October 22 - 28, 2023: Issue 602


Narrabeen Folk Arts Club in The Shack: Some History as we head into the 2023 northern beaches music festival 

Narrabeen aerials, September 17 1949 – photos courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

The Northern Beaches Music Festival is running its 2023 Programme at Narrabeen this coming November 4 – 5 in the Tramshed and Berry Reserve, Narrabeen. Commenced in 2012, and apart from a furlough during Covid lockdowns, this festival from its outset has had a focus on providing a paying platform for young and local musicians – with 50 acts presenting this Spring.

Paul Robertson and Kathleen Swaddling at 2012 NB Music Festival. Photo: A J Guesdon

Music of this genre had its early years almost 60 years ago in a little ‘shack’ in the Narrabeen caravan park.

Folk music is a music genre that includes traditional folk music and the contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, music that is played on traditional instruments, music about cultural or national identity, music that changes between generations (folk process), music associated with a people's folklore, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 1940's, but folk music extends beyond that.

Starting in the mid-20th century, a new form of popular folk music evolved from traditional folk music. This process and period is called the (second) folk revival and reached a zenith in the 1960s. This form of music is sometimes called contemporary folk music or folk revival music to distinguish it from earlier folk forms.

The Narrabeen Folk Arts Club, formed in 1963, and carried forward in current iteration ‘The Shack’, used the old ambulance shed at Narrabeen Caravan Park as the host building for music. Formed by Greg Quill with others, whose dad was a Life Member of North Narrabeen SLSC and lived at Narrabeen Park Parade, locals were offered a platform to share their music with a small door charge being their pay for performances. 

The Shack shed at North Narrabeen caravan park, circa 1967. Photos courtesy Col Noble

A 17 year old Col McLauchlan (Noble) in the centre with rope guitar strap, Paul Garlick 2nd on right, Greg Quill on the right. Photo courtesy The Shack archives

Within a few years though, the use of this structure was under threat. At the Warringah Shire Council Meeting held on June 27 1966 it was recorded:

MOTION IN PURSUANCE OF NOTICE - USE OF BUILDING AT LAKE PARK CAMPING AREA BY THE NARRABEEN FOLK ARTS CLUB. 9.Resolved, That this item be now dealt with. (Crs. Mill/Lindsay). Notice having been previously given by Crs. Mill, Beckman and Lindsay, it was Moved by.. Cr. Mill, seconded by Cr. Beckman, That the resolution adopted at the Ordinary Meeting on 6.6.66 per medium of Minute 33 ,reading- That in view of the Engineer's verbal report that this building is structurally unsound and in a dangerous and dilapidated condition, that it be demolished immediately and the Club be requested to make other arrangements - be and is hereby rescinded. Cr. Mill then tabled a petition signed by 2,057 persons stating in its 2 years of existence the Club has provided cultural amenities for a growing number of young people; its continuance has depended largely upon the free use allowed it by the Council of an otherwise unused hall in the Lake Park Camping Reserve; deploring the Warringah Shire Council's recent decision to demolish this building thus bringing to an end this commendable effort on the part of the young people to provide rewarding pastime activities for themselves. Cr. Mill also tabled a letter from Mr. D. Gazzard, Architect, stating that in his opinion the building was structurally quite sound, and only needs renovation. 10.Resolved, That Council resolves to permit the Folk Arts Club to use the small building on Narrabeen Lake Park Camping area for its activities at a rental of $2.00 per year on the condition that the Club agrees to help in renovating the building to a reasonable standard, and meanwhile Council investigates the possibility of finding another site for this building; and that should the building not be re-sited by December, 1966, that the occupancy be reviewed. It is understood that the Council, in permitting the Club to use the building is not excluding other cultural organisations from using it. (Crs. Mill/Job).

However, by August 1966 noise and late hours meant the council was recommending they seek a more suitable site. People living nearby and residents of the Narrabeen Caravan Park wanted their sleep, especially those that filled the camping area over the Summer months:

PARKS & RESERVES CYV4ITTEE REPORT 4.8.66. The report of the Parks and Reserves Committee, as contained in the minutes of that Committee's meeting 4.8.66, was received and dealt with as follows: re Item 22 _Mona Vale Park _Proposed relocation of toilets. Before discussion on this item, the President announced receipt of a letter late this afternoon from Clarke, Gazzard & Partners, Architects, together with sketch plans and a model showing toilets located at a position abutting the northern side of the Community Centre building, and another sketch plan showing the toilets in a free-standing position A little distance away from the Community Centre building. The Architect, in his letter, detailed the arguments for each case. The plans and model were tabled and perused by Councillors. 19: Resolved, That these amended plans marked *;Plan X*; showing the toilets located in a position abutting the northern side of the Community Centre building be approved and the builder, B.A.Pickworth & Sons, be requested to furnish a quotation at the next meeting of the Finance Committee for the work involved as outlined on *;Plan X*;. (Crs. Knight/Huntingdon) re Item 20 _Narrabeen Folk Arts Club Building _Lake Park Reserve. 20. Resolved, That this matter be dealt with in *;Committee of the Whole*; at a later stage of the evening. (Crs; Thomas/Wilson)

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE*;.. At this stage, the time 12.35 a.m. on Tuesday, 9th August, 1966, the Council resolved itself into *;Committee of the Whole*; for the purpose of discussing:_(a)Item 20 Parks and Reserves Committee's Report _Narrabeen Folk Arts Club building, Narrabeen Camping Area, which was deferred from earlier in the evening. Also confidential report by the Camp Controller which was circulated to Councillors at the meeting. (b)Letter from Mr. B. Priest, 7.8.66 regarding membership of the Dee Why Youth Club, and other matters. (The President read the letter to the Committee). Resolved, That the Ordinary Meeting be resumed.(time 12.55 a.m. on Tuesday. August 9, 1966). (Crs. Knight/Lindsay). Upon resumption of the Ordinary Meeting the Shire Clerk reported that the Council, sitting in 'Committee of the Whole', having considered the above matters, recommended: Narrabeen Folk Arts Club. 76. That Council request the folk singing group to make representations to the Minister for Lands to revoke the southern area of Progress Park, Garden Street, North Narrabeen, Council to support such request, and in the event of the land being made available, the group be requested to treat as a matter of urgency the erection of a suitable clubhouse with the assistance of local Service Organisations in view of the recent complaints in connection with the Club operating at late hours. In view of these complaints, the group be instructed to vacate the existing premises at 10 p.m. each night, and Council's previous decision to not allow use of the building for the group's-activities during the period 7th November to 7th February be adhered to. 'Further, that the By Laws Inspector police the area over the next month.

Warringah Shire Council was placed under administration in the meantime and by late 1967 the Narrabeen Folk Arts Club had to find somewhere else, despite the Manly Daily running a report of a campaign to keep the space available. 

1967 Manly Daily clipping: Col Noble and John Darcy-Smith sitting on T-chest bass. Others unknown. Manly Daily clipping courtesy Col Noble

Council Minutes of Meetings record:

MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING CO WAR2/NGAH SHIRE amen HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS, SHIRE HALL, BRCCKVALE, ON THURSDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER, 1967, COMMENCING AT 3 P.M. ATTENDANCE. Administrator (C.J.Barnett), Shire Clerk (J. Morgan), Shire Engineer (T. Stephens) Acting Shire Health Surveyor & Building Inspector (A.G.Russell), Deputy Shire Cleric (R.M.Stuckey), Town Planner (H.Tdraite) ITEM 1 - CONFIRMATION CO MINUTES OF ORDINARY MEETING HELD 23.10.67 AND SPECIAL MEETING HELD 26,10.67, RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Council held on 23.10.67 and Special Meeting of Council held on 26.10.67 be confirmed. ITEM 2 - ADMINISTRATOR'S MINUTES. (A)APPOINE ENT OF SHIRE HEALTH SURVEYOR & PRINCIPAL BUILDING INSPECTOR. (B)SERVICES OF MR. T.N.STEPHENS, SHIRE ENGINEER. (C)NARRABEEN FOLK ARTS CLUB. RESOLVED: That the Administrator's Minutes be adopted. 

ADMINISTRATOR'S MINUTE TO THE ORDINARY MEETING 2.11.67. The Council has received a petition in connection with the building occupied by the Narrabeen Folk Arts Club in the Narrabeen Lake Park Public Recreation Reserve in the following terms: 


We, the undersigned, call upon the Administrator of Warringah Shire, Mr. C. J. Barnett, to reverse the recent decision to evict the Narrabeen Folk Arts Club from Council premises in the Narrabeen Lake Park camping reserve, and to demolish said premises. We request that these premises be leased to the Club for an annual rental and that the Club be permitted to effect improvements to the building. 

We declare that we support the aims and activities of this unique Club and wish to ensure its continuation free from unreasonable conditions.’’; 

Apart from any objection to the use of the building for a purpose which is incompatible with the use of the surrounding land for camping purposes and the failure of club members in the past to conform with conditions of occupation imposed by the Council, the Council has been advised by its solicitor that the Council has no power under the Local Government Act and Ordinances to grant a lease of land comprising part of a public reserve for the purposes of a private social club.

 IT IS ACCORDINGLY RECOMMENDED: That a notice be sent to Mr. G. Quill, President of the Narrabeen Folk Arts Club in the following terms: 

TAKE NOTICE that pursuant to Resolution of the Council of the Warringah Shire passed on the Second day of November 1967, you are requested to remove any goods or other property of yourself or the Narrabeen Folk Arts Club from the premises at present occupied by you and the said Club on the public reserve known as Lake Park Public Recreation Reserve on or before Monday, the sixth day of November, 1967. 

Dated this day of November, 1967. SHIRE CLERK. 

C.J. Barnett, ADMINISTRATOR. 2.11.67.

The Narrabeen Folk Arts Club (The Shack) continued to thrive in Narrabeen during the sixties and early seventies. After its initial residence in the old ambulance shed in the Narrabeen Camping area it moved to a permanent residence in a shop in Narrabeen in 1968 where it presented folk music three nights a week and saw many a well-known performer, some of whom have made their careers in music. Some of its well-known acts were the likes of Jeanie Lewis, Margaret Roadknight, Greg Quill and Country Radio, radio legend Bog Hudson, The Stovepipe Spasm Band, Al Head and New York Public Library.

Avalon Beach resident Geoff Searl OAM played there and was fortunate to meet his wife Collette. Geoff related during the interview for his 2014 Profile when asked 'where did you meet Collette?'

''You have probably heard of ‘The Shack’ – the folk singing and coffee house at Narrabeen? She was on the door collecting money – this cute little yellow mini-skirt – I thought ‘she’s pretty hot’ thinking ‘this looks like the real thing’ – I was singing traditional Australian bush songs. It blossomed from there.''

Geoff at The Shack - 1970

The spirit and aims of The Shack continued into the 1980s with the Twentieth Century Folk Club. This, another Folk Music Association dedicated to presenting live music and local artists, began in 1982 as a co-production with Majick Theatre at their venue The Old Gym in Narrabeen. The club, having moved to The Stroll Inn Coffee Lounge in Dee Why, continued in the tradition until 1988 of presenting legendary musicians. 

The Shack Revived

In 2003 the first of the annual Shack reunions was conceived by an original Shack musician, Rhonda Mawer and together with a few friends presented music at Ken and Alison Horrell's home in Newport. Many of the original Shack/ Narrabeen Folk Arts Club members, as well as many new faces came to the reunions and great nights of performance and jamming have been had by all. 

The Shack was revived in 2006 by Trevor and Kathleen Swadling, Rhonda Mawer, who had played at the original The Shack when it was based in the Narrabeen shop as a teenager, and Paul Robertson to the great delight of Musicians and music lovers alike. It started the trend which now continues to grow around the northern beaches of Sydney and beyond, of creating a space where enjoyment of the music is paramount, where musicians of all descriptions are rewarded for their gifts, and where people can meet safe and warm, bring their own refreshments, and be a part of performances intimate and true.

The Shack made a resurgence into the twenty first century as a folk club in 2006 on a monthly basis (the first Saturday of every month) at The Tramshed Arts & Community Centre, 1395a Pittwater Road, Narrabeen.

The first evening kicked off with the well-known and popular New York Public Library, stalwarts of the original Shack and still going strong after forty years; The Spasm Band, featuring some members of the original Stovepipe Spasm Band and East Neasdon Spasm Band; local singer/songwriters Trevor and Kathleen Swadling; and the ever popular Sarah Fogarty and Margaret Salem.

Photos of these events taken by the community minded and supporting Wayne Richmond of Humph Hall can be viewed on his website: humph.org/shack.

Based on the success of these concerts, The Shack was reborn and reconstituted, with regular monthly folk music nights beginning on Saturday 4 March 2006 and thereafter on the first Friday of every month at the new venue, The Tramshed Arts and Community Centre at 1395a Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen and, when this structure was being renovated, moved to where it currently offers monthly concerts at the Ted Blackwood Youth and Community Centre at Warriewood.

Long-term Narrabeen resident Vicki Hilzinger is also involved in The Shack. 

The Shack's Mission is to:

“Present and promote traditional, contemporary and original 21st Century folk music” 

Membership in The Shack entitles you to:

  • Discounts on Shack concerts
  • An opportunity to support 21st century folk music
  • Help organisers to keep The Shack running
  • Have a say in how The Shack is run

To find out more visit: shackfolk.com/the-shack

The Shack, unlike other folk clubs is carrying on the tradition of functioning as a non-profit making organisation and is inviting membership for those who want to support it and have a say in the running of the club as well as receiving regular newsletters.

The Shack still presents a concert on the first Saturday of every month and remains one of Sydney's live music gems, providing an entertaining and diverse range of modern and traditional, quality acoustic music in a comfortable candle-lit atmosphere.   

The name Paul Robertson will be familiar to those who frequent the Northern Beaches Music Festival annually.

Paul was a founder of this festival and states in his Welcome to the 2023 Festival, that they are keen to hear from Volunteers to help out with this years's festival - a great opportunity for those who want to get into the live music scene or event management to get some hands on experience. Paul's 2023 message:

Hello friends of live music,

Welcome to The Northern Beaches Music Festival 2023. We, like a magical musical phoenix rising from the ashes of Covid closure, are once again raising our live music banner high.

On November the 4th and 5th we will be presenting 50 acts on five stages over the weekend. The festival will once again be located at the Tramshed Community Arts Centre and The Berry Reserve by the beautiful Narrabeen Lake. It includes fabulous, multi genre world music on three ticketed stages and one free stage (free to the general public), set amidst our festival village of world food and merchandise stalls.

Our festival is a not-for-profit event produced by the Northern Beaches Music Alliance composed of: 

  • The Shack
  • Humph Hall 
  • The Manly Fig
  • Fairlight Folk
  • Songs on Stage
  • Acoustic Picnic

With a definite focus on the Northern Beaches, our common goals are to:

  • To produce and present musicians and other performing artists including up and coming young artists.
  • To provide, maintain and help create venues at which artists can be presented.
  • To invite, involve and include our diverse community including the disabled and indigenous, especially with regard to music, performing arts, food, dance, costume and culture.

We are keen to hear from all potential volunteers to help us with the presentation and production of our festival. We need people to:

  • work on the gate
  • help with administration
  • help on stage (including compering)
  • help with waste management
  • help with musical instrument storage and retrieval as well as a whole range of other more skilled activities!  

A “four hour shift “ gets you a day’s free entry!  Two “four hour shifts” gets you a free weekend pass.  If you’ve got the skills and would like to be involved please contact us!!!

Paul Robertson (Executive Producer)

Visit: https://northernbeachesmusicfestival.org

Details of how to get involved in these flyers:

The Shack's final concert for 2023 is on Saturday, 2nd December, commencing 7.30pm - 11.30pm and Presenting


At the Ted Blackwood Hall, Cnr. Jackson Rd and Boondah Rd, Warriewood. Non-Members $30, Members $25. To book your $30 Tickets click here  Buy tickets online or pay cash at the door as there is no Wi-Fi for credit transactions. 

BYO drinks and food and remember to include everything you need - cutlery, cups, etc. We ask you take any rubbish with you as the venue requires us to clean the hall and remove all garbage at the end of the night. Your assistance will be extremely appreciated.

Bios for those performing include an original The Shack musician in Rhonda:


Rhonda Mawer began performing at the age of 17 at the original Shack in Narrabeen. She then branched out to performing in multiple folk clubs in Sydney and Melbourne in the days of the Folk Revival singing mostly traditional British music and some Blues and contemporary Folk. Rhonda sang on radio programs and concerts in the eighties then on and off. From then she joined up with jug band friends of the original Stovepipe Spasm Band which morphed into The East Neasdon Spasm Band and eventually became known as The Spasm Band. Then also kept up the traditional singing with The Wheeze and Suck Band for several years. 

In 2022 she made her first solo CD and joined up with very accomplished musicians, namely Marcus Holden, Garry Steel, Rosy McDonald and Nigel Lever to form Rhonda and the Grasscutters (the curious name stems from the meaning of the surname Mawer, ‘someone who mows the fields’). 

Rhonda sings an eclectic mix of traditional, blues and roots music and is accompanied by Marcus on fiddle, cello, guitar and slide guitar, Garry Steel on piano and accordion, Nigel Lever on mandolin and Rosie McDonald on guitar and vocals.



Ann Palumbo is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who has a swag of stories in the shape songs in her repertoire as well as interesting takes on the odd cover. Much of her latest original material is in the process of being recorded. Crossing many genres as per her experience as a hired hand she enlists the talents of Paul Laszlo on double bass and banjo and Inge Courtenay- Haentjes on violin.

Music - Instagram


South-coast NSW singer-songwriter Dan Challis melds lyrically-driven acoustic country music, with a story-telling focus. His songs centre on the lived-experience, and befit his troubadour ethos; living out the very life he tells stories about through his music. Dan has captivated audiences both here and in North America, where he spent 4 years up until 2020. Dan connects to the hearts and minds of audiences through his deft guitar playing, intimate story-telling, as well as smooth vocal delivery. He is a skilled songwriter who cares deeply about his craft. 


References - Extras

  1. The Shack website
  2. Narrabeen Reunions and the Northern Beaches - Facebook, Fiona Murphy admin
  3. Warringah Shire Council - minutes of Meetings, via NBC History Hub
  4. Northern Beaches Music Festival
  5. Col Noble
  6. Wayne Richmond, Humph Hall
  7. The Beach Comes First, - a History of North Narrabeen SLSC
  8. Trove - National Library of Australia
  9. Northern Beaches Music Festival 2012, Pittwater Online News

A few extras about the Quill Family of North Narrabeen

Gregory Raymond Quill (18 April 1947 – 5 May 2013) was an Australian-born musician, singer-songwriter and journalist. He lived in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and was an entertainment columnist at the Toronto Star newspaper from the mid-1980s until his death in May 2013. In Australia he came to popular fame as a singer-songwriter for the country rock band Country Radio (1970–73). Their biggest hit, "Gypsy Queen", co-written by Quill with bandmate Kerryn Tolhurst, was released in August 1972 and peaked at No. 12 on the Go-Set National Top 40. After getting an arts grant, Quill travelled to Toronto in 1974 and by the mid-1980s had become a journalist with the Toronto Star. By 1983 he was married to Ellen Davidson, a public relations executive. Greg Quill died on 5 May 2013, at the age of 66, from "complications due to pneumonia".

Gregory Raymond Quill was born on 18 April 1947 to Raymond George and Doris Quill (née Markham). 

QUILL (nee Markham).—April 18, at Crown Street Hospital, to Doris and Raymond —a son. Family Notices (1947, April 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18022404 

Parent’s marriage 23rd of June 1944, Her guardian listed as Mrs M E Egam or Foam of 318 Annandale road, Annandale: 7678/1944 QUILL RAYMOND GEORGE to MARHKAM DORIS MURIEL registered at ANNANDALE

His father's birth: QUILL RAYMOND G 12792/1920 to GEORGE L and EVELYN K at SYDNEY

Parents married same year: 36/1920  QUILL GEORGE L MONSEN EVELYN K SYDNEY

His mother died at same time, in June that year:

QUILL.—June 20th, at St. Margaret's Hospital, Darlinghurst, Evelyn Kathleen, beloved wife of George Quill, Harris-street, Ultimo, aged 23 years. Family Notices (1920, June 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15894800 

St Margaret's Hospital was a maternity hospital in Sydney, Australia. It opened in 1894 and closed in 1998. 

QUILL. - The Relatives and Friends of Mr. GEORGE QUILL are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of his dearly-loved WIFE, Evelyn Kathleen ; to leave his residence, 396 Harris street Ultimo, THIS (Tuesday) AFTERNOON, at 1 o'clock, for Catholic Cemetery Rookwood


QUILL. - The relatives and Friends of Mr. and Mrs. EVIR MONSON and FAMILY .are kindly invited to attend he Funeral of their dearly-loved DAUGHTER and SISTER, Evelyn Kathleen Quill ; to leave 396 Harris-street, Ultimo, THIS (Tuesday) AFTERNOON, at 1 o clock, for Catholic Cemetery, Rookwood, 

QUILL - The relatives and Friends of Mr and Mrs. CLEM Donnely, Mr. and Mrs. W. KELLY, Mr. and Mrs. J. BURGESS, and Miss T. POWELL are invited to attend the Funeral of their dearly beloved SISTER, Evelyn ; to leave her late residence, 396 Harris-street, Ultimo, THIS DAY, TUESDAY, at 1 o clock, for R.C. Cemetery. Rookwood.

QUILL. - The Relatives and Friends of Mr. T. QUILL and FAMILY are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of his dearly-loved DAUGHTER-IN-LAW and their SISTER-IN-LAW, Evelyn Kathleen Quill ; to leave 396 Harris-street, Ultimo, THIS (Tuesday) AFTERNOON at I o'clock, for Catholic Cemetery, Rookwood. WOOD. COFFILL, and COMPANY, LIMITED.

QUILL. - The relatives and Friends of Mr. and Mrs. T. QUILL, Jun., and Mr. and Mrs. J. QUILL, are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of their beloved SISTER-IN-LAW, Evelyn ; to leave her late residence, 396 Harris-street, Ultimo, THIS DAY, Tuesday, at 1 p.m., for R, C. Cemetery, Rookwood. Family Notices (1920, June 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28091569 

June 20, 1921 In Memorium Tribute published by George includes his son Ray

QUILL.—In fond memory of our dear daughter, Evelyn, who departed this life June 20th, 1920 Never forgotten by her fond parents, Mr. and Mrs. E Monsen. Family Notices (1924, June 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16130423 

Evelyn's birth: MONSEN KATHLEEN E 2919/1897  EVAN MARY at EDEN

George Leslie Quill's, Ray's Father’s birth and death:



George Leslie Quill was born to Thomas Quill and Margaret Quill (nee McPherson). George had 12 siblings. Thomas Quill; 1858–1934,  Margaret Mc Pherson; 1863–1918.  Children; William Michael Quill; 1880–1881, Thomas Quill; 1881–1962, Walter Ernest Quill; 1883–1966, Margaret May Quill; 1885–1913, Frederick Quill; 1887–, John Sydney Quill; 1889–1952, Arthur Henry Quill; 1891–1939, Edward William Quill; 1893–1962, George Leslie Quill; 1896–1951, Harold Robert Quill; 1898–1968, Samuel Raymond Quill; 1903–1904, Alice Lilian Quill; 1904–1976.

George L Quill remarried, to Eileen F Hurley in 1928. George passed away on September 22 1951, at age 55. 2nd marriage: 716/1928 QUILL GEORGE L to HURLEY EILEEN F at SYDNEY

QUILL, George Leslie. -September 22, 1951, at Sydney Hospital, late of 5 Corben Street, Surry Hills, dearly loved husband of Eileen Frances Quill and loving father of Raymond,  Leslie, Kevin, George, Margaret, Reginald, and Hazel, aged 55 years. R.I.P. Family Notices (1951, September 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18232138 

His father:



The death occurred at his residence. 409 Harris Street, Ultimo, on Tuesday, of Mr. Thomas Quill, father of Mr. Thomas Quill, Junr., secretary of the Mill Employees' Union of N.S.W. 

Deceased was a member of the Waterside Workers' Federation, and an active worker for the Labor movement. He was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Quill, In 1918. and he is survived by eight sons, Thomas, Walter, Fred, Jack, Arthur, Edward, George and Harold; and two daughters, Mrs. C. Higgins and Mrs. J. Kilgannon. The funeral arrangements, which were carried out by Labor Motor Funerals Ltd., left his late residence yesterday afternoon for the Presbyterian Cemetery, Rookwood. LABOR STALWART PASSES (1934, October 25). The Labor Daily (Sydney, NSW : 1924 - 1938), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article239674326 

The Quill family had associations with North Narrabeen SLSC stretching back into the early years of the area, with Greg's father Raymond becoming a Life Member of the club in 1955 - a few snippets from the newspapers of the past and from the North Narrabeen SLSC's history 'The Beach Comes First' provide:


South Narrabeen proved that it has the best lifesaving team in the metropolitan area by scoring its fifth successive R. and R. win of the season yesterday at North Steyne surf carnival.

Last year's premier club, Bondi, gave its best display of the season, but South Narrabeen was too good, winning by 74.52 points to 73.24. For South Narrabeen, A. Fidler, as patient, and A. Carrier, in the belt, swam their usual fine races. It is a fine record for the most important, if least spectacular, of surf carnival events. "I just watched "Basso" at the start and followed him through the break until I passed him 100 yards out," said Bill Furey (North Steyne), in telling how he beat It. Bassingthwaighte (Bondi) in the restricted surf race. Furey has won this event at his

club's carnivals for the past five years. His record for the season is two win and a second in three starts. The senior surfboat race saw four crews — North Steyne. North Bondi A, South Curl Curl, and North Cronulla A — finish on the same wave. They rounded the buoys together and kept in line until 50 yards from the beach. North Steyne, securing the better run on the final wave, won. North Bondi and South Curl Curl were inches away second and third. North Steyne completed a double by also winning the junior boat race. From a field of 69. the biggest of the season in a novice surf race, Frank Guthrie, of Cronulla, won by more than 30 yards. March Past: Coogee and Maroubra dead-beat 1. North Bondi 9. Junior Surf Race: J. Flint (Queenscliff) l, A. Beard (Dee Why) 2. D. Drewett (Bronte) 3. Junior Boat Race: North Steyne 1, North Bondi 2. Dee Why 3. R. and R. Competition: South Narrabeen 74.52 points 1, Bondi 73.24 2, Coogee 72.96 3. Manly 72.67 4. Restricted Surf Race; W. Furey (North Steyne) 1, R. Bassingthwaighte (Bondi) 2, E. Clift (Manly) 3. Beach Flag Relay Race: South Narrabeen 1, North Narrabeen 2. Maroubra 3. Senior Boat Race: North Steyne 1, North Bondi 2. South Curl Curl 3. Senior Belt Race: A. Fitzgerald (South Narrabeen) 1, R. Beer (South Narrabeen) 2, W. Abbott (Collaroy) 3. Novice Surf Race; F. Guthrie (Cronulla) 1. E. Quill (North Narrabeen) 2, J. Chilton (Coogee) 3. Beach Sprint: J. Bliss (North Narrabeen) 1. F. Collins (South Narrabeen) 2. R. Morris (Maroubra) 3. Junior Bench Sprint: B. Sheridan (North Steyne) 1, M. Collins Collaroy) 2. Musical Flags: A. Brown (South Narrabeen) 1. J. Bliss (North Narrabeen) 2. M. Holliday (Freshwater) 3. FIFTH R. AND R. VICTORY TO SOUTH NARRABEEN (1941, January 12). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 34. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230946916 

Life-saving NORTH NARRABEEN CARNIVAL Lack of Transport Affects Crowd

Transport difficulties had an effect on the surf carnival at North Narrabeen yesterday. The attendance was more than 50per cent, down on that of last year. Some events on the programme were abandoned. A flat surf robbed events of most of their usual thrills. The surfboat contests, usually marked by some ex-citing incidents, were merely rowing races.

North Narrabeen set the pace for the season in the march-past. In & parade of six teams, they won from South Curl Curl, with Manly in third place.


MARCH FAST: North Narrabeen. 1; South Curl Curl. 2: Manly, 3.

RESCUE AND RESUSCITATION TEST: South Narrabeen (A. Carrier belt, S. Duff patient), 74.04 points, 1; North Narrabeen (R. quill belt. R. Mullens patient), 73.73, 2; N: Steyne, SB.80, .1.

RESTRICTED SURF »ACE: J. Ferguson (Bondi), 1: R. .Dunn (N. Narrabeen), 2; A, Hart (Bonall, 3.

JUNIOR SURF RACE: A. Beard Deewhy, 1; K Dean (Manly). 3: S. Allard (Coogee). 3.

NOVICE SURF RACE: R. Quill (N. Narrabeen), 1; L. Elliott (Queenscliffe), 2; H. Crew (N. Curl Curl), 3.

SENIOR SURF BELT RACE: S. Narrabeen (A. Fitzgerald belt). 1; Collaroy IX. Dawson), 2; North Narrabeen B (M. Whltfhead), 3.

SENIOR SURF BOAT RACE: South Curl curl, 1; South Narrabeen. 2: North Steyne, a.

JUNIOR SURF BOAT RACE: North Steyne, 1; Manly, 2.

BEACH SPRINT: J. BUM (North Narra-been), 1; F. Collina (South Narrabeen), 2; M. Bateman (Tamarama). S.

FLAG BEACH BELAT: North Narrabeen, 1; North Steyne, 2: Maroubra, 3.

BUBrOPLAKR RACK: .1. Jenkin* (North Steyne). X; R. Mullen* (N. Narrabeen), 2; R. Hltham (North. Steyne). 3.

SURF BOARD ABF.: R. Dark (Manly), 1: St Dunn <N. Narrabeen), 2; ?, Clarica (North Narrabeen), 3, Life-saving (1941, December 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17780717 

Surf Shoots

RAY QUILL and Ern Elliot— well-known North Narrabeen surf men and first-grade Drummoyne Rugby Union footballers, have both joined the Navy. Elliot is already, overseas. : NORTH NARRABEEN expects to make a bold showing in R. and R. events' this season. With Rus Dunn available, as well as Jack King, E. Quill, R. Mullins and J. Howie, the team will make Its presence felt at carnivals. DAVE ROGERS (Manly) Is fast making a name for himself in swimming circles as an official. Impressing old hands by his chairmanship at the last Country Swimming Conference, he was quickly elevated to the position of A.S.A. treasurer. His handling of. an ugly situation between the Northern Districts A.S.A. and the head body ' gained him admiration from both, associations, Dave is at present working with a - committee , which is attempting to adjust the financial affairs of the A.S.A. SPORTS MIRROR (1941, November 4). Daily Mirror (Sydney, NSW : 1941 - 1955), p. 20 (Cup Result). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article271729399 

QUILL RAYMOND GEORGE : Service Number - S/5815 : Date of birth - 11 Jun 1920 : Place of birth - SYDNEY NSW : Place of enlistment - SYDNEY NSW : Next of Kin – DORIS

Inspection before carnival

North Narrabeen Surf Club officials this morning will inspect the beach to decide the area for today's carnival. Junior and Senior Rescue and Resuscitation heats will begin at 10.30 a.m. with finals and other events this afternoon. Officials will make the inspection because big seas since Saturday have damaged the beach. On Sunday big seas forced officials to cancel all club races. Club officials who will make the inspection are ; Ron Young (president) , Doug McPherson (secretary), Ray Quill and George Lindsay (carnival organisers). Publicity officer Ken Hodges said last night; "The big seas have hit the beach hard, particularly in front of the club house. "The carnival will probably have to be held hear either end of the beach. "Ready on time" "We will be ready to start on time on whatever area the officials decide is best. "A big army of club members will be waiting to help us with the organisation." The club has received a record number of more than 1400 entries for the carnival. On Sunday North Narrabeen boat crew made three attempts to get through the break to lay the buoys for club faces. The boat was swamped each time before officials decided to cancel the races. " On Saturday at. Collaroy club's carnival, two boats were swamped and washed towards the sea, and one was badly damaged. Officials also cancelled a junior R. and R. race because of conditions. Inspection before carnival (1950, December 26). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248410587 

Raymond George Quill, as stated above, was a Life Member of North Narrabeen SLSC – awarded in 1955. He was a member of the famous ‘Bachelors Club’ – The Beach Comes First, History of North Narrabeen SLSC

Photo: A group of club members who also belonged to the ‘Bachelors Club’ Back Row L to R: Jack Dowse, ‘Chook’ Mitchell, Jack Howie, Fred Marney, Ray Quill, Harry Paton Centre L to R: K Hora, George Hora, Bob Hora, Vince Murray Front L to R: Stan Fuller, George Gilbert

Club members at weekender ‘Erodia’ for a Sunday Sip Front: Visitor, Ray Quill, Ted Eather, Stan Leaver, Visitor, Visitor. Centre: Jack May, Ron Young, Ern Elliot, visitor, Reg Bax, Jack Beale, Norrie Cheesman, Jim Perry, Jack Peters, Jack Howie, Alex Blombery. Rear: Phil Cullen, Ron Owens, Dave Baxter, Visitor, Alf Ivens, Visitor, Noel Hopwood, Peter Dalwitz, Dick McCready

John Bliss in black top surveys dead porpoise with his club mates. L to R: Jack Howie, Fred Wood, Bob Hora, John Bliss, Gordon Ballerum, Ray Quill and Bunny Hackett.

R&R team 1938-39 L to R: Jake Peters, Russ Dunn, Dave Baxter, Jack Cameron, Ray Quill, Jack Howie

1938-39 Season

In the Annual Report, President Pop Barnes mentioned the professional management of the club and the excellent services rendered by Secretary George Lindsay, Captain Des Haslett, Treasurer Ben Eadie and Assistant Secretary Moe Mitchell. Nor did he forget Tas King, who assisted by his brother Jack, kept lifesaving awards ticking over. During the season, Jack Dowse and HA Paton gained Instructors Certificates, A Blomberry, S Best, Ken Douglass, L Godden, Keith Hora, Jack Howie, M Osborne, R O’Donnell, Eddie Quill and Ray Quill earned Bronze Medallions. The Bronze Medallion members Jack Howie and Ray Quill were both rewarded with life membership in later years for outstanding service to the club.

Set out below is a list of members who joined the colours in the defence of the British Empire, ably keeping alive the traditional name of Anzac. The club is justly proud of them. R.A.A.F. D Baxter, R Dunn, C Heterick, A Lloyd, L Wheatly. R.A.F. F Soady. A.I.F. F Barnes, R Bourne, C Butcher, D Cameron, W Claridge, G Douglass, C Fletcher, R Fletcher, M Green, I Green, R Green, W Grose, T Houssenlodge, N Jorgenson, R LeClerc, B Lillieblade, C Lilequist, M McKenzie, A Mullens, J Phillips, W R Lloyd, T Richardson, J Shaffer, A Williams, H Williams, W Wilson. R.A.N. E Elliott, R Quill. HOME DEFENCE. H Wilson

The most prestigious event of the club’s internal competition was the R&R, which was won by R Quill, E Elliott, D Peterson, D Waters, N Jorgenson, G Ballerum and G Douglass.

1944-45 Season 


Ron Young, who had again taken on the job of Secretary after Ken Murray had resigned the position halfway through the season, was jubilant at the cessation of the world conflict, as he revealed in his remarks to the members in the Annual Report: 

It is wonderful to realise that after almost six years of war the world is at peace again. Furthermore we know that our lads who have been serving in the defence of their country will soon be returning to their homes and their loved ones We are all very pleased to see the complete downfall of our foes whose treachery and brutal aggression brought the horror of war and threat of invasion to the shores of Australia. That threat was driven back by the exertions of our great Australian boys and the aid of our Allies. We still have a great number of members serving in various services of their country, and during the long dark, dreary years of war these members have upheld every tradition of their Club and the Surf Lifesaving Movement, and of them we are justly proud. Set out is a list of members who are serving in the defence of their country and Empire. We wish them a ‘Speedy Return’. 


Beal, J Clarke, K Green, M Lilleblade, W Mullens, A Butcher, C* Cameron, D Green, L Lilequist, C Peterson, D Black, R Dunn, R Gatterel, L Lloyd, W Perry, J Buttle, H Foord, T Jorgenson, N Mohan, M Paton, H Ballard, T Foord, C Jorgenson, E Meaney, R Putsey, J William, R Wormald, L Wilson, B Mullens, R Richardson, T Chapple, F Green, B Martin, W+ Wilson, W Water, D 

RAAF Baxter, D Cordery, R Lloyd, A Paton, E, DFC Thom, S Brady, J+ Heterick, C Lindsay, G Sheehan, N, DFC Wheatly, L Collier, K# Hill, C Lukins, F Soady, F+ Wells, R Connelly, P McFarlane, H Peters, D Comber, R Jose, R Porter, R 

RAN Elliot, E Dalwitz, K Claridge, R Oswald, N Quill, R MN Ballerum, G Herald, F Kagland, E McKenzie, M Soady, G 

* Prisoner of War # Missing in Action +Killed in Action Discharged Servicemen 

To those members of the club who have been discharged from various services on physical and medical grounds we do hope that very soon your ailments will be remedied and you are restored to your normal health.

The members who have been discharged to date are as follows: F Barnes, J Berney, A Fletcher, C Fletcher, R Fletcher, W Grose, C Ferguson, T Houssenlodge, H LeClerc, W Thearle, H Williams, H Kidd, A William, W McLean, H McLean, E Millar, R Binskin, W Claridge. That final year of the World War provided further tragedy for club members when two highly respected members were listed in official defence causality records. Pilot Officer Jack Brady was killed in action over Germany and Pilot Officer Ken Collier was posted missing and believed killed in action over Germany. This dampened the joy of the war’s ending. 

The club’s Rehabilitation of Servicemen Committee, consisting of Jack Cameron, Chris Anderson and Rex Fletcher, made a stirring request of every member: 

‘All Club members are reminded that the members of the club who have been away at war will soon be coming home to their club and many faces will be new to them. It is the duty of every member to make themselves known to these service members and introduce them to the Officials and members of the club. Do not let these brave lads feel strangers in their own club. They have done a grand job and are all good club members and are entitled to all club privileges.’

Ray Quill was discharged/demobbed in 1945 and returned to Narrabeen. 

After the highs of the 1948-49 season, 1949-50 was a low point in the club’s history. Membership declined to its lowest in six years, with a drop of 65 from the previous year, although the membership figure of 176 from the Annual Report appears not to have included 28 probationary juniors or 24 Vice Presidents. With those included, the membership would total 228, which is comparable to other years. Many of the club management were unenthusiastic, and three management meetings could not be conducted due to lack of a quorum. The Annual Ball was a financial disaster, and the clubhouse was reaching a point of disrepair never seen before. The balance sheet showed a deficit of £369, incurred mainly because of clubhouse maintenance, boat repairs and the purchase of new march past costumes. 

Club President Ron Young did not pull any punches with the following words in the Annual Report: 

This year I add my remarks to the Annual Report with regret, I feel that Members and Officials have dismally failed to fulfil their obligations as loyal members of the Club. Meetings were called during the season and owing to lack of interest, quorums to conduct such meetings could not be formed, consequently many meetings lapsed. I predict here, Gentlemen, that officials in the forthcoming season will have to utilise strict and stern action to bring about loyal support and discipline that is essential in a club such as ours. 

I desire to thank N Hopwood Hon Secretary, A Green Hon Treasurer, D McPherson Hon Assistant Secretary, R Quill Deputy President, and R McCready Committeeman, for the work they have done in their respective positions. I consider that other officials have displayed gross neglect to their duties and have hopelessly failed to faithfully discharge their obligations to the Club. Now I would like to thank Mr G Lindsay and Mr J Cameron Life Members, who both willingly filled vacancies on the management committee after members had been deleted for non-attendance. Mr Lindsay has been a tower of strength to the management committee and I do record my appreciation for his efforts. It is disappointing to review the general activities of the Club over the past season and I do sincerely hope, that we can elect officials at this Annual Meeting who will respect the position entrusted to them and conscientiously carry out their duties in the Club and not be ornaments with their name in the Annual Report. 

The annual presentation evening had to be delayed due to the condition of the clubhouse-the main hall lighting was out of order because the leaking roof continually shorted out the lighting circuitry. 

The year had been one of the wettest on record, and many campers from the nearby camping area were washed out. This was compounded by post-war shortages of homes along with building materials as everything had been put into the defence of Australia and the war effort. The Narrabeen Camping Grounds were full with people waiting to have a permanent home somewhere.

The club offered the clubhouse as a temporary shelter for those unfortunates, and the club members and their families provided dry bedding and hot drinks and food. Other members helped dry out campers clothing and bedding, as well as helping to re-erect the many tents that had been blown over by the gale-force winds. Financially, the club had a disastrous year. 

Narrabeen Camping ground, photo courtesy State Library of NSW

The new Treasurer, Arthur Green, reported a deficit of £370, due mainly to the large cost of sending a team to the Australian Championships in Queensland. The Management Committee considered that that expenditure was not warranted and asked all members to give deep consideration before outlaying club funds for that purpose in the future.

Ron Young had been President since 1948-49, and his closing remarks in the 1950-51 Presidents Addendum indicate that he did not intend to stand for President that year: ’In conclusion, I wish the Club every success in the forthcoming season.-Roderick G. Young.’ Ray Quill, who had been Ron’s deputy, also stood down. Jack King took over as club President and Neville Kerr became Jack King’s deputy.

Arthur Green completed his second year as club Treasurer and was very proud to announce that the club had finished with a surplus of funds. That had been achieved mainly by running Sunday night dances at the clubhouse. He heaped praise on Ron Young, Norm Ambrose, George Lindsay, Ray Quill and Don Lindsay, who had willingly given their time to organise and control those events.

Black and white of North Narrabeen Beach Team (Juvenile), shows boys in surf lifesaving squad, ca. 1950 / photographed by Max Dupain & Associates

The 1951-1952 Annual General meeting held in the clubhouse on 21 September 1952 was the most contentious of any annual meeting up to that time, and the repercussions took the club to a low point in its history. Ron Young had been nominated for life membership by Jack King and seconded by Ray Quill, but the required vote of two-thirds of the members was not achieved and Ron was denied the distinction. 

There is no official documentation outlining how this all happened, and over the decades there has been much controversy about the incident. Ernie Anderson, who attended that meeting, recalled 50 years later that the Awards Committee, consisting of J Cameron, WE Barnett, C Butcher, G Lindsay and W Thearle, had recommended that Ron receive a laminated address in lieu of life membership, as they considered Ron had not been a member of the club long enough. However, that seems doubtful because all those men in later life praised Ron for his wonderful contribution to the running of the club during the war years. He continually wrote to members in the armed services who were serving overseas, letting them know what was happening at the club. Ron also managed the junior R&R team, transporting them to carnivals and generally looking after their wellbeing. Many of that team, which included John and Bob Sullivan, Alan Angus, Dave Lawler, Bill Beckett, Bill Barnett, Neville May, Frank Tregeagle, Fred Johnson and John Ross, went on to give the club decades of service. Bill Ellison’s article in the previous section about the watermelon affair certainly gives some insight into the matter. He is also correct that nobody would stand for the position of club President.

1952-53: Ray Quill replaced Neville Kerr as Deputy President and also won the club’s Honour Blazer in recognition of his tireless effort in all aspects of club activities, especially fundraising.


Bill Thearle and Ray Quill gained life membership at the Annual General Meeting, which was the last time more than one person could receive the honour in a year. That alteration to the club’s constitution was generally thought to have been brought about by the fact that Ray and Bill were neighbours in Narrabeen Park Parade of Life Members Tas and Jack King, and some members began referring to the area as ‘Life Members Hill’. The long-time workers in the club thought that attitude was an affront to Ray and Bill, as they knew the tremendous effort the two had put in behind the scenes during a very tough period of the club’s operation.

Ray Quill was real hands-on person, especially in patrol discipline and R&R competition. He had been and would remain Jack King’s worthy backup as Deputy President. He had followed in the wake of people who had officiated during the glory years of the 1920s and 1930s, which was a hard act to follow. Ray was the first to admit that he could never match the efforts of his predecessors, but he did the best he could in whatever job needed to be done and he was always on hand to assist and encourage young and new members. Even during the war years while serving in the navy, Ray still gave valuable service to the club whenever his shore leave allowed.

The club executive remained unchanged for the season. The men were determined to turn around the previous season’s financial loss, and they were successful. It was a wonderful achievement, considering the amount of help they gave competitive members to attend the Games Championships. Jack King’s input was mentioned in a few brief words in the annual report: 

So far as we are concerned, we offer to the following, who carried out the lion’s share of the work-Jack King, Jack Howie, Bill Thearle, Ray Quill and Jack Law. Our sincere appreciation of the long hours spent by them conducting these functions in the earnest endeavour to benefit the club generally. The major money raiser for the season was a Fancy Fair that the club held in conjunction with the Narrabeen Ladies Swimming Club over the Christmas period. Stalls dispensing various goods, a merrygo-round, chocolate wheel, hot dog stand and fairy floss machine were set up in what is now the main beach car park. In those days, it was a vacant sandy grass knoll, a neglected reserve. The club received £210 from that venture, which was nearly a third of its total revenue for the season.

The 1963-64 season was the most successful both financially and competitively for the club in many decades. The executive was again led by Norm Ambrose, Jack King and Mick Geros. Peter Madgwick became Secretary and Cec Hodgkinson took over as Treasurer. There was a resurgence in SLSA awards, with 18 being gained. That was due to the efforts of the Romain brothers, Dave and Marcus, who shared the duties of Chief Instructor, assisted by Ted Balkin, John Foster and Terry Wheeler. Those gaining awards were: Bronze Medallions: W Green, I Finlay, M Hynes, B McWhirter, P Mackiness, K Hall, T Paola, T Henshaw, V Nicoli, R Young, J Whitfield, R Quill, C Quill, D Williams and G Watson. Qualifying Certificates: P Whitfield and S Quill.

The most heartening news for older members who remembered the glory years of the 1920s and 1930s was the performance of cadet Peter Whitfield winning the Manly Warringah cadet surf championship. The youngster was place-getter in most of the carnivals he contested, and along with his friend Steve Quill, also a cadet, made the white caps again prominent in the surf.

The club’s internal championships and point score competitions were again keenly contested, with Ken Holmes again reigning supreme in the senior events. The juniors were extremely strong, with Peter Whitfield being continually challenged by the Quill brothers, Steve and Ron, and their cousin Chris. Those youngsters were also part of R&R and surf teams that had a lot of success at interclub carnivals. That success was greatly appreciated by the old timers who remembered the glory days of the 1920s and 1930s.

1964-65 Season

The club hosted the Manly Warringah Branch Championships, which was an outstanding success due to the efforts of carnival organiser, life member Ray Quill. He had gathered a group of active members around him to ensure that all features of the event were carried out correctly.

1989-90 Season

Members were saddened to hear of the passing of two Life Members, Ray Quill and Tas King. 

Ray had been a great member with his big involvement in the 1940s keeping the ‘ship afloat’ as the Deputy President for nine years. Tassie was one of the champions of the 1920s and 1930s, and a great clubman, as the following extract by an unknown author from the publication Surf in 1949 indicates: Remarkable, too, at this period, and for long after, were the King Brothers, Tas and Jack of North Narrabeen. Tas, who some have described as the greatest all-round surfer of all time holds the Surf Championships of the 1925-26 and the 1928-29 seasons and Jack was still pacing it with younger champions in the early years of World War II. Both have survived the years, never ending competition, big waves, disqualifications, the perils of water polo as they played it fast and regardless, matrimony, parenthood, surfer’s celebrations, interstate and overseas tours, the maturing of batch after batch odd aspirants clutching after their laurels. No specialisation for the Kings, R&R men, beltmen, surf racers, marchers, wavecrackers, pillow-fighters, beach runners, in addition they have been good clubmen, giving time to instruction and examination chores and effecting many rescues. To such men in prospect did the Movement’s founders raise glasses in the now-forgotten gathering, long years before. One of the club’s first duties of the season was to change the name of the club at a Special General Meeting to the North Narrabeen Surf Lifesaving Club Incorporated.

1938-39 Bronze Medallion A Blomberry, S Best, K Douglass, L Godden, K Hora, J Howie, R O’Donnell, E Quill, R Quill

1940-41 Instructors Certificate E Elliott, R Quill

Quill family members who joined North Narrabeen SLSC

QUILL E 1938-39 
QUILL R 1938-39 
QUILL C 1962-63 
QUILL G 1962-63 
QUILL R G 1963-64 
QUILL S 1963-64

SM Lenient in Dog Theft

"You have been given an excellent character reference and at your stage In life I would not like to record a mark against you," Magistrate A. E. Stonham told a man charged with theft in to-" day's court. The defendant, Patrick Fitzgerald (53), pleaded guilty through Mr. Ian L. Higgins to stealing a dog. He was charged with having stolen a fox terrier, valued at £9/10/-, from Raymond George Quill, of Narrabeen, on April 1. Det. W. J. Heron said defendant was on holidays and was camped at Narrabeen. The dog frequently went to his camp and his children became fond of it. When, he was returning home he put it in his vehicle.

Later he gave it to a man named Wright who gave it to a woman. Expenses of £5 were asked. Defendant's general character was quite good, Det. Heron said. Mr. Ian L. Higgins, who pleaded guilty on behalf of the defendant, said it was a foolish act by a man with a long and faithful record in his place of employment. The court was told that Fitzgerald had an excellent character in all respects and Mr. Stonham commented: . "But what an extraordinary thing for a man like this to do." ...Mr.. 'Stonham then announced that he would not convict, although he had found the offence proved. The dog had been recovered and defendant was ordered to pay expenses. S.M. LENIENT IN DOG THEFT (1951, August 22). Lithgow Mercury (NSW : 1898 - 1954), p. 1 (CITY EDITION). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220750960 

With this kind of background and upbringing, it is no surprise that Greg wanted to do something in his community for that community.

Greg grew up in Narrabeen with a younger brother, Christopher - the family home was in Narrabeen Park Parade. From the age of about 15 years he learned how to play acoustic guitar and his first public performance was in his final year of high school. Quill began his musical career in the 1960s as a solo performer on the Sydney folk scene clustered around the University of Sydney, where he graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature. He worked briefly as a history teacher at a Catholic boys high school in Bankstown. He was hired by David Elfick, then the local editor of the national weekly pop music magazine, Go-Set (later Elfick was a movie producer). Quill worked as a writer from 1969, then feature writer (February 1970 to August 1971) and Sydney regional editor (July 1970 to August 1971) for the Melbourne-based publication. In 2002 Quill recalled that editing Go-Set had prepared him for his later work in journalism. 

From 1967 Greg Quill ran The Shack, a folk music venue at Narrabeen, where he also performed. In 1999 he described the venue "[it] was a sort of folk co-operative, and everybody who performed on a particular evening got to share in the door takings – it was never more than a couple of bucks". 

In 1969 Quill handed over the running of the venue to his younger brother, Christopher. 

Gus McNeil, a music publisher, record producer and former singer and saxophonist for 1960s rock band, Gus & The Nomads, signed Quill to a publishing deal with his company, Cellar Music. McNeil produced Quill's first commercial recording, the single, "Fleetwood Plain", and the subsequent album of the same name. Quill wrote all the tracks on the album. 

For the album Quill was backed by Orlando Agostino on guitars, Chris Blanchflower on harmonica, John Walsh on bass guitar, and members of local rock band Pirana: Jim Duke-Yonge on drums, Tony Hamilton on guitar, Graeme Thompson on bass guitar and Stan White on keyboards. Early in 1970 the album was released on EMI's new subsidiary label, Harvest Records, although the title single had been issued on EMI's Australian pop label Columbia Records. "Fleetwood Plain" was subsequently covered by Australian country musician, Reg Lindsay, and by Canadian folk-rockers Creamcheeze Good Time Band on their 1973 album, Home Cookin'.

Country Radio band

To promote Fleetwood Plain Greg Quill formed the original line-up of Country Radio (also seen as Greg Quill's Country Radio or Greg Quill and Country Radio) in June 1970. Other members were Agostino, Blanchflower, Walsh and Dave Hannagan on percussion and backing vocals. The group started as an acoustic act but from 1970 to 1971 its musical style evolved into electric country rock, a style then gaining popularity through the influence of albums like The Band's Music from Big Pink (1968), The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968), and Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline (1969). 

By May 1971 Country Radio's line-up had changed with Blanchflower and Quill joined by Mal Algar on bass guitar (ex-Chorus), John A. Bird on keyboards and Ace Follington on drums (ex-Chain). In October that year the group signed to Infinity Records, a new subsidiary of Festival Records and recorded their debut single, "Listen to the Children", which came out in November although it did not chart. Soon after, Follington left to join a pop band, The Cleves, for a tour of Britain; he was replaced on drums by Kim Bryant, who was in turn was replaced a few months later by Tony Bolton (ex-The Affair, Freshwater). In January 1972 Algar left and they were joined by John Du Bois (ex-Circle of Love, New Dream) on bass guitar and Kerryn Tolhurst on guitar, lap steel and mandolin (ex-Adderley Smith Blues Band, Sundown). The addition of Tolhurst was crucial to the band's sound and style, Quill and Tolhurst began a songwriting partnership. 

With the "classic" line-up of Quill, Tolhurst, Bird, Bois, Bolton and Blanchflower, Country Radio recorded their second and most successful single, "Gypsy Queen", with producer John French, in Melbourne in April 1972. It was co-written by Quill and Tolhurst, and featured a string arrangement by session musician, Peter Jones (who later worked on Quill's solo album, The Outlaw's Reply).Released in August, the single spent 13 weeks in the Go-Set National Top 40 and peaked at No. 12. "Gypsy Queen" shared the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Song of the Year award with Mississippi's "Kings of the World". It was featured on the soundtrack of director Rod Hardy's 2007 film, December Boys, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and in the 2009 ABC-TV series, East of Everything.

The chart success of the single and the interest of expatriate Canadian music promoter and label representative, Michael McMartin, led to a contract with Toronto-based MUCH Productions, which issued "Gypsy Queen" in Canada in 1972. At the end of that year they toured Canada to promote its release. The group's follow-up single, "Wintersong", appeared in December 1972 and made the Go-Set Top 40 in April, the next year. On 4 October 1972 the group had recorded a live-in-the-studio performance before an invited audience, which Infinity released as their debut album, Country Radio Live, in December. It included a selection of originals, plus two tracks, "Some Lonesome Picker" and "Never Goin' Back", written by John Stewart (ex-The Kingston Trio). 

The band made several live TV recordings for the ABC-TV in-studio concert and interview series, GTK; including "Just Goodbye" (May 1971), "Last Time Around" (June), "Empty Pockets" (June), "Almost Freedom" (June), "Silver Spurs" (February 1972), "Commisar" (March), "Some Lonesome Picker" (April, May), "Listen to the Children" (October), "Fleetwood Plain" (November), "Gypsy Queen" (November), "Winter Song" (November), "I Need a Woman" and an interview on their break-up (April 1973).They appeared on concert and festival stages with different artists of the era, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, Santana and Stephen Stills. They performed at the Rock Isle Mulwala Festival in 1972 and the Sunbury Pop Festivals in January 1972 and again the following year. Their live performance of "Silver Spurs" – written by Quill[2] – at the latter festival, was included in Mushroom Records' triple live album, Sunbury 1973 – The Great Australian Rock Festival, released in April. Tolhurst abruptly left the band after the second Sunbury festival, briefly joining Mississippi, before forming The Dingoes in Melbourne, with singer-harmonicist, Broderick Smith. Soon after, both Bird and Blanchflower also left Country Radio. 

we were playing this very gentle, acoustic, ringy mandolin music, with lots of romance in the lyrics ... it happened right at sundown, with a rather spectacular sunset [...] I remember, after a couple of songs, looking out and seeing 80,000 people standing up and screaming and waving and clapping. I thought the stage was on fire or something. I remember turning round to Kerryn and saying "What the hell's going on?" – but it was for us! — Greg Quill in December 1999 on performing at Sunbury Pop Festival, January 1973, Broughton, John; "Interview – Greg Quill (Country Radio, Southern Cross)" 

Quill, Bolton and Du Bois were joined by Adelaide guitarist-songwriter Russ Johnson (ex-Mississippi) – effectively swapping places with Tolhurst. In May 1973 that line-up recorded the group's fourth single, a country-rock restatement of the traditional song, "Bound for South Australia", which did not chart. The four-piece ensemble opened for British folk-rock band Fairport Convention on three dates of their 1973 tour, which despite promotions did not include former lead singer, Sandy Denny. Soon after, Johnson left Country Radio for medical reasons and returned to Adelaide.

Guitarists Les Stacpool and Russ Hinton (ex-Moonstone) alternated on lead guitar after Johnson's departure. Hinton also performed on Quill's subsequent solo LP. Du Bois left in August 1973, rejoining Tolhurst in The Dingoes. Country Radio had toured relentlessly during 1972 to 1973 and according to Australian musicologist, Ed Nimmervoll, they were "driven into the ground to the point where disintegration was inevitable". 

Quill dissolved the group in December 1973 and decided to return to his solo music career. He also worked for a year as general features writer and news reporter for The Sunday Telegraph, then as editor of the suburban weekly newspaperThe Peninsula News. In 1974, Quill, performing solo, opened for Fairport Convention in several Australian cities.

In the same year Quill recorded a solo studio album, The Outlaw's Reply, with the financial backing of Sydney-based executive producer and Trafalgar Studios owner Charles Fisher. It was produced by John L Sayers and featured Country Radio alumni: Blanchflower, Bolton, Du Bois, Hinton and Tolhurst, plus former collaborator Jones on keyboards. Also appearing on the album were Barry Leef on backing vocals, Chris Neal on synthesisers and Peter Walker on guitar. Two singles from the album were issued during 1975: "She Do It to Me" (April) and "Blackmail" / "The Outlaw's Reply" (September). The album included the Quill song "Almost Freedom", which had previously been covered by former Company Caine singer Gulliver Smith on his 1973 solo LP The Band's Alright But The Singer Is .... 

During 1974 Festival also released a compilation album, Gypsy Queen, credited to Greg Quill & Country Radio, contained selection of album tracks, and A- and B-sides of singles. It included Quill's cover of the country classic "Singin' the Blues", which featured Renee Geyer on backing vocals and Stacpool on guitar. In May 1975 Quill promoted the release of The Outlaw's Reply by a performance at the Sydney Opera House, backed by the musicians who had contributed to the album. The Dingoes and Richard Clapton were also part of the first all-Australian country-rock show to take place on the Opera House's main stage. It was Quill's final performance in Australia for almost four years.

Quill was one of the first Australian rock musicians to be awarded a grant by the Australian Council for the Arts, alongside Margret RoadKnight and guitarist Rob MacKenzie (MacKenzie Theory). The grant enabled him to travel overseas and he moved between Toronto and Sydney for most of 1975. In Toronto he put together a new band, Hot Knives, with Bolton, and Toronto-based bass guitarist Dennis Pinhorn and violinist Anne Lindsay, and expatriate Australian guitarist, keyboardist, and songwriter Sam See (ex-Sherbet, The Flying Circus, Fraternity, Lighthouse). In 1977 Australian guitarist and songwriter Chris Stockley (Cam-Pact, Axiom, The Dingoes) replaced Lindsay in 1977 and bass guitarist Bruce Worrall (also ex-Sherbet) replaced Pinhorn, the band of Toronto-based expatriates took up the name Southern Cross. 

In October 1978 Southern Cross released only one single, "Been So Long" on Warner's Elektra Records label. The group split at the end of that year, during a tour of Australia. Quill returned to Canada alone. A re-arranged and remixed version of "Been So Long", with parts added in Toronto by bass guitarist Steve Hogg, singer Ian Thomas and keyboardist Hugh Syme, was released in Canada as Quill's first solo single there, but it was the B-side, the raucous, guitar-heavy "I Wonder Why", that got most of the attention on Canadian radio, particularly Toronto's then hard-rock FM station Q107 (CILQ). A proposed album, "Correspondence", produced in Toronto by Alan Thorne, and featuring mostly new Quill compositions and guest performances by Canadian guitarists Amos Garrett and Mike McKenna (Mendelson McKenna Mainline), as well as Thomas, Hogg and Syme, was never released.

Journalist in Canada

After the demise of Southern Cross in 1978 Greg Quill stopped playing music professionally for almost two decades. He resided in Toronto and then Hamilton. By 1983 he had married Ellen Davidson, a concert promoter-turned-corporate public relations executive. They had a daughter, and together they also raised her two children. Quill wrote for and edited numerous music magazines – Music Express (1981–82), Graffiti (1982–83), Applaud, The Canadian Composer, Songwriter. From 1983 he was a journalist and occasional TV and radio commentator on the arts scene in Toronto, where he was an entertainment columnist for the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper. 

Quill believed his earlier career helped with journalism, as "musicians sense that I know what I'm talking about, so there's an element of trust, and when there's trust they're more forthcoming than they would be with a journalist who was just off the city desk. But also I was able to frame stories in a way that led readers into an insight that illuminated the musician's life for readers, which I still think is an edge". He also published books about musicians: Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi: Hard Rock for the '80s (1987), Michael Jackson – Michael Jackson Electrifying (1988) and The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones 25th Anniversary Tour (1989). The latter had live reviews by Lenny Stoute. 

Musical career resumed

In September 1999 an impromptu reunion in Melbourne with former bandmates Tolhurst and Stockley led to Quill's returning to performing music. Over the next two years, with Quill in Toronto and Tolhurst in New York, the pair maintained contact and resumed songwriting. They formed a duo, Quill-Tolhurst and in early 2003 issued an album, So Rudely Interrupted, in Canada on the True North Records label.

They promoted its release with a concert in October that year at C'est What? in Toronto, performing with a full band including Garth Hudson (ex The Band) on keyboards, accordion and piano. Excerpts from the show were aired nationally on Bravo! Canada's Arts & Minds and on CP24. The duo made a short Australian tour, for their first public performances there since 1973, appearing at several festivals, including the Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Brunswick Music Festival in Melbourne. Their concerts in Sydney reunited Quill with friends from his folk days at The Shack. At the final gig of the tour, at the Bridge Hotel, Sydney, Quill and Tolhurst were joined on stage by Country Radio bandmate Blanchflower. 

From 2003 Quill became a regular performer in Canada's roots music scene, as both a solo act and with members of a loose collective that included Bucky Berger on drums, Anne Lindsay on violin, Denis Keldie on accordion, Cam MacInnes on guitar, and Dennis Pinhorn on bass guitar. From June 2006 to March 2008 Quill compiled and hosted the hour-long weekly Canadian roots music speciality program, River of Song, on Sirius Canada satellite radio. He returned to Australia in July 2009, and played two shows in his home town, one at the revived Shack in Narrabeen, and another at the Excelsior Hotel in Sydney, where he was joined for several songs by former bandmates Agostino and Blanchflower. In January and February 2011 Quill toured Australia's east coast, playing 15 dates with Toronto singer-songwriter, Jon Brooks. Quill started recording an album of new material during 2012.

Quill also performed with fellow expatriate Australian Terry Wilkins on bass guitar, (ex-The Flying Circus) in the band, Ironbark, which also featured Berger and MacInnes, with Mitchell Lewis on drums, guitar, and stringed instruments. On his website, Quill described Ironbark as "an extension of the traditional bush music and country-rock roots of core members Quill and Wilkins, whose musical kinship extends even further back than their time with fabled Australian country-rock bands Country Radio and Flying Circus, respectively, to Sydney's folk, blues and jug band haunts in the late 1960s".

Passed away 10 years ago

Greg Quill died on 5 May 2013 at his home in Hamilton. His family announced that he had "passed away suddenly but peacefully this afternoon from complications due to pneumonia and a recently diagnosed case of sleep apnea". Aged 66, he was still an entertainment journalist for the Toronto Star at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, Ellen Davidson, their daughter Kaya, a grandson, and his two stepdaughters. 

In the April prior to his death, Quill had announced via Facebook that he was working with Warner Music Australia and Gil Matthews' Aztec Music label on the reissue of his 1970s and 1980s recordings, and he was planning to tour Australia later in 2013 to promote them. Aztec are scheduled to release new CD versions of Quill's solo albums, Fleetwood Plain and The Outlaw's Reply, and the Country Radio Live album, with bonus tracks from a recently rediscovered recording of a 1970s festival performance by Country Radio, which includes otherwise unrecorded tracks. Warner Music (who now own the Infinity/Festival Records archive) are set to release a new edition of Gypsy Queen as a CD compilation, expanded with previously unreleased tracks.

In addition, Quill had announced plans to reissue his "lost" solo album, Correspondence, which had been recorded in Toronto in 1980 with producer Alan Thorne and featured contributions from Amos Garrett, Mike McKenna, and Ian Thomas. Quill had said that the album was being restored from a safety master that had recently come to light, and that it would also include bonus material, recorded around the same time in Canada for radio broadcasts, with his bands, Hot Knives and Southern Cross. Correspondence was due to be released on the Canadian label So Rude Records, but would have a separate Australian distributor. Quill had been set to release a new solo album of acoustic material that he had been working on over the previous few years.

From: Wikipedia contributors. (2023, May 3). Greg Quill. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Greg_Quill&oldid=1152976430 

Greg Quill - Fleetwood Plain - The Shack, July 2009

Greg Quill, Orlando Agostino (guitar) and Chris Blanchflower (harmonica) were the founding members of the influential 1970s Australian folk-rock band Country Radio. As a trio they recorded Fleetwood Plain in 1970 for the EMI/Harvest album of the same name, and were regular performers at The Shack, the popular folk club Greg had helped establish in the 1960s in Narrabeen. In July 2009, the three musicians reunited for the first time in 35 years for a performance of their best loved songs at The Shack, re-established by members of the original folk arts co-operative in 2004. This clip comes courtesy of FilmMaster12.

Narrabeen Folk Arts Club In The Shack: Some History As We Head Into The 2023 Northern Beaches Music Festival  - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2023