The First weekenders on the Palm Beach Beachfront + a look into Palm Beach SLSC Clubhouses in the club's 101st season
This year the Palm Beach SLSC celebrates its 101st Season and remains one of our strongest and largest membership surf clubs, with volunteer patrol members committed to keeping people safe on this popular beach. Palm Beach SLSC is unique among the surf clubs along our peninsula in that it has a history of having purchased the lands and buildings used by members. These are among the earliest homes built along the beachfront and in buying these, and keeping them intact, the club has also contributed enormous heritage values to Pittwater.
However their purchase of blocks along the beachfront pales in comparison when you consider how many blocks of land Alfred James Hordern purchased.
As these original beachfront lots, when first advertised in January 1912, had been marked as sold by the second land sale in December 1912, it may be assumed they had purchased the same during that first land sale and taken advantage of the Barrenjoey Land Company’s offer of a £2 per Lot deposit, with the balance in monthly instalments of £1 per lot for every £30 of purchase. The Registration of Title dates show that came later in many instances.
William Chorley was certainly entertaining people prior to the official registration of Title for Lot 80. The newspapers of the past tell us:
OBITUARY. MR. W. CHORLEY. Mr William Chorley whose death took place on Monday at Cheltenham was a pioneer of that district where he took up land about 46 years ago and named it Cheltenham after his native town In England. He was also one of the first to build a home at Palm Beach. He was associated with all local enterprises at Cheltenham and was a prominent member of the Congregational Church of which he was a generous supporter for many years.The founder and principal of the well known business of W. Chorley and Co., Ltd., he had been associated with the business life of the city for more than half a century. He was 75 years of age. He is survived by two sons and seven daughters. The funeral took place yesterday at the Northern Suburbs Cemetery. A short service was conducted at the home by the Rev. R. E. Chapman. The Cheltenham Congregational Church was crowded for the memorial service. [Sydney Morning Herald, 24 April 1935, p. 10]PROBATE OF WILL. Mr. William Chorley, merchant tailor, late of George-street, who died on April 22, a widower, left his estate to his family, and appointed Mr. H. J. A. Chorley, his son, and the Permanent Trustee Co. executors of his will. The estate has been sworn for probate at £63,522. [Sydney Morning Herald, 10 July 1935, p. 9]
Misnamed one – is named 'Whale Beach' and actually Palm Beach
EB Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.). (circa 1917). Panorama of Whale Beach, New South Wales Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-162483691 - view from further back along Sunrise road back towards beach road with Pacific road going up the hill – says ‘Palm Beach No.: 5’ at left hand base of pano. Part of those commissioned by Barrenjoey Land Company - possibly taken around same time those for Whale Beach panoramas and subdivision pamphlets were taken. Palm Beach Land Company cottage sold to Robson Scott on corner of Palm Beach Road and Pacific road opposite what would become stone Maitland home. Peters home still not present on beach, only Chorleys, so certainly circa 1917, possibly 1915-16.
Barrenjoey - Palm Beach Estate - Pittwater - Barranjoey Rd 1912 - part of brochure. Item: c052700024, courtesy State Library of NSW
Barrenjoey - Palm Beach Estate - Pittwater - Barranjoey Rd 1912 - part of brochure. Item: c052700025, courtesy State Library of NSW
Barrenjoey - Palm Beach Estate - Pittwater - Barranjoey Rd 1912. Item c052700030, courtesy State Library of NSW - H. Wolstenholme, solicitor to the estate.
Section from a RAHS photo showing Palm Beach Estate Barranjoey advert circa 1912. Item: c16402_0008_c , courtesy State Library of NSW
Palm Beach SLSC had originally been supported by the Barrenjoey Land Company in being allowed to store their original shed, to house a surfboat and equipment, on the block of land beside the Peters residence. They then built another shed which was erected on Horderns Reserve, at the end of Ocean Road. Thereon followed a series of complaints, mostly about noise and the 'ramshackle' appearance of this second shed, from Mr. Hordern, despite his being a supporter of the club from its infancy. When considering he bought up all the land beside and behind him, he was clearly after unobstructed privacy, peace and quiet and enjoyment of the natural beauty of the place. Mr. Hordern also donated or loaned substantial amounts to the Warringah Shire Council, to finish the rockpool for instance. Researching the Warringah Shire Council records shows his requests were immediately met while others, making the same, were denied similar treatment and often went through months or years of inaction until they pointed out they would have to take legal action.
Lots 87 and 88, then right at the end of Ocean Road, were first bought by a Gustavus Athol Waterhouse on July 3rd 1913 and then transferred to Alfred James Hordern on December 22nd, 1919.
Mr. Hordern went on to buy Lots 89, 90, 91 and 126, behind him (Vol/Fol 3405-43) in October 1922
Lot 86 was purchased by Ernest Ebenezer Way with the Certificate of Title being issued on May 4th, 1917 (Vol/Fol 2754-135) and onsold to William John Creagh, with the transfer registered on January 23rd, 1919. Mr. Creagh then sold his Lot to Alfred James Hordern with the transfer registered on April 16th, 1921, although this was not ratified until later as Mr. Hordern passed away in the interim. William John Creagh, a solicitor, was, along with Mr. Hordern's wife Caroline, one of the executors of his estate.
Hordern home on Palm Beach circa 1921 - section from Enemark pano
Alfred James Hordern was the youngest son of John and Rebecca née Carr Hordern. John (1819 – 27 March 1864) was a son of Anthony Hordern, Snr. (1788 – 9 June 1869). A J Hordern (c. 1859 – 15 August 1932) had his main home, "Highlands" in Myra Street, Wahroonga. His father took his own life when he was just 5 years of age, his mother passed away at 48 years of age when he was a teenager. Anthony Hordern Snr. was executor for his father's will and he went into the family business. He had three brothers, John, William and Edward, and a sister, Eda.
FUNERAL OF MR. J. L HORDERN
The funeral of the late John Lebbeus Hordern took place on Saturday morning, leaving the residence of his brother, at Chatswood, for Gore Hill Cemetery. The chief mourners were his two brothers, Messrs. Edward Carr Hordern and Alfred James Hordern, and his sister Miss Borders. The officiating clergyman was Rev. H. G. J. Howe. The funeral was of an entirely private, character, only his immediate relatives and some of the older employees of the firm of Hordern Brothers being present. Mr. Hordern died at Auckland on February 23, aged 61, of pneumonia and heart failure, while on a holiday trip in New Zealand. His body was brought back -by the steamer Maheno, arriving on Friday last. FUNERAL OF MR. J. L HORDERN (1910, March 7). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116054764
The home at Palm Beach was called 'Kalua' and held by the Hordern family until sold in 1978. He also had a love of his gardens and is credited with planting the first Norfolk pines along Palm Beach.
Warringah Shire Council records from Meetings show:
R.T.McKay. 16/4/34, requesting that the long oak trees which are decayed at the bottom, on Hordern Park, Park Beach, be cut down, as they are about to fall and will destroy young trees planted by Mr. Hordern, or will injure his fence. Resolved, - That Mr. R. Howlett be given permission to remove the trees. (Crs.Hitchcock., Hughes) 64. Same, 16/4/34, requesting that the Water tables in Florida Road between Scott Road and the park, and between his place and Mrs. Hordern’s place, be improved, suggesting that the material from the gutter on the southern side of Florida Road be placed on the raised area on the north side. Resolved, - That a short section of Florida Road, about 2 chains, be ballasted to prevent the water crossing the road, the cost to be deducted from the Florida road vote. 65. R.L. Mortimer, 16/4/34, requesting an estimate of the cost of gravelling and tarring the frontage of his stores at Mona Vale. Referred to the Engineer for report.
Palm Beach circa 1926-30, from collection of and courtesy John Cowper - taken from Hordern home grounds at Palm Beach
THE GOVERNOR AND FAMILY AT PALM BEACH. The Governor (Sir Dudley de Chair) has been spending a few days at the Palm Beach (N.S.W.) home of Mr. Alfred Hordern, which was placed at his disposal. The Governor is standing on the left facing Lady de Chair and Miss Elaine de Chair and her brother, Lieutenant Graham de Chair, A.D.C. THE GOVERNOR AND FAMILY AT PALM BEACH. (1930, March 5). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160633195
LATE MR. A. J. HORDERN.
Probate is being sought of the will and codicil of Mr. Alfred James Hordern, of Myra-street, Wahroonga, who died in August last at the age of 73 years. The value of the estate has been sworn for probate at £79,431; these is also certain estate outside New South Wales. The trustees of the estate are the widow (Mrs. Caroline Hordern), Mr. Bruce Alexander Hordern (a son of the testator), Mr. William John Creagh (solicitor), and the Perpetual Trustee Co., Ltd. LATE MR. A. J. HORDERN. (1932, December 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16938014
LATE MR A J HORDERN
The estate of Mr Alfred James Hordern, late of Wahroonga, who died on August 15, has been sworn for probate at £79,431. By his will Mr Hordern appointed Mr. W. J. Creagh and the Perpetual Trustee Co Ltd to be trustees and executors and bequeathed and devised his estate for the benefit of his widow and children and other relatives PROBATE OF WILLS. (1932, December 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16938723
AT PALM BEACH
Although the rain spoiled the garden inspection at Mrs. A. J. Hordern's home, Kalua, Palm Beach, on Saturday, a large crowd visited the gardens yesterday. The proceeds will go to Graythwaite, the Red Cross nome. Mrs. Hordern entertained a house party at Kalua this weekend. Her guests included Mrs. Cecil Hordern, Misses Thelma and Dulcie Sheedy, Mr. and Mrs. Glive Savage, Mr. and Mrs. George Hull, Mr. and Mrs. Jim McLeod, Misses Joan and Lorraine See, Mrs. Vero Read, and Messrs. Arthur and Peter Hordern. [ Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), Monday 6 December 1937, page 10]
Long before he passed away he had been a supporter of the Palm Beach SLSC, until they moved their shed next door. A son of the Hordern family, Arthur, would continue to support and be a part of the club after A J passed away:
PALM BEACH AWAKE. Palm Beach awoke from its Winter slumber last Sunday, and held its second annual meeting. The following officers were elected : Patron, W. J. Barnes; president, A. J. Hordern ; vice presidents, J. Goldsmith, T. Peters, D. B. Wilshire and E. R. Moser; committee, J. Ralston, M. Loxton, A. Goddard, S. Gonsalves, L. Gallagher; captain, Adrian Curlewis ; boat captain, A. Goddard ;vice-captain, N. Holt ; hon. secretary, L. A. Palmer ; hon. treasurer, N. H. Erwin. R. D. Doyle, hon.
Examiner in chief S.L.S.A.A., was the guest of the club over the week-end. He made a fine speech at the annual meeting, and later instructed the members on the new R. and R. methods. The club is in a flourishing state. The annual carnival will be held on New Year's Day. Palm Beach will entertain all competitors at luncheon. A fine band has been engaged, and entry to all events is to be free.
Mr. T. Peters has presented the club with a 600gal. tank, two showers, a pump, and sufficient guttering and downpipe for the completion of the clubroom. WHAT'S DOING ON THE SURF BEACHES. (1923, December 7). Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103537126
John Thompson Ralston also didn't like the new shed, even though he too was a supporter of the club, his son a member and the man who went in after the gentleman whose loss sparked the formation of the club. Newspaper reports carried the tragedy to their readers far and wide, some even reporting the rescuers had to run over the hill to the store at Gow's wharf to telephone for help, there being no Ocean road yet at Palm Beach, the only access, and telephone, was over the Palm Beach road.
Jean Curlewis, sister of Adrian Curlewis, in her book 'Beach Beyond', a fiction work based on early days at Palm Beach, speaks about this tragedy. Her brother was on the sand that day, as was good friend, 'Jack' Ralston. That newspaper article and Minutes form Warringah Shire Council Meetings:
A LOST HERO.
GIRL ALSO DROWNED.
MAGNIFICENT RESCUE ATTEMPTS
An epic tragedy, in which the sadness of death was brightened by cool unflinching heroism, was enacted at Palm Beach, a seaside resort near Broken Bay, this afternoon, when Johanna Rogers, 33 years of age, of Leichhardt, and Lieut.-Colonel Marks lost their lives in the surf.
The picnics party arrived, at the beach, which is far removed from habitation, about mid-day, and shortly afterwards, several of them went into the surf. Johanna Rogers got into difficulties and was carried out to sea.
It was some minutes before her plight was noticed, when two members of the party unhesitatingly plunged in and attempted to swim out to her. But the distance was too great, and the would-be rescuers were compelled, by a common-sense regard for their own lives and recognition of the uselessness of trying to go further without life-lines, to return to the beach, where they fell down helplessly exhausted.
Then a life-line was improvised out of tent ropes and the like, and with this fastened to him, Lieut.-Colonel Marks went out into the breakers. He passed the three lines of surging waves successfully, and was well out into the rolling water beyond, when the line broke. Thereafter the gallant soldier was seen no more.
Other members of the party, undeterred by this tragic event, made repeated efforts to reach the two, fighting for life against current and waves, and eventually a man named Ralston, after a tremendous fight with the pounding waves, reached the girl.
Already very weak from his long and exceptionally hard swim, Ralston seized the still body and doggedly turned back towards the beach.
Then began a battle for life such as has never been seen before on the Australian Pacific coast. Time after time his companions on shore, some already worn out by their efforts, praying for his success, saw him go under; time after time he struggled to the surface again and forged desperately on towards the shore and safety. Fierce waves rolled him over, tossed him about, played with him and the girl which they had claimed as victim, like corks, but he plunged on and on. After what seemed an age to the agonised watchers on the shore, he got into the breakers and was swiftly carried into shallow water. Willing hands pulled him and the girl on to the dry sand, and feverishly set about trying to restore animation in the still body of the girl.
But their efforts were in vain. She was dead.
Ralston soon recovered from his ordeal, and with several others of the party who narrowly escaped drowning themselves, accompanied the saddened party to the nearest habitation, whence the police were communicated with.
There has been no further news of Lieut. Colonel Marks. BEACH TRAGEDY. (1920, January 30). The Urana Independent and Clear Hills Standard (NSW : 1913 - 1921), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116182266
PBSLSC -The First Shed and First Surf Boat: Left; Merle Loxton, Laurie Gallagher, Tim Gonsalves and Sydney Gonsalves. H.R. Ayres and Harold 'Midge' Gonsalves. Right; Adrian Curlewis, Len Palmer, M Ormsby. Picture Courtesy Philippa Poole - daughter of Adrian Curlewis.
the second shed. Photo: Philippa Poole (daughter of Adrian Curlewis)
Electing Mr. Hordern President did not help. Pointing out that launching the surf boat to save people was faster using the channel that runs alongside the southern end rocks did not help. Despite support from SLSA, by August 1929 Warringah Shire Councillors presented a litany of their own complaints against the club, many of them hearsay and not based in facts, culminating in the removal of the shed from the public land that is Hordern's Reserve. At a Meeting held on August 7th the Council voted to remove the clubhouse from the reserve and for the construction of another further along the beach.
Further, there would be added costs for this new clubhouse, which the council expected the members to meet, and atop that, the council stated it considered the materials the members had purchased and used to build the second clubhouse as its own property and these could not be sold by the club to meet those costs.
By December 1929 this building opened, south of the council dressing sheds. This structure comprised a club room, shower room, casualty room, lavatory, verandah and boatshed. Water came via a well and windmill, with any additions funded by members.
Adrian Curlewis, circa 1929/30 at Palm Beach - photo courtesy Philippa Poole - daughter of the 'Father of Surf Life Saving' - 'During the 1930’s our family spent summer holidays at Palm Beach. This photo (above)of my father standing on his head followed him through life - particularly later in life when his career moved on to the role of a dignified District Court Judge.' - Philippa Poole, 2011
Once they had moved in the club members sought further alterations and engaged a Newport builder to complete these. They informed the council of their plans to construct a surfboard locker under the clubhouse to store the members by then 16 surfboards - PBSLSC led the charge in having boards added to surf lifesaving equipment - they also wanted to build a fence. The council objected and refused to allow them to do so.
The treatment by the council commenced the members decision to remove the council's interference on the club's affairs. There would be a fourth edition, or slight expansion of the building in that same location in 1933, the last under the council dictates:
Palm Beach Happy With A Cash Surplus
All is well with the Palm Beach Surf Club, for at its annual meeting last night the financial position showed a surplus of £51/11/11.
The feature for the year's activities was the erection of what is known as the "Bunkhouse." This provides sleeping accommodation for twelve. The facilities thus provided proved of inestimable convenience to members on patrol. Electric light had been installed throughout the club house, while the casualty room, mainly through the generosity of Mr. G. M. Merivale, was re-lined and thoroughly re-conditoined.
During the season It was deemed advisable, to facilitate the training, of the boat crew in town; to purchase a boat from Dee Why Surf Club at a cost of £25. A further £19 was spent on reconditioning, so the club now owns two boats, both in excellent condition. Gear had been inspected, and found to be in efficient condition.
The Officers Elected
Regret was expressed that Gordon Morrow was not available this season as permanent life-saver, but the club had been fortunate in securing the services of Mr, J. H. Christie, of Dee Why, .who will commence duty at the beginning of December. Officers elected for the present season were: — Patron. Mr. Percy Hunter; president. Mr. E. R. Moser; vice-presidents; His Honor Judge Coyle, Messrs. R. T. McKay, W. J. Barnes, C. R. Crossman, D. B. Hunter, E. B. Harkness, W. W. Woodley, L. Gallagher, A H. Curlewis, J. M. Ralston, E. A. Box. J. P. Mant, B. B. Wiltshire, K. Hunter, A. M. Lamport, Commander Vitalli, Councillor Hitchcock; captain, B. V. Kenny; vice-captain, J. Hall-Johnstone, boat captain. G. E. R. Brown; hon. secretary, G. Wray; hon. treasurer, L. M. Moyle: hon. chief instructor, K. Hunter; gear steward, N. F. Brown; delegates to S.L.S.A., Messrs. K. Hunter. B. V. Kenny; hon. solicitor, Mr. J, M. Ralston; hon. auditor, N. H. Routley; hon. medical officer, Dr. D. G. Maitland; committee, Messrs. C. N. Walker. I. G. Kell, D. Carr, G. B. Morrow. J G. Rohr, J. H. Pilcher; trustees of club property. Percy Hunter, E. R. Moser. SURFING (1933, October 11). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article247166389
Lot 80, originally bought by William Chorley and which housed his beachfront home called by him ‘The Rest’ has become ‘The Cabbage Tree Club’ – the club also purchased Lot 81 beside it.
Percy Hunter, then Patron of PBLSC, and Eldred Roger Moser, who bought Lucy Gullett's Lot up on Sunrise Hill, along with Kenneth 'Pete' Hunter, Captain of the club, arranged the mortgage for the purchase of Chorley's when William Chorley passed away.
The purchase came at a time when the club was seeking to extricate itself from being under the rule of the then Warringah Shire Council and during the time the same was rearranging what would be on the beachfront, which then included the clubhouse/bunkhouse, to build what would become the Palm Beach Pavilion. PBSLSC was further helped when the original asking price for the large premises was reduced from £1750 to £1520.
With an interest free loan from the son of J T Ralston, John Malbon Ralston, an early Palm Beach surfer and club member, along with raising funds through appealing to those visiting the beach and new memberships, the club secured their first step into autonomy and ceased being a tenant of the council.
Unfortunately Mr. Moses passed away soon after the mortgage was arranged although his family held onto his weekender on Sunrise road until recently.
Lucy Gullet Lot 151 - sold to Eldred Moses in 1922
MR. E. R. MOSER.
Mr. Eldred Roger Moser, chairman of directors of Schute, Bell, Badgery, Lumby, Ltd., woolbrokers, died at his residence at North Sydney on Friday. He was one of the oldest personalities in the wool trade in Sydney, having been associated with it for more than 50 years. He was one of the original partners of Schute, Bell, and Co., Ltd., which began operations in 1906. He was also a director of the Sun Insurance Office, Ltd.
He was president of the Palm Beach Sun Club, and a member of the Union Club and the Royal Sydney Golf Club. He was unmarried.
The funeral took place privately at Rookwood on Saturday. OBITUARY. (1937, September 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17398590
Eldred Roger Moser bought his house from Dr. Lucy Gullett and named it "Four Winds". The 1534 sq m Sunrise Road holding with sandstone cottage has been in the family since 1922, when wool broker Eldred Moser bought it for £1025 from pioneer doctor Lucy Gullett, who had paid £100 to the Barrenjoey Company in 1917.
Percy Hunter was the founding Director of the NSW Government Tourist Bureau, formerly the NSW Immigration and Tourist Bureau, in 1906. His official trips to England and particularly America promoted Australia as a country for travel and investment. In 1913 he was appointed jointly by the Governments of NSW and Victoria to organise the amalgamation of their respective immigration offices in London. He was a Honorary Vice-President of The Hands Around the Pacific Movement, organised in Hawaii in 1908 to advance the interests of all Pacific communities. His son, David Blair Hunter, was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1923. He was also among those who helped establish Perisher ski resort, along with Charles Kerry and Careel Bay habitué, Herbert Schlink.
Kenneth Hunter was an early Captain of Palm Beach SLSC.
The Members celebrate their acquisition:
PALM BEACH SURF PAVILION.
The new surf pavilion at Palm Beach, opened on Saturday by the Minister for Works and Local Government (Mr. Spooner), was the ninth of these buildings erected on the beaches in the Warringah Shire during the past two years. The total cost to the shire council of these was more than £25,000. The Palm Beach pavilion cost £3800, which included £1000 for the foundations and sea wall. Of an appearance unusual on the metropolitan beaches. It was planned according to the most modern ideas. A spacious vestibule In the centre is flanked by the dressing quarters, with circular walls, giving to the general design an attractiveness quite in keeping with the modern bungalows around this popular resort. The interior arrangements are compact, providing space sufficient to accommodate 200 bathers. A wide promenade runs along the whole of the frontage.
Mr. Lindsay G. Scott was the architect, end Mr. T. Lockhart, of Newport, the builder.
“Dressing sheds of ample proportions are provided at either side of the vestibule.
“Accommodation, with lockers, is available for 200 of each sex.
“Every consideration has been given to the general comfort and requirements of surfers.
PALM BEACH SURF PAVILION. (1936, December 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17293648
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION
Attractive Surf Pavilion
Warringah Shire Council has 13 beaches under, its control. These stretch from the boundary of the Manly municipality to the Hawkesbury at Barrenjoey. On each of the 13 beaches satisfactory provision ls made for public requirements. The most attractive of all the council's pavilions is that recently opened at Palm Beach.
This building is architecturally pleasing. It is commodious, and does not detract from the beach space available to the public. The building ls 156ft by 40ft, one story In height. It can be entered from either the promenade or the beach. There ls a spacious vestibule, In which are turnstiles which automatically register the number of persons using the sheds. Entrance and exit to the pavilion are so arranged that they can be easily controlled and. directed by one attendant.
Arrangements have been made for the sale, or hire, of costumes and other bathing requisites in the vestibule. Dressing sheds of ample proportions are-provided at either side of the vestibule. Accommodation, with lockers, is available for 200 of each sex. Pro-vision is made for fresh-water, showers, There ls an adequate system of septic sewerage.
NEW SURF PAVILION AT PALM BEACH.
Every consideration has, been given to the general comfort and requirements of surfers, The building, as shown in the illustration, has beer, designed on modern lines. The walls are off white bricks with raked joints. The roof is covered with multi-coloured semiglazed Spanish tiles. A wide promenade surrounds the building. There is a sea wall on the ocean side, with steps at either end leading to the beach.
The building was erected by T. Lockhart, Newport. The plans and supervision were by Lindsay G. Scott, architect, Sydney. BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION PALM BEACH. (1937, January 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27988699
Palm Beach aerial, circa 1939, showing pavilion and PBSLSC boatshed (?) still present just north of this
North Palm Beach SLSC Members in front of the surf Pavilion and showing the seawall and prior to steps being installed - circa 1938-39:
Lots 76 and 77 were purchased by Thomas Peters, and transferred to him on September 12th 1916, houses the heritage members building. Thomas Peters is known for his 'Powhokohat' home, which became the PBSLSC Members clubhouse.
Mr. Peters bought 4 blocks of land in the initial 1912 sale and his family became an integral part of the local community and surf club:
COVETED SURF AWARD
Saved Girl From Shark Palm Beach Presentation
At a gathering of residents and members of the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club on Sunday, including Mr. A. G. Parr, president of the Warringah Shire Council, and the leading officials of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, Mr. C. D. Pater-son, president of the S.L.S. Association, presented Mr. Austen Dellit, a member of the Palm Beach Club with the first Bronze Meritorious Award of Merit awarded for conspicuous acts of bravery In the surf. Mr. Dellit, it was stated, had shown extraordinary bravery by jumping between an onrushing shark and a girl aged 13 In the surf at Palm Beach on January 16. Mr. Paterson pointed out in presenting the medallion that the award was the only all-Australian award Issued for acts of bravery, and he congratulated Mr. Dellit on being placed by his act in the same category as the two famous Chalmers brothers. Mr. Dellit was also presented with a cheque for £76 10s from the residents and members of the Palm Beach Club. At the same function Mr. Thomas Peters was presented with a silver model of the club's surf boat, and a framed photo of the club's march-past team, in recognition of the valuable assistance rendered the club in his position as president. COVETED SURF AWARD (1924, June 3). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 14 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223401139
Mr. Peters was building the Burrinjuck Dam at that time and local lore has it that much of the concrete was diverted from the build to Palm Beach.
Burrinuck is a heritage-listed major gated concrete-walled gravity dam hydro-electric dam at Burrinjuck, Yass Valley Shire, New South Wales. It has three spillways across the Murrumbidgee River located in the South West Slopes region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's purpose includes flood mitigation, hydro-power, irrigation, water supply and conservation. The impounded reservoir is called Lake Burrinjuck. It was designed by L.A.B. Wade (of the New South Wales Public Works Department) and built from 1907 to 1927 by Lane & Peters, Sydney. It is also known as Barren Jack Dam and Barrenjack.
Building the Burrinjuck dam wall. Photo from the Godson Collection, courtesy State Library of South Australia PRG 1258/2
The building, described as grey in colour in one newspaper report, was constructed during 1920:
ANOTHER little clique is formed by the Tom Peters (the engineers), whose great grey bungalow juts right on to the beach. The Peters remain as oblivious of the regular Society fans who overrun the resort each summer as they do to the occupants of canvas town, settled near the golf links. PRIVILEGED PLAYGROUND THAT IS PALM BEACH (1936, January 11). Smith's Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 - 1950), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article235824868
From Warringah Shire Councils' Minute of Meetings of June 14th, 1920:
27. Barrenjoey Co , 31/5/20, intimating that the Company does not desire a local rate levied at Palm Beach ; Received, 28. Barrenjoey Co. , 31/5/20 asking that steps be taken to prevent the removal of sand from Beach Road, Palm Beach. Resolved - (Crs. Quirk and Lodge) That Mr. Peters be informed of the Company's report, and that he be notified to desist. 29. Barrenjoey Co., 31/5/20, drawing attention to washaway on Florida Road ; Referred to Engineer.
Enlarged section from EB Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.). (1917). Panorama of Palm Beach, New South Wales, 2 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-162481294 - includes sections showing Peters home with tents still in it and Chorleys holiday home already built.
The Peters' home in Beach Rd. is one of the most outstanding. Mr. Peters, who is the engineer of Burrinjuck fame, bought the land long before he built the house. During the war years he considered it would not do to build, so the family camped on the land in a most complicated and wonderful system of tents—tents which were far superior to most seaside cottages for comfort. - "BEAUTY Born of MURMURING SOUND" (1933, December 16). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 27. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article53243910
Like Mr. Hordern he chose a Hawaiian name for this structure, no doubt influenced by the original Cabbage Tree 'Palm' chosen and naming Palm Beach during those 1912 land sales and original subdiviison.
Prior to his death a conversation had taken place about Palm Beach SLSC acquiring the property on his demise. When he passed away the home was put up for sale for thousands more than the surf club could afford. Fortunately no one else could afford it either. The Peters home and current heritage-listed clubhouse, Powhokohat, was purchased on May 4th 1954 for £16,000 to become the Palm Beach SLSC’s clubhouse. Active patrol members who do not reside in Palm Beach (during the early years younger members were students at schools like Shore, or lived at Mosman) stay during their patrols over Summer. This was the same soon after the building was bought by Palm Beach SLSC. Ian Curlewis recalled he stayed there once he became a cadet member. Although his fathers' brother had one of those beachfront houses, he and sister Philippa and their mother Ethel (Turner) Curlewis would stay in the camping area at North Palm Beach, especially during the Summers of WWII when the two children would serve as members on the beach. Their father, a member of the 8th Division during that conflict, was in Changi and then on the Burma-Thailand railway.
One of the sale advertisements provides a description of what was in the building -:
Under Instructions From the Administrator.
ESTATE LATE THOMAS PETERS.
Of interest to investors, scholastic institutions, commercial houses for recreational purposes, residential flat developers, sporting and residential clubs
PALM BEACH-PALM BEACH
VACANT POSSESSION ;
That Prominent and Well-known Palatial Concrete Residence "POWHOKOHAT," OCEAN ROAD (adjoining The Pacific Club and fronting the beach)
GROUND FLOOR Front verandah approx 50ft x 10ft 6in Smoke room Billiard -room-
SOUTH SIDE Living room bedroom kitchen two shower rooms separate lavatory verandah (the above accommodation suitable conversion one s c flat unit) NORTH SIDE Verandah approx 48ft x 10ft 11in Six shower rooms storage room drying room sufficient area two flats units)
FIRST FLOOR Main residential section approached by exterior concrete stairway-Open verandah about 50ft x lill lounge (stone fireplace) 20 x l8 dining-room 20 x 13 smoke room kitchen servery (cup-boards) enclosed verandah 36 x 12 seven bedrooms (all of which have built In cupboards) TWO bathrooms three separate lavatories and wash rooms (3 basins) maid s bedroom and bathroom
DETACHED (a) Concrete building-fibro root concrete door containing two car garage bedroom lavatory-storage room and concrete water tank (b) Storeroom fibro walls and roof concrete floor attached concrete storage room fibro roof
SEPTIC TANK COKE HOT WATER SERVICE GROUNDS laid out In perfect lawns-concrete paths and drive
THE RESIDENCE Is erected about 80ft back from the street alignment and this area is available for further development
LAND 122ft x 201ft 7fn and 20Oft with rear 147ft 5ln
If desired an amount up to 50 p c of the purchase money can remain on first mortgage for five years
INSPECTION BY APPOINTMENT THROUGH AUCTIONEER
Solicitors to the Estate MESSRS NORMAN C OAKES &. SAGAR. Advertising (1951, November 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 29. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18237552
Ian Curlewis and Jack 'Johnny' Carter inside the Peters building in 2016.
In between these, Lot 79 was purchased from James Robson-Scott by Mr. Chorley on the 28th of April 1925 and subsequently sold after he passed away to PBSLSC while Lot 78 was purchased by Mr. Peters at the same time and onsold to the club after he passed away. Here the Pacific Club was built in 1937.
Wife of James Robson-Scott, Charlotte, had bought Lot 29, with the Title registered in February 1914. The 'pretty little bungalow' at current day 30 Sunrise Road was apparently purchased by James Robson Scott, paying £300 according to some records, from the Barrenjoey Land Company, on corner of Palm Beach Road and Pacific roads, opposite what would become stone Maitland home.
In total the club and its members and trustees oversee six Lots of Palm Beach beach frontage where some homes are advertised for $40 million plus in 2022/2023.
Lots 82 and 83 and part of Lot 93, along with Lot 94 were purchased by Harry and Edith Lucy Wolstenholme with the Title registered on August 26th, 1915. Harry was a son of Maybanke Anderson, and a keen birdwatcher, hosting members of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales at this Palm Beach residence, and had visitors such as Ella McFadyen. The couple were also part of the group that formed the Barrenjoey Land Company, with the original deed of transfer for all those lands at Palm and Whale Beach registered in Edith's name.
The couple also had Lots at Whale Beach, registered in Edith's name.
Chisholm, Alec H. (1928). Portrait of Harry Wolstenholme at Wahroonga, Sydney feeding a thrush  Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-150662503
Their Lots (Vol/Fol 2634-174 – this cancelled and become Vol/Fol 3820-145) - his children did not sell the holding until 1952:
Lot 84 and that part of Lot 93 owned by the Wolstenholmes became Wilshire Park, along with Lot 92, with the request to the Council from fellow Barranjoey Land Company Director that:
J. T. Ralston. 14/1/25. submitting; for affixing of Council's seal, transfer of Lot 84, Lot 92A and the residue of Lot 93, Palm Beach, requesting that the whole reserve be known as Palm Gully Reserve: Resolved. - (Crs. Hewitt: Hitchcock) That the Council approve of the name "Palm Gully Reserve", and that the seal be affixed to the memorandum of Transfer.
By the Spring of that same year:
Palm Beach Progress Association. 12/9/25; suggesting that the Golf links area at Palm Beach be called Phillip Park. Resolved; (Crs. Hitchcock, Ellsworth) That the name Governor Phillip Park be approved. 8. Same; 12/9/25. suggesting that the Palm Grove Reserve behind Mr. Curlewis' residence be called Wilshire Park Resolved; (Crs. Hewitt, Hitchcock) That the name be approved
The 'Wilshire' was to honour Architect Henry Austin Wilshire, who was connected with the Barranjoey Land Company and also among the earliest land holders in Palm Beach. He was also a great supporter of Furlough House in Narrabeen
Also worth noting:
A.J. Hordern. 24/9/25, suggesting the erection of a bridge over the Creek in Palm Grove Reserve, and enclosing cheque for £6 to cover cost and ; - (Crs. Hitchcock, Hewitt) That the offer be accepted, and the work be done under the Engineer's supervision.
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 and tie), who had so much to do with so many early buildings in Palm Beach, such as Windyridge, atop Sunrise road. Photo: Bill Goddard
As J T Ralston passed away in December 1923 it would be his son John Malbon who was actually handing over the land to the council.
John Thompson Ralston, who many credit with the commencement of the original land sales and formation of the Barrenjoey Land Company, owned many of the blocks in the corner, on the other side of Hordern Park. Some of these lots were sold and some were handed over to the Palm Beach Land Company when that was formed in late 1924, although the land lots were still being sold under the Barrenjoey Land Company until they finalised the transfer in 1925 and the company formed by these men or their children was not liquidated until 1929.
Lot 85 was purchased by Clive Pemberton Curlewis with the Title registered on March 8th, 1918 (Vol/Fol 2831-199)
Clive Pemberton Curlewis (1876 - 7 Jun 1940) was a brother of Herbert Raine Curlewis. Herbert was the husband of Ethel Mary Sybil (Burwell – and Turner) Curlewis — married 22nd April 1896 in St. John's Church, Gordon, New South Wales, Authoress of Seven Little Australians. As well as writing under her own name, Ethel used the pen names E.S.T., Dame Durden and Princess Ida. She was awarded a number of prestigious literary awards and is listed on The Australian Women's Register. The Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature is awarded annually under the auspices of the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards.
C P Curleiws home on Palm Beach circa 1921, section from Enemark pano to the right you can see the track leading up into what would become 'The Palm Grove Park' renamed Wilshire Park.
They were the parents of Ethel Jean Sophia (nee Curlewis) Charlton and Adrian Herbert Frederic Curlewis, a founder of Palm Beach SLSC and known as the 'Father of Surf Lifesaving'. As explained by Ian Curlewis, the other Curlewis family members who frequented Palm Beach did not use this home, although Judge Herbert Curlewis did visit Palm Beach.
OBITUARY. JUDGE'S BROTHER DIES IN OFFICE. Clive Pemberton Curlewis, 64, Burrawong Avenue, Mosman, collapsed and died yesterday in his office in Abercrombie Street, Chippendale. Mr. Curlewis Is a brother of Judge Curlewis. He was managing director of C. P. Curlewis and Co., Ltd.. chemical manufacturers, Mitchell Road. Alexandria, and also of Lun's Pty., Ltd., Chippendale. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954) Sat 8 Jun 1940, Page 4: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/247759153
View down to beach from Wilshire Park beside the Curlewis home in 1934:
PALM BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES. - - Among the most beautiful bathing beaches in Australia, Palm Beach is situated on a peninsula fifteen to twenty miles north of Sydney. Close by, the waters of the beautiful Hawkesbury River flow into Broken Bay. On one side of the peninsula, which is but a few hundred yards across, is the surf of the Pacific Ocean, and on the other are the calm waters of the historic Pittwater, the scene of many aquatic carnivals. At one time there were many palms in the locality, but few remain, and these are jealously preserved. photo by H. CAZNEAUX PALM BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES. (1934, October 1). The Australasian(Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 19. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145241972
Looking back up the hill into the Wilshire Park:
Lots 73 and 74 were also purchased by Ernest Ebenezer Way, Barrenjoey Land Company, on October 6th, 1917 (Vol/Fol 2801-161) who sold both in 1917 and 1918:
With around 1100 Members, along with Associate Members, Life Members and the Ladies who run fundraisers through the Pacific Club, many of them active members of 5+ years, and with 101 years of serving the community achieved, it is little wonder Palm Beach SLSC's focus on keeping the history of its buildings intact and its service on the sand is celebrated not only throughout Pittwater but across Australia, and through the visitations of International guests, throughout the world.
Congratulations on your 101st Season PBSLSC - Thank you all for your service.
On the Beachfront in the 1950s after the demolition of the old changerooms and clubhouse is Johnny Hawkes surfers bazaar, circa 1951 - possibly built on the remnant of the 3rd and 4th PBSLSC Clubhouses on the beachfront. Paradox here is this would become the favoured place t store surfboards for members of the original Palm Beach 'Beachcombers Surfboard Riding Club' in the 1950's.
Ron Turton (R.I.P) said in 2017:
This began when Johnny Hawke’s Beach Buffet was on the southern part of the dressing sheds. Upstairs was where the food was sold; pies and hot dogs, that sort of stuff. What he sold the most of was that Golden Circle Pineapple juice. He was onto a great thing there; people used to visit Palm Beach in the thousands on the weekends.
There was Howlett’s store where the bus terminates and then John Dunne’s, who had the Cock and Bull, came along later. That was next to Howlett’s.
Johnny Hawke used to sell a pie for 1 and sixpence; the profit he must have made would have been enormous. The juice sold like hotcakes.
Downstairs they’d originally tried to sell souvenirs but it just didn’t work. He said to us one day, ‘look, we’ve got this spot downstairs, you guys can have it.’ – to use to put our boards in. I used to carry mine back to the Golf Club and they were bloody heavy then.
My first board was a balsa board, and then the foam board revolution came in. I remember working at Johnny Hawke’s and saving up all this money for a board – he used to give me one pound a day, which was a fair bit but I would work from six in the morning until six at night. Dad held that old principle where if you wanted something you earned it and saved your money up to buy it.
So I’d be there working my guts out serving hundreds and hundreds of people while all my mates were surfing. And of course that view from where we served looked right down the beach from over the dressing sheds.
This became the place where the gang gathered.
Palm Beach 1959 beach buffet John Pine Prosser Ron Turton photo