March 24-30, 2024: Issue 619


Roy G. Smith 

Roy Smith had his 100th birthday on March 4 2024. A wonderful party was held where children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, along with neighbours, gathered to toast the centenarian and have a mouthful of a chocolates laden cake.

Cards were sent in from His Majesty King Charles III, the Australian Prime Minister, The Hon. Anthony Albanese, NSW State Premier, The Hon. Christopher Minns, the Governor General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales, and Mackellar MP Dr. Sophie Scamps, along with birthday greetings from a thousand Pittwater residents. Roy lives in Avalon Beach with youngest daughter Debbie Mundell, and despite the English accent, has been a dedicated Australian for 62 years.

From being a World War 2 pilot to taking up pottery at the age of 98, Roy remains sharp as a tack and an inspiration to his family and community.

This Issue a few insights into his first 100 years runs as Profile of the Week.


New Emergency Response Beacons For Pittwater: At Turimetta - North Palm Beach

North Palm Beach is a popular part of the Barrenjoey peninsukla year round. 

NSW Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib attended the Sunday March 17 final day of this year's NSW Surf Life Saving State Championships, presenting medals and also making an important announcement.

The NSW Government plans to install 10 new Emergency Response Beacons (ERBs) in key coastal locations this year, including at North Palm Beach, where there have been rescues this Season, and at Turimetta, in addition to an emergency rescue board at Turimetta by council, as announced in October 2023

The expansion of emergency response infrastructure comes after the Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib convened a roundtable on coastal safety earlier this month, in response to an increase in coastal drownings over recent years.

ERBs directly connect callers to Surf Life Saving NSW’s State Operations Centre, enabling the rapid deployment of lifesaving and emergency services to a potential rescue site. This can drastically reduce response times, particularly in unpatrolled or isolated areas.

This year, at least 10 new ERB units will be operational at the following locations, subject to Council or land manager approvals:

  • Mid North Coast: Scotts Head
  • Hunter: Moonee Beach
  • Central Coast: Spoon Bay, Fraser Park, Forresters Beach
  • Pittwater: Turrimetta, North Palm Beach
  • Illawarra: Austinmer, Woonoona, Bulli

The new beacons, which are the first of 32 to be delivered over the next four years, are part of the NSW Government’s record $23 million additional investment in Surf Life Saving NSW.

As part of this funding, the NSW Government is also delivering 67 jet skis over four years, with 14 already deployed to beaches along the state’s coastline.

The roundtable held in early March considered the latest data on high risk drowning locations along the state’s coastline, with the locations of the new ERBs based on this data, rescue statistics and consultation with key stakeholders.

As part of this funding, the NSW Government is also delivering 67 jet skis over 4 years, with 14 already delivered to beaches along the state’s coastline. Jet skis are highly manoeuvrable and can easily be deployed to perform rescues.

The roundtable held in early March considered the latest data on high risk drowning locations along the state’s coastline, with the locations of the new ERBs based on this data, rescue statistics and consultation with key stakeholders.

Addressing the number of coastal deaths in unpatrolled and isolated locations is a priority for the NSW Government, along with reaching more communities with important water safety messages. Discussions at the roundtable highlighted concerns about whether these messages are well understood by all beachgoers.

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:

“Emergency Response Beacons are already being used successfully in coastal locations, including at Forster this summer when a beacon was instrumental in supporting the rescue of individuals caught in a rip current.

“The evidence is clear – this technology works, and we know it will make a key contribution to preventing drownings on our coastline.

“The beacons use technology that overcomes connectivity limitations, or ‘black spots’, in remote areas, providing a reliable option in an emergency.

“A day at the beach shouldn’t turn into a disaster, and this is one of several measures the NSW Government is taking to help ensure more people get home safely.”

Chief Executive of Surf Life Saving NSW Steve Pearce said:

“We currently have 32 ERBs positioned along the coast, and they are proving their worth in allowing the public to immediately alert us to incidents and emergencies.

“We are looking at enhancements to the next generation of ERBs which could include having public rescue equipment attached to the units that people could use to keep themselves safe if they attempt a rescue.

“It’s all about using technology to improve how we respond to coastal incidents and, in the end, save more lives along the coast.”

NSW Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon. Jihad Dib at this years Surf Life Saving NSW’s State  Championships - the announcement took place afterwards at Shelly Beach

Turimetta Beach. Photo: Joe Mills


2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Opens State Championships: Newport! Newport! Newport!

10 New Emergency Response Beacons Announced On Final Day By NSW Minister For Emergency Services: 2 For Pittwater At Turimetta, North Palm Beach

Open Division

Newport SLSC is the Open Overall Point Score Champion for a near unbelievable tenth straight time after three days of fierce and fervent competition, finishing on Sunday March 17 2024. The eventual triumph – coming, in the end, by more than double the points accumulated by Wanda SLSC in second – brought an end to the 2024 edition of the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships.

The gold and maroon caps did it in style, signing off with, perhaps fittingly, an emphatic win in the Open Female Taplin through Sarah Locke in the swim leg, Lizzie Welborn on the board, and Jemma Smith in the ski to finish.

It capped a day where Newport athletes featured heavily on the podium, all the way back to a near-clean sweep of the Single Ski divisions to start the carnival’s final day.

Only Hobie Smit from Cronulla SLSC in the U17 Male category stopped them from winning all six races on offer.

While the Open Championships belonged to Newport, the day belonged to teenage dynamo, Lani Waller and, by extension, Redhead SLSC.

The Hunter club made a huge push up the leader board on Day Three, spurred on in no small part by the 17-year-old who grabbed wins in the U19 Female Board, Swim and Iron.

Lani then backed it up not half an hour later in the Open Female Iron, with a busted toe, and beat a veritable who’s who of NSW Ironwomen to claim the title.

It was an intense finish – Lani built a significant lead into the final ski leg but slewed on the way in and lost the craft. She swam for her life and reached the shore almost in line with the skis of Newport’s Analise Kibble and Piper Harrison but was running up the beach well before the other two had feet on the sand.

In the end, Redhead would finish third on the Overall Point Score, ahead of fellow Hunter club, Swansea-Belmont SLSC, North Cronulla SLSC and Coogee SLSC – all of whom were a handful of wins away from a podium place themselves.

Swansea-Belmont saw some big wins by its NSW Interstate competitor, Kaitlin Rees who finished first in the U17 Female Iron having earlier beaten two Zara’s – Kasprowicz of North Curl Curl SLSC and Campbell of Cooks Hill SLSC – to the gold in the U17 Female Swim.

Maddix Burke managed the same double as Kaitlin, doing so for Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC in the U15 Male category, and Cudgen Headland SLSC also earned gold medals through Ollie Sharpe in the U19 Male Iron and Archie Allsopp, Archie Loemker, Charlie George, and Phoenix Preston in the U15 Male Cameron Relay.

Earlier in the day, Jackson McCleery of Maroubra SLSC won the Saxon Bird Memorial Trophy by taking out the U19 Male Surf Race, and North Bondi SLSC’s Benedict Christensen won the U19 Male Board, earning him the Jacob Lollback Memorial Trophy.

The Open March Past was won by the Collaroy Ladies - Open March Past Team; Kerry Armstrong, Nicole Bowyer, Anne Bullivant, Frances Byrne, Jacqueline de Kort, Ann-Maree Donlan, Alison Ducker, Janine Fahey, Anna Mickan, Brooke Miller, Susan Perry, Debra Trim.

Some more great images from SLS NSW's volunteer photographers Anthony Rose, Malcolm Trees and Darryl Bullock run HERE


2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Surfboat Championships

Palm Beach SLSC Boat Division Captain Peter Spence with U19 Puddles crew of Chloe Driver, Chloe Brunker, Zoe Elliot and Madeleine Julliard Photo: Malcolm Trees 

Exciting racing and some challenging conditions gave surfboat crews from across the state the chance to showcase their hard work and amazing skills over three days at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly presented by Your local club and hosted by Queenscliff and North Steyne SLSCs.

Competitor numbers increased this year, with almost 250 crews entered across all age divisions, including Masters.

The major uplift in crews taking to the waves at Sydney’s Manly Beach were seen in the Under 19 male and female divisions; great news for the future of this demanding but exhilarating sport.

“It was a great three days of racing, with a testing surf for all crews to manage. The standard of competition continues to increase with extremely close finishes in most divisions,” said referee Greg Heard.

“It was also great to see a number of crews from clubs that had been absent for a few years, make a return and be competitive. Sunday, finals day had some of the best racing and provided a great spectacle for everyone on the beach.”

After a few upsets in the quarter and semi-finals saw some of the race favourites knocked out early, there were some nail-biting finishes when it came down to the final eight races on Sunday.

The first gold medal fell to Queenscliff’s Reserve Male crew (Damien Daley, Louis Alston, Nicholas Hampton, William Thackray and Douglas Bone), followed by the Batemans Bay Banshees in the Reserve Female final and pretty much all of Manly heard them whelp with joy and relief on the shore.

South Curl Curl SLSC showed their dominance in the younger divisions, with wins in the U19 and U23 Male races, both swept by an ecstatic Rob Lowery. The Dribblers crew of Sam Merry, Zane Mcgregor, Cody Kearney and Levi Welsh crossed the line in one of the closest finishes of the day, while the all-local Curly boys, the Underdogs crew of Zac Lowery, Tremayne Chivers, Tasman Farrell and Harrison Andrew were celebrating their time in the sun as U23 champions.

The Palmy Army featured heavily in the finals action as usual, winning two of the eight golds on offer. Stephen Cox swept the U23 Palm Beach Peastmode crew of Emily Wise, Kenya Fahey and Annika Beesley (with Jess Wise filling in for injured stroke Aysha Whyte) to victory, while Peter Spence’s U19 Puddles crew of Chloe Driver, Chloe Brunker, Zoe Elliot and Madeleine Julliard made it look like they have been rowing for years.

“The girls haven’t lost a carnival all season,” said Peter Spence. “The girls have been brilliant, they’re an exceptional crew.”

Damien Daley’s NSW titles tilt ended on the ultimate high with his Queenscliff A Rollers Open Male crew of Connor Hopkins, Chris Cunningham-Reid, James Molloy and Zac Von Appen taking out the last race of the championships.

It was DD’s second gold of the day and a fitting end to the entire 2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, winning for the host club Queenscliff in its 100th anniversary year.

“We did this for a lot of people in our club,” said DD. “We’ve had to juggle a lot of things this year, and on our home beach, it’s unreal.”

Damien Daley - pretty happy about that. Photo: Malcolm Trees

More in: 2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Surfboat Championships


Service Adjustments For Local Buses From March 31 2024: Increase In Runs For B-Line + Frenchs Forest To City Run -  Details

B-line at Warriewood. Photo: Joe Mills

Just weeks after announcing a new blueprint for NSW bus services through what was outlined in the Bus Industry Taskforce's Second Report, released February 22, 2024, the changes for routes will come into effect Sunday week. Some services will be increased, and some will be decreased- for example, the 141-Austlink to Manly via Frenchs Forest & Seaforth will have two weekday midday, and four evening trips withdrawn. Others will be slightly increased and some will go altogether - the weekday 06:50 trip from Killarney Heights (273) will be withdrawn due to the ongoing driver shortage and availability of alternative options.

The list states many will have 'updated running times to better reflect operating conditions'.

Bus Timetable changes were announced in July 2023 as well, stated then to be in response to industry-wide driver shortages. Sources within the industry state the privatised services struggle to attract drivers as they are expected to work for reduced wages and benefits that make it financially unfeasible to do such a job.

The Second Report noted expected population growth has not been catered for in funding for new bus services, leaving growing communities disconnected from essential services, as has occurred at Frenchs Forest, with commuters left stranded day after day as buses to the city are either full before they get to their stop, or cancelled to meet privatised contract arrangements.

The Taskforce will provide the NSW Government with its Final Report and recommendations by 1 May 2024.

Read the Bus Taskforce Second Report

Transport Minister Jo Haylen said:

“The Second Bus Taskforce report will deliver the biggest improvement to bus services that NSW has seen in a generation. “For too long bus services have been the forgotten mode of Transport in NSW. They carry more than 40 per cent of passengers but are lucky to get more than 2 per cent of capital investment. This must change. Tens of thousands of passengers rely on the bus network and we need to do better."

"Too many growing communities were neglected because the former government had no plan for what their future bus services would look like.  We now have plan to make sure those communities get the bus services they need."

The changes announced on Friday March 22 state from Sunday 31 March, timetables and routes for some Beaches and North Shore buses will be adjusted to improve reliability and capacity to meet customer demand.

Key service adjustments include:

  • Increasing services on B-Line due to an increase in passengers and on-board crowding.
  • Discontinuing route 137 (this route, operating only once each weekday in each direction, has just two unique stops and is otherwise duplicated by other routes).
  • Doubling of daytime frequency on route 161 to better cater to locals and visitors to Manly.
  • Additional services from Frenchs Forest to the Sydney CBD in the morning peak to alleviate overcrowding.
  • Replacing route 195/6 (an after hours combined route 195 and 196) with separate route 195 or 196 trips.
  • Replacing route 270X with additional trips on route 270 (route 270 also operates as an express for much of the route, and journey times are comparable).
  • Discontinuing route 282 and replacing these trips with route 281 or 283 trips.
  • Minor changes to simplify and improve reliability on school services.
  • Changes to running times to reflect actual journey times, including both faster trips and extra time where it is required.
  • To accommodate existing patronage on weekday mornings, a route 280 service will operate from Chatswood Station (Stand C) to Frenchs Forest/Northern Beaches Hospital, extending to Bantry Bay via the old 137 route. This will replace the current 137 AM route.  No replacement of the current 137 PM required.

Further information on all the changes may be accessed here.



2024 Pittwater To Coffs Harbour Yacht Race

A picture tells a thousand words - post start. Photo: Andrea Francolini.

Four Yachts In Race For Pittwater To Coffs Honours

Sunday March 24, 2024

In extraordinary circumstances, just four boats are left racing for line and overall honours in the 2024 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race this morning, extreme conditions of up to  only 5 knots and mostly no wind, have forced the retirement of most the fleet, including David Griffith’s Whisper, which had led the race until retiring late yesterday afternoon.

The four ‘stayers’ are led on the water by Ray Hudson’s XP44, XS Moment, while the others are two-handed entries: the J/99, Jupiter (Ian Smith and Billy Sykes), the Beneteau Figaro 3,  Intiy (Andrea Davey and Marc Depret) and Transcendence Rudy Project, a Jeanneau Sun Fast 33 (Martin and John Cross).  All are from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, organiser of the annual 226 nautical mile race, barring Jupiter, which hails from Manly Yacht Club.

While XS Moment leads the line honours chase, at 9.40am she was making progress, but still 68 nautical miles short of the finish line and is currently second overall. At this stage, she is not likely to finish until tomorrow (Monday) evening.

Jupiter is second on line and leads the race overall, but with a distance of 81 nautical miles to reach the finish. Intiy is close behind, while the father and son on Transcendence Rudy Project still have 94 miles to go.

On retiring, David Griffith said from Whisper, “We have pulled the pin and headed to Newcastle. It’s very disappointing. We feel terrible about pulling out, but the time going on is getting ridiculous as people have to go to work.

“There’s not a breath of wind,” Griffith ended.

And with the greatest reluctance, long time RPAYC member, Richard Hudson retired Pretty Woman early last evening. 

Hudson said, “We have retired. It’s the first time in around 150 Cat 1 and Cat 2 races. To retire like this is very disappointing. We had a bit of a south-easter but it’s fading and the forecast doesn’t look good. . with nothing ahead.” You could feel his pain.

Pretty Woman - a reluctant retiree late yesterday. Photo: Andrea Francolini



Autumn In Pittwater 

New growth on a Pittwater Spotted gum - early Autumn light 2024

Pittwater Online News is Published Every Sunday Morning

 Past Features   Archives (pre 2014)

Pittwater Online News was selected for preservation by the State Library of New South Wales and National Library of Australia. This title is scheduled to be re-archived regularly.

Archived Issues (2014 on) may be accessed

Past Issues are also listed on site on the Community News page, by month.