September 25 - October 1, 2022: Issue 556


bill goddard shares family insights at Avalon beach historical society's 2022 AGM

Bill Goddard during a visit to Pittwater Online earlier this year

The Avalon Beach Historical Society held its 39th Annual General Meeting recently which was attended by 51 enthusiastic locals. We think that the guest speaker had a lot to do with the numbers.

BILL GODDARD has done a wonderful job of collecting and collating his family history.

Of course, that’s the Goddard boat-builders of Palm Beach and previously Berrys Bay, Lavender Bay, and Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. Bill’s talk kicked off with some great aerial photos showing the residence of William Reuben Goddard overlooking Berrys Bay and the location of the early boat sheds on Sydney Harbour and at Iluka Road, Palm Beach.

William Reuben Goddard’s House and Boat Shed overlooking Berrys Bay. Photo: Bill Goddard

William Joseph Goddard’s Boat Shed Lavender Bay - 1907. Photo: Bill Goddard

Some of the early photos of Palm Beach were fascinating – family members riding horses and their cows roaming around the Waratah Road area and also the area which later became the golf course, their first boat built at Waratah Street, was the ‘W.J.G.’ – the initials of the builder William Joseph Goddard. It had to be hauled down to the water on greased logs using only manpower. Also shown were photos of the house he built after purchasing the land in Waratah Street in 1918 and then transporting building materials from Sydney by launch.

The newly completed launch ‘WJG’ being hauled to the water's edge in Waratah Road, Palm Beach - 1920. Photo: Bill Goddard

It was such an enthralling talk, but we had to call a halt at 9.40 pm to enjoy a delightful supper. Bill said he would return for our December meeting to finish the job.

Geoff Searl OAM
President, Avalon Beach Historical Society

Goddard Family Notes: Bill's presentation at ABHS AGM 2022

The Goddards enjoyed a reputation as some of the best boat builders in Sydney, starting with William Reuben Goddard in the late 1800s at Berry’s Bay and continuing with his eldest son William Joseph Goddard who established a very successful business at Palm Beach in the early 1900s.

William Reuben Goddard was born in Hertfordshire, England in 1847. He arrived in Sydney in 1852 aboard the General Hewitt with his father George (1803-1885), mother Eliza (nee Arthur, 1815-1895) and siblings Henry (1843-1928), John (1845-1896) and Mary (1849-1913). William married Bridget McGrath in Sydney in 1869 and they settled in North Sydney.

William established his boat shed in North Sydney at Berry’s Bay in the late 1800s with a workshop and yards and became well-known in the area for his fine craftsmanship. The boat shed no longer remains but was situated nearby Eaton’s Timber Yard which survived on the Berry’s Bay waterfront until the 1980s. This area is now known as Sawmiller’s Reserve at McMahon’s Point.

William and Bridget had 9 children – William (1870-1944), Henry (1872-1874), Naomi (1875-1939), Herbert (1877-1947), Maude (1878-1953), Percival (1880-1882), Harold (1884-1939, known as Johnno), Horace (1887-1957), Stanley (1888-1914). 

William’s obituary stated that he “launched many small craft from his yard in the early days, devoting most of his time to building small boats and skiffs. He was noted for his skiff building” (Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Feb 1916), while the Evening News stated:


An old identity of North Sydney in the person of William Rueben Goddard, died at his residence in West-Street Blues Point, on Saturday, aged 68 years. Mr. Goddard, though a native of England, was brought out to Sydney by his parents when only two years of age, so that he spent 66 years at Blue’s Point.

It was as a boat builder that he became known to the people of North Sydney, and he won a big reputation as a designer of small craft—skiffs, dinghies, butcher boats and model yachts. In fact, he was recognised as an expert in this particular branch of the Industry. After passing through his apprenticeship to the late Mr. W. Dunn, of Lavender Bay, he opened some 40 years ago, his own building shed in Berry’s Bay upon the site now occupied by Mr. J. W. Eaton's  timber yards. 

Later he erected the present sheds, where for about 20 years he was actively engaged in building skiffs and dinghies for almost every aquatic man on the north side of the harbor, and for the Royal Navy. In addition, he designed and built innumerable flood boats for the country, inland boats for trading purposes, and fishing craft in great variety. 

Among his numerous clients were Messrs. T.A. Dibbs, H. H. Massie, R. J. Black, M.L.C., the late W. A. Adams, Geo. Crowley, M'Donald, and the late Robert Moodie and Deltrach. 

Mr. Goddard, known to a great many as ‘Billy’ Goddard, had a wide circle of friends and nothing gave him greater pleasure then to see them trying out his skiffs and determining the merits of this or that design. But he was never tempted to build racing skiffs or wager boats, a branch of the trade he was often asked to take up. As a designer and builder of model yachts he was considered the best of his time, and he at all times took a keen Interest in the model yacht contests at Centennial and Moore Parks. He was a great sufferer for two years prior to his death. He left behind him four sons and two daughters, the eldest son, Mr. W. J.  Goddard, being the well-known motor launch builder of Rose Bay.  Picture: THE LATE MR. GODDARD. BILLY GOODARD. ILLUSTRATED (1916, February 16). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from

William 'Billy' Rueben Goddard. Photo: Bill Goddard

Like his father, William Joseph Goddard was a well-known Sydney boat builder. William married Ada D’Arcy in Hurstville in 1897 and they had four children – Walter (1899-1974), Arthur (1901-1960), Marjorie (1905-1998) and Grace (1911-1997).

William bought land in Waratah street at Palm Beach near the southern end of the golf links in 1918, although he was obviously here prior to then and acting for those who had already built properties:

PALM BEACH -Furnished cottages to Let and For Sale. Write W. Gofddard, Palm Beach. Advertising (1917, September 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from

Bill's research found the original sales and that this had been placed in his son Walter's name. Interestingly, future Warringah Shire Councillor George William Hitchcock, after whom Hitchcock Park at Careel Bay is named, bought the first of his two Palm Beach lots here in 1914. Bill's research also shows the Gonsalves family lots on Waratah too:

G W Hitchcock Senior bought the Lots 1 and 2 of land on the corner facing the water and just opposite the golf course southern perimeter:

He then bought Lot 18 in the 'Golf Links' Subdivision up on Northview:

G W Hitchcock 2nd land lot at Palm Beach, bought in 1923

Palm Beach Golf Links Estate Subdivision, 1922. Item: c052700044, courtesy State Library of NSW - Northview road

Warringah Shire Council Minutes of the Meeting held on November 6th, 1933 record:

36. Palm Beach District Cricket Club, 26/10/33, (a) inviting Councillors and Officers to attend the opening of the new cricket ground on Careel Bay Park on 11th November at 1.30 p.m; (b) requesting Council to call the reserve at Careel Bay "Hitchcock Park". Resolved, - That the reserve be called Hitchcock Park. .(Crs. Austin, Hughes)

For more on the Palm Beach District Cricket Club visit Iluka Park, Woorak Park, Pittwater Park, Sand Point Reserve, Snapperman Beach Reserve - Palm Beach: Some History or the Careel Bay playing fields:  Careel Bay Playing Fields Reserve - Including Hitchcock Park:  Birds, Boots & Beauty

Agnes Ann Young (nee Wolstenholme) was the wife of Richard Alexander Young, who died in 1896. Their eldest surviving son was James. Emma Florence Nolan (nee Kelynack) was the wife of Herbert Russell Nolan who died in 1915. When the Barranjoey Land Company was formally registered in June 1911 the first directors were named as Harry Wolstenholme, E T Jones, John Thompson Ralston, James Young, and Herbert Russell Nolan. Many of these partners were either related, in the case of Harry Wolstenholme and James Young, or students together at Newington College

More in: Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Palm Beach

Gonsalves family Lot 13, bought July 13, 1917:

Gonsalves also bought the Grimley brothers Lot 14 as well, November 20th, 1924:

William Joseph Goddard bought Lot 12:

William Joseph Goddard constructed a house by transporting all the materials from the city by his launch.

Bill's annotated photos - circa 1930s

Palm Beach Estate - Ocean Rd, Northview Rd, Sunrise Rd, Florida Rd, Pacific Rd, Ralston Rd, Whale Beach Rd, Palm Beach Rd, Barrenjoey Rd, Waratah Rd - circa 1924 - 1925. Image No.: c052700007 - courtesy State Library of NSW and enlarged section from to show detail at Waratah

From NSW Government Printer series: Palm Beach views, 1925 - from road leading down from Observation Point, courtesy NSW State Records and Archives. Item: FL3838422

Observation Point and view south to Snapperman Beach, Pittwater - showing buildings on Iluka at Palm Beach, circa 1936 - note the double-decker bus and tar on the road now and electricity poles along with refurbished Barrenjoey House over the hill facing Snapperman. Photo: Goddard family photos

Gonsalves family home and cows in Waratah Street, Palm Beach. From Verrills family album, courtesy Peter Verrills.

In 1919 he constructed a boat shed and began boat building. William J. Goddard & Sons were building boats between 1928 and 1939.

Boat Building and Saving others as well as running a business:


A motor launch, to be utilised for passenger service on the Hawkesbury River, for Mr A Deas, has been  completed by Mr. W .J. Goddard, of Palm Beach, Pittwater, and was launched on Saturday. The dimensions are length 43ft overall, 12ft beam, and 4ft moulded depth. She is planked with New Zealand kauri, with a spotted gum frame. The cabin is finished in Queensland maple. The vessel has seating accommodation for 74 passengers and is designed for a speed of 10 miles. The launching was somewhat novel as the boat was built a quarter of a mile from the water. MOTOR LAUNCH FOR HAWKESBURY RIVER. (1922, October 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

Four Rescued When Launch Wrecked

Three men and a woman were rescued at Palm Beach yesterday afternoon, when the launch Reliance was pounded by heavy seas, and dashed up on Resolute Beach. The launch, which until recently ran the mails from Brooklyn to Wiseman's Ferry, came round West Head shortly after lunch. Buffeted by big waves, she fought her way into Pittwater, but made little headway. Finally she was wrecked. Mr. W. Goddard, boat-builder, put off and rescued the passengers. Daily Pictorial (Sydney, NSW : 1930 - 1931), Sunday 15 February 1931 - Page 3

The Reliance on Resolute Beach. Photo: Bill Goddard

In 1926 he bought two lots of land around in Iluka Road, Palm Beach, facing the estuary, lots 6 and 7 in Iluka road:

After William Joseph Goddard purchased two blocks of land in 1926 he applied for and was granted a Special Lease for a jetty as well as kerbing and guttering through Warringah Shire Council:

September 13th, 1926 Council Meeting: That Mr. Goddard's frontage, Iluka Road, Palm Beach, be kerbed and guttered at an estimated cost of £14/16-, on payment of half cost

On December 6th, 1926; That Mr. Goddard's application to install a septic tank on his property in Iluka  Road, Palm Beach, be granted.

W. Goddard and Sons. 29/10/27. Requesting permission to install a petrol pump in Iluka Road, Palm Beach. Referred to Works Committee for report. 

Special Lease Granted. Lease: 1926-21910 , 1926-10 - Goddard, William Joseph, of Palm Beach. AT: County Cumberland, parish Narrabeen, below high-water mark Pittwater, adjoining allotment 7 of section B., Forssberg's estate. Area, about 11 perches - Jetty, Granted 1 April 1927 to 31 December, 1933. Annual Rent: £7 10s. NOTIFICATION OF GRANTING OF SPECIAL LEASES. (1927, March 11). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 1394. Retrieved from

And kept renewing the same:

Parish Narrabeen, county Cumberland, Special Lease 26-10, Metropolitan, for jetty, slips and skids. Land applied for—about 1 rood 24 perches below high-water mark, fronting lots 6 and 7, section B, d.p. 12,979, Snapperman Beach, Pittwater. Applicant—William Joseph Goddard. Objections may be lodged at Land Board Office, Sydney. APPLICATIONS FOR LEASES FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES. (1940, November 22). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 4632. Retrieved from

It was here that Goddards built another boatshed, possibly erected by themselves and the Verrills:

Goddards boat shed Palm Beach with the original general store - behind where Palm Beach Cellars is now. Photo taken in about 1927 when they were installing curb and guttering on Iluka Road. William Joseph Goddard and his family lived upstairs. The building was most likely built by Albert (Bert) Verrills and his crew. Photo: Bill Goddard.

Aerial view of Goddard's Boat Shed at 118 Iluka Road, Palm Beach - 1930s

View from the water of Goddard's Boat Shed at 118 Iluka Road, Palm Beach - About 1940

William Joseph Goddard. Photo: Bill Goddard

In 1932 William commenced a regular ferry service to the western foreshores of Pittwater, running from Palm Beach to Coasters Retreat, The Basin, Stiles’ Wharf at Little Mackerel Beach and Great Mackerel Beach Wharf.

Goddard Built boats at Iluka Road Boatshed:

The Goddard men were renowned in Palm Beach SLSC and were firm friends with the other permanent residents, the Gow, Gonsalves and Verrills families. These were the men called by a succession of Barrenjoey lightkeepers when people were in distress at sea - although in these early years the brother and father of Carl Gow were the lightkeepers at Barrenjoey. 

Bert (Albert) Verrills and his building crew in 1920. Back of the photo lists the names of those pictured, from left to right from back to front row, and shows this includes Architect Henry Wilshire (at the back, 3rd from right with rag hat), who had so much to do with so many early buildings in Palm Beach, such as Windyridge, atop Sunrise road. Photo: Bill Goddard

In between escapades rowing up the coast to be part of surf boat races in carnivals and rescue efforts, they built yachts, launches and opened a shop.

The first official Boat Captain of Palm Beach SLSC was Arthur Goddard, son of William Joseph Goddard, and Gonsalves were also among the founding members of this club. His crew on this first row were comprised mainly from other resident families with a similar heritage of being 'sea rovers'. 

Some insights on these rows:

A GREAT PULL Palm Beach Surfers Reach Newcastle 
NEWCASTLE, Saturday.— A feat probably unequalled in surfing annals was accomplished today by the  Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club boat crew, comprising A. Goddard (captain), the brothers H. S. and L. Gonsalves, and J. Coltman. The crew rowed from Palm Beach to Newcastle in order to take part in the club's surf carnival today. Starting from Palm Beach at 9 a.m. on Friday they rowed 30 miles, and were towed five miles from the Newcastle side of Norah Head by the steamer Currembene. There they were met by the Newcastle surf boat, and pulled ashore amid great enthusiasm.  A GREAT PULL. (1924, February 17). Sunday Times(Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 7. Retrieved from

PALM BEACH BOYS To Sea in a Surf Boat FOR NEWCASTLE FETE; crew comprised H., H.E Gonsalves, A Goddard, R Thompson and A. Dellit. PALM BEACH BOYS. (1925, February 6). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 1. Retrieved from

Surfers Arrive towed by Herga

“A long pull and a strong pull” - The words of the old chanty were evidently, in the minds of the Palm Beach surf boat crew when it set out from Palm Beach on Thursday night. It was their intention to make for Newcastle to participate in a two-days carnival.

The seas however, were unkind to the intrepid little band, which included, besides members of the Gonsalves family, Messrs. R. Johnson, Carl Gow and Arthur Goddard. Mr. Gow is a former member of the Newcastle surf club, while Mr. Goddard is captain of the crew.

The party had got about 20 miles on their way when they encountered a heavy ruin squall. The sea became exceedingly choppy. Eventually they were forced to return. Undaunted, the crew made another start on Friday, but old Neptune did not make matters easy for them. The sea was rough, and conditions generally unpleasant.

It was with a good deal of relief that they availed themselves of an offer of a tow from the sixty-miler “Herga”. The Newcastle beach was reached about five o'clock last night. The visitors were given a warm welcome. The breakers were rolling up in great force just then, so it was thought advisable to proceed to Nobby's and make a landing there. This also proved impossible, so eventually the surf boat was taken round to the pilot harbour.

This morning it was taken round to the Newcastle beach by the Ajax. It is probable that a tow back to Palm Beach will be arranged for them tomorrow. Shipping circles have given every assistance, and kept a keen look-out for the little craft yesterday. - Newcastle Sun (NSW) - Saturday 7 February 1925 - Page 8

Those fearless Palm Beach men getting a tow from the Ajax. Photo: Bill Goddard

Based on the names on the back of the photo, the people are from left to right: Ted Hoskins, Austin Dellit, Ella Hunter, Sid Gonsalves, Geoff Hoskins, Francis Hunter and John Hoskins. Austin Dellit and Sid Gonsalves are notable people in the formation and founding of Palm Beach SLSC. Photo: Bill Goddard - back of this photo:

Palm Beach SLSC 'Sheds' -  Looks like it's their first boat built by W. Holmes within. Photo: Bill Goddard

Above: Section from Panorama of Palm Beach, New South Wales, 7, nla.obj-162484891, PIC P865 Enemark collection of panoramic photographs [picture] courtesy of the National Library of Australia - the shed in the far left corner is the original Palm Beach SLSC Shed in today's Hordern Park.


What is claimed to be the most up-to-date surf-boat built in Sydney was launched at Palm Bench on Sunday. Built by W. Holmes, of Lavender Bay, at a cost of £93, it is 21ft overall, with a 5ft beam. It Is the only surf-boat in New South Wales with masts and sails. 
The launching ceremony was performed by Mrs. H. W. Meggitt. Mr. J. Craig referred to the liberality of the residents of Palm Beach, and to their keen Interest in the Club. The spectators were treated to a first-class exhibition In the heavy southerly swell that was running, and the boat behaved splendidly. Mr. Fred Notting, ex-captain of the Manly Surf Club, took the steering oar. 
Although the Palm Beach Surf Life saving Club was started only in November 1921, it has now 35 active members, nearly all of whom are qualified life-savers. PALM BEACH SURF BOAT (1922, May 17). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 8 (FINAL RACING). Retrieved from

An all residents of Palm Beach crew for 1926's escapade:

NEWCASTLE, Friday. The surf boat containing the members of the Palm Beach crew-the three Gonsalves brothers, Goddard, and Gow-who will compete at the surf carnival, arrived at Newcastle shortly after noon today, after an exciting trip up the coast. Leaving Palm Beach at 4 a.m. yesterday, they were expected, at Newcastle before dusk last night, but a message arrived later that they bad landed at Terrigal to spend the night. Upon landing, the captain (A. Goddard) said that soon after starting they had to face a strong nor'-easter, and after a hard row they decided to land at McMaster’s Beach. As they turned the boat shorewards he was knocked overboard by a huge wave, and the next wave washed him further from the boat. “I was very glad," he said, "when they turned towards me, and eventually hauled me aboard, as the place has a bad reputation for sharks."
Later, on there appeared to be no chance of reaching Newcastle before dark, they decided to land at Terrigal. A start was again made at 6 o'clock this morning, and after rowing a few miles, they were picked up by the North Coast steamer Urana, and arrived off Newcastle about noon. The visitors wore welcomed by the president of the Newcastle Surf Club (Dr. Idris Morgan),and entertained at lunch In the Surf Club's pavilion. BOAT TRIP. (1926, February 13). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from

NEWCASTLE SURF CARNIVAL Newcastle Surf Life Saving Club's carnival will take place this afternoon. Fifteen metropolitan clubs will be represented in the competition, in which it is expected 400 life-savers will take part. The rescue and resuscitation event, and the surf teams' race for the Johnny Walker surf boat will be one of the main features of the programme. The following officials of the Surf Life Saving Association will be in attendance:- Mr. C. D. Paterson, president; Mr. D. D. McIntyre, secretary, who has not missed a Newcastle surf carnival since the inception some fifteen years ago; Mr. WV. T. Calnan, assistant secretary; Mr: WV. V.Craven, instructor-in-chief; Mr. Ramsay Sharpe, and Mr. O. G. H. Read, vice presidents; and Mr. T. Moran, registrar.
The Palm Beach surf  boat crew (A.Goddard captain, H., H. E., and S. Gonsalves, and C. Gow) arrived at Newcastle yesterday early in the afternoon, to take part in the carnival. They left Palm Beach at four o'clock on Thursday morning, but a north-east wind was blowing, and freshened considerably, and only slow progress was made. A landing was made at McMaster's Beach at half-past eight o'clock on Thursday morning. Goddard was caught by a sweep while negotiating a landing, and went overboard, but escaped injury. After resting for in hour and a half they resumed their trip and reached Terrigal at twenty minutes past twelve o'clock p.m. They stayed there until five o'clock yesterday morning, and after going about three miles were taken in tow by the North Coast Company's steamer Urana, which brought them as far as Newcastle. This is the third time that the boat has come to Newcastle to take part in the Newcastle Surf Club's carnival, and on each occasion the crew have been fortunate enough to be towed the greater part of the distance.  NEWCASTLE SURF CARNIVAL. (1926, February 13).Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate(NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 6. Retrieved from

This newspaper article has a photo of the Palm Beach Boat Crew. An error has been made in the caption below the photo. The Goddard names are in the wrong order. It should read: Left to Right: Walter (Wally) Goddard, Carl Gow, Harold (Midge) Gonsalves, Arthur Goddard, Henry (Tim) Gonsalves, Sydney (Sid) Gonsalves.

Thrills of the Surf: Newcastle Life-Saving Carnival (1926, February 17). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 26. Retrieved from

Carl Gow was the youngest son of Robert Gow, of the Pilot station at Newcastle and from a family whose contributions to saving lives in Australia, either as Pilot Station attendees, as Lightkeepers at NSW Lighthouses, and as men who went out in their vessels to save others would fill several volumes. Carl is not listed as a Palm Beach SLSC member and it is his long association with the Gonsalves, Goddard and Verrills families that would explain his being on this trip to Newcastle. 

Carl with the Gonsalves - image courtesy Peter Verrills.

SURF BOAT AT SEA - Palm Beach Crew On Return Trip NEWCASTLE. Monday. ALTHOUGH they had an adventurous trip to Newcastle, narrowly missing being dashed on to the rocks near Nora Head. L. Knox, G. Morrow, and the Gonsalve brothers left here at 10 a.m. today to row the Palm Bench surfboat back to its own beach, taking it in turn to pull and control today. Two other members of the crew travelled back by train.  SURF BOAT AT SEA. (1931, February 16). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from

Palm Beach Surfers at Swansea. 
The weather was kind to the crew of the Palm Beach surf boat, which during recent years has regularly been sailed up to Newcastle for the annual surf carnival here. Generally the voyage has been accomplished in the teeth of adverse winds and head seas but the gods of the weather smiled on the five men who left Palm Beach at dawn yesterday for Newcastle. A brisk southerly sent the boat along at a good speed under sail, and at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon it turned into the entrance to Lake Macquarie, at Swansea with the greater part of the voyage completed.  The Palm Beach crew, who are captained by G. Morrow, reported a splendid trip when they disembarked at Swansea and hauled their boat into the pilot shed there. They will remain at Swansea for a couple of days fishing and in other ways enjoying themselves before they take to the open sea again to complete the trip to Newcastle.  HELPED BY WIND. (1933, February 1). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 6. Retrieved from

Barrenjoey to Nobbys 
Eight hours' actual sailing time between Barrenjoey and Nobbys. This was the performance of five members of the Palm Beach Surf Club, who sailed their surfboat up the coast this week to attend the Newcastle carnival today. Leaving Palm Beach on Tuesday morning, they reached the entrance to Lake Macquarie in six hours. They spent two days at Swansea, fishing, and practising for the carnival and sailed the last stage to Nobbys in two hours yesterday, arriving  early in the afternoon. The crew, consisting of Gordon Morrow, A. Goddard, T. Gonsalves, J. Johnson and N. Brown, claim their time for the trip was a record for a small sailing boat. They have challenged all other metropolitan crews to a race to Newcastle on the occasion of the next carnival here.  
Off Norah Head the crew had one of the few thrills of the trip. The boat had topped an immense wave, and was starting on a long shoot when the back of a whale broke the surface. It was directly in the track of the oncoming boat. With almost superhuman strength the sweep, G. Morrow, turned the craft with its nose to sea. It passed the whale, which apparently unaware of the presence of the surface, blew twice, and then disappeared. It came to the surface again over a mile away. From Norah Head to Lake Macquarie Heads the little craft travelled before the wind, catching shoot after shoot, many of which carried the boat from 150 to 200 yards. In this manner the crew reached Lake Macquarie Heads, clearing the bar at 12.30 p.m.., exactly six hours after they had set out. At Swansea the Palm Beach men put in some good practice for the carnival today by shooting the breakers on the bar. They saw the Swansea crew at practice and were much impressed by its performances. Mr. Morrow paid a tribute yesterday to the hospitality of the Swansea people, and particularly to Mr. Boyd. In charge of the pilot station there. The Palm Beach men will sail their boat home on Sunday or Monday, according to the weather. IN EIGHT HOURS. (1933, February 4). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 6. Retrieved from

Men's Struggle To Save Yachts. SYDNEY, Saturday.— In mountainous seas which raged off Palm Beach yesterday and last night gallant work was per formed by W J and A Goddard and S. Gonsalves in rescuing two fine yachts which had broken adrift from their moorings. It was not until after midnight that they completed their job. According to eye witnesses it was often touch and go whether they would meet with disaster themselves. In addition to the two yachts a launch broke its moorings and eventually piled up on the sands,. Several small boats were swamped in the storm. Men's Struggle To Save Yachts. (1934, February 3). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

Chapman Pup Engines, in putt putts for hire, indicates what boatsheds were here:

C. F. Wymark, Church Point. Pittwater. Andy Riddle, Church Point, Pittwater. Carl Gow. Palm Beach. H. Hollowoy, Palm Beach. W. Goddard and Sons, Palm Beach. Advertising. (1936, January 25). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

AUXILIARY CRUISER BEING BUILT. Mr. Gower Wilson, of Lord Howe Island, who arrived in Sydney by the Morinda yesterday, said that he was having an auxiliary cruiser constructed for use at Lord Howe Island. The vessel, which is being built at Palm Beach, will be 32 feet in length, and will have a 10-foot beam. Engines will be of 30 horse power. Manned by Messrs. W. Goddard, W. Hammill, Alan Wilson, and Gower Wilson, the cruiser will leave for Lord Howe Island towards the end of October.  AUXILIARY CRUISER BEING BUILT. (1936, October 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

NO NEWS OF MISTRAL. Expected to Reach Melbourne To-morrow. SYDNEY, Thursday.-Although the yacht Mistral has not been reported since it left Palm Beach for Melbourne last Sunday, no anxiety is felt for its safety. Mrs. W. Goddard, of Palm Beach, whose husband is one of the crew, said to-day the party intended to keep well out to sea, and approach the coast only in heavy weather. The yacht is expected to reach Melbourne late on Saturday or early on Sunday. NO NEWS OF MISTRAL. (1937, August 6). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

MISTRAL NOW IN VICTORIA. THE Sydney-built motor yacht,. Mistral II, which was originally owned by the late E. P. Simpson,  and sold recently to Mr. W. J. Wallis, of Melbourne, a big-game fisherman, has left for her new -headquarters in the Victorian capital. The craft left Sydney on August 1, made a good trip as far as Bermagui, where she sheltered from rough seas. MR. WALLIS was in command and found Mistral a wonderful sea boat. The craft: was manned by a small crew of experts, Messrs .W.J. Goddard, W. Marshall, and A. Cox. Mistral arrived- safely at – Melbourne last week-end, but will soon be back on the N.S. Wales coast chasing the marlin. MISTRAL NOW IN VICTORIA. (1937, August 12). Referee(Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), p. 24. Retrieved from

W. J. GODDARD and SONS. BUILDERS OF BOAT'S SINCE 1883. A LIFE'S Practical Experience at your service. PALM BEACH, N.S.W. Advertising. (1937, December 18). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

PITTWATER REGATTA. TO-DAY'S PROGRAMME. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Monday 27 December 1937 p 11 Article ...An all day programme of sailing motor boating, professional rowing and aeroplane events will be provided at the Pittwater regatta to-day. day The aerial ... trophy 2 p m cruiser handicap for W J Goddard trophy 


Bank Manager Injured. 

SYDNEY, January 9. When an explosion occurred in a large launch alongside a jetty at W. J. Goddard's boatshed at Palm Beach today, a man was seriously Injured and two others were severely burned. The Injured were: John Clarence Folkard (41), manager of the Commonwealth Bank at Woonona; fractured skull, abrasions to legs, body and face" and burns. Admitted to Manly Hospital. Harold Arnott, of Strathfield; burns about arms and face. Walter Goddard (38), of Palm Beach; burns and abrasions. The launch was owned by Mr. Arnott and the explosion occurred when the engine was being started by Goddard, preparatory to the launch being taken to sea. The explosion blew the top off the launch's cabin and part of it fell back on the three men. Folkard was knocked unconscious and Arnott also was dazed. Persons attracted to the jetty by the explosion got the men out of the launch before the main petrol tank caught fire. The launch was burned to the water's edge and extensive fishing tackle and costly interior fittings were reduced to a heap of charred debris. EXPLOSION IN LAUNCH. (1938, January 10). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

PALM BEACH LIQUOR. Licence for Store. Without hearing the address by counsel for the applicant, the full bench of the Licensing Court yesterday granted an application for a spirit merchant’s licence made by William Joseph Goddardstorekeeper, of Iluka and Barrenjoey Roads Palm Beach

Mr Scobie, L.M., said that the Court had heard no opposition to the licence from local residents. The only opposition had come from the police, the licensee of the nearest hotel and from one civilian who was not a resident at Palm Beach.

The Court was inclined to agree with evidence that there was no other place within the metropolitan area of the importance of Palm Beach where the nearest licensed premises were of more then six miles distant.

Evidence was given by Mr. Creswell O’Reilly, Chief Film Censor, who said that he had a week-end cottage at Palm Beach for 18 years and had never heard anybody there complain about the lack of facilities for buying liquor. He considered the normal liquor requirements of Palm Beach residents were met by the regular deliveries of reputable city firms.

To  Mr. J W M Laidlaw (for Goddard) Mr. O Reilly denied that he was known throughout the State as an ardent temperance worker. He said he approved of licensed hotels provided they were properly conducted and also of spirit merchant licences in certain circumstances but he did not think such a licence was needed at Palm Beach

Mr. Laidlaw: When did you last have a drink?

Mr. O Reilly: In France during the last war.

The licence granted yesterday will allow Goddard to sell beer, wine and spirits at Palm Beach in quantities of not less than two gallons. PALM REACH LIQUOR. (1941, August 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

FISHERMEN RESCUED IN HEAVY GALE. ABOVE: Two elderly fishermen, who refused to give their names, photographed in their launch last night, after it had been towed into the shelter of Pittwater from four miles off Palm Beach, where the craft had been caught in a 50-miles-an hour gale. AT RIGHT: Two of the three rescuers, Messrs. Arthur Goddard (left) and Charles Pritchard. FISHERMEN RESCUED IN HEAVY GALE. (1946, July 31). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from Photo courtesy Peter Verrills.

In 1936 W J Goddard sold the Waratah road place:

William J Goddard would also acquire and then on-sell Lot 5 in Iluka road:

Lot 6 is where the current day Palm Beach General store is - photo is from the Vietnam Veterans Northern 2016 March and Commemorative Service:

In 1941, as can be seen via the land bought and sold above, W J Goddards sold the business to the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company. Included in the sale were a general store with a liquor licence, marine repair facilities and ferries. The general store which could sell alcohol was a first at Palm Beach and was run by William’s wife Ada. 

Also included was a small motor launch “Falcon” (which was later known as “Elvina”) built by William in 1928 (and later sold to the Church Point Ferry Service). “Elvina” provided a very important service to the people of Pittwater at the time, delivering supplies and mail. She is the longest serving passenger ferry in NSW and still comes out for service when needed. She is currently moored over near Lovett Bay, owned and run by the Church Point Ferry Service.

the Elvina today. Photo: A J Guesdon

The ferry service then at Church Point closed down on February 2nd, 1946 (per Warringah Council records), possibly why the PJMSC sent another ferry to Pittwater - they now had a monopoly on the ferries running on the estuary:

FERRY FOR BROKEN BAY. The Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company announced yesterday that the Rover is expected to sail to-morrow 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

Records from the NSW Ship and Boat Builders Register ( record that William J. Goddard (and later William J. Goddard & Sons) was based in Palm Beach and specialised in fishing boats, yachts, launches and ferries. William J. Goddard & Sons built at least 12 boats between 1902 and 1938 including Grace, Gulnare, Beacon, Natoma, Idler, Kimba, Reliance, Venture II, Viking, W.J., W.J.G. and Wongawill.

William’s sons also worked in the family business – eldest son Walter worked as a mechanic and son Arthur carried on the family tradition as a boat builder. Arthur was a popular identity in the Palm Beach community. Arthur married Madeline Gonsalves in 1928. The Gonsalves were also prominent boat builders in Palm Beach, and still operate to this day. 

photo of Madge Gonsalves (Married Arthur Goddard) with Custard the Dog and Jack the Horse. Rendezvous Tea Rooms behind. Photo: Bill Goddard

Arthur and Madeline had two sons – Donald and Jimmy. Jimmy also continued on in the business, becoming a boat builder himself and doing maintenance for Palm Beach Ferries at Careel Bay. Peter Verrills owned and ran Palm Beach Ferries, recommencing the trips across to the Central Coast from much earlier days. Jim and Pete were like brothers while growing up - many a tale of mischief achieved all over Palm Beach echoes, like their laughter, through the green hills of Palm Beach still.

Jimmy and Madge Goddard: Jimmy was Arthur's son. Photo courtesy Peter Verrills

The following is a short biography of Jimmy from the Wooden Boat Association of NSW:

“Jimmy Goddard was a larger than life identity in the Palm Beach and Careel Bay community for 83 years. He served his apprenticeship at the family boatshed at Palm Beach with his father Arthur, the family being among the first settlers in the area. Jim was a first class tradesman and in later years restored some noteworthy vessels including the fishing boat ATALANTA which was owned by the famous American game fisherman Zane Grey who used to frequent the Palm Beach area in the 50’s. 

Jim was also known for his fishing prowess and operated offshore fishing charters aboard his lovely old trawler CAROLINE H for many years until the Waterways in their wisdom thought Jim should get a proper licence, to which he replied “I think it might be time for me to retire”. Jim survived a heart operation a couple of years ago, but unfortunately they didn’t make the pacemaker out of Spotted Gum. His son Allen carries on his legend in Dover Tasmania”.

Jimmy passed away July 12th, 2012, much missed by many.

Bill is still here too, in Pittwater.

Clearly this is just a small portion of what has been shared so far. For the rest, we would recommend you attend the Avalon Beach Historical Society's December Meeting - which is also when a small Christmas celebration takes place. 

On September 18, 2022 a Goddard family reunion took place on the Reliance, that wonderful old ferry and mail boat of Pittwater that had been built by their ancestors. The Reliance has recently been sold and will leave our waters, heading south to Lake Burley Griffin to be of service there. 

The Goddards gathered at Careel Bay Wharf, a favourite place of Jimmy Goddard and where the infamous 'Sand Crab Disco' raged in the boathouse of a Friday night. From there they took a tour of the Pittwater before lunching at Palm Beach Golf Club - site of their first home here.

Palm Beach & Lion Island, 1945 - note the submarine net and boom across water between Barrenjoey Headland entrance. From NSW Government Printer series: Pittwater, courtesy NSW State Records and Archives. Item: FL3734311