February 26 - March 4 2023: Issue 573


Surf Life Saving NSW State Age Championships 2023 

The future of surf sports in NSW shone bright despite the weather as Nippers hit the beach for the first time for Age Championships at the 2023 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships on Thursday morning, February 23rd. Athletes from all over the state met in the New South Wale’s largest community sporting event kicked off at Queenscliff and Manly Beach.

Local clubs taking part in the Age Championships include North Curl Curl, who lead out the point score for competitors within the SLS Sydney Northern Beaches branch, Manly, who are second highest point scorers among resident surf clubs at present, North Steyne, Freshwater, Queenscliff, Newport, Avalon Beach, Dee Why, Warriewood, Mona Vale, Collaroy, North Narrabeen, Bilgola Beach and Long Reef.

On Thursday U9s and U10s navigated challenging swell with seasoned grace, while a number of athletes made a name for themselves – or built upon an already glowing reputation – on the sand.

Millie Gaudry, Manly, won Bronze in the U10 Female Surf Race, with Alice Woolnough, Manly and Josephine Jones, North Curl Curl, also making it through the heats to the Final. In the U10 Male Surf Race Dash Armstrong, Collaroy, also made it through the heats to the Final.

In the U11 Male Surf Race Hamza Haggag, Dee Why, also made it through the heats to the Final, as did Darcy Jacobs, Freshwater, Jay Byrne, North Curl Curl and Sasha Gordon, Manly.

Maggie Meagher, Freshwater, made the Final in the U9 Female Surf Race, as did Evelyn Vale, Newport, Grace Elizabeth Wright, Dee Why and Zoe Burton, North Curl Curl. Considering the amount of athletes competing, 92, this is an outstanding result. 

Also on the sand or taking part in the heats were Maya Gaffney, Manly, Mia Jessop, Freshwater, Aria Amos, Freshwater, Eloise Rydon, Queenscliff, Bonnie Crosbie, Freshwater, Matilda Taggart, Collaroy, Olivia Wootton, Mona Vale, Sia Murray, Avalon Beach, Heidi Dunn, Freshwater, Tahlia Raynes-Greenow, Dee Why, Hanna Grant and Molly Martin, North Curl Curl and Eva Rae Ellison, North Narrabeen - making sure there was a great representation of club caps from resident surf clubs on the beach, along with some wonderful local smiles for visitors.


Photos: Surf Life Saving NSW
The always impressive March Past was won by Mona Vale SLSC at this year's SLS NSW Age Championships. Photos: Surf Life Saving NSW


Purple Poppy Day 2023: Commemorative Service Held At Pittwater RSL Cenotaph


A Purple Poppy Day Service was held on Friday 24 February 2023 at 11:00am at the Pittwater RSL Cenotaph, conducted through the Sub-branch, led by Deborah Carter, President, and with the support of the Pittwater RSL Club. 

The purple poppy is worn to remember, honour and symbolise all animals who have served and/or died during conflict. It is estimated that more than 8 million animals sacrificed their lives in World War I alone.

The V.I.P.s were the Explosive Detection Dogs. 

Guests for the Service were Dr Sophie Scamps, MP Member for Mackellar, The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop AO, The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP Member for Pittwater and Cr. Rory Amon, Northern Beaches Council. 

Students from Mona Vale Public and Sacred Heart Primary, Mona Vale, formed part of the Commemorative Service. 

As a lead up to this important Service, Sandra May-Crabb, Pittwater Sub-Branch Newsletter Editor, shared an October 2022 BBC report on one such animal, Rob, a dog, that was awarded the Dickin Medal for his war services in WW2. Rob was volunteered to help with the war effort by his Shropshire owners and was sent to North Africa with the SAS. 

Basil Bayne, the son of Rob's owner, said his presence behind enemy lines saved lives, which led to him getting the PDSA's Dickin Medal for Gallantry.

The medal is known as Victoria Cross for animals. 

The black and white collie-retriever was bought from a local farm for five shillings and became a family pet on Mr Bayne's parent's smallholding in Tetchill, near Ellesmere. His parents heard a radio appeal for dogs to be "submitted to the war effort" for guard duty and they volunteered him in 1942, he said.

Rob was attached to the SAS and guarded ammunition dumps before being taken up on a plane with SAS officers practising parachute jumps. 

"The handler who jumped with Rob on three occasions said without his presence they would not have survived the forces and it was for that the dog was given the animal VC," Mr Bayne said

The Dickin Medal was established in 1943 by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) founder Maria Dickin, and is the highest award an animal can receive while serving in military conflict. The medal has been awarded 74 times since then, with dogs, pigeons, horses and a cat honoured.

The BBC story related that Rob's medal, sold through medal auctioneer Noonans of Mayfair in London, broke the previous world record for a Dickin Medal which had been awarded to a pigeon for its gallantry during D-Day. The medal was sold for £140,000. The proceeds were given to the Taylor McNally Foundation charity, which trains and educates on poultry husbandry.

Following his military service, Rob returned to his owners in Tetchill, Shropshire. He died in 1952 and was buried on the family farm, marked with a stone memorial which reads: 

To the dear memory of Rob, war dog no 471/322, twice VC, Britain's first parachute dog, who served three and a half years in North Africa and Italy with the Second Special Air Service Regiment. Died 18th January 1952 aged 12 1/2 years. Erected by Basil and Heather Bayne in memory of a faithful friend and playmate 1939–1952.

Canine Operational Service Medal

In Australia we now have the Canine Operational Service Medal. The Medal was introduced on June 8th 2017 to recognise the contribution Military Working Dogs make whilst serving on operations. The Medal  forms part of Defence’s internal recognition scheme and is not part of the Australian Honours and Awards System. The Australian Defence Force is the first Defence Force to implement recognition of this nature.



Rotary Club Of Upper Northern Beaches 2023 Art Show

"Art helps us make sense of the world". - Pittwater MP Rob Stokes at the 2023 Rotary Art Exhibition Opening

A celebration of local artistic talent that will make a lasting difference in the community is happening through the Rotary Upper Northern Beaches Art Show 2023, 24th-26th February.

There are over 220 paintings and works from 80 artists this year, including Catherine Frostick, Tony Cabassi, Greg Hyde, Nina Paine, Andrew Taylor, Thomas R Poole. 

The Rotary Club of the Upper Northern Beaches proudly supports local charities, as well as being contributing to a strong international network of global programs.

The Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club’s Art Show has fast become a popular annual community event and major charity fundraiser with the funds dedicated to supporting local and international charity beneficiaries.  50% of art sale proceeds are donated to worthy charities and all contributing artists are also in the running for a First Prize of $2,000 and Peoples’ Choice Award of $500.  

This year Trevor Harvey of Harvey Gallery Seaforth who was the club's Judge of the Major Prize.

The winner announced was Lena Nimmo for ‘Yellow Mobile’  #128  winner. 

Trevor stated ''‘Interior’ 126 also great. Her abstract ‘Fly Away’  #127 also great.

''Lena shows a confidence in her subject matter and materials. Whether it be a figurative painting, a miniature interior or a loose abstraction. They are all executed well. '' Trevor said

Special Mention; Mira Goldsborough. Beautiful work ! #70 I’m tempted to buy it. 

Congratulations to all.'' - Trevor Harvey.

Mayor Michael Regan, Lena Nimmo, Liz Lovell and The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater

Report: Tony Butera. Photos: Michael Mannington OAM, Community Photography



Sediment Running Off Into Creeks And Beaches From Work Sites - Public Parks Not Maintained – Bilgola Plateau Park Still Not Fixed: Residents NOT Happy 

Over the past few weeks Pittwater Online has received emails with photos showing parks are not being mowed or maintained, Bilgola Plateau Park has not been returned to a state where it may be used by ALL residents after bike jumps were allowed, and huge amounts of sediment running off into McCarrs creek, which adjoins the Kur-ring-gai Chase National Park, as well as Sydney Water contractors showing, as one resident states, ''little regard for Newport beach''.

The above video, taken on Tuesday February 21st 2023, came with the comment;

‘’ This video was taken by a resident of McCarrs Creek road who is distressed that this environmental vandalism is allowed to continue. shows the ground washing down onto the street. What is doesn't show is that it then flows into the creek and traverses this neighbours property.

It's also dangerous. And it's not an isolated incidence. ‘’

At the recent community forum which pointed out Pittwater could legally keep its own formed by the community DCP and LEP, Bayview and Church Point Residents Association president Peter Blanchard, said his area was “another jewel in the crown on Pittwater”.

“We’ve got some pretty sombre examples in our part of the world and, in fact, across the road from where I live,” Mr Blanchard said.

“If my wife and I got caught short on this [DA’s going through], how the hell do other people keep up? 

“We woke up one day and found that seven blocks of land - in a row - had been put on the market by Roads and Maritime.''

DAs for three of those seven blocks had already been approved.

“The removal of the old growth forest and the undergrowth – as I say, abutting a virtual rainforest – has started,” he said. “We had some heavy rainfall here the past few days and it was very typical there that these slopes – very steep blocks – and soil of course, because it's bare earth, is running down onto the road, crossing the road, and then it runs into the creek.

“I’d been away for a few days, and I saw this soil colour in the creek. I thought it got some sort of growth in the creek, but no, it’s actually from across the road and running up McCarrs Creek.”

Mr Blanchard noted that no one was viewing the seven blocks and enormous loss of bushland from them overall, rather each was assessed individually.

“These blocks are being clear felled to the teeth,” he said.

“This is happening on this council’s watch; it is happening on this state minister’s watch.”

Another: ‘’The Mona Vale road site has been washed into McCarrs Creek on one side and Mullet Creek through the Warriewood side! Last rain event it was seriously obvious that the sediment on these sites is not controlled enough!’’ - image supplied:

At Newport a similar example has been unfolding for months. One Newport resident’s comment: ‘’Tons of sediment down the drain and out to Newport Beach, courtesy of Confluence Water.’’

And; ‘’ They told us the work would take 10-12 weeks, it took them 18 months.’’ - image supplied:

Newport paved area and sidewalk after Sydney Water’s contractors have ‘finished’:

What the paved sidewalks in Newport used to look like and still do outside of those 'repaired' areas:

Confluence Water is now Sydney Water's ‘North Delivery Team’. Confluence Water is a joint venture comprising Downer Utilities, Jacobs, and Ventia. In July 2020, Sydney Water entered a 10-year partnership with three Regional Delivery Consortia (RDCs) across the North, South and West regions. These now have the responsibility to deliver water solutions and infrastructure in the areas of design, construction,  maintenance and facilities management.

Those aware of the changes at Sydney Water state it is 'privatisation by stealth'.

Parks in Pittwater not being maintained has been the source of emails and images sent in during the past few weeks.

The long grass is a problem for people with young children as they don’t want them stepping on a snake that cannot be seen or getting covered in ticks. Residents who live opposite some parks state they have not seen a council worker since late November 2022.

Others have taken to mowing a ‘safe path’ through these parks themselves – a new ‘volunteer’ group alike the hundreds of volunteer residents who maintain bush reserve and beach dunes areas through bushcare groups. 

On Friday some of these parks were mowed, although not at a standard anyone would be happy to pay for should this be their own grassed yard. 

The clippings are left where they fell, another source of negative response from the community who state these then blow or are driven into local drains and then out into waterways, causing further environmental degradation. 



Summer Becomes Autumn In Pittwater

Time out in Mona Vale's Village Park.

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