October 22 - 28, 2023: Issue 602
Brian Friend OAM, Q.C., B.C.: An 80th Birthday Celebration
When he was awarded an OAM in 2013, For service to touch football, and to the community of Manly Warringah (and Pittwater) the abridged list compiled by Bob Grace included:
Executive Member, Manly Warringah Business Houses and Services Touch Football Association, since 1994; President, for one year; Secretary, for 15 years; Life Member; Competition Director, for 5 years; referee, for 18 years.
Founder and Executive Member, Bangalley's Junior Touch Football, 2001-2008.
Founder and Executive Member, Hole in the Wall Touch Football Association, 1993-2008.
Co-Founder and Executive Member, Warringah Touch Football Association, since 1983; Life Member; Registrar, for 10 years; referee, for 19 seasons.
Coach, Avalon Junior Rugby League Football Club, since the 1970s; President, for 3 years; Member, Grounds Committee; Life Member.
Life Member, Manly Warringah District Junior Rugby League; referee, for 21 years.
Member, Avalon Surf Club, since 1965.
Fundraising activities for a range of organisations including:
Mona Vale Hospital Children's Ward.
New South Wales Police Legacy.
Bear Cottage, Manly.
Current Chairman, Metropolitan North Retired Police Association.
Current Chairman, Retired Water Police.
Current Member, New South Wales Police Association.
Centenary Medal, 2001.
Queen's Commendation for Bravery, 1974.
NSW Police Commissioner's Commendation for Courage, 1974.
Australia Day Citizen of the Year, Pittwater Council, 2000.
After over three decades as a policeman, 30 of those in the Water Police, Brian, called ‘Friendly’ by all, went on to form Touch Football, referee and coach for the Avalon Bulldogs, all on a voluntary basis, and still fills each and every day with doing for others. Friendly’s list of commendations, awards and recognition of service would fill a large room but one among these, a Queens Commendation for Brave Conduct from 1974 stands out for what it represents - someone who went out in horrendous seas to save those who would not be here if he, along with Gordon Wellings and Buster Brown, didn't go out to save them.
Past a distinguished career in this service, Friendly was refereeing touch football on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at Manly (including more training) for Warringah touch football started in 1983; (Life Member of this Association). He has worked with Manly Warringah Business Houses, started in 1978, to raise funds for children, is a member of the Masters with Narrabeen Sharks since 2004 and represented Australia for 4 years. Friendly also toured with the Australian Masters of Rugby League to Great Britain and played in the ‘one off test’ in 2008. He is still part of this both as a player and a referee.
In 2000 Friendly was Citizen of the Year in Pittwater's Australia Day Awards. On Australia Day in 2013 Brian Friend, was recognised and awarded an Australia Day award for contributing to sporting clubs such as Warringah Touch Football and Avalon Bulldogs Rugby League Club through coaching and refereeing. Another aspect of this award was recognising his fundraising for NSW Police Legacy and cancer research.
We had one of our first little chats in 2012 for his Profile - although Friendly is part of the Pittwater Online News 'Brains Trust' as he has steered the news service towards other Pittwater Legends to honour and celebrate. Friendly has also been the impetus behind history pages, including those on the Broken Bay Water Police, more recently the Goldthorpe and Smith Boatshed at Palm Beach, the rescue he was involved with in June 1974, shared as A Cruel Sea by Gordon Wellings, and been a 'reporter' of significant events, such as the 100 year celebration and International Fleet Review 2013.
In fact, Friendly packs so much into each week, even now, it's a wonder he doesn't end up a bit more weary, although it would seem that soon after he could toddle he began to run. That may have slowed down to a jog nowadays, but Mr. Friend spends all day everyday doing for others still.
It all began 80 years ago though. This week, a few insights from the last 11+ years of Friendly's input into Pittwater Online:
FRIEND (nee Beryl Sage).—October 19, to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Friend, Kingsford, late Manly—a son (Brian David). Family Notices (1943, October 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17866541
So what’s the attraction with football?
It’s a sport I like. When I was young I played Rugby League and a bit of Union.
How old were you when you started?
About ten, back in those days (the early fifties) we didn’t have under 7’s, under 8’s; I think 10’s or 11’s was the youngest year. My mum bought a place in Narrabeen in 1947 and then I moved out here, we got married in 1967, to Avalon.
Friendly, when referring to 'we' means wife Robyn. He shared some insights on his wonderful wife during the Celebration of her life she organised, as was her way, in May 2022. This celebration of Friendly at 80 would not be complete without his tribute to the love of his life, or as he and his three sons Chris, Carl and Ryan (alias Kong, Fez and Jack), called her OPO - Oh Perfect One:
Born in Cowra, her family moved to North Narrabeen when she was 13 years old. Her parents Cec and Lill bought a shop opposite the surf club.
I started carting her out at age 16. Good sort, dark red hair, and had a bit of class amongst so many others.
I used to pick her up from High School in different cars, just to impress her and impress Narrabeen Girls High School, and so the teachers would not know me. I was working as a Mechanic out at Mona Vale and would jump in a car at 3.15 of an afternoon, sometimes a Jag, sometimes and MG, a Holden, didn’t matter what it was, give it a road test down to Narrabeen Girls High School, pick her up to drive her home while all the other girls were catching the bus or walking home.
This impressed a lot of women in her life and they thought she knew someone really important. (laughter) – they didn’t realise it was me.
At Narrabeen High School
Robyn Taylor (Friend), front page of the November 6, 1965 PIX magazine. The caption reads: "With Sydney's summer weather lingering on, attractive Robyn Taylor, Narrabeen, is determined to make her sun tan last through the winter months. Robyn, at present a student, has ambitions of becoming a pathologist, Living close to the beach, surfing is her favourite pastime, but horse-riding and squash also popular interests."
We loved dancing, we were joined at the hips in dancing, and there’s a lot of our close friends here today who used to go too – to the Avalon Beach Stomp at Avalon Beach surf club, the Collaroy surf club dance, at North Narrabeen surf club’s dance, at Dee Why – we’d stay at the pub until 10 o’clock until we got kicked out and then go to the surf club. Rock & Roll plus jiving. We could dance Jazz Waltz, Quick Step and Pride of Erin. We were united at the hip.
She was a race starter when we used to race cars along Ocean St. you see people out there with their chequered flags starting races at Oran Park or Le Mans – she used to start our races when I had a Morris Minor and a mate of mine had an Austin 30, both of which had similar motors. We’d race from outside her shop all the way up to the fire station, then back through the cutting and down onto the North Narrabeen bridge. How we never got killed I don’t know; but she used to start us off – would have a flag out there and wave us away. In the shop window you’d see her father watching, clearly thinking; ‘what does she see in this idiot?’.
Because I didn’t do anything to promote our love as far as rings on fingers she said one day, ‘I’m going to Queensland, going with a mate.’ And left.
I thought ‘she’ll be back in a couple of weeks, it’s all good.’
I started writing her letters, which she still has today – I’m going to burn them in that – .
Some of those letters are beautiful – I didn’t realise I could talk like that.
At any rate, she still said ‘no, I’m not coming back.’
I ended up jumping in my trusty old FC Holden and roared off to Queensland, which was about a 12 hour trip then, and brought her back with 'promises of marriage'.
We married on January 14th, 1967 at Narrabeen, in the chapel next door to the Taylor Old Men’s home. Our honeymoon was spent in Noosa.
Bridal party, 1967
Wedding party - Friend and Taylor families, 1967
Brian and Robyn Wedding photo, January 14, 1967
We moved to Avalon Beach where we started our life together, then a little village and still a wonderful place. She had her eyes on a house and then she wanted to have a baby….
She said to me "I think we should have a child" and I agreed knowing that I was going to have a great time making babies. She then told me she was pregnant. This happened with each child, the same statement and when I agreed, the same answer. I knew when she said ‘I think we should have a baby’ that she was already pregnant – those are the things I never want to forget.
When she was pregnant with Kong, our first son, all I had was a little Honda motorbike with which I used to go to the training academy for the coppers. She used to sit on the back when we were going out. As she progressed through her pregnancy she would move back further and further on the seat until one night the coppers pulled us over. I said ‘yeah, what’s the trouble mate?’ – he replied ‘you’ve got no tail light, I don’t think you’ve even got a number plate.’ As it turned out the wife was sitting so far back she’d squatted all over it and you couldn’t see it. (more laughter)
That was the fun we had – we just had the best fun.
She baked her babies well and presented me with 3 sons. Little did she realise that she was going to raise these boys exactly as she wanted them because a lot of the time I was at work on shift work in Sydney and relieving 5 times down at Port Kembla for 3 weeks at a time.
What you see today is what she created. We were married for 55 and a half years but because of our life style with work, footy and netball, I think that the actual time together would have been in vicinity of 15 years.
She loved her 22 years at Sunnyfield with her 5 Down Syndrome children. She loved Tutoring her students in Maths and English and always made an impression with them when they sat for their 'finals' by lifting their personal examination marks from very low to a 'very good pass'.
She had a sense of humour although a bit different to mine. When I was working part time at the Shell Garage in Av, I used to duck over the RSL and have a few snorts before tea time. This became a bit of a habit and one evening I was 'paged to the front door'… upon my responding to this request, I was presented with Rob in PJ's and nightgown, carrying Carl in PJ's and night gown and Chris by her side in PJ's and night gown with the words "this is your daddy's second home, please say good night to him".
I was working 3 jobs at the time I joined the Coppers and she was 'squirrelling' away my pay packets to pay the home off that SHE had bought. When we finally decided to join our mates going to Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Borneo and then a trip through UK and Europe, she saved and saved so that we could afford it. I always wondered where she got the money for it. I used to give her my pay cheque every fortnight from the Cops and she would bank it. I went into the bank one day with my cheque and signed it over to the account we had. The teller said, "this is not your signature mate". I then realised that Rob had been signing my pay cheques over to them for many years.
Many times I used to strut around like an old cock rooster with my chest pumped out stating "look whom I chose for my partner" ….many years down the track she pulled me aside one day and said....’’You idiot, I chose you".
She was MY champion.
We were so comfortable with each other, didn’t seem to need anyone else – but I think the reason we were so happy was all of you people out here today, our mates. And the Taylor family, always the best fun, always the best people to have at a party – if you go with them you knew you were going to have a great night.
One thing I always remember about her that I loved was "we always held hands when walking anywhere in the world". Whether we were walking down the street in Avalon or somewhere overseas, walking through Sienna in Italy or Lake Garda, we always held hands. I always held her right hand as I always stood closest to the road – which us old blokes would understand in that you were protecting your wife from any car that may jump the kerb -nowadays, with 90 k an hour it wouldn’t matter what hand you held, but still, that’s what we did. I think our No.1 son captured some pics when he was travelling with us.
Back to the footy, and Brian's story in his words:
I joined the Avalon Junior League in 1966; I was the manager and assistant coach with one of my best mates Keith Feehely (also my best man); We played at Newport because Mary had a tip over here at Avalon that she was running.
Mary Gibson; she was a character, a wonderful lady, she had the rights to the tip, and at Warriewood; there was a Salvation Army paddock there where Rat Park is now, and also she had the rights to the one up at Terrey Hills. But she was a real character; her husband had been in prison that many times; when he shot ‘doodsie’ West at Narrabeen, that was about his 75th conviction!; he’d done a few armed holdups and break-ins. I used to get on pretty well with him; I was in the coppers for 32 years and I’d go around and knock on his door and say ‘Luke, I’ve got a Summons here.’ And he’d yell back ‘Go away, I’m drinking..!’ I would then turn up the next day and he’d accept it. It’s called ‘street wise policing’.
How long were you in the Police Force for?
I started at Manly, did six months there, went to Mona Vale, then I started with the Water Police and out of my 32 years I did 30 years on the water; Broken Bay, Sydney and Port Kembla.
Friendly had many challenges on the water over the years as part of the Water Police, one of which he received the Queen's Commendation for Bravery, 1974.and the NSW Police Commissioner's Commendation for Courage, 1974. That rescue, of those aboard the Votan, may be read in Gordon Wellings account, A Cruel Sea and the other man aboard the Police Launch The Falcon during that rescue, Roper Lars Scott (Buster) Brown Q.C.B.C.
Brian and Robyn At Government House 1975 at presentation of Commendations - no 'mo!
Gordon Wellings - 'Boots', Roper Lars Scott 'Buster' Brown - Brian Friend
There were some good aspects to being a water policeman too:
Yeah, it opened a lot of doors with opportunities and I met a hell of a lot of people; took Stormin Norman out, you know Schwarzkopf (General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf KCB) who was in the first Gulf War. We drove Di’ and Charles from Bayview up to Gosford on a 60 footer. Took Keefer Sutherland and his kids on a day trip, what a nice man.
What were Charles and Diana like ?
Oh, wonderful people. She was a little bit stuck up but the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen on a person, and he’s an absolute champion, one of those who’d get in amongst and talk with all the people.
And when I was working in Sydney we took out George Bush senior, and he was only Vice President then, and of course we had a security boat, we had a 65 footer Police Boat, and they kept walking around, coming up to me, and talking into their cufflinks, talking into ties and watches.
At the end of the trip we dropped them back and thanked us and one of them told me, “Mark my words, this bloke will be President one day.” and I said, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ And they gave us a token of thanks; a keyring with G O Bush and it was signed across the back in bronze; I’ve still got it here; got it sitting up there in the thing over there with all the other keyrings. He was an amazing man, very switched on and more interested in our country then others were. They’re the sort of people you meet.
So you retired from the Water Police ?
Yeah, I did 32 years and I was getting close to 57. I wasn’t enjoying it as much. I wasn’t getting out on the boat as much, I was spending more time in the station and doing all the paperwork, as Senior blokes do, and I thought ‘a trained monkey can do this’ and we were getting into this computer age where everything had to be verified and chased up, instead of entering everything into an old pad where you can go back and check that the event is written off (completed), you had to go in to a computer and logon and all that sort of stuff which was time and effort, where I could have been out doing actual Police work. This is why you don’t see many coppers on the roads; because as soon as they start their shift they’ve got an hour of messages and stuff that they’ve got to answer before they can do any actual Police work. And, although computers are great because they’re quick and can access a lot of information out there, I’ve never yet seen a computer that can get in a car and go out and arrest someone.
There was a guy in the local paper this morning actually, a teacher, who wrote a letter in, a wonderful thing about why there’s no male teachers anymore; it’s because of the curriculum that people are putting to you if you’re in the coppers or the teachers; you now have to have more qualifications, and to do those qualifications you’ve got to go online; which is all very well if you’re au fait with computers. I’ve been coaching under 7s and under 6’s since 1975 for Avalon, which is a long bloody time, and I know more about kids, their idiosyncrasies, parents, all of what’s involved, then anyone can teach me. I’d learnt off a couple of old blokes many years before.
Now these blokes have come in, and to justify their position in the Manly Sea Eagles mob, they’ve got a coaching director now, you now have to do another Course. Now, I’ve pulled this out of the computer last night, and I’ve got to do this; I’ve got to go online and do all of that; this is making my job harder. Now what they don’t do in there is tell you how to treat children that are ADD or are disruptive, meek or mild … every child is different and yet we have to take that child on his merits and help them become their best. This is the area I work on. Now one of my functions, and in coaching, is to teach them a bit about Rugby League, a lot about having a good time, and Stranger Danger.
Now, people say ‘Why?’ and it’s because this is a part of our society that we’ve got going at the moment and my pet hate has always been, which we don’t get a lot of up here, is paedophiles.
I did do some coaching with the 13 and 14 year olds and it was getting to a stage where they were too hard to control. They’d be going around the back of the clubhouse smoking a bit of marijuana and stuff, halfway through training. In 1975 my wife took our two littlies, one was six and the other four, and they went over to see if they could play Rugby League and were told they didn’t have a coach so they called me and said ‘Get over here.’
So I started coaching and also some touch. I knew Frank had been doing this at Narraweena; and I said to him ‘how are you finding it, I’m ripping my hair out.’ And he said, no, no, this is what you do; and Frank was a great guiding light to 16’s and 17’s. I stayed with the 7’s. I saw him one day…and then another bloke from Harbord, Bob Butcher, took over 7’s at Harbord, so the three of us old blokes got together and formed this pact to do whatever we can to protect kids and ensure they get a good go at life and make sure they enjoy footy.
Whenever we have a Gala Day and the three of us are there the kids have a ball. I don’t want the kids to call me ‘Mr’, no one ever calls me 'Mr', they all call me ‘Friendly’.
(Friendly is referring to Frank Cridland, Narraweena and Bob Butcher, Harbord; Manly Warringah District Junior Rugby Football League Incorporated. All Life Members.)
The three of us make sure that all the kids in our area get looked after; plus the three of us are referees as well. So I’ll coach my team and then they’ll ask me to referee the next two games; but, I allow the kids to have a good time.
This new scheme and qualifications required doesn’t recognise prior experience?
I suppose it’s like your First Aid certificate; you have to stay current; it’s like the tickets I have to get to drive commercial vehicles, and to do that every three years you have to do a First Aid, and my Master Four which allows me to drive large vessels and my MED 2 (Marine Engine Driver 2) which means I don’t need an engineer on board at the time. Every five years you have to go to the doctors and do an eyesight test. The blokes who have written this aren’t taking into account, or have never coached, under 6’s, under 7’s and what you need to coach kids; it’s all about personalities.
2000 Sydney Olympics Torch Runner with his sons
Avalon Surf Club ?
I joined there in 1965. I rode six years in surf boats, two years R&R (Rescue and Resuscitate) and I’d come down and get involved in the big Surf Swims.
I knew Joe Gardener, who was the first copper here in Avalon; they used to work out of Kenny Gales house in Hudson Parade; that’s where the first Police Station was; no 9 Hudson Parade, Clareville. So when Ken got out of the Coppers and sold his house, that’s when they put the dogbox at the back of Mona Vale there.
What’s one stand out rescue that you can recall?
Not so much me; there’s been other guys that have done the rescues; back then we went out in a surfboat, we didn’t have rubber duckies, and because I was in the Water Police, the first power rescue boat was the Bartender at Newport, which was a timber double ended boat. They had a shed at the northern end of the surf club at Newport, and blokes like Brian Sproul worked on it; Bert King was one of the instigators, and there was another old bloke who had a radio in the actual clubhouse that could communicate with this boat, and they used to roll it down on a trailer with wide tyres and push it into the surf; it had a propeller which was half way up and it had a tunnel so that it could go across very shallow waters. So, instead of going over the top of a wave like a surf boat does and drops down and crashes and everyone goes overboard, they had the propeller halfway along the length of the boat so that when it got to a certain part of the wave it couldn’t drive anymore and dropped down quick.
When we, being in the Water Police, had any rescues, and we used to see a lot of rescues up and down the coast, the first thing you’d do is ring them up because they’d be out there quick, by the time we’d come around Barrenjoey. We did a lot of searches with them up and down the coast on dark nights. They were wonderful people. They were Clubbies, I love clubbies; it’s very professional now but back then they’d hear someone was in trouble and just launch a boat and out they’d go to rescue them, all kinds of conditions. Plus you had some great swimmers, blokes who’d grab a belt and just go.
What would be the best thing you’ve experienced in being involved with the Surf Clubs?
With Surf Clubs it’s the camaraderie and all pulling in the same direction. And of course Nippers has been wonderful; you look at the people who run the Nippers (Roland Luke for instance) and put so much into that; that has been the run up to step into Senior Lifesaving. Those people on the beach are all volunteers; people give them a hard time but they’re protecting lives out there every weekend for nothing. They’re saving lives. They all do their study, do their resuscitation. I can’t praise those clubs high enough, and they’re all the same up and down the coast.
So where are you dedicating your time now?
When we started, the first Avalon A grade was in the early ‘70’s and we only had it for three years and we kept getting a flogging every week and ran out of players, so in ’93 we got this A Grade.
The kids came up and came around to our place and said ‘we want to get an A Grade going.’ And I said I’d give them all the support I can.
To keep them fit during Summer I decided to run a touch footy comp. So we started over at Hitchcock Park at 6pm on a Wednesday night and thought we’d just run it for an hour and word got around and before you knew we had twelve teams!
So then I had to organise referees, had to mark the fields every two weeks, which is mowing and mowing and mowing and marking and I said ‘what am I doing?’. It just got bigger!
We got to sixteen teams and we couldn’t put anymore on then sixteen teams; and it’s still going today. So I did the first ones since 93 and 2008 I think I pulled the pin on doing all that.
What happened in 2002 was all the mothers got together and said ‘hang on, you’re running this for them; what about all the kids who want something?’ and I said, well I coach kids in winter, I can’t do twelve months.’ And they said ‘come one, we’ll give you a hand.’.
So I went down and saw Annie Misdale here who does the grub in the canteen and another couple of mothers and we talked about starting a kid’s touch football on a Friday night and asked if they’d give me a hand. So we started it off and we had about 300 kids turn up for the first season.
I had to work out the draws, and I had to mark the fields, and then I had to work out who was playing in what, so we had a 8’s and under, 10’s and under and a 12’s and under, 14’s and under and 16’s and under. That’s five times; so I used to start at 4.30 in the afternoon and go through to ten o’clock at night, every Friday night.
So there goes our social life; now the flower’s (wife Robyn) not too happy about that. I’m out constantly; Tuesday nights I’m refereeing at Manly, Sunday I’m refereeing at Cromer, and Wednesday at Manly and Tuesday coaching kids.
So you haven’t retired at all, have you Brian ?
So now the girls have taken it up under the guidance of Lisa Matthews (Friday Kids Touch Footy) and they’ve got just under 900 kids.
That’s the thing about Touch Football; anyone can play it. When we started I went around to all the schools; Bilgola, Newport, Mona Vale, and stood up in the auditoriums and said ‘Look, this is what I’m doing, any kid can play it; you can be rugby union, soccer, league, AFL’; girls can play it because it’s only a semi-contact sport. And of course now, all of a sudden, we’ve now got full girl teams, but my stipulation was we’re not going to do it for nothing.
Three generations at Avalon Bulldogs
So I went to Avalon RSL and Palm Beach RSL and I asked them to provide six (6) dinners for two with a bottle of wine, which they did. And I’d run a raffle for these during the season and by the end, I think we started with a thousand dollars, it got up to two thousand dollars, and I got in touch with Eileen Gordon of the Mona Vale Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary, and I said ‘this is what I’ve got’. So every year we’d go and see the Chief Sister up there (Mona Vale Hospital’s Children’s Ward) and ask her ‘what do you need?’ and she’d give us a list of things they need, also listing how much money each cost.
Over the years we’ve raised around 12 thousand dollars and that’s gone on hospital equipment. If you go up to the children’s ward you’ll see stuff that’s come from us.
There was another time I got with David Speed from Pittwater Council, he’s a ranger, Speedy, we ran a Gala Day down at Rat Park and raised $8000.00 in one day. We rang Patricia Giles and Eileen Gordon to ensure it went to the Hospital; so we did that two years in a row and that was good.
The Avalon JRFL Life Members were running the BBQ: and we had Col, of Col’s Meats. I ran Police Legacy, a golf day at Palm Beach for eleven years. We raised $65 000.00 for NSW Police Legacy doing those.
You see, what I always knew was, if I was killed or died while I was in the coppers, my family would be looked after; Legacy look after your children. When I was getting close to retiring I knew I wanted to pay something back to Legacy, and coaching, so I started it up with a couple of mates and we began out there at Palm Beach Golf Course. The first few we ran raised about three thousand, and then we were getting around 7 to 7 ½ thousand every year. And we ended upraising $65 000 towards Legacy.
To me it’s not just one person it’s the people who are prepared to put all their time and effort into it. See, we raise money for Legacy and for the Hospital, and with my Tuesday Touch Football, who are supported by Manly Warringah Business House, I raise money for Bear Cottage.
See, I always have an ulterior motive; so if you’re good enough to use the facilities and enjoy yourself then you’re good enough to tumble in some money. Say for instance, Johnson’s Hardware, they always donate things. I auction them off, and whatever money we get I take up to Bear Cottage.
The other way is of course, I’m Chairman of the Retired Police Association on the Northside, which is Harbour Bridge to Palm Beach; there we have certain functions and raise money through that. Also, I run the Retired Water Police one in the city every four months; we have a meeting there, and I hit them all for five bucks and all that money goes to Bear Cottage too.
You must be flat out ?
No; that’s the one there who needs a medal (Referring to wife Robyn who had just entered room). She’s a legend. I don’t know how the phone is still on the wall. When we were doing all this we were getting phone calls at ten o’clock at night and six, seven o’clock in the morning and a lot of the times I wouldn’t be here and she would have listed who rang and what they wanted. See I have 119 retired Water Police to keep in touch with on the Internet, I’ve got 105 retired Police I keep in touch with, plus she’s a tutor! Maths and English for Higher School Certificates and also years 8, 9 and 10; you ought to see her when HSC time comes around. Her students come around and give her presents as thanks yous…and she plays Netball Tuesdays and Sundays….
So do you two have a day off ?
A few hours in an odd morning; we also have grandchildren who we love looking after…and I have refereeing this afternoon so…and still doing Water Taxis on Mondays, which I really enjoy.
Plus, knowing all the people around the waterfront, so it’s nice to catch up with them. You know the Residents Association, the Co-op over at Mackerel, I used to go over there to their Meetings when I was in the coppers, you get to know the people. And the same at Coasters. You see there’s 52 houses at Coasters and 124 at Mackerel, plus, I’ve always kept in touch with the people who run the co-op. Russel and Wendy are over there running it now, before that it was David Haythornthwaite and Bob Ellis. So they’re all the people you get to know.
What is your favourite place in Pittwater and why ?
I just love Pittwater. The places, the people.
I used to walk down to Avalon and it’d take me four hours to get the paper. Nowadays I go down there, the old paper-shop’s gone, it’s moved around the corner, and I used to enjoy walking down there and having a natter with people and I’ve met some truly wonderful people.
I remember when Bob Grace asked us to go on his ticket to remain in Council. I said, hold on, what if we get voted in; I don’t want to be a Councillor; I remember Patricia Giles got Ian Treharne to go on hers and they got that many votes he became a Councillor, and I said to Bob, if that happens to me, and I’m made a Councillor, I’m going to get rid of all the coffee shops in Avalon and put a pub on every corner! And he said, ‘you’ll be right, you won’t get voted in Friendly.’
I love being on the Water Taxi, I pull up along barges and go to The Basin and sit down and have a cup of coffee with Robbie the Ranger, and wander around to Carl’s and have a cup of coffee with them, and Barrenjoey Boat Hire. It’s great getting to stop at all the different places and talk to people.
But we were taught that by my old boss in the Water Police, Buster Brown, who was a Clubbie too, and he said the only way you can get any information is to go and talk to people. Everyday he’d say, get on the boat and get to the two boatsheds (which were at Newport) and go and talk to the people and when you come back I want their names, who they are, what they desire, what their needs are and what information they can give us. So we’d go down to the old Holdencraft Mariner, which is no longer there and Newport Boat Sales, and we’d talk to them; and we got on a personal basis. Now over at Scotland Island you had a core that didn’t like coppers. But I got in the know there, through football and surf lifesaving and stuff like that, so I knew the Ducks, who were on the ferries. Lenny and Keith; Lenny’d be driving, drinking beer, Keith’d be hanging out the side painting as they were going along Elvina; it was the funniest times; and of course, I’d wander up and have a drink in the park with them, next to the Pasadena, and I got to know all the people on the island, and that’s when in ’94, the RTA decided because they’re part of the State of NSW, all the people on Scotland Island, 360 houses, all those vehicles have to be registered. So they took a mechanic over there and the boss of Dee Why RTA as it was then, and gave them all defect notices; listing stuff they had to have fixed and told them they’d be back in a month.
So they came back in a month, passed all the ones that had had all the work done. Then once they’d done that they told them they had to get an Authorised Inspection Station and Examiner to come over here once a year and inspect all the vehicles. So since ’94 I’ve been doing all that. I’m a mechanic by trade and I’ve got my Licence to do Inspections and Examiners Certificate; so I go over and do that on a Voluntary basis for them.
The coppers pick me up at Taylor’s Point and take me over there; I use the Fire Shed, and we do that once a year.
So, do you think that’s still part of the Police Force?
No. It’s all computerised, it’s all numbers now. The coppers have no respect now because there’s no respect from above. They used to have a Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner, a Deputy Commissioner and Superintendents; you had about half a dozen of those and that was it; they ran the State of NSW.
Now, everywhere you go you’ve got a Superintendent.
So there’s too much top structure, not enough on the ground ?
In corporate business they say you have your triangle; you had your top line, your middle managers and your workers. Now someone’s come along and kicked the living sh*t out of this triangle and its bounced over to the point end being the other way at the bottom. Now you’ve got all these bosses up here and all those middle line managers and that lonely worker. You look at your roadworks going on now; everything’s farmed out to sub-contractors; and now all these people making the big money can’t make a decision unless they go and see a Consultant. There was a recent report stating they’ve spent billions on supposed new road-works when nothing has actually been done because all the money spent so far has gone to Consultants.
You see, the worst thing that can happen on water is when the wind picks up and the surface becomes choppy, it’s like potholes out there, now with the roads now is that the RTA and Water are now in bed together; there’s another one; The National Parks and Wildlife, know who they’re in bed with now? The EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, so when you’ve got those two in together that’s a disaster.
Most of those kids that come out of university, they wouldn’t face a frog with a shovel.
What is your ‘motto for life’ or a favourite phrase you try to live by?
You’re here for a good time not a long time
Also, many many years ago a bloke said to me, and I kept saying it all the time to the point where a girl from Acacia clothing made a hat for me… How good is this ?
Have you ever seen that movie ‘The Castle’ and the scene about ‘the serenity’ ...? Yeah…like that
Also from many years ago; I’ll sleep when I’m dead
I haven’t got time to sit on my ar*e…
Not sure how this got in here, but this is known as the 'Brian De Friendly Statue et Le Louvre', captured in all its glory in 2014; our own local Brian Friend OAM says he spotted it while there studying ART- not sure this species has a Latin 'name', a very lifelike rendition nonetheless; classical sculpture showing great skill from the ARTIST in bringing this subjects' characteristics out .... bon!
Family man - loves his family
'Line Marking Kings': Brian Friend and Paul Collins - December 2015
Friendly and AC - Touch Footy report 2020
Brian Friend OAM and Geoff Searl OAM at ABHS 10th Exhibition 2022
Left to right: Chris Alldritt, Jayson McDonald, Russell Walton, Brian Friend, Peter Verrills - all helping out with Goldthorpe and Smith Boatshed history page - as organised by Friendly - Friendly and Russ also were the core behind the Barrenjoey Boatshed history page, first run in 2014, reprised in 2022 for a 75th anniversary
Life Member, referee and long-term coach of junior teams Brian Friend OAM led a Tribute for Terry O’Sullivan prior to the A-Grade match on Sunday April 16 2023. 'Tezza' as he is known to many in our community, passed away, just falling asleep, over Easter. His support through his business, Barrenjoey Designs, of local football clubs Warringah, Newport and Pittwater will be missed - but not as much as the gentleman himself.
Brian said ‘’Terry was a genuine bloke and a great supporter and sponsor of this club and his beloved A Grade over many years. His chair up in the supporters section, where he’d enjoy a beer, sits empty today.
The club feels deep sorrow for Terry’s family and extends its heartfelt condolences to his three daughters.
We, as a club, will observe one minutes silence as a tribute to our mate.’’
80th Birthday Party
held at Avalon Bulldogs JRLFC Clubhouse
Saturday October 21, 2023
A few pictures of guests
Life Members of Avalon Beach SLSC - four OAMs: Geoff Searl, Friendly, Warren Young, Roger Sayers
Retired Water Policemen
Touch Footy Crew
Peter Verrills and John Oliver
Craig Womersley, aka 'Truck with Robert and Janelle Johnson
Narrabeen Rugby Masters Crew
Mermaids of Palm Beach for Variety the Children's Charity, Elyse Cole and Beryl Driver OAM
History Of Broken Bay Water Police
Courtesy Brian Friend OAM
The Water Police section had its birth on Pittwater as a result of the prevalent stealing from private vessels in the area, however, while the prevention of theft is a part of our duties, Search and Rescue is our prime objective. The following resume of our work since 1966 may give you an indication of the workload and problems encountered by the men stationed here.
Prior to 1966 members of the Sydney Water Police transported 14' dinghies, powered by 35hp outboards, to the area on trailers and patrolled the area on nightshift in an attempt to curb the thefts from private boats. On 21 January 1966 the Police Launch 'Wallis', after having repairs carried out in Sydney, was attached to Mona Vale Police Station. The Launch was a 22' clinker timber half cabin, powered by a Ford Eaton V8 petrol engine. It was moored at Blacklers Boatshed near the public wharf at Church Point and was crewed by Senior Constable W. Kerr and Constables R. Beech, P. Sheehan and J. Gibbons. Accommodation at the boatshed at the time was in the form of a small office which was shared with the Volunteer Coastal Patrol and was supplied free of charge to the Department.
On 17 September 1966 the vessel was renamed 'Vanguard' and remained in service until 17 February 1969 when due to a lack of security she was replaced with a larger vessel with a lock up cabin. The replacement vessel was 'Valiant' a 26' clinker Launch powered by a Crusade –Palmer V8 engine. At the same as the vessels changed so did the leadership, due to ill health Senior Constable Kerr retired medically unfit and he was replaced by Sgt 3/c R.L.S. Brown. The 'Valiant' served faithfully until she was replaced on 20 August 1971 by Launch 'Falcon' a 32' timber craft powered by twin 325hp Mercruised engines. About this time the strength was increased to six units. The crew was now;- Sgt 3/c Brown, Con 1/c McNamara, Con 1/c Gibbons, Con 1/c Dunbar, Con 1/c Wellings and Const Friend. At the same time the area patrolled was extended to cover an area from Bird Is. (just north of Norah Head) south to Long Reef and fifty miles to sea. Shortly after the arrival of 'Falcon' Blacklers Boatshed was pulled down and the Manager of Mitchells Boatshed, Mr David Arblaster, invited the Department to use office space in their Boatshed (Free of charge).
On 9 June 1974 three members of the crew;- Sgt 3/c 'Buster' Brown, Sen Con 'Boot' Wellings and Con 1/c 'Friendly' Friend risked their lives to rescue five people from a stricken yacht, 'Votan', which was caught in a bombora off Terrigal, as a result of this daring rescue the three were awarded the Queens Commendation for Bravery. From 1966 until June 1978 the crew were performing their duties in a part time capacity, performing General Duties on weekdays and Water Police duties mainly on weekends.
Left: Sir Roden Cutler presenting Friendly with aQueen's Commendation for Bravery.
In addition General Duties Police from Mona Vale Police Station were trained in deck duties. This practice was continued until the 11th of June 1978 when the police launch ‘Valiant’ was commissioned. This vessel is a 45’ Clinker steel launch powered by twin Cummins Diesel 6 cylinder engines each producing 540h.p.
The vessel is fitted with Koden Radar, a Furuno Depth sounder, a Cestral compass Noil Radio Direction Finder, Kestral Small Ships Radio, Weston 27meg radio and two Police Radios. With the replacement of the 'Falcon' with the 'Valiant' the crew was working full time Water Police Duties for the first time.
On the 25th of May 1979 our section was boosted by the addition of an F 100 utility for the use of carrying found dinghies and other property to the holding yard at Mona Vale and also for towing the Police Launch Mona Vale, a 21' aluminium runabout powered by twin 70hp Johnson's which arrived on 10 September 1979.
On the 30th of March 1980 the Station was made an official Water Police Station and the strength was increased to 11 with an extra unit to be made available in the near future. These crew members are:- Sgt 2/c Merv Bush, Sgt 3/c John McNamara, Sen Con Brian Friend, Sen Con Alan Anderson, Con 1/c Graham Botham, Con 1/c Lindsay Dive, Con 1/c Ian Iszlaub, Con 1/c Gary Figgis Con 1/c Dave Kingsley, Con 1/c Jim Williams and Const. John Cuthbert with Const Glen Finnis to be transferred here shortly.
Statistics of Rescues.
66-69 Rescue statistics not kept. Rescues Property
Boats Males Females Outside Value p.a.
1969 63 102 36
1970 95 200 67
1971 141 267 123
1972 148 240 101
1973 89 80 81
1974 192 ---419---
1975 167 ---353---
1976 168 ---416---
1977 238 ---136--- 85 $2,749,000.00
'1978 196 ---594--- 33 $3,700,000.00
1979 221 ---748--- 40 $5,856,000.00
In the years since 1966 the Water Police have had a good association with the R.V.C.P. and the V.C.G. on an official and a social level. We regularly compete in declared speed events to Wisemans Ferry and the Clae engine trophy, having won both events at different times. We also have an association with the various private radio bases situate in the area.
The men attached to the Water Police undergo various training courses in boat handling, navigation, use of radios and Radar equipment and in addition all Police must obtain their Coxswain and Drivers Certificates by undergoing an N. S.B . examination.
It is also the duties of the Broken Bay Water Police to convey injured persons from the Western Shores and Scotland Island to the mainlabnd, to fight fires in these areas and to convey good and bad news to the people who live there. It can be seen from the statistics and facts herein that the men attached to this station provide an invaluable service to the Boating public in the Pittwater- Broken Bay area.
Marine Area Command
NSW has a large and busy coastline leading to an expansive system of waterways. The NSW Police Marine Area Command's (MAC) responsibility extends to all coastal area's of NSW to 200 Nautical Miles out to sea. From the earliest days of settlement, the state has required a dedicated water based policing service. The services provided by MAC are similar to those carried out by land-based police, including crime prevention and detection,search and rescue.
With the introduction of the NSW Police Marine Area Command in July 1999, equipment includes 11 sea going craft and a number of smaller boats, all with electronic navigational aids. MAC employs 123 personnel, including operational water police, marine intelligence unit, marine crime prevention officer, divers, detectives and the marine operational support team (MOST). With an increasing amount of commercial shipping and the immense expansion in the number and type of leisure craft on our waterways, the Water Police are being called on more and more to drive down marine crime.
Their duties include:
- policing the waterways of NSW to reduce marine crime
- protecting life and property, both at sea and on inland waters
- overseeing aquatic events and controlling spectator craft
- coordinating search and rescue off the coast of NSW
- carrying out diving operations and underwater searches for missing persons and evidence
- maintain and service police launches
- addressing marine crime prevention issues
- safety and compliance reinforcement
To be the premier Marine Law Enforcement Command in Australasia and to provide professional service to the community to reduce marine crime and maintain search and rescue effectiveness.
John Dunbar Farewell on the Valiant - Broken Bay Water Police.
The Falcon at Broken Bay Water Police.
Retired Water Policemen: Jeff 'Bushy' Gilchrist, Lindsay 'Muff' Dive, Brian Friend OAM Q.C.B.C., John 'Clem' Dunbar & Jeff 'Combear' Comber - part of Buster's story.
2019: World's Greatest Shave 2019: Mo, Fro And Lanky Locks GO! Over 20k Raised!!
On Friday Newport teenager Sebastian Brown and Brian Friend (Friendly) plunged into losing a little hair for a great cause.
Seb said he decided to be part of this year's World's Greatest Shave for the kids who experience leukaemia, 'but also for their families, this impacts on them too. In fact (I'm doing this) for all people affected by cancer."
"It's just cutting your hair off - it's not going to matter much in 20 years time."
Friendly may have had a different perspective - his 'mo' has been a part of his life for well over two score and something years...while Doug has been cultivating that halo of hair for a while too and may require a beanie in his period of hairless adjustment.
They all went ahead and came out grinning, laughing - their fan bases stoked with what they have done.
Between them they have met the fundraising targets they set and then some - Friendly exceeding his goal line by almost three times what he thought people may chip in. Not only that, his wonderful wife Robyn and Team Friendly found 20 sponsors in the neighbourhood who put up great prizes for a raffle and when he was looking like he may be getting close to losing that Mo the 'Flower' as Friendly calls her started spruiking kisses for 20 cents!
Some pictures to show how it all unfolded:
The year 9 Pittwater High School student was supported by a fan base;
Seb steps up to the Friendly mark;
the first tresses fall;
but Seb doesn't mind at all;
he has the crowd smiling back at him; and the next-generation documentary makers backing him;
Kylie Leach, World's Greatest Hairdresser;
Chortle in the background Mr. Friend - soon your moustache will be following this Worlds Greatest shave trend;
that 'ummmmm... wonder if I can ... turn this into something useful' moment;
He's done it - he's done!;
- another brilliant young man;
Sebastian hoped to rais 1 thousand dollars - he exceeded that!
Brian Friend OAM (Friendly)
That hairy upper caterpillar that's been lingering for 43 years is about to cause a grown man to shed it, but no tears....
He steps up, and sits down;
The MO to GO commences through granddaughters employing the necessary tools;
Ok - let's trying something a tiny bit smaller;
Just let me get that bit there;
Ok; team effort required -
he chooses to close his eyes;
SAnd opens them again - t may be time to call in the World's Greatest hairdresser instead - this is going nowhere fast (he's not sure how long his upper lip may last ! ) ;
Half a MO!:
Ok; we'll let the Greatest Hairdresser have a go;
Kylie works hard - Mo hairs fall in lengths of yards;
With That Mo half gone, he's still grinning;
Bravely stares down a moustache-less future....
With most of that MO GOne;
His supporters finally see Friendly the shorn - what a beautiful picture!;
Just when he thought 'well, that's done' .... Kylie reappears with some of that 'shaving cream' stuff... to make him look even better;
Come on old son - let's get this done;
The good wife, young Robyn takes this as an opportunity to commence spruiking 'kisses for 20c' - after some ignoramus in the crowd points out that's unlikely to garner more cents for Worlds Greatest Shave as 'it's a bit rich!' the price quickly drops to 5 cents - band more $ for the World's Great Shave rattle into that tin -
And suddenly it appears - that moment Robyn has been dreaming of for years (43 in fact) - a spikeless kiss for her and all her granddaughters;
Mr and Mrs Friend;
Retired Police Officers Day At Mona Vale Police Station 2023
Dave Whiteman, former Profile of the Week and President of the Northern Beaches Retired & Former Police Association said 'it was a great success'.
''Hosted by Superintendent Pat Sharkey and his wonderful support team headed by Sgt. Belinda Caddy and Acting Executive Officer Rebecca Jessep.
Well over 50 Northern Beaches RFPA Members and former NSW Police Officers, including one Police widow, enjoyed catching up with former workmates and an excellent BBQ courtesy of the NB PAC.
Some members travelled from the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains to be there and Members who have passed in the last couple of years were also acknowledged.
We extend out thanks to Superintendent Sharkey and his team for a wonderful day of great memories.'' - David Whiteman, Chairman of the Northern Beaches Retired & Former Police Association
Group photo by Dave Whiteman, a former Newport resident and in original intake at Pittwater High School - thanks Dave!