May 26 - June 15, 2024: Issue 627


Midget Farrelly Tribute Takes Shape

Midget's Tribute, as at May 21, 2024
Midget's Tribute, as at May 28, 2024

Following Council's February 2024 endorsement of a proposal by the Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee to install a public artwork on Black Rock, Ocean Road Palm Beach, works have now commenced.

Newton Stone Design was appointed to execute the project during May to June 2024, weather permitting, and has been working on this over the past few weeks.

Newton Bishop, the Sculptor, said he is honoured and thrilled to be doing the work and finding out more and more about Midget as the details progress, with passers-by the jobsite sharing insights and anecdotes, and Newton doing some research of his own. 

‘He was a really nice bloke.’

Newton Bishop, working on Midget's Tribute, May 21, 2024

Newton Bishop on site

Newton has been working as a landscaper, stonemason and sculptor since 1990 and holds a Landscape Diploma from TAFE NSW.

He worked with Mick Leslie, ’The Phantom Carver’, whose works appear in Bayview, Palm Beach, Narrabeen, Freshwater and Queenscliff. A former Navy man, and Elanora Heights resident, ironically he was employed by Warringah Council at the time, but this was an unapproved after-hours hobby.

Newton also worked for Ishi Buki sandstone sculptures for over 15 years, and in that time created numerous public sculptures for councils Sydney wide. 

The entrance carving to Governor Phillip Park, those wildlife sculptures at Winnererremy Bay and at Bilarong Reserve, are works he has been a part of.

 In Bilarong Reserve

The artwork has been commissioned with funds raised by the Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee. The Recognition Committee raised $56,030, which is sufficient funding for the proposed petroglyph project. The funds are held in the Manly Art Gallery and Museum Gift Fund. There is no financial impact on Council’s budget.

The artwork will be a light petroglyph carved into the face of Black Rock showing Midget in one of his classic stances but with an emphasis on his inaugural World Surfing Championships win at Manly Beach. 

The work features this stance in this famous photo by Jack Eden, complete with the number '3' on the vest. 

From the World Titles, he had a vest on with the number 3 on it during the heat rounds. His vest actually had number 2 during the final:


Jack Eden's photo of Midget at Manly World Championships of Surfing in 1964, courtesy Jack and Dawn Eden

Midget lived at Palm Beach for 54 years and surfed there almost every day on one of his many short and malibu surfboards. 

He passed away in 2016 at the age of 71, after a battle with cancer. 

He became the first Australian to win a major international surfing title at the 1962 Makaha International Surfing Championships. Two years later, he won the inaugural World Surfing Championships at Manly Beach. 

During the fundraising process, the Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee considered the most appropriate form of recognition for Midget Farrelly and felt that a free-standing sculpture was not conducive to the Palm Beach area or Midget Farrelly’s character and may present safety issues.

The Recognition Committee then developed an alternate form of commemoration: a petroglyph carved on Black Rock, on Ocean Road at Palm Beach. 

The artwork is designed to soften with the natural effects of weathering.

Community feedback indicated a high level of support for the commemoration of Midget Farrelly in Palm Beach.

However, many community members, whilst supportive of the idea of commemorating Midget, did not feel that a relief carving on Black Rock was an appropriate form of recognition.

Black Rock is also popular with local climbers who also objected to it being changed.

Any risks to the local iconic boulder during the installation of the artwork will be managed by Council’s Arts and Culture, Parks, and Traffic Management teams, Council has stated. Following installation, other risks such as graffiti will be addressed in accordance with the established processes for Council assets.


Warriewood Community Battery Unveiled

Photo: Ausgrid.
On Friday May 24 2024 the community battery for Warriewood was unveiled.

The battery adds to a suite of ways to recharge across the peninsula, including the May 2024 announcement from Council of power pole locations that may now be used to recharge electric vehicles.

See Issue 626 report: Local Power Poles Transformed To Boost EV Uptake: Australian-First Trial Taking Place Across The Peninsula

Ausgrid is enabling more local home-owners to install solar on their roof tops with the installation of Ausgrid’s fourth community battery under the Federal Government’s Community Batteries for Household Solar Program.

This battery at Warriewood will continue supporting the electrification of local homes while enabling more to participate in the clean energy transition, by soaking up excess solar energy during the day and feeding it back into the grid at peak times.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said it would play an important role in helping households access cleaner, cheaper energy and increasing grid resilience.

''It’s incredibly exciting to deliver a community battery for Warriewood today, our Reliable Renewables plan is bringing cleaner, cheaper reliable renewable energy to communities across the country.'' Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said

At the unveiling of the community battery, Dr Sophie Scamps MP, Member for Mackellar said, “It’s a win for the environment and a win for households battling cost of living increases.

“It means more solar panels and electric car chargers can be connected to the network without stressing the existing infrastructure. It also means a stronger grid and fewer solar exports, and less investment in poles and wires because the solar power that is produced is used right here, in Warriewood,” Dr Sophie Scamps said.

Community batteries support local power supply quality and voltage by harnessing and storing excess solar from homes while allowing residents to more effectively use their own solar systems.

Ausgrid Group Executive Distributed Services Rob Amphlett Lewis said community batteries are visible signs of the energy transition that will also put downward pressure on energy bills.

“We know around 280,000 of our 1.8 million customers already have solar panels on their rooftops, with another 180,000 more expected to be installed by 2030."

Our community batteries help these homes get the most out of their solar, while also sharing the benefits with houses who don’t have solar installations.

We remain focused on finding the best solutions to drive the broader energy transition in the most efficient and equitable way.

With the right regulatory settings, we could deliver more than 1.2 GW of storage across our network, leading to increased electricity system security and reliability for our customers.''  Ausgrid Group Executive Distributed Services, Rob Amphlett Lewis stated

''Thanks to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Dr Sophie Scamps MP Paula Goodman and the Northern Beaches Council for their support.'' Ausgrid stated

Ausgrid is also exploring further partnerships with government to be able to roll out more community batteries across the network while expanding the program to bigger battery storage systems. 

Delivered with the assistance of the Council, the 535kWh community battery brings Ausgrid’s total number of community batteries to seven.

To support its community battery roll out under the Community Batteries for Household Solar Program, Ausgrid will co-deliver with Northern Beaches Council the installation of a 100kW rooftop solar system on the new Warriewood Community Centre. 

The battery is wrapped in an artwork created by local first nations artist Daniel McDonald, titled ''Skylight''. Daniel is a proud deaf, First Nations Wonnarua artist, living on Gadigal land.  His art is inspired by what he sees and feels from the physical environment, the atmosphere, human interaction and the dreamtime.

For more information on community batteries visit

Photos: Ausgrid


Autumn In Pittwater 

'Merlin the Magician' landscape feature on Barrenjoey Headland. Photo: John Vaughan, May 2024 - more in this Issue's Pictorial by John - 'Autumn Sojourn on Cowan Water'.

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