November 5 - 11, 2023: Issue 604


Barrenjoey High School Inaugural Students: 1968 To 1973

50 year celebration of Inaugural graduating class 

The first ever Year 12 of Barrenjoey High School, or 6th Form as it was called then, the Class of 1973, celebrated their 50th year of graduation with a get together at the Newport Hotel on Sunday October 29, 2023.

Members, and some attending former teachers, state the group is 'a family' and shared memories of surfing at lunchtime, how tall the Avalon Beach sand dunes once were, and the horse paddock for those who would ride to school - and that awful and soon discarded 1st year red beret.

Barrenjoey High School during he years of the school's inaugural class 

The students state they had great teachers- many recall these were only a few years older than them when they first began.

A few memories shared:

Sarah-Lulu, who rode her horse to school recalls ’ We had races along the beach. There was six of us who rode to school then.'

Sarah-Lulu: this was a brand-new school – they had in new ‘donuts’ as the next form was coming through, just before they started. They were still building when we started. 

What is the best part of you of being in that inaugural class?

Sarah-Lulu: we were just all us in together – we became just one big family. Now, 50 years later, we’re all still one big family – so I think we were the start of what a community of Barrenjoey High School. We can go years without seeing each other, and when we do, it’s like no time has passed. 

1970 - Horse on Avalon Beach, south end. Photo by and courtesy Gary Clist

First School Captain Scott McCallum, in 1973, the first year that Barrenjoey had a school captain, said he shared that honour with Jenny Hugel. 

The teachers explained the students were consulted about developing the first school rules for Barrenjoey High School and also developed the school’s first student organisations.

'‘We were consulted,’ Scott said, ‘but we were only really young. There were no senior students, as we were the first year in 1968. We were little kids of 11 and 12 feeling like big shots as there was no one older telling us what to do.

With encouragement from the teachers we developed little organisations like the Students Council, so a few of us did get together and discuss and debate various matters of concern. There was a sense of developing some of the framework by which the school would run.’

‘' I think we did help establish some of what is the school spirt, and as younger students came along we all helped and encourage3d them in different ways. Those that were good at sports helped younger students with sporting talent. Personally, for myself, I had a lot of pleasure in helping some of the younger students become proficient debaters in the school debating activities. 

I think we all did different things to foster the younger generations in different ways.’

Were you one of those who went down the beach to go surfing at lunchtime?

Scott: ‘no, I was one of the goody-goody one, possibly a minority, to be honest. But of course, I wish I had done more of that – definitely. I think that’s definitely the way to learn, to take some time away from the school and schoolbook learning.’

Sue was explaining there were students who rode their horses to school and there was a paddock beside the rifle practice range for them. Was Avalon Beach still alike a holiday resort then, a place people still came to get away from citified areas?

Scott: ‘Yes, in many ways. The whole of Australia was very much like that in fact; it was known as a laid-back country and the northern beaches most definitely epitomised that. 

I think that has changed over the years, and quite rapidly. I’ve heard that Australians work jus as hard, if not harder than other people in other parts of the world. The land of the long weekend has become the land of working on the weekend.’

Mike – were you one of those that went surfing at lunchtime?

Mike: I was a Prefect so I used to let them out to go surfing at lunchtime. I used to take on the duty of the gate near the beach.

What did the Prefects’ duties involve?

Mike: letting people out to go to the beach.

Allan: I was down the beach first thing every morning. I think I took about 5 weeks off at one stage, and went surfing.

What was the best thing about being the first year at a brand new school?

Mike: not being harassed by the years that came before us, because there weren’t any. That set us up for not doing the same to those that came after us.

Allan: I remember always trying to avoid the music class – every week we had to write this lady an apology. 

What instruments did you have?

Allan: ahh… maybe triangles.

And when the next year came in?

Allan: well we knew a lot of them already, they were just coming across from Avalon Public School. There was a little bit of controversy between Newport people and Avalon, and me, I lived at Palm Beach – so there was tribal stuff. I’d go walking past La Fiesta and Terry (Papadis) and cop grief from the Avalon boys.’’

La Fiesta Milk Bar in Old Barrnjoey Road - owned and run by Terry and Pam Papadis, they had three children; Theo, Nic, and Fay. - Alison G. Jenny S-W; Got any photos of the old la fiesta - that was also a local hang out!!  John S -; when I was friends with Boyd we hung at Jimmy’s . Later La fiesta was the hang being a grom playing space invader  and pinnies . Surfing legends such as Ted Spencer Bommie and David Chidgey Russell Hughes and Brian Bariscool were the hangers drinking Cappuccinos . Great memories. Photo by and courtesy Gary Clist



Milla Brown - Harley Walters Win Let’s Surf Lake Mac Pro Junior 2023

Harley Walters (AUS) and Milla Brown (AUS) have claimed victory at the 2023 Let's Surf Lake Mac Pro Junior. The pair overcame a massive field of the region's best 20 and under surfers in challenging surf at Redhead Beach in Newcastle to win the final event of the 2023 World Surf League Australia / Oceania Junior Qualifying Series (JQS).

Harley Walters (AUS) dominated Finals Day, Sunday, November 5, 2023, taking an easy win in the four-man final with a solid heat total of 14.10 (out of a possible 20), which included an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10). Walters utilised lefts and rights in the peaky, wind-affected waves, showing skill and precision on both his frontside and backside to take his maiden WSL Pro Junior victory. With the win, Walters charged up the rankings into the top spot, booking a spot in the 2023 WSL World Junior Championships to be held in California early next year.

"I'm so stoked to get the win," Walters said. "I've never won an event of this size, so I'm super happy. The waves have been tough, but overall, it's been a really fun comp. I've made a couple of finals, so I'm stoked to put it together and get the win."

Milla Brown (AUS) has gone back-to-back today, having won the last JQS event, the Skullcandy Pro Junior at Lennox Head, back in July. The women's Final was tight, with less than 3.50 points separating first from fourth. Brown surfed a busy and consistent heat to post a two-wave total of 9.46 which was enough for the win.

"This feels so good," Brown said. "The waves were pretty hard, but it was good to get the win amongst some really good surfers. I won the last pro junior, so it was good to win this one to back it up. I don't think I'll have enough points to make the World Juniors, but I'm really happy with my year overall."



Mother Brushtail Killed On Barrenjoey Road: Baby Cried All Night - Powerful Owl Struck At Same Time At Careel Bay During Owlet Fledgling Season 

An Urban Kangaroo

The same week local Sydney Wildlife rescuer and carer Helen Pearce ran in the October 2023 round of the Ringtail Posse, nominating the Brushtail Possum as her favourite local wildlife species, she was called out an hour before midnight to a mum brushtail possum that had been struck by a car at Avalon on the hill just up from the main traffic lights, with the driver not stopping and speeding on. 

This brushtail possum had a baby clinging to its back, which fortunately was not hit, but mum was killed. 

A person staying in the hostel witnessed the hit and run and immediately posted on the Facebook community group 'Avalon What's On' - calling for help and stayed with the bub, still clinging to mum, after moving them from the the road.

Naturally, the community was devastated. 

However, with the increasing illegal and deliberate destruction of local ecological communities in our bush reserves by vandals, unchecked through prosecutions by those in charge of and required to keep these places intact and safe for all residents, especially the wildlife that depend on these places to exist, combined with the loss of food trees in suburban streets and gardens, many cut down and ground out when they could have been kept as stumps for homes for wildlife and no replacement tree planted, as required, let alone one that's already 100 years old and flowering, wildlife are driven to cross roads to feed bubs, especially at this time of year, and all year round, to feed themselves. 

They've been crossing that valley or flat or going up that hill, as part of their historical range built into their DNA, long before a road with a speed limit that kills was put through their home.

It's worse over the Narrabeen bridge. Wildlife carers towards Dee Why, Brookvale, Balgowlah and Manly state those that have come into care are starving, they have barely got through this last Winter. 

People who continue to speed to and from Palm Beach at night on Fridays and Saturdays, and through the back streets across Pittwater, mean local Sydney Wildlife and WIRES rescuers and carers are facing this call out thousands of times each year, literally - usually several times a day during Spring and then again in late Summer and Autumn, when bubs leave their mums.

They attended at least, as there is evidence data is missing from the records*, 5431 rescues across this Local Government Area in the latest figures made available for the 2021/22 period.

And that's for those that may still be alive after being struck by a car, attacked by a cat or dog, made homeless by the felling of their tree and found to have rehomed themselves in an 'unsuitable environment' like your roof.

There are calls to mitigate this, and there are ways residents can contribute to making this happen - more on that in Issue 605 as a local organisation that started addressing this years ago shares the relaunch of addressing the problem - right here, right now.

An hour or so after Helen attended the call, with people still distressed and wondering where the baby was, Helen posted:

''I have the little bub in my care and I’m a licensed wildlife rescuer with Sydney Wildlife Rescue.
It’s extremely frightened at the moment so it’s in an enclosure with marsupial milk, Crittacare, a place to rest and a teddy to grip on to if it wants to.
Once it’s calmer, I’ll weigh it and give a thorough check over so it can be buddied with 2 others of a similar size I already have in care.
Thank u SO much Facundo for caring enough to stop….unlike the pr**k who hit and ran.
And THANK U admin for seeing this and posting so late.''

Early the next morning a member of the community group, still distraught, spoke about the obvious bonds between these mothers and bubs.
Helen understood, shared; 

''It’s very sad seeing it first hand and it never gets easier. This bub is a girl, named Rose by Dylan (her young son). The way she grabbed hold of her mum last night was heart-breaking. She cried numerous times last night.''

Helen explained later on Saturday November 4, in response to pleas for an update:

Helen Pearce: 
''As requested, here’s an update about Rose.
She spent last night in her own space, in a cage next to the current Brushtail joeys I have in care. They could hear and see each other, but Rose had space to process what was happening.

After I checked her out this morning, I put her in with the other 2. They’ve all spent the day sleeping, but knew the other was there.
I’ve just put their marsupial milk, Critta care and fresh native foliage in there and will keep an eye on what happens as they wake up.

They’ll re-establish a pecking order but will all move into the large possum box together within the few days and will bond. Then they’ll go out in my aviary to totally wild up and get ready for release in about 3 months.''

'Rose' - now an orphan. Photo: Helen.

And later that same morning Helen and Tom Borg McGee (Ringtail Posse Round 3, April 2023), along with other members of the community, were out searching around Careel Bay and the ridgeline between that and Whale Beach for a Powerful Owl that was reported struck by yet another car at the same time, 11pm on Friday night.

Yet again, this now northbound speeder, did not stop - but the car strike was witnessed, and a call for help put out and answered immediately - this time by Tom.

''Someone called Jess was kind enough to call WIRES and wait whilst it had managed to move up into a roadside tree, but unsure of any further details.'' Tom explained

''This was around the Careel bay fields/Barrenjoey road where the Dolphin crescent stairs-remnant mature native forest is. Please all look out for this owl, it will be injured and unable to hunt for itself and/or it's chicks.

The speeds driven, both legal and illegal in this area, are cruel to wildlife and hazardous to people. 

It is obvious why the owls were here hunting, many flying foxes in the figs at the 'dog park' and possums in the canopy of remnant forest. 

It would be an easy thing you would think for the speeds from nth Av. shops, to the Palm beach bends should be reduced... So much wildlife has been killed and so many people cross at these sections.''

Of course, the Powerful Owl Project is aware of this pair and nest - it was one of the few pairs left up our way that have not had their nest tree destroyed, with chicks in it, or been killed by vehicles.

Decades ago, 1983, as a teenager I witnessed another Powerful Owl that had been struck in this exact same spot - in the middle of the north bound lane - and one then another car going over it. Neither stopped. These are big birds - there's no way they didn't see it.

After the second one it flapped a wing, was trying to get up. I was able to go and cover it with my jacket and carry it to Ray, then the vet at North Avalon.

A year later, in the exact same spot, a girlfriend was driving behind a vehicle that struck a Brushtail Possum, and sped on. I asked her to stop, wrapped this one up too and we took it to Ray, just 200 metres down the road.

The Powerful Owl, tragically, didn't make it; and this was, again, during the time of year when they are breeding and feeding young - but 60 seconds after Ray took the Brushie out the back I could hear it erupting when placed in a cage prior to examination. Ray grinned; ''That one will probably be ok.''

After losing billions of animals in the 2019/2020 fires, and seeing wildlife species turning up where they haven't been seen before, even here, starving, and the daily multiple road deaths, residents are asking; 'what can I do to help?'.

What Can I Do To Help?: The Short List

Residents can help by becoming a wildlife carer; even if you cannot rescue and care for wildlife in your home you can help source food, volunteer for a shift on the 24/7 lines kept going by Sydney Wildlife Rescue and WIRES volunteers or other activities they need a hand with.

Details for Sydney Wildlife: - next course starts Online Saturday 3rd to Thursday 22nd of February 2024, sign up here
Details for WIRES: - The WIRES Rescue 101 program is the fastest, easiest way for you to get started assisting with the rescue and transport of the most common sick and injured native animals. The WIRES Rescue and Immediate Care Course (RICC) is the essential foundation course that must be completed by everyone wanting to start rescuing and caring for wildlife. Completing the RICC enables you to join your local branch and begin rescuing a range of sick, injured and orphaned native animals, as well as begin providing some immediate care.

Sydney Wildlife Rescue stats for this year are: 3623 Rescues, 556 Releases, 1410 In Care across their 500+ volunteers. WIRES state they get over 100,000 calls for wildlife rescue advice and assistance made annually to the Rescue Office, resulting in hundreds of animals in need every day across NSW.

You can make a donation, this helps buy food and medicines for sick animals, supports running costs, and helps run training courses. These organisations are not-for-profit and rely on community support to do their work all day and night all year long. They are both tax deductible organisations re; donations. 

You can join your local bushcare group and help restore habitat in local reserves in the bush and along the dunes. There are numerous local groups that have toiled for decades to restore habitat and more hands are always needed - again, you don't have to do a full 4 hour shift, one or two hours is more than welcome. The full list of Pittwater Bush Care groups runs below.

You can stand up and speak out when you see local public reserves being deliberately destroyed, demand the council start prosecuting those responsible instead of 'working with' them to 'formalise' and further the illegal and indefensible - after all, that's a process that was commenced under Warringah Council over a decade ago - should that be imposed on and rolled out through Pittwater? A big fat fine and ensuring those responsible pay for restoration works and rare plants is more likely to stop them in their tracks - and inspire finding a win-win solution for all.

If you are being stood over and intimidated, assaulted either verbally or physically, or even threatened with the now common 'I know where you live' for standing up for and guarding these places, as has been reported more than a few times to this news service in recent years, and even last Sunday, October 29, call the police for assistance, expect them to turn up urgently, to take it seriously, to take a formal statement and prosecute. Make sure they Issue you with an Incident Number - if they take hours to turn up, leaving you isolated and the target of more abuse or attacks, won't take a statement or don't give you an Incident Number there and then, lodge a formal complaint with the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC)

It should be taken into account that the NSW Police Force is currently facing shortages of personnel. See this Issue's report: NSW Police Trainees Will Be Paid To Become Officers: State Government Moves To Address Frontline Services Shortfall

However, in August 2020 a report run shows a wallaby startled by one mountain bike rider being run over by the second one on a trail at Ingleside. The video posted August 5th 2020 on a website called ‘Trail Forks’ with a webpage dedicated to ‘Deep Creek’ and titled ‘Submission to Friday Fails’ shows the mountain bike rider colliding with a wallaby that had been sitting quietly in the sun. The rider was dislodged, and obviously recovered – no account of what happened to the wallaby or whether help was sought for what would certainly be injuries and shock was posted.

Screenshot of 'Submission for Friday Fails' - Trailforks- wallaby about to be run over circled

Cumulative impacts on ecosystems are occurring due to the sheer scale of mountain bike trails. One trail construction can be hundreds of kilometres long. These continue to be built throughout Australia, often in extremely ‘ecologically sensitive’ areas such as steep gullies, that play a vital role as ‘refugia’ for plants and animals and fire protection, and, as can be seen in this video, are extending road deaths of wildlife into the very homes of these animals. 

Some examples of the detrimental impacts from mountain biking and trail construction are:
  • Edge Effects can affect species when trail construction causes changes in the vegetation structure at the edges of their habitat. Edge effects also encourage weeds and can spread serious environmental threats such as Phytophthora, 'dieback' (Phytophthora cinnamomi), which can cause permanent damage to ecosystems and landscapes
  • Disturbance from machinery and tools used during construction, maintenance and biking on trails (use) can detrimentally affect threatened species such as Powerful Owls, Wedge-tailed eagles and Koalas as well as small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates that would be less able to avoid the rapid approach of mountain bikers
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation can lead to ‘niche reductions’ for plant and animal species. They lose their ‘homes’ and thus, ecosystems decline
The proliferation of illegal tracks during the recent years of Covid lockdowns is well documented, as is the injuries and hospitalisations of youngsters as a result. A great sport and way to get a mental health boost when needed then, and now, and a wonderful way to connect with others and the environment, there has been ongoing unchecked damage done to public parks, bush reserves, compounded by bullying behaviours, assaults and ongoing intimidation of others who challenge the destruction.

A resident academic, fed up with the failure to address the issue, has launched a survey this week to collect data on what has happened and is happening here and across the state. The data will inform a future report. This will run for 12 months. This survey aims to document mountain bike related incidents on public land, available at:

Above: Crescent reserve Newport, destroyed during Covid lockdowns. The bush carers who restored this spot over decades and  challenged this allege the parents of the young boys who destroyed this reserve then threatened them, with tools and that they would 'kill them - knew where they lived'. They further allege on finding the teenagers in the bush doing the same on August 29th at 1.15pm the bush care volunteers called the council rangers. While waiting the teenagers informed the volunteers that ‘they were doing nothing wrong’ and ‘council didn’t mind’. One lad even claimed his dad ‘owned the council’. Their comments escalated and became threatening, causing the volunteers to call the police who state they stayed until about 4.00pm without a ranger or a police person showing up. 

You can make a submission about the Lizard Rock/Patyegarang proposal to kill off acres and acres of habitat and wildlife, and which will definitely impact on Narrabeen, as the Mona Vale Road East project has on Bayview, Pittwater's estuary, and all the creeks from Warriewood to Narrabeen Lagoon.

You can speak up and make a submission about the forthcoming proposal to widen Wakehurst Parkway to four lanes to facilitate that proposal - the Wakehurst Parkway, along with Mona Vale road, are the major wildlife killing corridors here. That new Parkway proposal, at the outset, is $75+ million dollars of your tax dollars being spent to destroy greenfield for the benefit of developers. That too will increase road deaths of wildlife unless you state fauna rope bridges and underpasses should be built into the design. Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment and the Elanora Heights Residents Association tabled some great ideas in 2021 and 2022 when this was first announced about how this may be done so it doesn't destroy Narrabeen's environment and wildlife.

You can speak up next year when the Federal Government tables its own Australian Nature Law Reforms in 2024.


RSL NSW State Congress Congratulations

On 22-24 October, delegates from  the Northern Beaches District Council (NBDC) attended the RSL NSW State Congress in Newcastle.

Four Local members received some prestigious awards;-
1. Bob Durbin President of War Vets sub-Branch Narrabeen was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. There were only two people in the whole of NSW who received this award at Congress.
2. Deborah Carter President of Pittwater sub-Branch and Vice President of NBDC was awarded Life Membership of the League. (only 10 awarded)
3. Mrs Pamela Hansen Hon. Secretary Harbord RSL sub-Branch was awarded a Civilian Merit Medal.
4. Forestville Auxiliary were the 2nd best in NSW.

The Citation for Mr Durbin reads:
The Meritorious Service Medal is the highest honour which can be bestowed upon a Service Member of the RSL. All recipients must have at least 25 years continuous RSL membership, and given at least 25 years outstanding service to the League;
The first Meritorious Service Medal is presented to Mr Robert Durbin from the War Veterans Village (Narrabeen) RSL sub-Branch.

Mr Durbin served in the Royal Australian Navy for 20 years after enlisting in 1970. After discharge from the Navy, he joined the City of Blacktown RSL sub-Branch in 1990, were he remained a member for 27 years. During this time he held various positions including pensions officer, secretary, welfare officer, chaplain, president and far western metropolitan district council secretary, welfare officer and pensions officer. Mr Durbin also served at secretary of the City of Parramatta RSL sub-Branch from 2000 to 2010.

In 1996, Mr Durbin became the Operations Manager at ANZAC House, a position he held until 2000. He then went on to be a State Councillor at RSL NSW for 14 years, where he was also the RSL Corps of Guards Chaplain during this time.

Now a member of the War Veterans Village (Narrabeen) RSL sub-Branch, Mr Durbin has been the President since transferring in 2017 and is also one of two chaplains at this sub-Branch. It is estimated Mr Durbin has delivered over 800 tributes at funerals during his time as a member of the League.

Mr Durbin has always had a passion for the motto of “Mates Helping Mates” and would ensure not only were his tributes delivered within the RSL protocol but also by honouring the wishes of the family. Such is his commitment to delivering funeral tributes, he started offering RSL funeral workshops for other sub-Branches, something he continues to do.

Mr Durbin also serves as Chaplain to the Guardians of the Korean War Memorial New South Wales, HMAS Sydney Association, Tingara Australian Association and the Friends and Family of the First AIF Association.

Not only has Mr Durbin been instrumental delivering local commemorations during his time as a secretary of the City of Parramatta RSL sub-Branch, he has also been involved in other local community events including Australia Day.

In 2006, Mr Durbin was awarded Life Membership of the League and received an Australia Day Medal in 2008.

Bob has been interviewed for a Profile of the Week, which will run this November. Our thanks to Bob for sharing his time this past week for the interview process.

Our Remembrance Day 2023 Profile, running this Issue, shares the war memoirs of Lindsay Dufty, as compiled by fellow War Vets sub-Branch Narrabeen member and Secretary, John Sowden.

Lindsay, who is now 100 years young, enlisted as an 18 year and was in Darwin on February 19, 1942. 

Photo: Bob with Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales, RSL NSW Annual State Congress 2023 © Salty Dingo


Narrabeen Lagoon Entrance Works 2023: Update Pics

Photos by John Grainger, October 29, 2023
More of John's Pics on @jag2101

Wakehurst Parkway Update: REF For Proposed Works Available From November 6

Transport for NSW (Transport) proposes to carry out road improvements along Wakehurst Parkway between Frenchs Forest Road, Frenchs Forest and Pittwater Road, North Narrabeen.

These include intersection upgrades and focus on improving safety and capacity for this key road link in Sydney’s northern beaches. 
A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) including Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) has been prepared for the proposal. These documents outline the proposed work, potential construction and environmental impacts and mitigation measures. 

The documents will be available for viewing on the project webpage from Monday 6 November. 
Formal submissions about the proposal are welcomed by emailing . 
The REF is on public display until 5pm Wednesday 20 December

The Wakehurst Parkway project team will be at Oxford Falls Main Hall at Oxford Falls Peace Park on Thursday 16 November from 3pm to 6pm, and at Bilarong Community Hall on Saturday 18 November from 10am to 2pm.


Spring In Pittwater 

November 1 2023: Pelican parade on Broken Bay. Photo: John Vaughan
Little beach on Pittwater, a wonderful spot with a grand view of Broken Bay. Sailing yacht, "Ensign" in view. Photo: John Vaughan