December 15 - 21, 2013: Issue 141
Carl Gow and Frank Gonsalves Boatshed, Palm Beach
Any research into the life and times of the Gow and Gonsalves families of Palm Beach indicates a matter of fact down to earth honesty, a love of the simple things in life, and of serving others. Records indicated numerous rescues of vessels and people in peril, rescues that were carried out by younger and older generations in launches and even in surf boats. As year round permanent residents and founding members of Palm Beach SLSC, who were quite happy to row the surf boat to Newcastle for carnivals, a fishermen’s legacy of knowing the seasons and their tides and weather, of being kept healthy while rowing open whalers to catch fish, or a heritage of lightkeepers who kept an open door, established this boatshed as yet another community meeting place long before the Palm Beach RSL eventuated. Anecdotes from relatives and scant reports found all point to a few handfuls of Palm Beach families looking out for each other and any visitors who came to the waters off Palm Beach or in its estuary.
Situated at the north end of Snapperman Beach, Carl Beeston Gow returned from WWI a quiet hero and was, as Peter Verrills described him, “a man full of knowledge”. His father Robert, stationed at Barrenjoey Lighthouse as a relieving lightkeeper, welcomed home his son mid –winter 1919.
Carl Gow and a fellow veteran took over this property from a man named Ellis who in turn had taken it over from James Booth, Church Point gentleman who was a consummate builder employed by the Barrenjoey Company from the outset and who is reported to have built the first jetty to land prospective land buyers at the Barrenjoey end of the peninsula from 1911 on. Some sources state they paid a whopping £500 - the proprietors apparently wanted at least £1900.00 but settled for what they could get.:
NOTES AND COMMENTS.
Barrenjoey Company, Ltd, has been registered with a capital of £6000, In 120 shares of £50 each, the object being to purchase 410 acres of the Bassett Darley subdivision. The first directors are Messrs H. Wolstenholme, E T Jones, J T Ralston, J Young, and H R Nolan. NOTES AND COMMENTS. (1911, June 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15239859
They applied to install a jetty and a swimming area was later netted against sharks around this, which Warringah Shire council required them to maintain and make available for students to use.
APPLICATIONS FOR SPECIAL LEASES
Attention is directed to the notification in the "Government Gazette" of this date of applications made for Special Leases, as hereunder mentioned. Any objections lodged in writing at this office on or before 13th December, 1911, or before the Local Land Board shall have concluded its inquiry at the hearing of the respective applications for such Special Leases, will be duly considered; and any objections lodged after that period will not be entertained.
ARTHUR SHARP. Chairman.
Applicant: THE BARRANJOEY COMPANY, Limited (S.L.), 11.7, Metropolitan). Locality: Pittwater, Parish of Narrabeen, County of Cumberland. Area: 32 perches; for wharf. Advertising (1911, November 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15290140
The 'wharf' was situated at what we today call the Gonsalves Jetty, earlier a James Booth enterprise and Carl Gow's Jetty after that.
Observation Point, Palm Beach, Newport Digital Order Number: a106120 circa 1912, Broadhurst Image, courtesy State Library of NSW.
EXTENSION OF TERMS OF SPECIAL LEASES. County Cumberland, parish Narrabeen, below high-water mark, Pitt water, portion Sp. L. 1912 4 ; Ms. 3,922 Sy. Area, 1 rood 20 perches.
1917 -1176 Barranjoey Co., Ltd., 14 Castlereagh-st., Sydney. No. of Application – 1912 – 4, Metropolitan Bathing Place – from 1 Jan. 1917 to 31 Dec. 1921
Special Lease 1912 4, Metropolitan. Barrenjoey Company, Limited.—The lease shall be subject to subsections 1, 3, 4, G to 0, 11, and 13 of Regulation No. 10G (notified 20th April, 1917), and to the following special conditions:—
(a) The lessees shall permit children attending any school in Warringah Shire, and in charge of teachers, to have the free use of the baths without payment on one day in each week between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., such children to provide their own towels and bathing costumes. (b) The lessees shall have not less than three life-buoys readily available at all times. (c) The lessees shall be responsible for the proper conduct and cleanliness of the baths, and shall compel bathers to wear suitable bathing costumes, (d) The lessees shall, after determination of the lease by forfeiture, effluxion of time, or otherwise, and within such time as may be given, remove the structure or all or any material from the lanel at their own cost, and without compensation, if required by the Minister in writing to do so. ) The lessees shall, within six months from the date of notification in the Government Gazette of the granting of the extension of the term of the lease, enclose the land with a shark-proof fence, and maintain such fence in efficient repair throughout the currency of the lease. (e) A breach of any of the conditions, or the occurrence of any indecent or disorderly conduct, will render the lease liable to forfeiture. EXTENSION OF TERMS OF SPECIAL LEASES. (1917, November 2). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 5968. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article227328341
Advertisement for above stating 'harbour side wharf': Advertising. (1912, January 6). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15300293
Barrenjoey - Palm Beach Estate - Pittwater - Barranjoey Rd 1912 - part of brochure. Item: c052700024, courtesy State Library of NSW
Barrenjoey - Palm Beach Estate - Pittwater - Barranjoey Rd 1912 - part of brochure. Item: c052700025, courtesy State Library of NSW
Above this Jetty the first General Stores, known as 'Booth's Store'. A biography from a gentleman who once holidayed here in the summer of 1919/1920 points to Carl Gow having taken over the jetty and store by that season:
DISTRICT COURT. (Before Judge Backhouse.) CONTRACTOR'S CLAIM. Alfred Wrigley Ellis, of Palm Beach, near Barrenjoey, sued Bernard Stiles, of Yarrandi, Church-street, Newtown, medical practitioner, and P. M. Stiles, his wife, for money alleged to be due under a contract. The claim,£68 19s 1d, was for time and money lost owing to the stopping by the defendants of their contract with the plaintiff for the erection of a cottage at Palm Beach. The defendants paid £18 15s into court, and denied further liability. Mr. A. R. J. Watt, instructed by Messrs. John M’Laughlin and Son, appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Clive Teece, instructed by Mr. J. T. Ralston, for the defendants. His Honor returned a verdict for the plaintiff for the amount paid into court. DISTRICT COURT. (1918, March 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15773331
"The Jetty, Palm Beach" places the spectator on a high grassy bank, with trees, below which stretches a sandy shore and a breadth of dimpling water. The warm, purplish haze which hangs over the further coast is very tenderly suggested, and the eye dwells upon it both with pleasure and instruction. THE LISTER EXHIBITION. (1917, May 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15712131
HAWKESBURY RIVER, PITTWATER, NEWPORT, and PALM BEACH.-S.S. CHARLOTTE FENWICK leaves Macleay River Wharf, oil foot of Bathurst street, every MONDAY, 10 a.m.; and THURSDAY 5a.m. Cargo received daily. _Tel., Citv 1018. Advertising. (1918, November 22). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15812038
The first general store was at Palm Beach, on the Pittwater side near the jetty, as early as 1914, and was known as Booth's store. Later it became Ellis' store, and then after the last war two returned Diggers, Mr. Fred Howlett and his partner, Gowe, took it over. Their general supplies came by ship from Sydney by the Erringhi and the Kallawatta, and meat and bread came by launch from Newport. They made their own ice-cream in those days, and froze it in old fashioned freezers with coarse salt. It was just as popular as the well known brands are today. It was not until 1929 that Howlett's store was established on the beachside of Palm Beach. Before that there was no road through from Pittwater, and the top road was used by residents. Palm Beach setting for smartest sea and sun togs. (1946, January 12). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47245736
PALM BEACH.-Furnished Cottages to Let and For Sale.- Gow and Howlett, Store. Phone. 24. Advertising. (1921, April 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28086899
Prior to the first World War transport to the Peninsular and Palm Beach in particular was, to say the least, difficult. Proceeding from Circular Quay one took a ferry to Manly, then a horse-drawn streetcar to Narrabeen where a ferry crossing was made of the lake. A sulky continued the journey to Church Point and finally one took another row-boat ferry to Palm Beach.
At the time we were there, the Summer of 1919/20, transport had improved to the extent that we were able to travel by launch from Newport to Palm Beach where a small wharf had been built at Gow's boat-shed, immediately south of Observation Point. From there we proceeded by row-boat to the old Customs Jetty.
At that time Palm Beach Telephone Exchange had only 14 subscribers, and the Barrenjoey Lighthouse was still lit by a kerosene lamp consuming 4 gallons of kerosene each night.
I'm not sure how my parents came to choose a Barrenjoey custom house for a holiday but I have a vague recollection that it was through their friends Ma and Pa Shimmels who was superintendant of Prison Farm Homes for Juvenilles at Mittagong. Retrieved from; http://rus.shorter.net/a_life_enjoyed.txt and from: Woodley’s Cottage
Henry Francis Gonsalves was born at Watsons Bay in 1868 to John Gonsalves (1843-1882) and Mary Barry. In 1894 Woollahra was seeking to become a separate shire. Amongst those recorded as signing a petition for this was one Henry Francis Gonsalves - Henry Gonsalves Toogood-st. Advertising. (1894, September 8). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115547731
In 1896 he married Caroline Emily Walter, born at Waterloo, also in 1868. In 1900 the same gentleman applied was an assignee of an official bankrupt;
Re Henry Mealing and Henry Francis Gonsalves. The bankrupt Mealing was examined at some length by the official assignee, after which the matter was adjourned until September 5. BANKRUPTCY COURT. (1900, August 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14332267
Three years later he had a new business with the same Henry Mealing, registered in NSW State Records as:
H MEALING & COMPANY - Eastern Markets Woolloomooloo; registered 26 Jun 1903; MEALING, Henry; GONSALVES, Henry Francis.
Peter Verrills kindly fills in the gaps here:
I was born in Waratah street, Palm Beach. My granny Gonsalves delivered me. Dad was away in the Army and so mum lived with her parents in their home while he was away. When the Gonsalves first arrived they settled on what we call today ‘Portuguese Beach’; they were coming here for around three years before they moved in permanently here. They’d row around every Summer because old Goni was a fisherman and Mrs Gonsalves was a Walter from the Newcastle ferry family from Stockton, how they met I don’t know, but he probably went up and down the coast fishing, and they settled over on Portuguese Beach. They were a Portuguese family, the Gonsalves, and that’s how it has got its name; Portuguese. The authorities eventually got them off out of there and they then bought land in Waratah street also. She set up a dairy there and grew veggies and everything to supply the weekenders with milk and veggies, and all the golf course here; they had that as agistment for their stock. In some of the old photos you’ll see cows wandering around on it. The Gonsalves and Verrills have all inter-married, and then the Goddards.
Caroline E Gonsalves (nee Walter) wife of Henry F Gonsalves, married 1896, holding Peter Verrills.
Gonsalves family home in Waratah Street, Palm Beach. From Verrills family album.
In 1908, at Woollahra, Francis Joseph Gonsalves was born. Francis J (Frank) was the sixth of seven sons and five daughters. Francis Joseph junior married Mary Jane Delaney in 1941. His sons were Frank and Carl. Of Frank seniors sons, Henry (Tim) and Sydney (Sid) Frederick, Harold (Midge) Edward appear with Carl among Palm Beach SLSC's earliest records:
back of photo reads (Carl Gow is at right and back with blond little boy on his lap):
Above and Below: Gow's Store in its early days courtesy Peter Verrills
Barrenjoey Road, Pittwater Park prior to being resumed and named as such and Ferry Wharf - Gows Jetty with Pool area shown circa 1917. Gow-Gonsalves-Verrills family photo
The Gow/Gonsalves lands here - from Historical Land Resources Viewer:
Palm Beach - made in 1926, by Sydney Long (1871–1955)
line-etching, printed in brown ink with plate-tone, from one copper plate Reproduced with the kind permission of the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia. intaglio , line-etching, printed in brown ink with plate- one, from one copper plate on thin smooth dark cream laid Van Gelder Zonen paper
17.5 (h) x 35.2 (w) cm 7/60 , published state , edition of 60 , watermark centre, 'VAN GELDER ZONEN [runs vertically]'
Signed lower right below plate-mark in black pencil, 'Sydney Long'. Titled lower centre below plate-mark in black pencil 'Palm. Beach.' Inscribed with edition details lower left below plate-mark in black pencil, '7/60'.
Reference: Mendelssohn (1979), 75; Paul (1928), 6
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra NGA 1977.9.80
The Stephen Collection, purchased 1976.
Reproduced with the kind permission of the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia
By National Gallery of Australia's Emma Kindred:
'The wooden boathouse, originally used as a shed for sail making, sits out from the curve of the sandy shoreline in Long’s composition, with a ramp leading down to shallow ripples at the water’s edge. Long sketched the scene sitting on the sand looking towards the mouth of Pittwater as it opens out to the Tasman Sea, opposite West Head and Resolute Beach. The view encompasses the dense shrubbery of Barrenjoey Headland, which divides the opposing sides of the peninsula. Long did not invert his drawing before etching the plate, and consequently the image is in reverse. By the 1920s, Palm Beach was a haven for popular sports such as fishing, sailing, golf and rowing. Prosperous Sydneysiders maintained second homes or stayed in guesthouses that were dotted around the beach. The Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club was established on the beachfront in 1921, and the boathouse that faces north, away from the beach on the Pittwater shoreline, was also built around this time. A copy of Palm Beach was first exhibited in 1926 at the ‘Sixth annual exhibition of the Australian Painter–Etchers’ Society’, Sydney, June–July (43). An artist’s proof is held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales."
Pittwater Park the view south circa 1930-1939
Palm Beach Ferry wharf and Pittwater Park circa 1938 from beside Barrenjoey House. Crowley Family records state Mr Crowley was allowed to form a vegetable garden in the land behind Barrenjoey House and did so for a few years, which is the aspect from which this image has been taken. The Norfolk pines are already in place.
Gow's-Gonsalve's Boatshed circa 1930 or 1940 - Verrills Family photos
Gows and Gonsalves boatshed taken from Carls originals courtesy Peter Verrills, circa 1939-1940
WWI Veteran Mr Gow also had other dealings, along with the Gonsalves, over the original Palm Beach Jetty, now a wharf, with Warringah Council. Their records chart its changes:
C.B.Gow 20/12/29. Asking if Council has any, objection to the granting of a permissive occupancy to C.B. Gow for a business boatshed at Palm Beach. - Referred to Work's Committee (Crs.Parr,Austin.)
'31. C.B. Gow, applying for permission to wall and fill in an area about 30' x 20' between his boat shed and garage on the foreshore at Palm Beach. Referred to Works Committee. 19/11/1934
(b) that the carrying out of the drainage of Barrenjoey Road "between Milton's corner and Gow’sbe 'proceeded with; 27/3/1933
A. Dangar-Browne & 9 others, 21/9/35, submitting an emphatic protest against the proposal to use Goddard's wharf Palm Beach at Palm Beach in lieu of the public wharf, and setting out reasons for the protest. 18a. C.B.Gow, 23/9/35, regarding condition of wharf, and stating he is prepared to repair and maintain it in a state of good repair for period of 12 months for the sum of £20, the money to be paid at the end of the 12 months. Resolved, - That the offer of Mr. C. B. Gow be accepted, (Crs. Austin, Hewitt) 1/10/1935
C.B. Gow, 25/3/38, requesting permission to take over the old wharf at Palm beach stating he is prepared to reconstruct it to the engineer's satisfaction and take over the lease from the Lands Department. 29a. A .Dangar Burne, suggesting that the old wharf be allowed to remain for the convenience of boating men. Resolved, - That Mr. Gow be informed the Council proposes to terminate the occupancy of the site of the wharf, and will Permit him to take it over provided that the public will have uninterrupted use of the wharf and he complies with whatever conditions the Lands Department may lay down. (Crs. Hitchcock, Savage)
Lands Department, 7/12/38, replying that it offers no objection to the leasing of the old wharf at Palm Beach to Mr. C.B. Gow, provided he undertakes to repair and keep it in good order and allow the public free use of it at all times. Resolved, - That the Council agree to the lease to Mr. Gow, provided he first places the wharf in good order to the Shire Engineer’s satisfaction. 20/12/1938
Reporting that the old structure of Palm Beach Wharf Beach should be demolished: Resolved - That Mr. C.B. Gow be given two months in which to complete the restoration work to the Shire engineer’s satisfaction. (Crs. Latham, Savage) 24/1/1939
Reporting that Mr. Gow has ceased his improvement operations on the old public wharf at Palm Beach: Resolved, That Mr. Gow be required to finish the whole of the work within two months. (Crs. Butcher, Campbell) 11/7/1949
Gow & Gonsalves, 12/7/52, drawing attention to the state of the Council's wharf adjacent to Gow's boatshed and suggesting that it be repaired or demolished, but if the Council is not prepared to do this, stating that they are prepared to take over the structure. Resolved: that this wharf be demolished (Crs. McKay and Berry).
C. B. Gow, 18/9/52, regarding the old wharf at Palm Beach, contending that it would be more expedient to re-build the old wharf than to demolish it, pointing out that a wharf has been at this site for about 40 years, and is greatly used by local residents; and stating that he would be prepared to build and maintain a new wharf or pull the old one down. 22. Resolved, - That he be informed that Council adheres to its previous decision, and the Engineer be instructed to demolish this wharf at. the earliest possible Opportunity.- (Crs. McKay, Berry)
CARRIED. (b) Cr. Berry moved, Cr. McKay seconding, that the decision of 21/7/52 to demolish Mr. C.B. Gow's wharf at Palm Beach be rescinded, and he be allowed to rebuild the wharf at his own expense and that the Council be relieved of any legal Wharves responsibility as to the management of this wharf. Cr. Horn moved as an amendment, Cr. Quinlan seconding, that this matter be referred to the Finance & General Purposes Committee, with a report by the Shire Engineer and Legal Officer, and in the meantime Mr. Gow be asked to confer with the Engineer and submit a proposal as to what he is prepared to do to reinstate the wharf to good condition., and the terms under which he desires to be allowed to use the wharf. The amendment was carried, and on becoming the motion, was again carried. (c) Cr. McKay moved, Cr. Berry seconding 30/3/1953
Tom Gilbert (in middle) atop Carl Gow's/Gonsalves Boatshed, 1949. Annual fundraisers were held in the park near the ferry wharf to raise funds to support the Randwick Hospital with the Carl Gow/Gonsalves Boatshed put into use as the 'Beer House'. This became an annual event: HOSPITAL BENEFIT AT PALM BEACH. The Randwick Auxiliary Hospital will benefit from a deep sea fishing and sporting day at Palm Beach tomorrow. Professional fishermen operating from Palm Beach and private owners are providing the trawlers. HOSPITAL BENEFIT AT PALM BEACH. (1950, March 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27575067
Carl Gonsalves, son of Frank J (Jnr.) passed away in 2009. A very popular Palm Beach gentleman and founding member of the Palm Beach Yacht Club, owner of the ketch 'Van Dieman', he too was known for making his boatshed available for gatherings after sailing with PBYC. His children Carl and Caressa still live at Palm Beach and Carl now runs the boatshed.
Gonsalves Boatshed aerial - courtesy Beryl Driver OAM
Carl Gonsalves, son of Carl and Caressa Gonsalves, current proprietor, in 2013. (sorry Carl, running it again!)
Gow's jetty was link with the outside world for visitors to Palm Beach - this image circa 1920-21. Courtesy Peter Verrills.
Snapperman Beach and Gow-Gonsalve Boatshed and Wharf, circa 1923.
Panorama of Palm Beach and Pittwater, New South Wales, panorama by E B Studios circa 1917 -1946. (Must be pre-1928 as original home of Albert Verrills in this picture burnt down prior to then)Image: nla.pic-vn6195128, courtesy National Library of Australia. This is all same photograph - we have enlarged it in portions to show details
Above: Frank J Jnr. in his early 20's. Below Frank Gonsalves. Courtesy Peter Verrils.
- Carl Gow’s WWI Service in AIF
- Palm Beach Jetty - Gow's Wharf
- The Fearless Men of Palm Beach SLSC's Surf Boats First Crews - A Tale of Viking Ships, Butcher Boats and Robert Gow's Tom Thumb 'Canoe
- Peter Frederick Verrills
- Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Palm Beach
- Reginald Howlett (Palm Beach Stores/Shops)
- Iluka Park, Woorak Park, Pittwater Park, Sand Point Reserve, Snapperman Beach Reserve - Palm Beach: Some History
- Barrenjoey House Celebrates its Centenary in 2022
- Tom Gilbert - Profile of the Week
- Albert Verrills - History
- Fred Verrills; Builder of Bridges and Roads within Australia during WWII, Builder of Palm Beach Afterwards - History