May 15 - 21, 2022: Issue 538
Wilshire Park Palm Beach: Some History + Photos From May 2022
My darling dad passed away a few years ago and every Sunday since I've shed a tear because I miss him - how could I not? He was funny, worked just about every day sent to him, and when he did get time off it was on a Sunday when he'd either be too exhausted to talk and we'd just sit around him at his feet watching the cricket in Summer or the football in Winter, content just to be able to look up at him whenever an exclamation or exasperated sigh would escape as he witnessed what was happening on the television.
One of the family insights he did share from the time before he was lumbered with us was Summers at Palm Beach; our family had actually been coming to Pittwater since the early 1900's and dad and his dad were no exceptions, spending the 'Season' at Palm Beach at 47 Florida road. My grandfather, William Algernon Guesdon - 'Bill', was in the care of Florence Isobel Eady, née Guesdon, wife of Charles John Eady. His parents died from tuberculosis, his father when he was not yet 12 months old, and his mother several years later, but still from the same disease and in private hospitals until then. He was raised by Florence and Charles Eady, who had lost their own son as a baby to this horrendous disease, and which is on the rise again according to reports released this week.
Charles John Eady (1870-1945), was a cricketer who played in and for Tasmania between 1890 and 1908, batting aggressively and bowling quickly with equal effectiveness. In 1895 he became the first Australian to score a century in each innings of a first-class match, when playing for Tasmania against Victoria, and in the next meeting between the teams, took 8/34 and 4/29 with the ball. Though this was rare for a Tasmanian, he was selected for an early Australian tour of England, in 1896, and played two Tests for Australia, representing again in 1899. He is best remembered for his club score of 566 in an innings in 1902, for the ''Break o' Day'' club against Wellington, still an (adult) world record.
He represented Tasmania on the national (Cricket) Board of Control, serving as President for one term and which necessitated his frequent visits to the mainland to help choose the Australian team members. He also represented Hobart in the Legislative Council, 1925-46, as an Independent, serving as President there as well. His business partner in many things, and my great-great grandfather William Andrew Guesdon, also served as an Independent, once raging in the parliamentary chambers and newspapers about how the advent of 'political parties will be the death of democracy in Australia as they will form factions that do not serve the people's interests' - but that was pre 1900 and early 1900's stuff, when political parties were just forming in Australia. Other family members have since made their own political party preferences abundantly clear!
Charles Eady also served as President of the Royal Life Saving Association of Tasmania until his death, and this too brought him to New South Wales, and to the water and beaches.
In fact Charles Eady visited New South Wales in the Winter of 1890 as a 19 year old as part of the Tasmanian Team playing Australian Rules Games against Victoria and then regional NSW and Sydney teams. While here he also played one Rugby Union game at Erskineville according to childhood friend Robert 'Bob' Dawes, working for The Referee after moving to Sydney in 1891 and writing about cricket and football under the pen-name 'Old Timer'. The Tasmanians won of course, being proficient in Australian Rules Football while the New South Welshmen were all caught up in Rugby Union.
More on all that as we head towards Ladies Day 2022 at the Newport Rugby Club (the Breakers) on June 18 this year.
Dad came to Palm Beach in the care of their sole surviving child, a daughter, Rosemary Guesdon-Eady (by then married and 'Broadbent'). Stories of 'Aunt Rosemary' from dad showed he adored her; his eyes would light up, he would smile, chuckle. The adoration was clearly mutual. I only met her once as she was quite elderly by the time I came along - I recall she was very very tall - just like her father - and very kind, very gentle.
The Guesdon-Eady-Broadbent Palm Beach 'Summer place' was directly opposite Wilshire Park at Palm Beach. Dad would run through this park down to the beach and go surfing - he would bring us out to Palm Beach when we were still young too, point out the places he played as a youngster - before disappearing into the Palm Beach SLSC's Pacific Club with mum for hours.
When I miss him way too much Wilshire Park is the place I run to too - just to be where we've been and see what we've seen - again.
Guesdon-Eady-Broadbent family photos circa 1945-1949:
Rosemary Guesdon-Eady (then Broadbent) with left to right - Uncle Phillip, Dad (William Andrew Guesdon), Uncles Christopher and Charles at 23 Weld Street, Hobart - this was the home and gardens that hosted Royal Hobart Hospital and other fundraisers. Subdivided after Charles J Eady's death in 1945, so pre-then. Photo: Author's family albums.
Above: IN GARDEN SETTING.-Lady Clark attends the American Tea, held on Friday last in support of the fund to aid Lance-Corporal Webb, at the Weld St., South Hobart, residence of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Eady. In the group (left to right), are: Miss Pitt, Mr. Noel Simmonds, Mrs. T. K. Pitt, Lady Clark, Rev. T. K. Pitt, Mrs. J. Broadbent. SCHOOL FOUNTAIN And A GARDEN FETE (1936, December 2). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 12 (Woman's Realm). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30126128
2. Guesdon-Eady-Broadbent house at Palm Beach circa 1946-47, at 47 Florida Road - that's dad looking incredibly bored on the chaise lounge at the back, probably waiting to go to the beach! Photo: Author's family albums.
3. Dad at house at Palm Beach house, circa 1948-9, 47 Florida Road. Photo: Author's family albums.
4. Front view of 47 Florida Road when for sale in 2021. Photo courtesy RealEstate.com.au - Located opposite Wilshire Reserve with direct access to the southern end of Palm Beach.
47 Florida Road, Palm Beach - street level view via Google Maps. Same steps, garage pre-sale of home
47 Florida road in May 2022
The gentleman Wilshire Park was named to honour was Architect Henry Austin Wilshire, who was connected with the Barranjoey Land Company, something dad, who became an Architect too, would have known even though Mr. Wilshire passed away years before he was born.
Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings records show:
Palm Beach Progress Association. 12/9/25; suggesting that the Golf links area at Palm Beach be called Phillip Park. Resolved; (Crs. Hitchcock, Ellsworth) That the name Governor Phillip Park be approved. 8. Same; 12/9/25. suggesting that the Palm Grove Reserve behind Mr. Curlewis' residence be called Wilshire Park Resolved; (Crs. Hewitt, Hitchcock) That the name be approved
Unfortunately and somewhat understandably, a 't' has been placed in this park name somewhere along the line, nevertheless, it was named to honour the memory of this gentleman who passed away in the Winter of 1923 and who had done much for the Palm Beach community during his 10 year connection to the place. As it is coming up to the century of this dedication of a green thoroughfare for the community and visitors, it would be great to see the records honour the original dedication.
Warringah Shire Council Minutes of Meetings records provide:
Meeting held February 9th, 1920: Henry A Wiltshire 27/ 1/20, stating what is being done with life-line and belt supplied for Palm Beach by Council. Received, Do. 8.Royal Life Saving Society, 27/1/20, making suggestion for installing lifeline and belt at Palm Beach
Meeting held October 10th, 1921: Beach Reserves.15. Barrenjoey Co. Ltd.17/9/21, requesting Council to accept dedication of way of access from Florida Road to Ocean Road, Palm Beach : Resolved - (Crs. Quirk, Hitchcock) That the Council accept dedication, with a recommendation that the width be 66 ft.
Wilshire Park is located at the southern end of Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour at south Palm Beach and comprises 0.7 hectares of land or 1.72974 acres for those of us who go via that measurement. Its boundaries are Ocean Road to the east, Florida road going up the hill, and residential properties either side - with a street address of 40-44 Florida road.
The Reserve, dedicated to the public as community space by the Barranjoey Land Company, is looked after by council and is described in the POM as Lot 84 in DP 6745, Lot 92 in DP 6937 and Lot 92a (drainage reserve) in DP 6937, and part of Lot 93 in DP 6937, which is zoned 2 Residential.
The vegetation at Wilshire Park is Spotted Gum Forest with a significant component of rainforest species. Dominant species are Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) and Cabbage-tree Palm (Livistona australis) Associated tree species are Cheese Tree (Glochicion ferdinand), Blueberry ‘Ash (Elaeocarpus retculatus), Bolworra (Eupomatia reticulatus) and Rough-barked Apple (Angophora floribunda). The understorey comprises a small tree layer of medium density, a shrub layer of medium density dominated by exotic species and a ground layer of high density dominated by ferns. Native shrubs and climbers present include Breynia (Breynia oblongifolia), Sweet Pitosporum (Pitosporum undulatum), Stephania japonica ssp discolor, Scrambling Lily (Geitonoplesium cymosum) and Golden Guinea Flower (Hibbertia scandens). Ground layer species include False Bracken Fern(Calochlaena dubia), Blady Grass (Imperata cylinydrica), Kidney Weed (Dichondra repens) and ‘Scurvy Weed (Commelina cyanea).
The Spotted Gum Forest is considered signficant in NSW, Cabbage-tree Palm is a regionally significant species and Bolworra is a locally significant species.
Bolworra (Eupomatia reticulatus) fruit which fell at my feet ('look at me') while gambolling through Wilshire Park
Wilshire Park extends from mid slope to the lower colluvial slopes above the coastal dune system along via a steeply to gently sloped creek line. The geology is the Newport Formation shales and sandstones of the Narrabeen Group. The soils of the lower part of the reserve are influenced by the deep Sandy podsols of the Tuggerah soil landscape, which present an extreme erosion hazard if disturbed.
This small reserve dominated by Spotted Gums and Cabbage-tree Palms is likely to attract a range of bird species including Topknot Pigeons, honeyeaters and vagrant lorikeets. Squirrel Gliders may also occur locally due to the presence of Coast Banksia, an important winter flowerer, and tee hollows that are used for shelter. The thick though weed-infested understorey would provide shelter for reptiles while the creek beds attracts frogs and Australian water dragons - like that seen on this most recent visit to 'dad's place': [1.]
So who was Henry Austin Wilshire?
Readers may recall him being among those who worked to establish Furlough House at Narrabeen, Henry Austin Wilshire designed the premises, or remember these items from earlier Palm Beach History pages:
FURLOUGH HOUSE, NARRABEEN, SYDNEY Opened by the Governor-General last Saturday, as a home for wives, widows and children of men who had fought in the Great War. The buildings are of concrete, and were designed by Architects Wilshire & Day. Advertising. (1919, June 24). Construction and Local Government Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1930), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108986891
Henry Austin Wilshire (HA Wilshire) was an architect and prominent member of Sydney society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was an active and innovative architect, and a contributor to the community through interests in town planning and transport issues.Wilshire was born in Potts Point (Sydney) on 8 September 1860, into one of Sydney's oldest and best-connected families. He was the youngest child of James Robert Wilshire MLC, Sydney's second elected mayor, who had died the week before Henry was born. His mother, Sarah Wilshire, lived until 1912, a well-regarded, active member of the community. The family moved to Burwood around 1880. In 1888 Wilshire married Hephzibah Maude Stewart, and they had one daughter, Lena, born in 1889. They moved to the Mosman/Cremorne area in 1893, and remained there for 30 years until Henry's death. During this period they lived in at least seven different residences, at least three of which were designed by Wilshire.Wilshire began his architectural career in around 1879, articled to the well-known Mansfield Brothers. As an architect he was very active and versatile, designing many residences and other buildings. For most of his 44-year career he was a sole practitioner, However, for a brief period in 1888-1889 he partnered with George Taylor Shaw and, from 1913 until his death in 1923, was in partnership with Harry Cooper Day, trading as HA Wilshire and Day. Numerous of his works still exist today, including at least 13 that are listed on the NSW Heritage Register. His buildings include Grafton Gaol in 1891, the heritage-listed Bennett and Wood (Speedwell bicycles) building in Sydney in 1908 (replacing their previous premises in Market Street, which he also designed, in 1900), and Warringah Hall (see e.g. Ajax Films), Neutral Bay in 1910.Wilshire was an active member of the profession, being a member of the (then) Institute of Architects of New South Wales from at least the late 1880s. He was a member of the Committee of the Institute on various occasions from 1893 through to 1919, and held a number of executive positions including Vice-President (1897–1899) and Honorary Treasurer (1901).Wilshire was very active in the community. In 1893 he wrote to Mosman Council, proposing to construct a horse-tramway from the ferry wharf up to Military Road, and in 1895 was among those opposing the proposal to mine coal at Cremorne Point.He built one of the first houses at Palm Beach, New South Wales in 1913, which became his preferred residence until his health deteriorated around 1922. He was involved in the development of the area, including laying out and developing the golf course in the early 1920s. In this project he worked with Sydney merchant Charles Crossman, later president of Palm Beach Golf Club. In 1903 Wilshire had designed a residence for Crossman, 'Ingleneuk' which, having been restored by Clive Lucas a century later, still stands in Neutral Bay, now the residence of the well-known Sydney couple Lisa Wilkinson and Peter FitzSimons.He was also an active member of the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club, including serving as a vice-president and trustee. Towards the end of WWI, 'Furlough House' was established at Narrabeen, a Sydney beachside suburb, to provide holidays for wives and children of servicemen. Wilshire designed the buildings (without fee), and served on the Board of Management.Wilshire shared the Victorian era fascination with technology and invention. In 1894 he and E E Tournay-Hinde were granted a patent for a form of water crossing consisting of submerged iron tubes for pedestrian or vehicular traffic and, in the same year, they developed an innovative proposal to replace the old Pyrmont Bridge (Sydney) with a tunnel. In 1888 he, along with George Taylor Shaw, applied for a patent for a 'portable and floating swimming bath', and in 1911 he acquired the rights to a 'rotary excavator' invented by his cousin Henry Rawes Whittell. In 1906 he wrote to the SMH advocating the use of automatic telephones (as he had seen in the US) and, in 1921 wrote again, expressing the then 'modern' view that government money would be better used constructing a good regional road system rather than railways.
A. J. Hordern. 10.8.26. drawing attention to the erosion of the bank of the creek on the Palm Gully at Palm Beach, encroaching on his property, and offering to forward cheque 'for erection of concrete or stone wall to prevent the erosion in the Park: Resolved, -. (Crs, Hitchcock, Simpson) That the offer be accepted; the Engineer give an estimate of the cost and sent it onto Mr. Hordern. Same. 10.9.26. suggesting that the second fence on Wilshire Park, Palm Beach, be removed to the Florida Road frontage, and offering to do the work himself: Resolved, - (Crs. Simpson; Hitchcock) That the offer be accepted, and that the sign-board in the vicinity be also removed to the Florida Road frontage.A. J. Hordern. 6.9.26. advising that the wall to-be built in the creek in Wilshire Park will be a concrete one: Resolved, - (Crc. Hope, Hitchcock) That the Engineer's estimate of £25 for the construction of the wall be sent on to Mr. Hordern.Palm Beach Progress Assn. 7/9/26 requesting that the reserve on which the Surf-Sheds are situated be cleared of lantana; (2) that a Notice be erected on such Reserve warning against damaging palm trees, and (3) and that steps be taken to prevent the erosion of the banks of the creek in Wilshire Park : Resolved. - (Crs. Simpson, Atkins) Reserves. That the maintenance men clear away the lantana; Resolved, (Crs. Hitchcock, Simpson) That-the second request be granted. Resolved,..- (Crs. Simpson, Campbell) That the Works Committee report on the third matter.October 11, 1926; that a copy of the Engineer's report and estimate for the construction of a concrete drain through Wilshire Park be forwarded to the Palm Beach Progress Association, with a suggestion that a local rate should be levied for the purpose of carrying out this improvement.June 24th, 1929 Cr. Hitchcock reported that Palm Beach Lands Ltd. was prepared to lend £500 at 4% interest for the improvement of Florida Road, the money to be paid out of the loan the Council proposes to raise.' Resolved (Crs. Hitchcock, Robertson,) - That the Engineer report as to how this money can best be expended with a view to its being repaid from the loan. • Resolved (Crc.. Hitchcock, Austin) – That £3 be voted for attention to the erosion of Wilshire Park, Palm Beach.62. A. Vernon Allen. 14.2.30. Requesting to be allowed to address the Council on the matter of the electricity service to Palm Beach. Mr. Allen, by permission, addressed the Council on the matter, and handed in 141 guarantees of revenue and promises of contributions towards the cost. Resolved (crs. Parr, Robertson) - That the Electrical Engineer be instructed to .expedite his report on the cost, of the extension of the electricity service to Palm Beach.September 8th, 1930; Resolved (Crs. Hitchcock, Ross) - That the blackberries in Wilshire Park, Palm Beach, be chopped down, and that the Park Engineer furnish an estimate for repairing the culvert in Beach Road.Mrs. E.L. Wolstenholme, 1/8/32, drawing attention to the "disgraceful condition" of Wilshire Park, Palm Beach. Palm Beach Resolved; That the Inspector investigate the throwing of rubbish into-the park, and give the offender notice to burn and that man be employed for a day cleaning up the park. (Ors. Hitchcock, Austin)October 23rd, 1933 Reporting unauthorised removal of stone from Wilshire Park, District Palm Beach: Resolved, - That this report be taken in :ark Committee later. (Ors. Hitchcock, Hughes).Cr, Hitchcock reported that Mrs. A.T. Hordern had informed him that if she were allowed to use this stone, she would in return look after the reserve. Resolved, - That Mrs. Hordern's request be granted, provided she keeps the reserve in order, and that a letter be sent to H. and F. Gonsalves, warning them against taking material from the Council's properties. (Crs. Hughes, Austin)June 18th, 1934; REQUESTS BY COUNCILLORS. The following requests, made by the Councillors named, wore agreed to by the President – Wilshire Park By Cr. Hitchcock - That the Shire Engineer expedite-his estimate for the fencing of Wilshire Park.September 10th, 1934; By Cr. Hitchcock;- That in regard to Mrs. Hordern's offer to supply posts, rails and palings for fencing Wilshire Park, the Council, subject to Mrs. Hordern agreeing, erect a chain Park wire fence in lieu of a paling fence, and use the palings for the purpose of constructing the drain through the park. Palm Beach By Cr. Hitchcock - That the Overseer be instructed to provide the Palm Beach Cricket Club with two loads of metal for the proposed half-wicket on Forssberg Estate Reserve.November 17th, 1936: Palm Beach Rockbath, submitting estimate for pathway leading down the hill Resolved; That £110, the Rockbath amount of the Engineer's original estimate, be voted for raising the wall on the shore side of the baths, the metal to be obtained from Wilshire Park. (Crs. Ross,, Hitchcock)July 5th, 1938: Palm Bch. By Cr. Hitchcock - Could the maintenance men clean up Hordern Reserves Park and Wilshire Park, Palm Beach, to do away with the damage from fires and the consequent destruction of palms? By Cr. Hitchcock - Could the lantana.. be cut alongside Palm Beach Road, pending the carrying out of the proposed loan work? By Cr. Hitchcock -, Would the Council instruct its surveyor to prepare a contour survey of part of Governor Phillip Park from Beach Road northwards on the ocean side, with a view of the Progress Association setting out a plan of improvements for submission to the Council. (The Chairman replied it would be necessary for Cr. Hitchcock to submit a "Notice of Motion' regarding the matter.)23rd, July 1940: Crs. Hitchcock, Savage) 6. Submitting estimate, £50, for the making of a pathway through Wilshire Park, Palm Beach from Florida Road, including steps, filling, hand-rails, etc: - That £15 only be voted for a track down from Florida Road, and a slab-crossing and hand-rail over the drain.February 17th, 1942: The President stated that a request had been received from Defence R.A.A.F. for assistance in the establishment of "spotting" the Works centres, one at Palm Beach and one at Narrabeen. In-regard to the one at Palm Beach, Mr. Wilshire had offered a sum of £50 for the provision of conveniences, and ... that if this sum is not sufficient, the Council to pay the balanceJanuary 5th, 1943; 2 V.A.O.C. R.A.A.F., 17/12/42, requesting road widening improvements in the vicinity of the Barrenjoey Road of the Company's Observation Post at Palm Beach adjoining the property of Mr. Gleanings and Mr. Wilshire, as many of the volunteers are ladies who have to do night duty, necessitating travel by car. Referred to the Works Committee, on the recommendation of the Engineer.Main Roads Department, 10/8/43, regarding the drifting of sand under certain weather conditions across Ocean Road, Palm Beach, towards the properties of Messrs. Hitchcock and Wilshire, stating that the cost of levelling off the sand for a 200-ft. length in front of the properties, covering with 3 inches of top-dressing and planting with grass, is estimated at £80, that the Department is prepared to share equally with the Council in the cost of carrying out the work up to an amount of £40 if Council is prepared to carry out the-work with its own forces. Resolved, - That the Works Committee make an inspection, and in the meantime the Engineer check the Department's estimate. (Cr. Batho)Palm Beach S.L.S. Club, 25/3/46, applying for a subsidy equal to the amount of rates which would normally be paid on the Club premises, the Club having arranged to employ to Surfbath- permanent life saver until Easter. Resolved, - that the request be granted, the amount to be charged to the Governor Phillip Park account. (Orb. Forster, Morrow) (46) Same, 25/3/46, regarding erection of boat-shed to house double surf boats, the accommodation beneath the Club building being unsatisfactory since the purchase of the additional boats, suggesting the following sites - (a) in the south east corner of the beach immediately outside and to the east of the fence enclosing the car-turning area; (b) in the corner of Hordern Park where a previous Surf Clubhouse was located; and (c) in the corner of Wilshire Park; stating that the building would not unnecessarily encroach on the facilities provided for the public. Referred to Parks & Reserves Committee.
PALM BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES. - - Among the most beautiful bathing beaches in Australia, Palm Beach is situated on a peninsula fifteen to twenty miles north of Sydney. Close by, the waters of the beautiful Hawkesbury River flow into Broken Bay. On one side of the peninsula, which is but a few hundred yards across, is the surf of the Pacific Ocean, and on the other are the calm waters of the historic Pittwater, the scene of many aquatic carnivals. At one time there were many palms in the locality, but few remain, and these are jealously preserved. photo by H. CAZNEAUX PALM BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES. (1934, October 1). The Australasian(Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 19. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145241972
THE GOVERNOR AND FAMILY AT PALM BEACH. The Governor (Sir Dudley de Chair) has been spending a few days at the Palm Beach (N.S.W.) home of Mr. Alfred Hordern, which was placed at his disposal. The Governor is standing on the left facing Lady de Chair and Miss Elaine de Chair and her brother, Lieutenant Graham de Chair, A.D.C. THE GOVERNOR AND FAMILY AT PALM BEACH. (1930, March 5). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160633195
Another perspective from a few years earlier with the possible back of Harry Wolstenholme:
Above: Photo from South end of Palmy (circa 1925-30)courtesy Clare West - wife of Canon West (C of E) and John Cowper
As I know some of us have also lost their most loved one this week, I hope you will accept an especial dedication of this week's Pictorial Tribute to Mr. Wilshire for yourselves; if only to Remember to visit the places that are 'theirs', just to spend some more time loving them still.
And of course, this is also for my three darling brothers and our wonderful mum - who also miss dad, still.
Last, but certainly never least, images from this week's visit to this other old home run below for those unable to get outdoors at present - a big nature gifted hug to you too that's always there for everyone when we need to just step outdoors and exhale, for when we need to run into that embrace.
- Wilshire Park Palm Beach Plan of Management (POM) - Pittwater Council's Natural Resource Unit, June 1998
- Warringah Shire Council Records of Meetings (archived)
- Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways Hordern And Wilshire Parks To McKay Reserve – From Beach To Estuary - History page 2015
- Furlough House, Narrabeen – Restful Sea Breezes For Children and Mothers - History page 2014
- Historic Photographers Of Pittwater: Harold 'Caz' Cazneaux 1878 - 1953
- Trove - National Library of Australia
- Wikipedia contributors. (2022, February 28). Henry Austin Wilshire. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henry_Austin_Wilshire&oldid=1074571634
Wilshire Park, Palm Beach
photos taken May 14, 2022 by A J Guesdon