney, and almost of it-self worth the trouble of riding out to. After this, bush occurs again, and then the Narrobin lagoon is reached, half a mile wide-sometimes nearly dry, sometimes up to the horses' knees or girths, and at times impassable. "We found it very low, but filled with fish of various sizes, darting in all directions. This back water extends inland quite out of sight, but is a perfect level sand all over, and, if not fordable, can be crossed by the bar of sand which shuts it out from the sea.


Parish of Manly Cove land titles map section from and section from that section showing placement of the Jenkins' homestead - courtesy NSW Land Registry Services,  HLRV - Historic Parish Maps, NSW Records

The road continues alternating with fine galloping ground over the downs, on the sand-hills and through the bush; every now and then magnificent headlands appearing suddenly as you emerge from the bush, generally enclosing between them a fine sandy bay, upon which the ocean rolls in with a most majestic appearance from the heights above.

Near Mr. Farrell's farm are cliffs at least 100 feet high, from which a man fell, whilst shooting birds, from the rock giving way; and, strange to say, he was not much hurt, as he walked out a few days afterwards. The beach underneath is covered with debris of trees and timber, driven down the Hawkesbury by the recent floods, and drifted about here into the bays. The road from Farrell's to the flagstaff has not the sea in view, being amongst bush and steep gullies, over picturesque murmuring creeks. We crossed a tent, where men were boring for coals on the Rev. Mr. Therry's land they have reached 150 feet without success; but it appears that the cognoscenti have pronounced the seam to be deep but certain.

That it is hard stuff in some strata, is seen by four inches only having been gained in the last two weeks. If coal is found, a tramway to Manly will save a sea voyage to Newcastle, and open a great traffic.

Suddenly, after emerging from a tortuous mountain track, we come in full view of the magnificent estuary of Broken Bay or Pitt Water, running nine miles inland, with water enough for the largest man of war: here the Juno formerly went for gunnery practice, and ascended five miles up.

The middle water is the mouth of the Hawkesbury, several miles in extent, and beyond it is the bar of Brisbane Water, known by the surf beating over it, and difficult of access for any but coasters and steamers, the deep channel being narrow with less than two fathoms of water This runs inland sixteen miles ; East Gosford, a rising township, being at the head of the head of the navigation.

Thus the Hawkesbury has Brisbane Water on the north, and Pitt Water on the south of its embouchure, all three compused between the North and South heads, and about ten miles across. The appearance is not unlike Sydney Harbour near Middle and North Harbours, with the exception of more width, and heavier timber all around

The first thing that met our eyes on the shores of Pitt Water, was a small colony of Chinamen, who live in tents, and are engaged in curing fish caught there, for the Melbourne and Sydney markets a dozen small boats are engaged in the trade, which I hear has been a good hit, although, just now, there are no fish, which is attributed to the great floods having driven them all out to sea. Another mile along a level piece of turf by the water side, brings us to the coast-guard station, where Mr Ross has for several years been in charge. He very politely led us to the top of the rock, where the flagstaff is placed commanding a splendid view of all the surrounding scenery for many miles in all directions. This is Barenjo on the south Head, and is about 100 feet high. Several soldiers, made out of trees, as large as life, and painted, are placed about, and might actually serve as landmarks to vessels entering these complicated waters they would be more useful several miles up the mer, where steamers have often taken the wrong channel, owing to the numerous wide branches on either side, rendering the proper channel difficult to recognise.

Thus ends the trip to Broken Bay, which, for diversity of scenery of entirely an opposite nature, constantly' recurring, forming a succession of panoramas of forest, lagoon, green turf, sand hills, mountains, gullies, creeks, precipices, and (few and far between) settlers farms, I will venture to affirm, cannot be equalled in so short a distance of thirty miles in any part of Australia, and will much repay the trouble of the journey and somewhat plain fare attendant upon it, as, after Manly, there is no accommodation for travellers, and supplies should be carried with them from there from Manly, the distance to Barenjo is twenty-one miles, and can be performed, starting early in the morning, there and back the same day, half the road being a splendid turf, which part of the ground can be got over quickly, and the remainder offering no difficulties to the rider

This trip can only be performed on horseback, but you can avoid taking a horse across Middle Harbour by hiring one at Manly Beach, and going from there to Broken Bay, the road, after crossing the Manly Lagoon, being the same as I have attempted to describe.

JUNIUS . A TRIP OVERLAND TO BROKEN BAY, THE MOUTH OF THE HAWKESBURY. (1861, April 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

View near Pitt Water, N.S.W., the Pacific Ocean in the distance: 1 print : wood engraving ; 14.5 x 20.2 cm by Walter G Mason, 1820 - 1866 - Created/Published [Sydney : J.R. Clarke, 1857] - nla.obj-138439841-1 - courtesy National Library of Australia.

Another from a few years on:


It seems strange that a portion of the country so near Sydney, of the most picturesque character, and containing much good agricultural land, terminating in a harbour almost as fine as that of Port Jackson, should be a veritable terra incognita to all but a very few of the citizens of Sydney — yet so it is. 

To Pitt Water there are two roads - one branching off about ten miles on the Lane Cove Road, and the other from Manly Beach. The latter runs along the coast, and after the first four or five miles, is perhaps unrivalled in the colony for beauty. After crossing the Manly Beach lagoon there is a rather tugged bit of road over what is termed the Stony Range ; and beyond some severe undulations, there is little to interest the traveller till he arrives at the Dewi Lagoon, on the bosom of which may frequently be seen a cluster of black swans. The road winds round the lagoon for a mile or so, and you then pass over the spur of a hill, from which a splendid view is obtained of the ocean and the coast as far as Long Reef. That, however, which is most striking, is the change in the surface character of the country. From Manly to this point vegetation is brown and stunted, with huge rocks on the hills, and sand in the hollows, and an atmosphere charged with a suffocating smell of burnt wood, and that peculiar odour always met within barren situations in Australia, so oppressive and enervating; but once over the hill that divides the lagoon from the property of Miss Jenkins, and you feel that you are taking in draughts of pure air, while the eye is delighted with a change so complete. The couch grass covers all the cleared spats, and these are numerous, running up to the top of the cliffs that overhang the sea coast ; and even where the land is not cleared, the grass is in many places very luxuriant. The road from the Jenkins' estate runs over a flat within a few yards of the coast, till it reaches the Narrabeen Lagoon, and parallel with it is a long narrow field of rich green; after heavy rains it is difficult to cross the lagoon, and horsemen or pedestrians usually head it, but at the present time the water at the ford is not at any part more than twelve inches deep, and a line of posts defines it. 

At Narrabeen the road takes a more inland direction, over flats and gentle hills, until it reaches the sheep- folds of the late Mr. Jenkins ; and here again it comes out on a cliff - covered with grass, from which the South and North Heads of Broken Bay may be seen, while stretching away in the distance are beautiful valleys, some cleared, and some full of the cabbage trees, ferns, and other beautiful specimens of the vegetable kingdom. It is the same until you reach the farm once occupied by the Farrells, who were two years ago convicted of destroying cattle owned by a farmer named Terry. 

A long and magnificent beach fronts this property, flanked by two imposing headlands; and on crossing a rustic bridge over a small salt-water creek, the pinch of the road is met with winding up a cliff not less than 300 feet above the seaAbout two miles further on, from another eminence, a view suddenly breaks on the way-farer, certainly, unsurpassed, we think, in this or any other country. It is a magnificent valley, nearly surrounded by hills, — in the centre of which is the daily farm of Mr. John Collins, nearly opposite whose door rises, to the height of 360 feet, the South Head of Broken Bay. On the west side are the ranges that divide Pitt 'Water Harbour from the Hawkesbury River, and through a narrow flat, may be seen the placid water of one of the numerous bays of this fine haven. This farm is a part of the property of the late Rev. Mr. Therry, R. C., and is also well covered with rich grass. Mr. Collins is seldom without a visitor, either by sea or land, and very few ever pass his hospitable cottage on the way to Barranjoey without calling. Here, too, is the cave to which has been given the name of St. Michael, the descent to which over the cliff has been rendered somewhat easier than it was — and about a mile from the cave is the 'Gothic arch,' almost perfect in its proportions, though a purely natural formation. It is about seventy feet high, and from a distance is exactly like the altar window of some huge ruined cathedral erected by the sea-side. 

W.H. Raworth (Brit./Aust./NZ, c1821-1904). St Michael’s Arch, NSW [Avalon] c1860s. Watercolour, signed lower left, obscured title in colour pencil verso, 34.2 x 56.5cm. Tear to left portion of image, slight scuffs and foxing to upper portion.  Price (AUD): $2,900.00  at: 

To that point vehicles may proceed without difficulty; from thence to Barranjoey it is only a bridle track, over a mountain, rugged with broken rocks and gnarled trees, but as you progress, magnificent views of Pitt Water harbour and the opposite shore of Broken Bay are obtained, while not the least striking feature is Lion Island, the outline of which is an almost exact resemblance of that noble animal lying . with its head erect, as if guarding the entrance to the Hawkesbury. The 'inclines' on this mountain track are somewhat startling to the novice in bush travelling, the descent into what is termed the 'Dark Gully' being not unlike some of those represented by folklore in Dante's journey to Hades — though the immortal Italian never tried it on horseback. 

At the south end of this mountain is Barranjoey, a dark oblong mass, presenting on all sides a rugged front, and joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus of sand, over which the sea once broke, but now it is covered with a carpet of green, with a ridge of low brushwood along the centre. Just under Barranjoey is the pretty cottage of the Customs officer, Mr. Ross, and the residences of those connected with the Customs station. There is evidence of taste in the gardens and the other cultivated ground around the station, and an air of peaceful comfort quite refreshing to those engaged in the turmoil of city life. From the station to the flagstaff on the top of the mount, the ascent is by a pretty walk, which must have taken considerable time to make, and on either side are various shrubs so planted as to throw an acceptable shade over the road. The view from here is a fitting climax to those on the journey down — to the south-west is a harbour that would hold the fleets of Great Britain, to the west the mouth of the Hawkesbury, to the north Pyramid Island and the entrance to Brisbane Water, and the innumerable inlets that dent the land stretching far into the sea and forming the South Head of Broken Bay, and on the east the unbroken curve of the Pacific. 

On the eastern side of Pitt Water, between Barrenjoey and the farm of Mr. Collins, there is a fishing station, of Chinese and Europeans, and even here the neatness of the huts and the care bestowed on the cultivation, of flowers are really pleasing to contemplate. The hut of the European is literally covered with foliage, and surrounded with bee-hives, on which he bestows . much attention. The Chinese cure the fish caught for exportation, and their establishment is a perfect pattern of order and cleanliness; and like the hut of their neighbour, is in the midst of flowers, many of rare description. Beautiful and interesting as the country is from Manly Beach to Broken Bay, one feature presents itself of an unpleasant character, and that is the apparent decay of the farms — it is evident that a large quantity of land was under cultivation.

 At one time in this district, 'ruthless ruin' seems, however, to have seized on what a few years ago must have been an animated scene. The land now lies fallow, and, save for the feeding of a few cattle, and sustaining about fifty people, is of no use whatever in contributing its quota to the general welfare. No doubt, the comparative difficulty of communication with the city by land has something to do with this state of things, but it is impossible not to believe that the chief cause of this inertia is to be found in the bad reputation of the district for agrarian outrages. The history of the Mona Vale case reveals a condition of society, within a few miles of Sydney, that might well deter persons from settling there ; and though the arm of the law fell on some of the evil-doers in that locality, there is now too much reason to fear that similar outrages will again disturb the district, as, only a few weeks ago, Mr. Wilson found a valuable bull of his, and a heifer belonging to another person, grazing on his land, both dead, having been shot evidently by design. This is a serious matter to the owner, but it is still mere serious to the community in the demoralisation likely to ensue from these villainous practices. It is the duty of the authorities at once to take such steps as may ensure protection for honest and hard working men, who with the responsibilities of large families to support and educate, are striving hard to do so, and are willing cheerfully to contend with climatic variations, and other disadvantages, but cannot Stand against the treachery of scoundrels who Stealthily destroy the means by which they live. A reward for the discovery of the offenders and the presence of a well mounted policeman in tho district would probably lead to good results ; and, above all, in case of conviction, a punishment that shall remove them from the district for some years. A RIDE TO BARRANJOEY. (1867, March 23). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), p. 9. Retrieved from

The Wilson family, a few threads of which formed part of the Pittwater Fishermen: Great Mackerel, Little Mackerel (Wilson's Beach - Currawong) and The Basin page, also gives us an insight into road, or track making during this period as some of the witnesses at the subsequent trail were in fact making roads north in the area between Mona Vale and Newport:

-The court adjourned for lunch, and on its resumption, Mr. Driver continued the cross-examination: He saw young Farrell on the Little Reef Hill. He saw Leek working on the road when he spoke to him. It might be 600 or 700 yards away. It was from there he saw young Farrell. Cannot recollect whether there was any rain on the Thursday. It is not generally a sandy country. Sometimes large mobs of cattle run on his farm. As near, as he could guess, there was about thirty head of his cattle there. Did not go on his land. The bridge that he tracked the cattle across is about twelve or fourteen feet wide. He tracked them on the soft country. Constable Carton called at his house towards Sunday morning.' Witness put a bottle containing brandy on the table. Can't say if Carton drank any. He took about three nobblers in a Husk to Farrell's. Carton drank some of that. Prisoner denied having fresh meat when asked by Sergeant Bloomfield, but afterwards showed the police some meat in a cask. Saw steelyards there. Bloomfield asked if anybody could weigh with the steelyards. Did not hear Farrell say that he could. Bloomfield asked witness if he could weigh with steelyards. They were got, but the pea was not an them ; it was produced after-wards ; young Farrell threw it, and said, " Here it is." On being questioned by the police, Farrell said he got it all from the butcher at Manly. He has no ill-feeling towards the Farrells. After they killed his dog with an axe he shook hands with them and made it up. 

To the Bench : The farms are not fenced in. Prisoner's house is about a mile and a half from witness's ; there is no boundary fence. ...

'Little Reef, Newport' by Harold John Graham, circa 1885. nla.obj-135520885-1, courtesy National Library of Australia

Charles Leek, a roadmaker at Pitt Water, knows the prisoner; also knows Wilson. Recollects being with him on the 4th of this month. Saw prisoner on horseback driving cattle. He went out of witness's sight. Does not know what direction he was going. He was on the top of the hill, a good distance from where he was at work.
-By. Mr." Driver : It was between four and five o'clock in the afternoon. He was about a quarter of a mile away. Can't tell how ho was dressed. He was riding a bay horse Don't know how it was branded. Swear point blank it was him. If he saw Mr. Driver as many times at he has seen prisoner he could toll him. He may have been a mile away, from Wilson's house. He was more than three hundred yards away from Wilson's house. It might be three-quarters of a mile He was working alongside the telegraph line. Swears there was more than ten posts between where he was working and Wilson's house.
-To Mr Windeyer : He is positive it was prisoner. He is not mistaken about him at all. He was with him the night before. The court adjourned at four o'clock until Monday next, at eleven o'clock. Bail extended.
WATER POLICE COURT.—WEDNESDAY. (1870, August 25). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 4. Retrieved from 

With a Customs House at Barrenjoey by 1840, and then a light to warn all ships at sea of the headland's position, came the need for telegraphic communication - these poles following that early route:

The Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, approved of the agreement entered into at the Postal Conference of March last. At the same sitting, the sanction of the House was accorded to the placing of a light on Barrenjuey, at the entrance of Broken Bay. NOTES OF THE WEEK. (1867, July 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from 

No. 87.—Australia, East Coast, "New South Wales.—Temporary Fixed Lights at Broken Bay.

The colonial Government of New South Wales has given notice that from the 20th day of July, 1868, two temporary lights, called Stewart's lights, would be exhibited on Barrenjuey, the inner south headland of BROKEN BAY.

The lights are fixed white lights, bearing E.S.E. and W.N.W. from each other, distant 390 yards; the higher one is elevated 347 feet, and the lower one 315 feet, above high water, and in clear weather should be seen from a distance of about 12 miles.

Both lights will be eclipsed from seaward between the bearings North to N.N.W., N. W., to prevent them from being seen over the land, which recedes from the outer south head, and also to ensure a vessel passing a safe distance off the south head, by keeping the lights in sight when running for Broken Bay. The lower or outer light will be lost sight of in rounding Barrenjuey, but the upper light will be a good guide for coasters bound to Pitt Water, or for large vessels wishing to obtain shelter in Flint and Steel Bay. SHIPPING NEWS. (1868, December 11). The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), p. 2 (LATE EDITION.). Retrieved from 

L1350, to connect Barrenjuey with Sydney, by telegraph, was voted, as also L750 for the purchase of 500 iron telegraph poles, tenders for the supply of which will be invited in the colony. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30. (1870, April 2). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 4. Retrieved from 

Electric Telegraphs:— To connect Barrenjuey with Sydney 1,350 0 0, Iron Telegraph Posts 3,750 . 0 0 No. II. An Act to enable the Government to raise a Loan for Public Works and other purposes. [Assented to, 26th September, 1870.] (1870, September 30). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 2121. Retrieved from 

The distance from Manly to Barrenjoey in the 1870s was 17 miles (showing four miles had been trimmed from the 1861 account) and still made by horseback. Today it is 13.79 miles, or 22.2 kilometres:

Farming Prospects at Blue Gum Flat.

We give space to the following account of a district that is now becoming known as an agricultural area, which but a few years ago did not even bear a name : — This flat lies nearly north of Sydney some thirty miles (as the crow flies). To one inclined to proceed to it on a tour of discovery, three routes are available. First, by steamer to Gosford— a four hours' passage — thence by host Campbell's cob, over six miles of particular 'corduroy' or logged roadway. Second, on horseback, by the mail route (we have a post-office, through St. Leonards, and over the Hawkesbury at Peat's Ferry; the total distance some 35 miles. Third, per steamer to Manly, thence by horse to Barrenjuey (17 miles), thence by boat to Gosford, and onward as before; the distance by this route approaching 40 miles in all. Farming Prospects at Blue Gum Flat. (1872, February 10). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 164. Retrieved from 

The first 'tourist' visitors were landed at Careel Bay or Barrenjoey itself via steamers. With the building of a Lighthouse at Barrenjoey and a hotel at Newport in 1880 a shift towards making the shorelines more accessible for wave after wave of 'excursionist' meant thousands came here to fish, to gather wildflowers, to picnic prior to the toot of that steamer signalling the return home along the Pittwater estuary, out around the Barrenjoey Headland and down the coast back into Sydney Harbour.

Telegraph Lines

1. Manly Beach to join the Barrenjuey Line at Bolton's Farm, a distance of 12 miles, and an extra wire on the present poles to Barrenjuey; also a line from Ettalong Beach to Webb's, a distance of two and a half miles; and from the cable landing at Gosford to the Telegraph Office at that place,—to be completed in one month. No. 8 E. B. B. wire to be used. TENDERS FOR TELEGRAPH LINES. (1881, January 25). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 492. Retrieved from 

The instigation of a mail route, and this being deliverable to Mona Vale, Newport and Church Point by coach, and further on to Barrenjoey on horseback also underlined the tracks built by the first European settlers were and must be further developed.

The rise of a holiday tide and Boarding Houses or holiday cottages for hire attracted more visitors and more coaches for moving people beyond Narrabeen. The opening up of parcels of land for sale from the 1880 'Newport Marine Estate' right through to the 1920's Avalon Beach Subdivisions also contributed to the development of roads and even changes to the way the road north went; the filling in of Newport 'lagoon', the cutting into the Bungan beach hill to form a six lane carriageway, the building of the Bilgola Bends and the change of the main road through Avalon Beach from Old Barrenjoey Road to what was named, initially, the New Barrenjoey Road being four 'change of landscape' examples.

The advent of the motor vehicle and the drive to open up parcels of land this invention brought, especially the influence of motor vehicle organisations such as the N.R.M.A. for better and therefore safer roads, caused faster changes than the 'patch ups' that marked previous decades. The rise of motor vehicle enthusiasts in Australia occurring a few years prior to the first real council for the northern end of the peninsula being instigated in the Warringah Shire Council, which worked in concert with some of the earliest Residents 'Progress' Associations, such as those formed a few years prior to them at Church Point and Bayview as well as the longer lived Newport residents association, were also an influence.

The development of Newport as a 'resort' was a key factor in seeing the oft called for 'improvements' finally materialise from those earliest days, as was Mona Vale residents determination to see 'Mona Vale go ahead' - first signalled with the opening of Taramatta Park (now known as the Village Green park at Mona Vale) and continuing into the 1920's and 1950's with calls for electricity, for water pipes to be connected to houses. These developments give us the names of 'subordinate roads' - they also show when and where these were built first, and improved.

Campbell Avenue (main view) Newport, from the corner of Beaconsfield Street, from album Pittwater scenes, 1880 / Harold Brees courtesy State Library of NSW - note the Telegraph wires. The drawings appear to be the originals for six of the lithographs illustrating 'The Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes album'. [Sydney] : Mills, Pile & Gilchrist, 1880. (Lithographed by S.T. Leigh & Co.)

We have received from Messrs. Mills, Pile, and Gilchrist, (who have published it for the proprietors) an interesting pamphlet descriptive and illustrative of the beauties and attractions of Newport, Pittwater, and the celebrated Hawkesbury lakes. The work consists of about eight pages of letter-press and nine carefully lithographed drawings, depicting the more important scenes and places of interest in the locality. The description is capably written, and the illustrations, lithographed by Messrs. S. T. Leigh and Co., from water colour drawing- by Mr. H. Brees, are very creditably executed, and give excellent ideas of the places represented. Appended is a plan and local sketch of the new marine township of Newport, and altogether the publication is one which will commend itself highly to all interested in one of the most picturesque spots on the New South Welsh coast. NEW'S OF THE DAY. (1880, August 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

Angophora Reserve

The original 7 acres that comprised this bushland reserve was provided to the Wildlife Preservation Society at half its value through the advocacy of A J Small, who was still pursuing his green vision of open parklands and interlinked  bush reserves as well as wide thoroughfares for Avalon Beach.

Angophora Reserve is located in the core of the Barrenjoey Peninsula bordering the suburbs of Avalon, Clareville and Taylors Point. It consists of 18.5 hectares of bushland containing five plant communities. This in turn provides significant habitat values for a range of native fauna species acting as an island and refuge for flora and fauna in the urban environment. It also forms a significant part of Barrenjoey Peninsula’s remnant bushland, and as such plays a significant role as part of a wildlife corridor. 

The total area of 18.5 hectares comprises of 3 hectares of Angophora Reserve to the east (volume 4828, Folio 108, Transfer 1. 141993, 26.6.1942, Lots 355, 387, 388, 524, D.P. 16902 Palmgrove Road and the Circle, Avalon) and the 15.5 hectares that was formally known as Hudson Park to the west (volume 84230, Folio 160, Subdivision Reserve in D.P. 13291, off Hudson Parade, Avalon). 

When the bush reserve was purchased in 1937 W.G. Kett, W.G. Stead and T.Y Harris were appointed trustees.

The NSW HRLV provides under Volume 4828, Folio 108:

Angophora Reserve notes from Warringah Shire Council Records show:

March 15th, 1938: 37. Wild Life Preservation Society, 6/3/38, inviting the Councillors to the Official Opening of the Angophora Reserve at Avalon at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 19th inst., the said Reserve having been set aside by the Society for the preservation of a giant example of the Sydney Red Gum and other flora. Council stated; That the Society be informed it is regretted no one will be able to be present.

Ordinary Meeting, 14/10/41. 32. E. O. Hanson, 6/10/41, re Angophora Reserve, Avalon, expressing pleasure at its transfer to the Council, and stating he is unable to carry out the duties of Honorary Ranger owing Reserve to ill-health, and suggesting that Dr. Eric Pockley would be an excellent man for the position. The Council Resolved: That inquiries be made whether Dr. Pockley is a permanent resident of Avalon, and if he is, he be invited to accept the position of Honorary Ranger of the Reserve: (Crs. O'Reilly, Bathe).


The following paper, " On the Laying out of Towns," was read at the meeting of the the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science, in Melbourne, by Mr. John Sulman, F.R.I.B.A., architect, of Sydney:—

A typical Australian town is made up, like a chess-board, of a number of co-equal shares, or, possibly, rectangles. The chief merit of such a plan is its simplicity, and the ease with which the work of the surveyor can be performed. The defects are, however, many, and it is a thousand pities that a work of such great importance to the future millions of Australia should be performed with so little thought and care. 

Unfortunately, the plans of most of our existing towns are fixed beyond the possibility of radical alteration; but there are many more yet to be laid out where now the gum-tree grows, and suburbs to be formed on sites at present innocent of the surveyor's peg. In these at least we may avoid past errors, and make some attempt at a more rational system. How such a desirable end is to be attained I hope to point out very briefly under the five headings of "location," "utilisation," "decoration,'' "legislation," and "realisation."


In the first place, a town should only be laid out where the conditions for its growth are present, such as a considerable area of surrounding agricultural land, subterranean mineral wealth, or at points suitable for trade, like the convergence of highways, an important railway junction, or a port of shipment. Too often these conditions are wanting, and then, if of Government origin', it is a direct loss to, the community, and if privately promoted, it is still a loss, but in-directly through individuals. A comparison of the country maps with the country itself will show many an apparently extensive town still covered with thick bush, from which even the surveyors' pegs have totally disappeared. Granted, however, the necessary conditions for growth, the natural healthiness of the site is the next point to consider. Much may no doubt be done by the skill of engineers to improve an unhealthy site, but in a now country, where the land is practically unlimited, it is little short of a crime to permit any town to be formed which from its location will encourage disease. 

The most potent evils to guard against are swampy or flooded land and an impervious subsoil. Of the former there are far too many examples. I will describe one. In a rich agricultural district of the parent colony a Government township was laid out many years ago on rising ground near the banks of a river. The upset price was low, but just on the other side of the stream a large area of land was possessed by a drunken old settler. It was, however, flooded in wet seasons. So far as position was concerned either bank would serve as the river was bridged. Cheapness, however, won the day, and the flooded land was purchased in blocks at the price of a bottle of rum by ignorant now chums, and on it the town was built.

Every few years the river comes down "a banker", covers the town several feet deep in mud and water, and leaves behind a legacy of who can say how much suffering and death ? Now the inhabitants are petitioning for extensive works of embankment, and in course of time will, no doubt, obtain a large grant of public money for the purpose. If surface unsuitability is thus ignored what may we expect when the subsoil is in question. Its importance as bearing on the health of a town can scarcely be exaggerated, but it rarely receives a thought. As a flagrant example I will, describe a noted health resort. Picturesque hills surround a green valley on almost every side. The surface soil is loamy and fairly pervious, but 8ft. to 12ft. below an impervious bed of clay underlies the whole of the valley. At any point water may be reached by digging to that depth. Above this clay bed the town is laid out. At present it is little more than a large village ; but when its vacant lots are filled up, and the sur-face , soil ,is choked by impurities, what will be the death rate of that placer? 

An expensive system of land drainage at the public cost will be an absolute necessity to palliate the evil of wrong selection, though it can never be a cure, and the worst of it is that a few miles away, on the most direct route, there is land possessing all the requisites of a healthy site, except that of railway communication, which was engineered on to the inferior land by political influence. Assuming, however, the natural healthiness of the site, its artificial preservation, when occupied by a large population, is the next point to consider. Three conditions are essential-namely, an abundant supply of good water, at a sufficient elevation and within a reasonable distance, adequate surface drainage for storm-waters, and levels that will permit of a system of underground sewers, with a suitable outlet and area of land for the disposal of the effluents. How few of our towns possess all these, and how many lack them.


The typical mode of subdivision I have already alluded to, and it is very useful from the " pay your money, take your choice" and "do as you like" point of view. Blind chance in such a case determines the future of each street or block, and the game of " beggar my neighbour " is too often played by adjoining owners with opposing views or interests in the buildings they erect. It is a case of individualism run mad; and with no better result than that in the course of years and after many re-buildings, some kind of order and classification will have been evolved out of the chaos of the ¡commencement ; whereas, it should not be forgotten, a modern town is an organism with distinct functions for its different members requiring separate treatment, and it is just as easy to allot these to suitable positions at the first, as to allow them to be shaken with more or less difficulty into place, while the final result is not to be compared on the score of convenience, utility, or beauty. It will be conceded without dispute that the centre round which town life revolves is the scat of its government ; hence the town hall should be allotted the best and most central position. Closely adjoining it sites should be reserved for other public buildings such as the post office, court-house, and district land office, and near by opportunities should be given for the erection of semi-public buildings, such as banks, offices of public companies, theatres and places of amusement, hotels, clubs, and possibly one or two churches, though the latter are best located in the residential districts. 

The buildings most used by the population would thus be grouped together, and a saving in traffic effected as compared with the present plan of haphazard distribution. To prevent congestion the absolute centre should form an open reserve, and from this broad and direct roads or boulevards should radiate to the sur-rounding country, the railway station, or navigable river. The exact lines these should take can only be determined after careful study of each specific case. Now fill in between these radiating boulevards with ordinary streets, and with the addition of a few diagonal lines, we shall obtain a plan far more useful for intercommunication than any arranged on a rectangular basis. In fact, it will resemble that marvel of ingenuity, a spider's web, than which nothing could be better devised for rapid access to all parts of its surface. 

Immediately around the central nucleus the business quarters would be located, while retail trade would naturally extend for some distance along the main arteries of traffic; and further out, as the spaces between the main lines become wider, the residential quarters would find their place. But these should not be extended too far without a break, and if the admirable example of Adelaide could be followed by introducing a bolt of park lands, the gain to the health of the town or city would be great. Beyond this belt of open ground as the town increased in size, suburbs would naturally spring up, and these, according to local conditions of soil, elevation, and accessibility to rail or water accommodation, would naturally sub-divide themselves into residential or manufacturing. One of the latter should in all cases be restricted to the use of noxious trades. The question, how far the heart of the town should be placed from the rail-way or the river, is an open one, and it would probably result in many cases that rail or river would form a cord, cutting off a considerable part of the complete circle. 

The foregoing ideal sketch assumes a fairly level site ; but where this condition is absent the gradients should be most carefully considered. And here again the cast-iron uniformity of the chess-board type shows its entire unsuitability to varying natural conditions. I have in my mind's eye ludicrous examples of this. For instance, there is a fairly level cathedral city in New South Wales, possessing towards one corner a steep hill, from which there is a beautiful view. This would have formed a most admirable reserve ; but if so happens that two streets intersect exactly at the top of the hill. They are too steep for traffic, and hence the town council is compelled to laboriously cut away the very boon which nature had provided the city with. Again, at a health resort on the Blue Mountains, most irregular and diversified in contour, the chessboard plan has produced streets up and down which it is difficult even to walk, and for horse traffic they are practically impassable, whereas by the use of curved roads following the natural configuration of the hills, easy gradients could have been obtained at a tithe of the cost for construction and immeasurably more useful to the inhabitants.


The beauty or otherwise of town or city must have an effect on its inhabitants. The long, unlovely street pictured by our Poet Laureate could not but depress even the most sensitive of its residents, and the case is aggravated when, as in a chessboard city, the streets are all alike. Now the " spider's web" plan possesses not only the advantage of convenience, but also of variety, and we all know that "variety is charming." Scarcely any two of the blocks would be exactly the same size, the angles made by the streets with each other would differ, and these, together with the trapezoidal allotments, would call for special treatment. In the hands of an architect who knows how to use it, an irregular site is a godsend. It enables him to get out of the beaten track and design something fresh and original, while even the tyro cannot make his structure absolutely like everything else.

Then as to the streets, their width should be ample both on the score of health and beauty, but they should not be all the same. Taking one chain as a minimum for side streets, three chains is not too great for the main arteries or boulevards. This width would allow of their subdivision into three roads with intervening footpaths and rows of trees, the centre road being paved for heavy traffic and tram lines. There are some examples of this type in Melbourne, and their manifold advantages will be more and more appreciated as population increases. And, in passing, let me pay a tribute of praise to the vigorous way in which the municipal councils of Victoria have carried out tree-planting in the streets, and in this respect Ballarat may I think be awarded the place of honour. In comparison, the attempts made in the other colonies are but half-hearted, though I hope the time will soon come when they will emulate the good example set by Victoria. Moreover, the introduction of trees in large numbers into the heart of cities is a wise sanitary precaution, for the carbonic acid gas human  beings' exhale is absorbed by vegetation, which in turn gives off the oxygen we need. 

Hitherto I have only referred to straight streets set at irregular angles. Let me now put in a word as to the advantages of curved lines. It is said that " nature abhors a straight line," and so does art unless relieved by curves. As a source of beauty the curved line is of inestimable value. Imagine what Collins-street would be with-out its undulation of surface. It is that 
which gives it the charm it possesses. On a level, or nearly level site, a curve in plan may often be introduced with the greatest advantage. It may be defined formal and regular, as in a quadrant or circus, or so gentle in its sweep as to be scarcely perceptible at the first glance. 

Of the former I may instance the Quadrant in Regent-street, London, and of the latter that exquisite example the High-street at Oxford ; or to carry the principle still further, a sinuous line may occasionally be found serviceable where local conditions permit, and of this there is no finer specimen in the world than the Grand Canal at Venice, though to be sure it is a waterway,, but for all that is the chief street of the City of the Sea. The Strand, in London, is another example, and even in this Southern hemisphere, I may refer with satisfaction to the irregular lines of George and King streets, in Sydney. In all these the continual un-folding of fresh view is the great charm, and, for my part, I am devoutly thankful that one or two at least of the old Sydney streets were formed by bullock-waggons rather than by the surveyor's chain. Their narrowness I do not defend, but that is quite another matter. In planning a new town, however, it should never be forgotten, that a curve ought only to be laid down when it serves a practical purpose, and in more cases than at first appears likely it will be found to servo the purposes of communication better than a straight line, especially in easing off the connection of one street with another.

I have already alluded to reserves, and on this point there is usually little fault to be found with Australian towns as far as the mere amount of them is concerned ; but their shape is nearly always the prosaic square or rectangle, in which there is no beauty. Furthermore, the most is made of them by running roads along the four sides instead of leading up to them. Now, instead of this, in the spider's web plan there is the possibility of introducing reserves of all shapes and sizes, and so securing variety of form. Furthermore, wherever a number of streets converge there should be an enlargement of the area, with a refuge in the centre. What this means in the future can only be realised by those who have seen and observed the planning of the new quarters in the Continental cities of Europe. It is of the greatest value for traffic, and of inestimable worth for architectural effect ; and of these enlargements the central square or reserve would of necessity be the finest. Such a grouping of public buildings around it as I have suggested would give importance to even a small town and form another example of the value of combination as opposed to separation. Together their effect would be doubled, separated it would be halved.


Where a new town is laid out on Government would be easy to adopt a new system of planning, but I have little hope in this direction. The bonds of routine are too strong. In those laid out by private enterprise the principal, and I may say only, aim is, to produce the greatest cash return at the lowest outlay. At present it is believed this may be done by the rectangular system. On the ground of the public health and well-being I think it is perfectly legitimate that the almost absolute freedom to lay out a town anywhere and in any fashion should be somewhat limited, and such limitation would prove in the end a gain to the promoters as well as to the public. I would, therefore, suggest tho óllowing regulations as reasonable:-

1. That the erection of buildings for human occupation be absolutely prohibited on flooded land. 
2. That no town be laid out on soil of unhealthy character, such as a morass or over an impervious subsoil. 
3. That no title be registered for any allotment loss than one-twentieth of an acre in area, and that no lease containing a building covenant be valid for any site of loss area (the object of this clause is to limit density of population and unsanitary conditions). 
4. That the areas of streets and reserves be equal to one-third the area leased or sold for occupation
5. That no town or suburb contain a greater area than one square mile, with a bolt of reserved laud at least one eighth of a mile width between the same and the adjoining suburb. 
6. That before any land is sold or leased in allotments of loss than one acre in area official sanction to the plans be obtained, and that this sanction be withheld unless a satisfactory scheme of drainage and water supply be submitted at the same time, but for future realisation. 

At the present time, when it is beginning to be understood that the land is the heritage of the whole people, and its absolute ownership is permitted to individuals only as a matter, of convenience, the right of the community to enforce provisions against misuse is, I think, undoubted, and when this misuse takes so glaring a form as originating conditions that must inevitably lead to produce disease, it is the absolute duty of the State to interfere. As in medicine so in legislation, " Prevention is better than cure."


The scheme I have propounded is no ideal one ; it is quite within the sphere of practical politics, and if anything is to be done a commencement should be made at once. It is a matter not only affecting one colony but all, and the meeting of this association affords the opportunity to take action. A recommendation to the Government of each colony from such a body as the general council, backed up by the personal influence of its members, would at least secure attention ; and if at the same time the general public could be instructed through the Press, a great advance would become possible, more especially as I believe the time is ripe for a change. 

The evils of the old " happy-go-lucky " system are beginning to be felt, and already in at least two instances private corporations are taking the initiative. I refer to the well-managed suburb of Kensington, near Sydney, the plans of which I have carefully examined and can highly commend, and to that of Hopetoun, near Melbourne, of which I know less. The plans of Kensington were designed by an architect, laid out by a surveyor, and checked by an engineer. This is as it should be. The architect is one man who by training and experience combines in himself a knowledge, of all the conditions of town-planning, and to him should be intrusted the task of initiation. He is, or should be, conversant with all kinds of buildings and their requirements, the general principles of form and beauty, the devising of good lines of access and communication, and the requirements of sanitary science. At the same time the surveyor should be jointly associated with the architect, as he has a practical acquaintance with the details of laying out, and would naturally carry forward the scheme to completion in the field ; while the engineer comes in a valued and necessary specialist on the questions of drainage and water supply, &c. I therefore claim, on behalf of my profession, the honoured position we once occupied, but from which we have been too long excluded-namely, that of chief designers of our towns and cities ; and this claim is being recognised.

Those shrewd business men, the auctioneers and land agents of Melbourne and Sydney, are beginning to appreciate the aid we can give, as they find it pays. The field thus opening is one that will require the highest skill, and may well satisfy the ambition of the most talented among us ; and if at the same time wo can secure the aid of such legislation as I have indicated, we may indulge in the hope that the towns of the future will far surpass those of the present in convenience, healthfulness, and beauty. THE LAYING OUT OF TOWNS. (1890, January 24). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 7. Retrieved from

Bilgola Plateau Parks for the People - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2023.