January 14 - 20, 2018: Issue 343

Summer In Pittwater: 2018

A mix of what's been happening during the first few weeks of 2018, including some stunners from regular Contributors!

Polo By The Sea 2018

For everyone who loves horses, which is most of us here in Pittwater, the annual Polo by the Sea has become a Summer treat and feast for the eyes where glorious ponies with skilled riders showcase an ancient game in spectacular fashion - albeit on a reduced sized field.

In between games visitors stomp on divots, take part in fashion parades and dashes for prizes on field or listen to great live music by some of the best contemporary songsters. There was even a wedding this year!

The first Polo by the Sea, run in 2015, gave added insight in the team behind Polo by the Sea letting us know the first polo game in New South Wales was played at Moore Park in 1874, where the then 14th Governor of New South Wales,  Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead, GCMG, PC, was a player.

Polo by the Sea isn't the first instance of a polo field and players and games in Pittwater as G S Brock, the owner and builder of The Oaks at Mona Vale, soon to be known as La Corniche, was a passionate player as was the father of Don and Australian aviation legend and Bayview resident Sir P. G. 'Bill' Taylor -  P. T. Taylor. 

Don Taylor (son of W D M Taylor) I can tell you who most of them are:  it’s the Taylor family without their mother. From the right is W. D.M., my father, sitting on the fence is Patrick Gordon, who preferred to be called ‘Bill’, that’s an unknown, the girl is Norah, their sister, who looks like she’s about 13 or 14 there, the man in the white cap is P. T. Taylor their father, he was keen on polo, then another unknown and the one on the extreme left is probably Ken. Photo courtesy Taylor family.

The Oaks, Mona Vale - view over Polo Field and north towards Newport, courtesy State Library of NSW. Also visit: Mona Vale Training Grounds - From Lancers on Horses to Lasses on Transport Courses. 

The dream came to an end for Mr. Brock when the slated tramway to Narrabeen came a few years too late to make his grand premises accessible during the early era of Pittwater when this place was still considered rural - although there is reason to dream a few polo pratices took place just over a hundred years prior to this year's games:


On Monday last the Sydney Squadron of Lancers returned from a three days' staff ride in the vicinity of Pittwater. The work was undertaken on a tactical scheme connected with the landing of an enemy, the whole being under the command and supervision of Lieutenant M'Mahon. Organised as a complete regiment, the squadron left Sydney about 9 a.m. on Saturday, on a rapid march on Bay View, two squadrons travelling via Gordon and Tumbledown Dick Mountain, and two via Manly and Narrabeen, the advanced parties, by means of signalling communication, coming simultaneously Into touch with each other in the scrub behind Rocklily. All ranks had duties of a higher nature than their existing rank, particular attention being paid to the issue of written orders, the forwarding of reports, and sketches In the field. Tents were not taken, the intention being to camp in the open, but owing to the wet weather, the men were billeted in one of Mr. Brock, of Mona Vale's, buildings, the 90 horses being picketed in the rear. MILITARY. (1906, October 4). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14828169

The polo ponies and Jersey cattle, forming the studs at "The Oaks," Mona Vale, Pitt-water, were dispersed yesterday afternoon under the hammer by Messrs. Maccabe and Dodds, Sydney. The sale took place along-side the polo ground of the picturesque residence of Mr. G. S. Brock, and attracted a fair number of buyers from Sydney, as well as a good sprinkling of local residents. The polo ponies catalogued comprised upwards of 37 head, and the Jerseys-including four steers-17 head. Although the ponies figured first In the catalogue they were sold last. The Jerseys were all run into a paddock, and a start was made with the bull Duke of Melbourne, a five-year-old son of the Government-imported bull Melbourne-Kitty, g d, by Favourite-Baronne, Effingham Duke, imported by the late Hon. James White. Buyers' ideas of values wore not high, and bidding was not too brisk, except on odd lots. The noble Duke-a real fine Jersey bull-was started at five guineas, and knocked down at ten guineas. A son of the Duke's, out of Rosy, Rosy Dawn III., Boatswain, Bessie Black, Pomonas Dally, imp., realised half the price of his sire. The top price of the cows was nine and a half guineas, and the top price for heifers was eight and a half guineas; while the four young steers went to the local butcher at 39s per head.

The polo ponies were led out in a ring, and the first to appear was Queenie, a bay mare, very good in harness, and all she fetched was six guineas. Another bay mare, Reckless, an excellent polo pony, was knocked down for eight guineas. Pony, foaled a year later than Reckless, namely 1899, also a good polo pony, realised 10 guineas. Carblnesso, a brown mare, with colt at foot, by Souvenir, was passed in at 20 guineas. That grand polo pony stallion Souvenir, out of Annie, by imported Arab, out at Manaroo, Arab mare, was started at 20 guineas, and went trotting along up to 40 guineas. While at that figure Mr. Mackellar remarked that quite recently he sold a sister to Souvenir at 60 guineas. However, as no additional bid was forthcoming the crack pony stallion was passed in. 
POLO PONIES AND JERSEYS. (1907, April 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14835512 

Polo by the Sea in 2016 had to be cancelled due to those Summer downpours that in Winter close all local playing fields.

Those fearless players were back in 2017 though, thrilling the local audiences, whether they were wearing thongs and shorts or dresses and heels, alike. Allowing residents access to a viewing spot from the northern end of the field has remained part of what Polo by the Sea is about.

Polo by the Sea 2018 was equally equine-ly spectacular - More HERE

Newport's Pool To Peak Swims Commence One For Younger Swimmers: Three More In Pittwater Ocean Swim Series To Come

The second event in the Pittwater Swim Series of Ocean swims took place on Sunday January 7th

Newport SLSC Hosts an 800m event and the 2km event are a great chance to kick the new year’s resolution into gear, and hit the water.

This year there was also a 400m swim for the younger swimmers, with 10-14 year olds able to test their skills just like their parents in a circuit just off the shore. The 400m swim was started as the club had a lot of requests from younger swimmers to be able to participate in their annual Pool to Peak event so they introduced the new 400m swim this year. The 400m course is also ideal for older swimmers who would like to have a go at swimming in the ocean to develop their skills and stamina.

The new event for younger swimmers and people wishing an introduction to Ocean Swimmer attracted just under 60 swimmers. The club were very pleased with this response and should continue with the 400m so swimmers have stepping stones for event distances of 400m then 800m and finally the big one at 2km.

Gary Cook, one of the Pool to Peak Ocean Swim Committee members said, “We had a great event with over 750 entries, the largest ever, and all went extremely well except few a few Blue Bottles stings during the early part of the 2km swim.”

“ It was also great to see Rob Stokes MP a regular swimmer in our 800m event who swam a very creditable time for his age group.”

Full report HERE

Paddle To North Avalon Beach Headland: Warren Young OAM (WazzaAbout)

Warren Young OAM, sent us through a few photos he'd taken on his old Fuji waterproof camera that has survived a few mishaps but still working. Still getting great snaps and sharing them as WazzaAbout, these images show there has been a little more headland rock fall prey to gravity since last year's more dramatic rockfall. The photos were taken earlier this week.

Out And About January 2018: Adriaan Van Der Wallen

Another regular contributor to community and sharing visions that celebrate the beauty of this place is Adriaan van der Wallen. A small selection of what's his eyes have seen and shared so far this January: