March 8 - 14, 2015: Issue 205

 Pittwater Restaurants you could stay at Barrenjoey House – Palm Beach

 Panorama of Palm Beach and Pittwater, New South Wales, circa 1917-1920, above and below: sections from nla.pic-vn6195128, Part of Enemark collection of panoramic photographs - courtesy National Library of Australia.

 Barrenjoey House

Building in Palm Beach began with the building of roads into Palm Beach and the sale of land by the Barrenjoey Land Company. Early buyers include the wonderful Lucy Gullett and the Byles family, whose daughter Marie was New South Wales first female solicitor and whose love of the Australian bush, and a lifelong dedication to preserving this, resulted in this work being acknowledged by the naming of the Marie Byles Lookout at Bouddi National Park.

The family well known to residents as 'the Builders of Palm Beach' were the Verrills, in particular Albert, father of Fred and grandfather of Peter Verrills.

The Verrills association with Pittwater began when Albert won the contract to build the Surveyors cottage for the Barrenjoey Land Company for the January 1912 land sale. Albert soon had contracts to build other holiday homes at Palm Beach and all that was needed was a ship to get the lumber there;

Wanted – boat to take abut 40 tons of timber from Sydney to Barrenjoey . Verrills. Reed –st. Neutral Bay. Advertising. (1912, May 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

MASON Waller wanted. work, Barranjoey, good camp. Apply Verrills. Reed. St. Neutral Bay. Advertising. (1912, August 21). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

Barrenjoey — Cottage Residence. Palm Beach .. Wilshire & Day. B. Verrills. Palm Beach. Advertising. (1915, April 30).Construction and Local Government Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1930), p. 1. Retrieved from 

Messrs. H. A. Wilshire and Day, architects, have accepted the tender of Mr. J. Verrills, for converting large residence at Neutral Bay into residential flats. The same architects have also accepted the tender of P. Waugh for Church of England Girls' School at Hunter's Hill, and also the tender of B. Verrills, for concrete bungalow at Palm Beach. In the same office plans are in hand for Church of England rectory in concrete. GENERAL NOTES. (1915, December 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

Some sources refer to 1920 as the year Barrenjoey House was first built. Palm Beach 1788 – 1988 (p.55) states Barrenjoey House was built in 1923 by Albert Verrills as a guesthouse and restaurant for Mr Resch – and was the first place in Palm Beach to have a telephone.

Albert Verrills chose the land on which Barrenjoey House still stands as his lumber for building was being offloaded at the pier named Palm Beach Jetty by the Barrenjoey Land Company when bringing people into the far end of Pittwater, and what became Gow's Wharf, and stored in what is now Pittwater Park, and he wanted to keep an eye on these valuable supplies.

This published construction item confirms the existence of one of a growing number of boarding establishments and one of the names for the structure you may eat in and stay in that is now called 'Barrenjoey House' - and that it was trading at least earlier then Spring 1923:

For making additions and generally re-modelling the hotel at Palm Beach, plans have been prepared by Mr. W. H. H. Thomson, architect, who has let a contract to Mr. A. Verrills, builder, to carry out the work. GENERAL NOTES. (1923, September 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from 

Albert's Home.

The original Barrenjoey House, circa 1920-1922. Photo courtesy of Peter Verrills.

Albert Verrills also built the still standing Kookaburra House. Researching records into this premises, and the ladies who ran Kookaburra as a holiday home, offers up glimpses of women who had to be self-supporting and self sufficient and ran Palm Beach accommodation. The 'Boarding House Lady' as a means of semi-independent autonomy for women if leasing a premises, and an asset and home as well as a business when owning such premises, must have echoed well the ladies on Sunrise Hill, all self made women too.

The other side of this is many of these women married men who served in World War I. Although the prevailing wisdom then for returning service people was to 'just get on with it', no one comes home unchanged from fields of conflict and shores where mates died. Perhaps Palm Beach, with its own fields and dairy cows, and emptier shores outside of the height of Summer, was a salve for wounded men and their wives.

The Bruggen ladies dominated Palm Beach boarding houses for decades. Louisa May, whose husband Harold served, was at Kookaburra, and along with Babette, who married Lawrence Gallagher in 1924, a Palm Beach SLSC member, ran Florida House, and sister Amy, ran Barrenjoey House at one stage. 

What is also worth noting is that these other two homes that were boarding houses and served food were also built by the Verrills family.

Right: Albert, Florence and Ernie circa 1939. Picture courtesy Peter Verrills.

PALM BEACH.-Accommodation, 2 minutes surf beach, Golfing, fishing. Mrs. Garner and Miss Bruggen, Kookaburra, Florida-rd (late Sunrise). T., P.B. 31. PALM BEACH,-furnished Cottages to Let and For Sale Gow and Howlett. Store. Phone. 21. Advertising. (1922, March 4). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Mrs Louisa May Garner, wife of Mr Harold Garner, of Birchgrove Oval, Balmain, died in a private hospital on Monday, at the age of 55 years. Deceased was one of the Bruggen family, whose home was on the Western Road, St. Marys, east of the town. Mr Harold Garner is a son of the late William and Mary Garner, of St. Marys.  Deceased leaves a daughter (Sheila),a son (William), and two sisters—Mrs. Gallagher (Palm Beach - Florida House) and Miss Amy Bruggen.The funeral took place on Tuesday, when the remains were cremated at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium. St. Marys. (1942, July 30).Nepean Times (Penrith, NSW : 1882 - 1962), p. 3. Retrieved from

GARNER-TER BRUGGEN.-December 21, 1914, at St. Mary Magelalene's, St. Marys, Louisa May, daughter of Mrs. H. Ter Bruggen, and the late Henry Ter, Bruggen, to Harold, third son of William Garner, Esq., The Cedars, St. Marys. Family Notices. (1915, February 13).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from

TER BRUGGEN.-In sad and loving remembrance of  my dear husband, Henry Jules Ter Bruggen, and our dear father, who passed peacefully away, aged -49, from this life March 8 1905 Inserted by his affectionate wife and daughters, Amy, Louie, Babette.

Had he asked us, well we know, We should cry, O spare this blow, Yes, with streaming eyes should pray,  Lord, we love him, let him stay.Belgian papers please copy. Family Notices. (1906, March 8). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

Left: Kookaburra House, Right: Florida House

The place to eat mentioned below may be the Boarding House constructed by the Barrenjoey Land Company that was set alight and destroyed in 1929 (see Extras) or could refer to Barrenjoey House, which went through a few name changes, 'Palm Beach House', 'Palm Beach Roadhouse' etc., on its way to 'Barrenjoey'. 

STUDYING HARD. J'Espere~comes along with this letter:  'No doubt you will think that I have forgotten you and the League of Friendship, but not so,' I am still very interested in the page, in spite of the fact that I very seldom write lately. But you'll excuse me, won't you, Pesident, when I tell you that this is a very busy time at the Teachers' College, and we are studying hard for the finals.' I should very, much like to tell you of a trip to Palm Beach. Leaving the Newport wharf, we took a small motor launch and set off in gay spirits. We enjoyed a magnificent trip across Pittwater, and in about a quarter of an hour we passed Lion Island. The water soon became rough, however, and our little launch started to dance and rock on the waves. We soon came in sight of the Palm Beach wharf, which is not far from the Broken Bay Heads. After a walk of about half a mile, we reached the ocean, side of this quaint little town, and very soon we were splashing about in the briny. After our dip we had lunch at Palm Beach House, and enjoyed it immensely. In the afternoon we walked across to Barrenjoey, and there saw the lighthouse at the south head of Broken Bay, and the towns of Gosford and Woy Woy in the distance. The Hawkesbury River could be seen for quite a distance, as it wound westwards through the hills. On our return journey we had rather a rough trip, a strong was blowing, and there were signs of a heavy storm. Before we arrived the rain came down in torrents, and we had a beautiful soaking.'*Dear J'Espere, — You certainly bear your discomforts with much philosophy—PRESIDENT. STUDYING HARD. (1922, June 4). Sunday Times(Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 6 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO SUNDAY TIMES. Retrieved from

Palm Beach jetty-wharf circa 1920's. Courtesy Peter Verrills.

EB Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.). (1917). Panorama of Palm Beach, Pittwater, New South Wales Retrieved from - Section from (at far left) - shows Albert Verrills home, structure beside it is original Barrenjoey House. On the hill above them can be seen the The Maitland home, built by the Verrills - at base the road leading from Sandy point to Snapperman beach.

This house beside Albert Verrills house at Palm Beach may well be that advertised below:

PALM BEACH – furnished cottage for sale or will Let or Lease. 4rms. Kitch, verandah, 36x10. 5mins surf, boating and fishing. Good views. A VERRILLS, Palm Beach, Pittwater. Advertising. (1919, January 4). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from

This is a section from:  Panorama of Palm Beach and Pittwater, Part of Enemark collection of panoramic photographs [1917-1946], nla.pic-vn6195128, courtesy National Library of Australia.

EB Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.). (1917-1921). Panorama of Palm Beach, New South Wales, 12 Retrieved from - and enlarged parts from - the same section of road a few years on when new Barrenjoey House was built (and also then originally called 'Barranjoey' House) as well as the section leading south towards Sandy Point and where the RSL now is. Courtesy National Library of Australia

Barrenjoey House - some of the landladies: 

PALM BEACH - furnished Cottages to Let and For sale Gow and Howlett, Store.Phone. 24_

PALM BEACH -High class accom. Kookaburra, Florida rd, Garner and Bruggen Tel P B 11
PALM BEACH HOUSE, HIGH CLASS ACCOMMODATION. Tel,  1 P B_Mrs. GEO LE QUESNEAdvertising. (1923, June 30). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from 

PALM BEACH,-Accom., close surf, beach. Tennis, golf, £3/10/ wk. Garner and Bruggen. 31 P.B
PALM BEACH.-Palm Beach House, 2 mins, from surf, now under entirely new management. Comfortable accom., first-class table. Under Personal supervision of the Proprietress, Mrs. CHARLES MACLEAN.,Tel.. P.B. 1. Advertising. (1924, February 20). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

With new management and a proprietress came the name 'Barrenjoey House' - for the first time:

PALM BEACH.-Accommodation, surf, tennis, golf.  Garner and Bruggen. Tele.,P.B. 31.
PALM BEACH, Barrenjoey House. Lately rebuilt and under new management. Excellent accommodation, SURFING, BOATING, FISHING, GOLF, GARAGE. Tele.. Palm Beach 35Advertising. (1925, January 14). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

State Library Image No.: d1_15935h 1925 Barrenjoey House

Now that Palm Beach House had become 'Barrenjoey House', Carl Gow, in his efforts to bring a tot of rum to Palm Beach, allows us to hear from a gentleman landlord of Barrenjoey House:

THE ALLEGATION that some people want naked at Palm Beach was made by a witness for the Licensing Board today, when an application was heard for the granting of a license at Palm Beach.
THE application was made by G. Taylor and C. B. Gough. John Regan, proprietor of a boarding establishment at Palm Beach,  said the accommodation  at the beach at present was far in excess of the requirements. Except for a few days at Christmas and Easter, his house was empty, and he was losing £6 a week. In his opinion, there would not be the slightest need for a hotel for some years to come. He thought that if there were a possibility of a licence being granted it should be given to him. Herbert Tress said that near the site of the proposed hotel the council intended to make a campers' reserve. At present the campers were an orderly crowd, but if a hotel were close by affairs might he different.
He had seen no cases of excessive drinking up to the present, but had seen men playing two up. In his opinion a hotel was not necessary.
George Hitchcock said he had seen people 'running about with nothing on.' Generally, however, the people who went to the beach were decent.
The case Is part heard. Dr. Edward Freame said there had been a great deal of disorder at the beach. Mr. Brian Clancy. Infracted by Messrs.Aspinall anil Ron, appeared for Taylor: ....Instructed by Miss Marie Pyles. for the objectors. 'NAKED PEOPLE'. (1926, November 24). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 9. Retrieved from 

This is actually Marie Byles. QUARTER SESSIONS APPEALS.  
(Before Judge Edwards.)
Hearing was continued of the appeals of Carl Beeston Gow and Alfred Edward Cooper respectively against the adjudication of the Metropolitan Licensing Court refusing to grant their respective applications for publican's licenses for premises at Palm Beach. Both appeals were dismissed, and the adjudications of the Licensing Court confirmed, with 20 guineas objectors' and £3/3/ Crown costs in each case. Mr. W. J. Bradley (instructed by Mr. W. H. Drew) appeared for appellant Gow; Mr. Clancy (instructed by Messrs. H.J. Aspinall and Son) for the appellant Cooper; Mr. V. H. Treatt (Instructed by Miss M. B. Byles) for certain objectors; and Mr. C. E.Weigall (Solicitor-General) for the police. QUARTER SESSIONS APPEALS. (1927, February 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

Of course it did not take years for there to be a need for accommodation at Palm Beach – by the 1930’s it was de rigueur to be in Palm Beach in the season and even those who weren’t there to be part of the fashionable scene, as most weren’t and went there for the sun, the surf, and to not be ‘seen’, camped beneath Barrenjoey, camped on the floor of friends homes and when they did dine out, if not on fish caught that day, the nearby Barrenjoey House was a nice option.

John Regan clearly wanted Barrenjoey House to become a premier eatery as well as place to stay. He had a few problems to overcome though, as Warringah Shire Records indicate and let his premises to the next couple with a landlady in charge:

48. John Regan. 15/2/25. again complaining of dust nuisance from Barrenjoey  Road in front of Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach. Resolved, - (era. Hitchcock, Hewitt) That the Engineer estimate the cost of metalling the Barrenjoey  Road in front of his place. 

77 Mrs Helen Hallam 18/2/28 Requesting construction of kerb and gutter in front of Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach'. 
5/3/1928 5 It was decided to construct kerb and gutter in front of Mrs Helen Hallam's premises, Barrenjoey House, Barrenjoey  Road, at an estimated cost of £12, and to carry out the necessary road metalling and tarring in connection thereon. (Contribution) at an estimated cost of £16 10 0, upon receipt from Mrs. Hallam of half such estimated costs J 9. Resolved (Crs. Hitchcock Hope)

30/4/1928: That the matter of kerbing and guttering carried out in front of Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach, be referred to the Works Committee and that Cr. Simpson and Overseer Brooks be requested to be present when the Committee makes its inspection.

13/5/1929: 10. Mrs. Helen Hallam. 30/4/29. (i) Requesting that the watercourse at the side of Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach be cleaned out and a proper channeI made, and (2) requesting that the reserve, opposite Barrenjoey House  be cleaned up every Monday morning. Resolved (Crs. Hitchcock, Austin) - That the reserve be cleaned up periodically by Beach Cleaner Johnson. 

20. John Regan, 29/3/32, complaining of damage to his property, Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach, by storm water from the hill, and reporting that the ornamental trees planted on the reserve are mostly dead. Resolved, - He be informed the trees were planted there on the understanding that the residents would look after them, and that the other matter be referred to the Shire Engineer for report. (Crs. Hitchcock, Austin)

Tuesday 26th of April, 1932: 7, Recommending an expenditure of £2 in effecting drainage improvements adjacent to "Barrenjoey House", ,Barrenjeey -Road,'Palm Beach: Resolved, - That the recommendation be adopted. (Crs. Austin, Hughes) 

Mrs Hallam's husband seems to have operated an early taxi service:

Murphy y Hallam.
This was an application on behalf of the plaintiff in the suit of Peter Murphy, of McMahon’s Point, North Sydney, against Hedley Hallam, of Palm Beach, to continue until the hearing of the suit or further order of the Court the injunction restraining the defendant from using, selling, or otherwise dealing with a certain Hudson motor car. Mr. Collins (instructed by Mr. Horace Herald) appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. J. W. Milne for the defendant.
Plaintiff claimed that in January, 1927, the defendant and he agreed Jointly to purchase a motor car for the purpose of carrying passengers. Among the terms of the agreement the defendant was to drive the car and receive a weekly remuneration for so doing; that the net proceeds should be divided equally between them; that they should each have the use of the car on alternate week-ends, when it was not engaged carrying passengers; and that he should be entitled to use the car for the purpose of enabling him to obtain a driver's license. Pursuant to the agreement, they purchased a Hudson car for £100, each of them putting in £50. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant had not carried out the terms of the agreement, hence the suit, in which he asked, among other things, that the defendant should repay him his £50. By consent, the injunction was continued till the hearing of the case. LAW REPORT. (1928, January 5). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from 

Two women and a man, on the way down the road to Barrenjoey House: 1926-29. Courtesy Pittwater Library Local Studies Collection at Mona Vale.

Barrenjoey House was also a landmark and utilised by Archdale  Parkhill, as much as being a place to stay when holidaying in Palm Beach or put to good use for community ventures:

Right: Advertising. (1927, May 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved from

Commander Boyd, of H.M.A.S. Melbourne, and Mrs. Boyd, with their children, are staying at Barrenjoey  House, Palm Beach. Society. (1927, December 11). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 25. Retrieved from 

The Palm Beach auxiliary of the Manly Cottage Hospital will hold a dance at Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach, on August 2, when the whole of the proceeds will go to the Manly Cottage Hospital. NEAR AND FAR. (1930, July 26). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from 

PALM BEACH.-Superior Accommodation, close surf. Excellent cuisine. Garner and Bruggen. T. P.B. 31. Advertising. (1927, January 15).The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from 

PALM BEACH. Florida House, for that Ideal holiday Mrs L Gallagher. Palm Beach 48. Advertising. (1929, September 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

PALM BEACH -Barrenjoey House superior Guest House golfing surfing fishing Phone, Palm Beach 1 Mrs HALLAM. Advertising. (1930, December 27). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from 

An indication that people may have dressed well to dine at Barrenjoey House:

EVENING COAT ladys white crepe de Chine - hand painted Lost near Barrenjoey House Palm Beach £1 reward Ring X2390. Advertising. (1931, January 6). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from 

PALM BEACH Barrenjoey House The most up to date Guest House in Palm Beach having septic tank electric light large dancing floor garages verandahs overlooking Broken Bay handy to surf, golf links and tennis, and only 26 miles from Sydney Excellent cuisine City Booking- Office Days Ltd 14a Martin place Sydney or Palm Beach 1 Mrs Hallam. Advertising. (1931, March 14). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 21. Retrieved from 

PALM BEACH Barrenjoey House the leading Guest House Noted for Its cuisine P B 1, Mrs Hallam. Advertising. (1931, May 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from 

And since electricity and private phones came to Palm Beach and the most modern guest house:

ONE Home Lighting Plant General Electric 32 volts 40 amps , 1500 watts Batteries equal to new Gift £75 H HALLAM Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach Phone Palm Beach 1. Advertising. (1932, April 16). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from

PALM BEACH Barrenjoey House--Superior Guest House, excellent cuisine. Mrs. Hallam Palm Beach 1. Advertising. (1933, January 14). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from  

And in Warringah Shire records, proof of the self-sufficiency of Palm Beach permanent residents, and remembering Peter Verrills family, the Gonsalves kept their own cows on the Golf Course. Older Palm Beach residents we have spoken to still rave about the quality of that milk:

14/8/1933:  The IMPOUNDING OFFICER'S REPORT reporting that Mrs. Hallam, “Barrenjoey House", Palm Beach, had wrongfully released two impounded cows without paying the prescribed-fee: That Mrs. Hallam be informed that if she does not pay releasing fees, She will be prosecuted. -(Crs. Hitchcock,Barber),

And then the Hallams were gone:
PALM BEACH. Florida House, for Ideal holiday. Surf. Tennis. Golf. Mrs. Gallagher. P.B. 48.
PALM BEACH, Barranjoey House .Accommodation. - New management. Miss Bruggen. P.B.1.
PALM BEACH, Barrenjoey House.-Comfortable. Accommodation, moderate. Miss Bruggen. P.B. 1
PALM BEACH.-To Let, Furnished Cottage, all city conveniences, accommodate 10 persons. Ring P.B. 48. 
PALM BEACH.-Furnished cottages to Let available Xmas. R. Howlett. Tele P.B.80
TALLY HO Guest House, Avalon Beach. Superior Accommodation, golfing, tennis, croquet, surfing, fishing, and ballroom. Ring Palm Beach 31.
Advertising. (1934, December 8). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

These items should be included to indicate what they indicate: from Warringah Shire Council minute records:

24/3/1936: 32. Palm Beach Progress Assoc., 14/3/36, pointing out that the absence of a notice bearing the name "Palm Beach" on the public Wharf  is the cause of uncertainty and inconvenience to visitors by launch; (b) on the necessity for a sign for the reserve opposite Barrenjoey House, suggesting the name 'Pittwater Reserve"; (c) pointing out the need for repairing Pittwater and widening Palm Beach Road to render it less dangerous; (d) Reserve expressing the opinion that the building of a concrete retaining wall on the ocean beach reserve would detract from the appearance of the beach. Council's decisions.:- (a) That a notice be erected as requested; (b) that the name Pittwater Reserve be adopted., (Cre. Hewitt, Austin); 

16/12/1941: 4. Re Proposed appointment of Caretaker at Palm Beach wharf, and reporting that Mr. Ward, of Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach, was prepared to take the position at £1 per week: Resolved, - Palm Beach That an effort be made to catch the offenders who tie up their boats to the wharf, with a view of prosecuting them. (Crs. Hitchcock, Langdale)

BARRENJOEY HOUSE -Furnished Rooms and conveniences Phone Palm Bch 1. Advertising. (1941, December 30). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from 

Palm Beach
ANGLO AMERICAN LODGE CAREEL HEAD (late Careel House) 300ft elevation. VISITORS Welcome casual or permanent. Dine buffet. Play badminton fish. Koala bears Caves etc Regular bus from Wynyard 2/House car to beaches and golf links daily. Phone Palm Beach 77 for rates etc
BARRENJOEY House. Furnished Rooms and conveniences. Phone Palm Beach 1
COTTAGE from Jan 3rd, close surf golf links Apply Koowoona Barrenjoey Road. Saturday Sunday or JA1164 after Sunday.
Palm Beach – To Let. Waterfront Cottage. WA 1427. Advertising. (1942, January 3). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from 

Barrenjoey House circa 1941 - new signage on side of building and awnings over windows

ORDER OF SALE. SUNDRY SUBURBAN PROPERTIES FOR AUCTION SALE.- IN THE REAL ESTATE INSTITUTE ROOMS. 30a MARTIN PLACE,AT 11 A.M. TODAY, WEDNESDAY, 21st  OCTOBER, 1942. PALM BEACH.-Two-storey Brick Building.  PALM BEACH ROADHOUSE, BARRENJOEY ROAD. (Deceased Estate.) HARDIE & GORMAN PROPRIETARY. LTD., Licensed Auctioneers. Advertising. (1942, October 21). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

BARRENJOEY HOUSE. Furnished Roomscommunity kitchen-dining-room: Weekly or weekend. Boats for hire. Palm Beach 1.Advertising. (1943, June 19). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

WARD. - November 12, 1943, at Balmain Hospital, George Muir Ward, of Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach, beloved husband of Glessie Ward and dearly loved father of Glestelle, aged 56 years. Privately cremated. Family Notices. (1943, November 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

George Muir Ward was born in 1888 in Paihatua New Zealand  to James Robert Ward and Mary Eliza Muir. In 1911 he married Magdalene Black. They had two children, James John Ward, born 1912 and Maisie Josephine Ward, born 1919.

Palm Beach was a professional fisherman's business place up until quite recently. Some of the menu would certainly have featured locally caught seafood and there was a 'fish merchant's (see article on fire below) beside Barrenjoey House:

FISHING Boat. Licensed. 32 ft  22mpn. Red Seal, sails, winch, and Ice box. Complete £323 rash. Inspect Palm Beach, Barrenjoey Guest House.-or call 90 Ocean St. Bondi. Advertising. (1945, July 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

FISHING BOAT 36 x 10 6 x 3 6 l8JC h P Bub Diesel engine just reconditioned good sea boat traps rope etc ready for work Watts Barrenjoey House Palm Bch.  Advertising. (1946, January 12). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

Barrenjoey House - 1940's facade

JACKET 24ft TRAP BOAT Lister Diesel best equipt. and seaboat on coast ... any trial Must be seen to be appreciated £850 WARD Barrenjoey House Palm Beach 1Advertising. (1947, November 15). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from 

Changing the façade from the simple 1919 to more sophisticated 1923 two storey version to 1940's flat roof version to 1950’s Version to 1980s pitched roof version, as rain pools on a flat roof, and also a shift towards the 974 4001 phone number the premises had prior to 9974 becoming the prefix for Palm Beach phone numbers indicate the longevity of this almost a hundred years old establishment. It is also in the 1950's the liquor is advertised, if served with meals, and Barrenjoey House becomes a "Cabaret Restaurant" - how 1950's! - Cabaret and figuring out how to have a drink during an era when liquor laws, and adjusting them, filled the news-sheets around the country.

PALM BEACH (Metropolitan)
PALM BEACH Barrenjoey House has been refitted refurnished and under new management. Surfing boating fishing golf. Every convenience for a perfect holiday Booking available from 3rd October onwards Phones, Palm Beach 4322 or 4001. Advertising. (1952, September 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 27. Retrieved from 

BARRENJOEY HOUSE PALM BEACH Under new management and refitted Overlooking beautiful Pittwater surfing fishing boating golf available first class cuisine, hot water sewerage Cabaret Restaurant service nightly Write or phone P B 4001 or 4322Bookings available for Oct Nov Dec Jan Advertising. (1952, October 18). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 25. Retrieved from

PALM BEACH(Metropolitan) BARRENJOEY HOUSE overlooking beautiful Pittwater Right at city bus stop Restaurant liquor licence Week end Guests specialty Bookings Palm Beach 4001 or Government Tourist Bureau Advertising. (1953, February 14). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 25. Retrieved from 

PALM BEACH (Metropolitan)
BARRENJOEY HOUSE at bus stop Liq. Lic. Vac for March April and May Week ends a spec Write or phone Palm Beach 4001
FLORIDA Guest House A home from Home Tariff £6 6/ wkly Children half PB 4448. Herald. Advertising. (1954, March 13). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 33. Retrieved from 

And soon after these wonderful refurbishments and refittings:

SYDNEY, Monday.
Guests fled from their rooms in night attire early this morning when a fire threatened the "Barrenjoey" guest house at Palm Beach. A fire had broken out at a nearby fish merchant's store and the flames were driven towards the guest house by a strong westerly. The fire destroyed the store and two neighbouring garages.  FIRE THREATENS GUEST HOUSE. (1953, July 21). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 4. Retrieved from

Barrenjoey guest house at Palm Beach was badly damaged by fire, and guests fled from the building in their night attire. A volunteer fire brigade saved the place. LATE NEWS SUMMARY. (1953, July 23). Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW : 1890 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

Barrenjoey House was rebuilt of course, by the builders who built Palm Beach, naturally, even if the next generation. For decades people have raved about the food there, including one Leo Schofield, called 'Mr Public Stomach' in a 1985 article. In this we get closer to a contemporary name for the old Palm Beach House.
An extract from this:
Even Patrick White was known to dine at Le Cafe, according to a Schofield review. But Le Cafe's Patric Juillet gave up restaurateuring for movie-making and....The restaurant has been repainted and refurnished since the heady days of LeCafe. Now there are tasteful palemushroom and decorous taupe curtains to the floor.
"Ultra luxe but relaxed. Lots of touches of class," Schofield rates it. Perry's co-owners are both from Barrenjoey House and Restaurant, Palm Beach. Perry looks like a wholesome North Shore surfer. McMahon, a blond…”
Although he's adamant about not having a favourite restaurant, Schofield's preferences show up in print. Out of town, Berowra Waters Inn tops the list, followed by Barrenjoey House and Reflections at Palm Beach."
LEO SCHOFIELD Mr Public Stomach. (1985, August 4). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 46. Retrieved from

Fine cuisine and keeping the rooms rustic and original are hallmarks of this Pittwater Restaurant you can also stay in - there's a good reason every seat is filled almost all year round - a great menu from great chefs - a wonderful view and corners thta may be fileld with this year's voices but allow you to still discern echoes from long ago.

The place of Barrenjoey House before anything was built - from Allen Family Albums - "Sunday 21st of November 1909" Images No.: a1373021h and below:  a1373020h , "Climbing last hill before reaching Barrenjoey: both courtesy State Library of NSW


TENDERS RECEIVED. Yesterday tenders for the following works were opened by the tender board of the Public Works Department:..road Manly to Barrenjoey, eleven tenders, Mr L.M'Cormack, £.43, lowest, road Manly to Barrenjoey nine tenders, Mr N Douglas, £52 5s, lowest, TENDERS RECEIVED. (1904, September 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

700 Tons Rock Falls at Palm Beach

(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 may 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

Palm Beach – furnished cottage for sale or will let on Lease. 4 rooms, Kit. Bathroom, Verandah 30 x 16, 6 mins to surf, surf boating and fishing good views A VERRILLS,  Palm  Beach Pittwater Advertising. (1919, January 4). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from

The boarding house built by the Barrenjoey Land Company


Kitchenman's Allegation of Offer Denied by Employer  INQUIRY INTO PALM BEACH FIRE

SENSATIONAL allegations of a conspiracy to burn down Palm Beach House, the well-known seaside boarding-house, were contained in a statement read at the City Coroner's Court last week when Mr; E. A. May enquired into the cause of two fires which occurred at Palm Beach-^one on April 1, and the other on May 24.

THE statement is alleged to have been made by Eric Woodger, and implicated Sydney Keys, owner of Palm Beach House. The two men who were present in court had previously been charged with conspiracy and arson. The first witness was Constable Fleming, of Manly, who said that on May 31 he and Constable Newton interviewed Sydney Keys at the Manly Police Station. Keys said to him: 'I want to give a man named Woodger in charge for blackmail. He came to me at Palm Beach and said he would 'split unless I gave him £50.''I asked him what Woodger was going to 'split' about,' said Constable Fleming, 'and he replied, 'About the fires at Palm Beach on April 1 and May 24.''Woodger later said to me: 'Keys Is a liar. I saw him at Palm Beach and asked him for nine days' wages I considered he owed me. He said to me: 'I will give you £50 If you keep your mouth shut about the fires.' ''At the station,' continued Constable Fleming, 'Woodger said, I set fire to the house at Keys' suggestion. He wanted the insurance and, offered me £20 to set fire to the place— -£10 before the fire and £10 afterwards, but he gave me only 50s.'Woodger's alleged statement was as follows: 'I was In Keys' employ as a kitchenman at Palm Beach House, Palm Beach, for about three months up to Easter last. He told me the house and furniture were Insured for a couple of thousand pounds. He hinted to me shortly after I went there about burning down the house for the insurance.' A few days after that he said to me, 'I will give you £20 to burn the place down for me; I will give you £10 before and £10 after you do the Job.' I more or less agreed to this in order to keep my Job.' He said three or four days before the fire, 'We will set her going on Monday night when everybody is out of the house.' On Easter Monday morning he showed me a bottle of petrol and gave me a piece of old towel to saturate with petrol and place over the hole under the bed.' About 6.30 that night he came tome In the' pantry, and producing a bottle of whisky said, 'We will have a few stiff ones cut of this before we find her up.' We had several whiskies each.' I then went into the garage under the house and applied a match to the hole over which the petrol-soaked towel was. It caught fire, and I cleared. 'I just went on to the road outside. I could see smoke issuing', from No. 7.Shortly after that a crowd came on the scene, and the Are was 'extinguished.' Keys returned about 10 .o'clock that night, and came down to my, room with two bottles of wine. He said, 'You are a fool; you made a mess of It on purpose. You did not try to fire It.'' Keys did not give me any portion of the £20 which he had promised me for setting fire to the place. About a week later I left Keys' employment. When he was paying me I said, 'You haven't played the game?' He said, 'You did not try to set fire to It.' All he gave me was 50/-,and he said, 'There, that's for your trouble.' ..'On Wednesday, 29th Inst., Keys came to me at my boarding house about 6 p.m., and I said- 'It looks like as If we are going to get into trouble over this. What are you going to do about it?' He said,I know nothing about It.''

He then handed me 30/-, and said, 'You had better keep quiet and know nothing.' He then left I consider Keys owed me nine days' wages.'I went to him at Palm Beach yesterday and asked him for it. He said, 'I can see what you are doing. This is-a case .of blackmail, -I will give you nothing.' 

'I then saw Keys,' added Constable Fleming, 'and told Mr. Woodger had denied the allegation of blackmail, and had stated that Keys had offered him £30 to keephis mouth shut. Keys, according to Constable Fleming, replied, 'Dear, oh dear, what a fool a man is.' 'He appeared to be ill,' added the constable. 'I read the statement to him, and Woodger looked at Keys and said: 'Every word of that is true!' Keys was silent, and appeared to be ill. A little later he remarked: 'I'm admitting nothing; I'm denying it all'.' Mrs. Eileen James, of Darlington-road, Darlington, said she had been employed

SAID TO HAVE TOLD THE POLICE that Keys offered him money to burn down - the house. — Eric Woodger.

as a Housemaid-waitress at Palm Beach House for about 12 weeks prior to last Easter, and also for four days during Easter. She was In charge of room No. 7,which was occupied by a lady guest who smoked. 'All the ladles smoked while I was there,' said the witness, who added, that she washed out No.7 on April 1, and saw no hole in the floor. . 'Waltent Hubert Rayner, of Independent means, said he had known Keys for six or seven years. He had been a hall porter at Ushers Hotel before he went to Palm Beach. The furnishings of his house there were above the average;, and he (Rayner) estimated them to be worth between £1200 and £1400.'I have always looked upon Keys as a straight-going, decent fellow,' he added. 'I once recommended him for an hotel and would do so again now.'

Mr. Moors: Did Keys see you shortly after the fire?— Yes. He said something about a man who had been in his employ. I don't think he mentioned any name. He said he was trying to blackmail him. ' He told me the man said to him that the Insurance Company had offered him £200 if he would tell them anything about the fire on May 24.'I told him,' continued Rayner, 'that I would have punched the man on the nose and kicked him out of the place. I also said his best plan was to see his solicitor the next- day.' At this stage the Inquiry was adjourned to June 28. . - .

Mr. Rogers (Crown Law Department)appeared to assist the police; Mr. Moors(Instructed by Messrs. Turner, Nolan and Bender) for Sydney Keys; Mr. J. Yeldham for Eric Woodger, Mr. Aspinall for the Palm Beach Land Syndicate, unpaid vendors, and Mr. Rainbow for various insurance companies. "£20 TO FIRE HOUSE". (1929, June 23). Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from 


Kitchenman Denies Intention to Fire Palm Beach House


STARTLING developments occurred at the City Coroner's Court last week when the inquiry was continued into the fires at Palm Beach House on April 1 and May 24. ERIC WOODGER, who, with Sydney Keys, has been charged with conspiracy and arson, entered the witness box and corroborated the statement he had previously made alleging that Keys bribed him to set the house on fire.

WALTER HUBERT RAYNER, who gave evidence at the previous hearing, was recalled last week and stated, amongst other things, that Keys told him on one occasion that Woodger had said to him (Keys) that the Insurance Company had offered him (Woodger) £200 and police protection. Dudley Sanderson, law clerk, said Keys told him that Woodger had called on Mrs. Keys and stated he had a proposition for her husband. Asked what it was he is alleged have said that he had been offered £200 and police protection if he would give certain evidence. 'Why do you come to us, then?' Mrs. Keys said she asked him. 'Oh,' Keys is alleged to have replied, 'if Sid. Will give me £50 1 will say nothing about it.'

Christina Smith, of  Burrangong Station, Young, said that early in1929 she was employed at Palm Beach House. Early in June, she said, a man named Simpson visited her at Young, and told her that Eric Woodger had said he had warned her to pack her bag.

Mrs. Eileen James.

that the place(Palm Beach House) was going to be set on fire. 'I told him that was not true, and that I was willing to swear so,' said Miss Smith. Mr. Rogers: Do you know what terms Woodger was on with the rest of the staff? — They didn't like him. What about yourself? — I was like the rest — I didn't like him.

Mr. Yeldham: If you were not friendly with Woodger why did you smoke cigarettes with him in your room? — I did not do so. Did you ever smoke with him?— I may have done so in the kitchen.

George Moodie, laborer, of 'Florida House,' Palm Beach, said that on May 24 he and a pal named Petersen passed Palm Beach House about 8.30 p.m. They saw a sky-rocket land on the roof of the house. About 45 minutes later he saw the fire break out. 

Stood by Story Woodger then entered the box and said he stood by the statements he had given the police.. 

Mr. Yeldham: What about Chrissy Smith's statement that she was unfriendly with you?— It is a deliberate lie. She was in my room nearly every night smoking cigarettes.

Continuing, Woodger said that following the suggestion about burning down the house he suggested to Chrissy that he should write a letter regarding it and place it in safe keeping. However, he did not do so.' On the night of April 1,' he continued, 'I went into the garage and put a lighted match through a hole Keys had bored.' I had previously poured water on one end of the mattress, and also had three buckets of water ready. It was not my intention to set fire to the house, but to make a smoke. Afterwards,  I went out on to the road and then assisted to put out the fire. I know nothing of the fire on May 24—I was not in the district.' For some reason or other Eileen James did not like me. I think her friendship with Simpson had something to do with it. Later I detected her cheating at cards.'

Mr. Rainbow: Was any property removed from Palm Beach House prior to Easter? — Chrissy Smith informed me that the Keys' were taking all their effects out of the rooms. Chrissy and I went into the Keys' rooms and found the drawers empty. Did Keys ever tell you about his financial position?— Yes; he said he was dead up against it. He said he had to meet a cheque at Easter, but would have to transfer £100 from his wife's account to do It.

Mr. Dovey: Are you giving evidence against yourself in this case out of a sense of decency? — I am giving evidence out of a sense of truthfulness. You also realise you are giving evidence against Keys? — Yes. Didn't you ever boast to Keys about your conquests with women?— I'm not here to call him a liar. 

Were the girls at Palm Beach House forward with you?— No. Chrissy used to come to my room at times and smoke a cigarette. She also told me once that Keys was making her life unbearable over a certain matter.’ Continuing his cross-examination, Mr. Dovey asked Woodger if Keys had ever given him any money for the fire. Woodger: About four days after Easter, when he was paying my wages, he gave me 50s.

'Suspected It'

Mr. Dovey: If you did not propose to burn down the house, as you have stated, why did you think it necessary to warn Miss Smith? — I thought the house might go at any time. What did she say when you told her?—She said she suspected it. What was your opinion of Keys when you left him?— I thought he was a man in desperate circumstances.

‘Weren't you under notice of dismissal when the first fire took place? — Woodger(striking the Bible dramatically): On that Bible, no. Did Keys give you a week's notice on March 12? — Yes. Did you tell Keys in Manly that the police were enquiring about your movements on the night of May 24?— Probably I did.! Did you say you thought they suspected you for something?— No. I Did you tell the police you had been in the company of three girls on the night of the fire?— No, I said I had been with three ladies. Have the insurance people been to see you? — No. Did you tell Keys they had offered you £200? — Rubbish.

 Mr. Yeldham: Did -you ask Keys for anything but your wages?— ^?of I told him that as he hadn't played the game with me I knew of no reason why I should shield him from the police.

Helen Keys, wife of Sydney Keys, said there were about 22 guest at Palm Beach House for tea on Easter Monday. About7 p.m. her husband left by car for Manly with four passengers. Woodger was in the pantry all the time. About 8.15 news of the fire was spread by a guest. It was extinguished when Woodger appeared.

His evidence that he had several buckets of water in readiness was totally untrue. At this stage, the inquiry was adjourned until July 2. Mr. Dovey intimated that in view of developments, he would put Keys in the box. Mr. Rogers (Crown Law Department)appeared to assist the police; Mr. Moors and Mr. W. R. Dovey (instructed by Messrs. Turner, Nolan and Bender) for Sydney Keys; Mr. J. Yeldham for Eric Woodger; Mr. Aspinall for the Palm Beach Land Syndicate, unpaid vendors; and Mr. Rainbow for various insurance companies. "ONLY MEANT TO MAKE SMOKE". (1929, June 30). Truth(Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from 

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT. (Before Mr. Justice Stephen.) Senior Crown Prosecutor, Mr. McKean, K.O.


Eric Geal Woodger, 35, labourer, was charged with having maliciously set fire to a dwelling-house in the possession of Sydney Keyes, at Palm Beach, on April 1, with intent to injure. Mr. Robert M. Kidston (Instructed by Mr. John Yeldham) appeared for the accused.

The accused, so the Crown stated, was employed as a kitchenman at Palm Beach House, a guest house, and on April 1 a fire broke out in one of the bedrooms. It was soon extinguished, and only a mattress was burned.

Constable Fleming stated that accused had admitted having set fire to the house, and in a statement said that Keyes had offered him£20 to do so. Keyes, who had been charged with the offence, denied the whole of the accused's statement.

The accused gave evidence, and said that Keyes had tried to get him to set fire to the house, so he "bluffed" him by setting fire to the mattress, which he had first thrown water on. He had done it to please Keyes, as he wanted to keep his job.

After the accused had given his evidence the jury intimated that it did not wish to hear anything further, as it had come to the conclusion that no attempt had been made to set fire to the whole house. The accused was acquitted by the jury without leaving the box, and he was discharged. CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT. (1929, September 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

Barrenjoey House at Palm Beach - 2015 

Barrenjoey House - Restaurants You Could Also Stay In Part I - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2015. Historic Family photos copyright Verrills Family, 2015.