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.17/9/21requesting 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:

ABORIGINAL ART
NEW DISCOVERIES
Rock Carvings at Palm Beach
(By W. M, Sherrie)
In recent years there have been discovered from time to time some rather remarkable examples of the artistic bent and capacity of the 'coastal tribes of blacks which held possession of the eastern shores of Australia before the advent of white melt. As a general thing the art of the blacks seemed to find expression almost entirely in the form of drawings of fish, with an occasional variation towards men, native animals, or birds, such as the kangaroo or the emu. The "Art Gallery" chosen by the blacks in this connection was certainly durable. As a general thing they made their drawings on large fiat-faced rocks. ; Most of the carvings to be found in the vicinity of Sydney have been recorded by Mr. Campbell, engineer and surveyor, but lately a couple of new and altogether excellent drawings have been discovered at Palm Beach, Pittwater, some few miles beyond Newport. 



The discoverers in this case were H. A. Wilshire, the Sydney architect, and Mr. Booth, of Palm Beach. Though presumably the work of some aboriginal artist who lived in bygone centuries, the drawings show a clear and well-preserved outline. They have been cut on a very large flat rock on the top of the hill between Sand Point, Pittwater, and Cabbage Tree Boat' Harbor, Palm Beach, near Barranjoey. The drawings represent two kinds of fish— one being apparently a groper and the other a shark. One is 22ft. long, and the other just 6ft. Within the first is the figure of a man of medium height. Whether the tribe to which the artist belonged had any knowledge of the legend of Jonah and the Whale, and intended the inclusion of the human figure within that of a largo fish to illustrate that legend, Is a matter which may be left to conjecture. The probability is that the drawing of the man in that position was due to considerations of convenience. 

The Hawkesbury sandstones, by reason of their comparative softness, offered exceptional facilities to the coastal tribes to display their art. At all events there are many of these drawings in the Port Jackson and Hawkesbury districts. Mr. Wilshire regards the one here depicted as an exceptionally good outline, and of better shape than any yet recorded. These drawings might he considered clever, in the matter of skilful portrayal of the creatures depicted, even if they had been done with suitable implements. When it is remembered, however, that the work must have been done with the most primitive of stone implements, it will be realised that infinite patience and labor, as well as some considerable artistic ability, must have been brought to bear. In this case a very ' line, clear, and unmistakably expressive outline has been traced of the fish forms in the solid rock. There is nothing to denote the age of these carvings, but it may be surmised to be very great. In all probability they were made many centuries ago. They were discovered by Mr. Wilshire and Mr. Booth in August. Some of the stone excavated in this locality, it may be mentioned, is of very fine quality and beautifully marked, the coloration generally being pink, reddish brown, and grey. The stripes of color stand out as clearly as if hand-painted, and present a very pretty and artistic effect when used for house-walls. The drawings, being the concrete and enduring expression of the artistic ideals and aspirations of a tribe of human beings now extinct, possess both personal and historic interest, if not value; and it is the intention of Mr. Wilshire to have the carvings fenced in and protectedThe drawing of the carvings here presented was made by Mr. Wilshire
ABORIGINAL ART (1917, September 16).The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221408011 

ABORIGINAL CARVINGS. 
Mr. E. de Gyulay, secretary,' Barranjoey Co., Ltd., forwards a copy of some aboriginal carvings found at Palm Beach. The outline drawings represent two kinds of fish and a man, cut on a flat rock on the hill between Sand point. Pittwater, and Cabbage Tree, Boat Harbor, Palm Beach, Barrenjoey. The fish measures 22ft., the man 5ft. 6in., and the smaller fish 6ft. long. They have exceptionally good outlines, and are better shaped than any others yet recovered. It is not known what age these carvings can be, but it is believed that many hundreds of years must have elapsed since they were made. The drawings have only just been discovered by the architect Mr. H. A. Wilshire, and the stonemason, Mr. J. Booth, who were looking for building stone on the company's property at Palm Beach. The company has decided to preserve the carvings for all time. ABORIGINAL CARVINGS. (1917, October 18). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article239239677 

LANDSLIDE.
The road from Newport to Palm Beach, at the corner of Barranjoey and Sunrise roads, was blocked on Saturday afternoon by the fall of two large pieces of rock, estimated to weigh several hundreds of tons. The mass is slowly slipping further down, and threatens to demolish either the store or the wharf. LANDSLIDE. (1917, May 23 - Wednesday). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15722106 

Land Slip 
(See photo, on page 11) 

Henry A. Wilshire sent us the above striking photograph with the following note : — I am sending you a couple of negatives of photos of a land slip or rock slip on the Palm Beach Road, next to the Barrenjoey Road. The rock in measurement would weigh some 700 tons, and a small one next to it, 300 odd tons. The slide was very smooth, the bed being white pipeclay, and since it has been on the road, it creeped 2 feet. It should form an interesting problem for engineers in Shires as how would be the most economic way of removing same, and the quickest way to get rid of such a lot of stone. It seems to me if the earth were removed from the front of it, the weight ma}' take it farther, where it would eventually go into the waters of Pittwater. However, 10 men are starting to blast it and try and remove it for the property owners who are at present cut off from any road communication.  SHIRES (1918, June 4). Construction and Local Government Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1930), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109675349 

Palm Beach, Five Bungalows (two concrete, one brick, one shingles, and one weatherboard). SYDNEY DEVELOPS (1918, June 17). Construction and Local Government Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1930), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109675779 

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 & DayAdvertising. (1919, June 24). Construction and Local Government Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1930), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108986891

Henry Wilshire bought 3 blocks of land at Palm Beach in 1913 - one was just behind the Maitland home at the juncture of Palm Beach and Sunrise roads, the other two blocks near where Wilshire Park is today. The NSW Government's Historical Land records Viewer provides:



onsold to Lady Maitland:




onsold part of Lot 120 to Henry Meggitt (DP6937 again!) and the residue to Ethel Jennings Elliott:


The lands set aside and dedicated to the then Warringah Shire Council comprise:

Volume - Folio 3229-66 (1921 - Beachfront and part of ) and (1925 Lot 84 and Lot 92A and part Lot 93) Volume Folio 3708-140:








Barrenjoey Palm Beach Estate, Pittwater - 2nd subdivision - December 1912 - NB: all the blocks already sold, Item: c053460057, from Pittwater Subdivisions folder, courtesy State Library of NSW.

Palm Beach Estate - Ocean Rd, Northview Rd, Sunrise Rd, Florida Rd, Pacific Rd, Ralston Rd, Whale Beach Rd, Palm Beach Rd, Barrenjoey Rd, Waratah Rd - circa 1924 - 1925. Image No.: c052700007 - courtesy state Library of NSW Digitised Land sales maps of Palm Beach

PALM BEACH
ATTRACTIVE SEASIDE RESORT Incomparable Views
With the rocky headland of Barrenjoey standing guard at the northern extremity, the broad bosom of the Pacific swelling lazily on the right, and the beautiful waters of Broken Bay, on the lett, lies Palm Beach, one of the wonder seaside resorts on the New South Wales coast. From the heights of Palm Beach incomparable landscape and seascape views' are to be obtained. In Broken Bay the many inlets and small islands make a moat charming picture, while the 'Basin' is most popular with yachtsmen. Then there is Careel Bay and Pittwater, affording excellent swimming, boating and fishing facilities, while at Palm Beach itself there is a splendid surfing beach fringed with golden sand. Also, from the heights on Pacific-road, the township of Hawkesbury and Ocean Beach, Woy Woy, are discernible, while Lion Island adds a picturesque touch to the already lavish picture that Nature has painted. 

Willmore and Randell, real estate specialists, are offering a limited number of home sites for sale at Palm Beach, and they should appeal to the city business man who is seeking a block of laud in a marine suburb not too close to the city. It must be remembered that Palm Beach is the last of the ocean beaches within reasonable distance of Sydney, and the completion of the North Shore Bridge will result in quicker transit to that popular resort. These home sites front Florida-road, Pacific-road and Palm Beach-road, and are commodious in size and practically all commanding wonderful views. The selling agents arrange motor inspections by Appointment only, and cars leave their office,. 10 Castlereagh-street, daily. To anyone desiring further particulars Willmore and Randell will forward an illustrated booklet upon application. As an indication of the exclusiveness of the locality, the following list of residents' can be cited: Lady Maitland, A. T. Hordern. Esq., Dr. Gordon Craig, Dr. Goodsell. D. B. Wiltshire, Esq.. Dr. Thring, W. H. Rayner. Esq., G: Mason Allard, Esq.. W. Lipscombe, Esq., Dr. Blaxland, W. Chorley, Esq., W. Lewis, Esq., C. P. Curlewis. Esq.. T. Peters. Esq., Dr. Bullmore, Dr. Brown, C. R. Crossman, Esq., E. Gray. Esq., E. R. Moser, Esq., Dr. Brown Craig. PALM BEACH (1925, October 4). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128163200 


January 8th, 1926 Advertisement

Sections from to show park sets aside:

According to the Certificate of Title, Henry Austin Wilshire, purchased the land opposite "Sunrise Cottage" from the Barrenjoey Land Company in 1913, and built his home, which in 1922 he sold to Lady Maitland, wife of Sir Herbert Lethington Maitland, eminent Sydney surgeon. This property was at 19 Palm Beach Road. 

When he passed away in August 1923 Australian papers, and particularly Sydney papers, paid tributes - although these were thin compared to what he had done over his lifetime:

WILSHIRE. — August 6, 1923, at his residence, Gundimaine-avenue, Neutral Bay, Henry Austin Wilshire, youngest son of the late Hon. James R. Wilshire, M.L.C. (By request no flowers.) 
WILSHIRE.— The Funeral of the late HENRY AUSTIN WILSHIRE will leave his residence, Gundimaine Avenue, Neutral Bay, THIS TUESDAY, at 9.30 a.m., for the Congregational Cemetery; Northern Suburbs, via Fuller's Road (Motor Funeral). Mrs. P. KIRBY AND SON. LTD.. cor. Myahgah Road. Mosman. Family Notices (1923, August 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16085890

MR. HENRY AUSTIN WILSHIRE.
The death occurred recently of Mr. Henry Austin Wilshire, a well-known city architect, who, amongst other things, was closely asso-ciated with Furlough House, Narrabeen, the well-known seaside holiday resort for the wives and children of soldiers, of which he was honorary architect and adviser. He was one of the pioneers of Palm Beach, and was one of the founders of the Australasian Pioneers' Club.
The deceased was the youngest son of the late James R. Wilshire, M.L.C., Sydney's second Mayor, whose grandfather (James Wilshire) arrived in Sydney in 1792 as Deputy Commissioner-General [sic: he was deputy commissary from about 1808], and married Esther Pitt, a relative of Admiral Lord Nelson.
In the Registrar-General's Department are some quaint references to the grants of land given to James Wilshire, including 570 acres extending from Strathfield to Cook's River, and several acres at Brickfield-hill, Sydney. The deceased leaves a widow and one daughterMR. HENRY AUSTIN WILSHIRE. (1923, August 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16089284

LATE MR. H. A. WILSHIRE
Well-known Architect
By the death of Mr. Henry Austin Wilshire, the well-known architect, and son of the late Mr. J. R. Wilshire, M.L.C., Sydney loses a well-known personality and a pioneer, belonging to one of our oldest families. He had been ill for so long at his home in Gundimaine-avenue, Neutral Bay, that the news of his death did not come un-expectedly to his friends. Five generations of Wilshires, from James Robert Wilshire, the pioneer who came to the colony, have been identified with N.S.W. The recent exhibition of interesting relics of the early history of N.S.W. was reinforced by many objects collected by the late Mr. Wilshire, who was a member of the Pioneer Club. 

Palm Beach was for many years Mr. Wilshire's favourite home. His was one of the first houses to be built there, and the flora and fauna of the surrounding neighborhood was well understood by this enthusiastic naturalist and botanist. During his explorations he discovered some of the large rocks bearing designs carved by the Aborigines. 
Mr. Wilshire understood how to build homes suitable to the exigencies of this climate. Dunvegan, the home of Mr. W. MacLeod, at Mosman, bears witness to his architectural ability. Mr. Wilshire leaves a widow.
H. A. Wilshire. LATE MR. H. A. WILSHIRE (1923, August 11). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 6 (LAST RACE-RESULTS). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224091033

His daughter Lena was born in 1889 after his 1888 marriage:

WILSHIRE-STEWART.--April 4, 1888, at Woollahra Congregational Church, by the Rev. Samuel Bryant, Henry Austin Wilshire, youngest son of the late Hon. James Robert Wilshire M.L.C., Sydney, to Hephzibah Maude, youngest daughter of the late Kenneth Stewart, Isle of Skye, Scotland. Family Notices (1888, April 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28345224



An earlier newspaper article shares more about his family:

AUSTRALIA'S EARLY PIONEERS
The Wilshire Family
The passing away of James. Thompson Wilshire, J.P., F.L.S., whose death occurred recently, at the ripe age or 72 years, recalls to mind the early days of Australia, and of this State in particular, in the pro gress of which he and his forefathers took a highly honorable and active part. The numerous philanthropic and other bodies which he assisted, both personally and financially, have already been mentioned, but it is not generally known that his views and actions as a member of Parliament were largely influenced by the late Hon. W. E. Gladstone, who, early in Mr. Wilshire's political and public career entertained him at Hawarden Castle, in Cheshire, during one of his several visits to England. Amongst other things, he took an active interest in the advancement of science, and education, and was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, on the nomination of Baron Ferdinand Von Muller, F.R.S., of Victoria, and Mr. Molineaux, F.L.S., Government Entomologist, of South Australia. At one time he was a director of the Sydney Hospital, to which institution he has bequeathed £500. At several Australasian conferences of producers he was amongst the very first of public men to advocate federation. 

His father, the late Hon. James Robert Wilshire, M.L.C., was elected Mayor of Sydney, his native city, in succession to the late Mr. Hoskins, in 1855, and took a most active part in the Anti-Transportation League. In 1856 he was elected one of the three members of the old Legislative Council for the city of Sydney, and was re-elected thereto under the new Constitution. His grandfather, James Wilshire, Deputy Commissary-General, 1804 to 1812, also took a prominent part in the official and social life of the colony, where he arrived as far back as 1800, in the ship Royal Admiral. Even at that early date he became quickly alive to the possibilities, and vast resources of the new possession. He resigned from the Imperial Service, and embarked in the export of hides, tallow, and what other things he could get hold of, acting in conjunction with his brother-in-law, William Faithfull (the ancestor of the Faithfulls, of Goulburn and Sydney), Robert Jenkins (ancestor of the Berkeley (lllawarra) Jenkins), the Rev. Mr. Wood (ancestor of the wife of the late Mr. Curnow, formerly editor of the "Sydney Morning Herald;" and the wife of the late James Brunker, one-time Colonial Secretary of this State), all of whom married daughters of Mrs. Mary Pitt, who emigrated from Dorset in 1801, and died at Richmond Hill, in 1815. 

The direct living descendants of James Wilshire, and his wife, Esther Pitt, numbered in 1900 two hundred and sixteen persons it is within a safe estimate to say that the four daughters and one son of Robert and Mary Pitt, are now represented by well over one thousand living descendants. Many have attained prominence in their respective walks of life. Amongst them may be mentioned Mr. Ernest Wilshire, formerly stipendiary magistrate, now chairman of the Public Service Board, Mr. Frederick Wilshire, stipendiary magistrate, Mr. Robert Matcham Pitt (Pitt, Son and Badgery), Mr. C. B. Pitt (solicitor), Dr. Percy Faithfull, the late Henry Montague Faithfull (solicitor), and Mr. Henry Austin Wilshire (architect, of Hunter-street), the late James Thompson Wilshire, Henry Rawes Whittell, Charles Whittell, of Petersham, lattely head of the Revenue Branch Audit Department. Other representatives are now in the Departments of Justice, Lands, Forests, Works, Government Architects, Railway and Tramway (Engineering). The family have been at all times great advocates of immigration, and their own success led many of their connections and friends to settle in Australia. AUSTRALIA'S EARLY PIONEERS (1909, May 10). The Star (Sydney, NSW : 1909 - 1910), p. 1 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article228079833

Wikipedia provides a pretty accurate Biography:

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.

The 1919 Cottage, 'Vernacular' weekender, 'Windyridge' at 50 Sunrise Rd, Palm Beach is one of Mr. Austin's remnant Palm Beach designed homes.

Although NSW Records and Archives records indicate Palm Beach visitors having a bit of a putt in the earliest days of the Barrenjoey Land company 1920's, the official Council permission was granted in 1926:

Use of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Reserve as a golf links by the Barrenjoey Company. Contents Date Range; 01-01-1911 to 31-12-1915 - NSW Records & Archives.

AT PALM BEACH
LINKS APPROVED OF
The Warringah Shire Council gave approval on Monday night to a formal agreement -drawn up by the Palm Beach Recreation Club for the formation of a golf links on Governor Phillip Park. The agreement provides for the closing of the present road through the park and the construction of a new road in its place. Parking, camping and areas for tennis, bowls, and croquet are included in the specifications, and in order that the club's financial, obligations will be liquidated within a definite period, 10 per cent, of the capital outlay is to be paid into a sinking fund each year. AT PALM BEACH (1926, May 26). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 5 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224212779

This was a few years after the first paddocks were groomed in 1920 by Henry Wilshire for use as a golf range for summer visitors. 

After Henry Wilshire passed away those who had known him or were related to him ensured 'his park' was looked after. A few notes from Warringah Shire Council's records:

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 balance

January 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, 25/3/46regarding 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.

This beautiful remnant of the old Palm Beach even caught the wonderful eye of Harold Cazneaux, with this photo appearing in 1934 showing the eastern beach entrance:


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 

Neighbours:

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.

References

  1. Wilshire Park Palm Beach Plan of Management (POM) - Pittwater Council's Natural Resource Unit, June 1998
  2. Warringah Shire Council Records of Meetings (archived)
  3. Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways Hordern And Wilshire Parks To McKay Reserve – From Beach To Estuary - History page 2015
  4. Furlough House, Narrabeen – Restful Sea Breezes For Children and Mothers - History page 2014
  5. Historic Photographers Of Pittwater: Harold 'Caz' Cazneaux 1878 - 1953
  6. Trove - National Library of Australia
  7. 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




















































Wilshire Park Palm Beach: Some History + Photos From May 2022 by A J Guesdon, 2022