September 21 - 27, 2014: Issue 181

 Graham Howard


The President of North Palm Beach SLSC personifies dedication to our most northerly surf lifesaving club – seven days a week, year round, you will find the big man with an even bigger heart keeping an eye on what is going on around his clubhouse and its surrounds.

Graham is essentially a down to earth man and seems to prefer just getting on with it, whatever needs to be done. Some indication of the work Mr. Howard has put into North Palmy is shown in the club’s winning a swag of awards at this year’s Surf Lifesaving Sydney Northern Beaches Awards of Excellence.

This week it is a great pleasure to share a small insight into a large work and one of its great workers.

When and where were you born?

Balmain Hospital in 1957.

Did you grow up around Balmain?

Yes. I was into football while growing up; Union and League. I played for Balmain RSL in League and Drummoyne Rugby in Union. I went to school at High Brocks Park which is now Leichhardt High School.

I became a Baker- Pastry Cook once I’d graduated at Abbco Bakery, which was in Leichhardt. 

So you are a Balmain Boy?


What was the best part of growing up and still being part of Balmain?

It’s a great area – you have Leichhardt close by – there’s a lot of things going on there. I’ve seen a few changes – you have Northern Street in Balmain now, which is ideal for restaurants and a great place to go and hang out. 

What are the duties of the North Palm Beach SLSC?

North Palm Beach is a little bit different to other Surf Clubs. As I’ve retired from work to do this, my job at the moment is to look after the Home and Away film people, make sure the club and its facilities are available to them when needed. I also run the Surf Club’s Canteen. We also have people who wish to use the facilities for making advertisements on the beach – so space is hired for doing make-up, storing equipment or products being used. I oversee these making sure the Surf Club is making money. 

Advertiser makers need to use our equipment and personnel. All of this revenue generated from these goes back into the club – none of our members or myself get paid – our roles are in a voluntary capacity – as with all surf clubs.

How many hours are you doing each week – you seem to be there seven days a week?

I like to get home to Balmain every week, but that doesn’t always happen. 

Last year we ran a page on the end of Winter Powercraft Training and North Palm Beach SLSC This year you won The Harry Ragan - Outstanding Service Award. This was awarded to you for the way in which Palm Beach SLSC has been a part of bringing the Power craft education and training to the level that it is at now …

Oh yes, I suppose they had to give it to somebody (laughs); no, I never knew Harry personally, so that was disappointing, but it was a thrill to receive this award as this is awarded because everyone you work with states that you’re the best bloke for the job.

How did this Program become part of North Palm Beach SLSC?

Branch was looking for someone to run a proper Training Program. They contacted me and asked if I’d do it, to which I said yes I would as long as they stuck to the rules that I put in place. That’s how it started and they’ve been here now for three or four years. They train all through Winter on Saturday’s and Sundays. 

What to you are the benefits of having these auxiliary craft as part of Surf Life Saving?

When we got involved we got Palm Beach SLSC involved, they had a few good members who were driving the skis. They did ten rescues in half an hour when they started, solely because they are that quick getting into and out of the surf – this is the speed of them and the distance you can travel in a short time.

Palm Beach, being such a long beach, requires this kind of safety and rescue craft. They’re not for every beach – smaller bays or beaches – but the craft here do go from here to Whale Beach for instance, and Avalon – and they do do the 21 beaches when required, from Palm Beach to Manly. They’re also utilised through events such as The Big Swim, along with the rubber duckies or IRB’s.

North Palm Beach SLSC was also awarded the SLS SNB Branch’s Awards of Excellence; Most Improved Club (Outstanding Club Support to Education); what were the aspects that made your club Most Improved?

Overall we improved our standard for our Patrol Audits; we went from 18th place to 3rd place in this. We have people in the Office who are spending more time ensuring the paperwork goes in correctly. Our Gear Inspections have improved as well.

North Palm Beach SLSC is only a small club though – you have only 110 members?

Yes; we’ve always been a small club. The Surf Club was begun by the caravan park people, people how would come here for their holidays and wanted safety on the beach for those there for the Season. These people all came from Balmain, Ryde and Rozelle – the first President, George Wilson, was a Barber at Rozelle.

That is the way the Club has gone on; we have a few members from the local area but the majority of our members still come from outside of the area and that is why we still have bunkhouses. 

We have nine Patrols this year.

This year you were also awarded with SLSNSW Life Membership for distinguished voluntary service and dedication to the advancement and promotion of Surf Life Saving…

Yes, that was nice. I also got a kick out of winning the ANZAC of the Year Award (1988) – that was something that just happened – the RSL said you’re one of our best volunteers and I was subsequently awarded this for NSW. I received a letter in the post inviting me to Government House to receive this award – the pin I received with Simpson and his donkey and in recognition of service really – which I’ve been doing for a long while.

When did you first join North Palm Beach SLSC?

I was playing rugby for Drummoyne and one of the Trainers the club had invited the two teams down to North Palm Beach Surf Club for a barbecue. I’ve been here ever since. I loved it so I joined – this would have been 30 odd years ago.

What do you like about Surf Life Saving?

What has kept me here lately is finishing something that some of our earlier members wanted to see happen – get a second story on and get a bigger clubhouse for the members, somewhere the members could say ‘this is ours’. 

Just on the new clubhouse – have the members had to raise the funds themselves?

Yes. We’ve raised the funds required through Home and Away and the Canteen and other advertisements.  Just hard slog and squirreling it away. I’m ecstatic at the point we have got to so far but I want it finished. 

We’re all doing this for nothing, we hired a few labourers, but the bulk of the work has been done by qualified members, builders, doing it for nothing, and other members helping – we didn’t even have a crane on site, we did it all manually, by hand.

What will be the focus for North Palm Beach SLSC this coming season?

Getting this building finished hopefully, which we’re not that far off. Then the focus will be on filling it up with members again as we had in the old days – people staying over in the bunkhouses and getting the atmosphere back into the place.

Who is Training overseer at North Palm Beach SLSC?

At present it’s my identical twin brother Warren Howard.

The Bush to Beach Program – North Palm Beach has been a supporter of this since it’s early days – how did that begin?

We were discussing what we were going to do with some of the money we were raising, as at that stage we were raising a fair amount and hadn’t had plans to do a new building. While we were discussing this openly in the club, as we always do, one of our members, who is Will McMullen, Jeff McMullen’s son, said, ‘Look I’ll ask dad – he’s involved in a number of charities and he’ll know what to do.'

So he came down and that’s basically how it started – we decided we’d bring the kids down for two weeks. 

They stay on site for two weeks – we took them around looking at jobs that aboriginals could do, that may interest them. The main focus was to give them a beach experience though – we give them some basic surf lifesaving training, they get in the water. We give them rescue training with tubes as they have a lot of billabongs where they are and would be able to use this on returning home.

They gave us some lovely artwork as a thank you which is hanging in the clubhouse at present.

What is your favourite place in Pittwater and why?

The Northern end of Palm Beach – because it is magical up here and because it’s pretty close to what it was a hundred years ago – it hasn’t changed that much. It’s quiet and peaceful.

What is your ‘motto for life or a favourite phrase you try to live by?

Flat out thanks! 


Anzac of the Year Awards- 1988 : Mr Graham William Howard NSW 

For service to the community through Surf Life Saving 

ANZAC of the Year Awards 

The Aim 

To recognise the efforts and achievements of up to seven Australians who have given service to their fellow Australians and to the community in a positive, selfless and compassionate manner.

The recipients could range from a surf live safer to a charity worker who has spent years looking after the destitute and impoverished, to a nurse in Darwin or a mailman in the outback. The award recognises the efforts of those who are outstanding even in the pursuit of what might appear to be routine activity.


Nominations may be made on behalf of any Australian citizen or any individual who is in the process of obtaining citizenship. The nominee can be a male or female of any age. Up to seven medals will be made within all States of the Commonwealth and the Australian Capital and Northern Territories. The awards may be awarded to individuals or to groups who have demonstrated the spirit of comradeship and selfless service embodied in the tradition of ANZAC. 

The Award 

The Awards are bronze medallions some four inches in diameter, depicting "Simpson" and his donkey, presented in a specially designed presentation case. As with the ANZAC Peace Prize, the award is accompanied by a certificate outlining the nature of the award and with the citation on which the nominee was selected. A bronze miniature lapel badge is also presented for everyday wear.


The Awards are normally presented by the State Governors of the individual States in the presence of the State President of the Returned & Services League in that State, and members of the State Executive or Council.


SNB Presentation Evening - 2013-2014 Awards of Excellence, held at Dee Why RSL. Our Club President, Graham Howard fondly known by us all as (Howie) was awarded with SLSNSW Life Membership for distinguished voluntary service and dedication to the advancement and promotion of Surf Life Saving. 

Howie was also awarded with a very prestigious award, The Harry Ragan - Outstanding Service Award. This was awarded to Howie for the way in which he has brought the Power craft education and training to the level that it is at now, well done Howie on your achievements it is well deserved. 

The club also received 4th place in the Patrol Assessment Competition.  Most Improved Club awarded to North Palm Beach from 16th to 6th, and Outstanding Club Support to Education.

So, all in all North Palm Beach SLSC not a bad effort for our little club consisting of 110 members in total bearing in mind not all being patrolling members have done a tremendously awesome job and should be extremely proud of their individual and collective efforts in achieving these wonderful results.

NEW ABBCO FACTORY- Distinguished Gathering

Sydney Firm Wages War Against Germs 

The hungry world is in the grip of a dietetic revolution. It has taken centuries to simmer and boil over. There was a time when men ate fruit and nuts and were all the better for it. So-called civilisation came in the guise of progress, and men began to eat other things than fruit and nuts. Then medical science found that these substitutes were themselves eating at the heart of humankind— that ?men were eating themselves to sickness and death. So science used science to combat the evil.

Thus the revolution against the count is food and food systems that came in through the years. Today with every doctor on the broad face of the globe a specialist in dietetics and champion of the things you must, and a ruthless slayer of the detractive little organisms which slowly it surely kill the race. It is but natural and logical, therefore, that out of all the dietetical necessities of mankind, bread — the wide world over the chief of the staple foods — should be the first to be given the full pressure of medically scientific consideration. The Automatic Bread Baking Company (ABBCo), of Balmain road, Leichhardt, is the first Australian company to carry the revolution into the camp of those who make bread.

The factory, which has been in actual operation for a fortnight, was officially opened on Wednesday by Dr. Arthur, Minister for Health.


The great feature of this plant is its capability of producing excellent bread fully wrapped in a perfectly hygienic manner without variation in results, which it is claimed to be impossible for bakers to do in Australia under present methods of baking. The Abbco factory is a paragon of modern baking efficiency, and constitutes the commencement of a new era In bread manufacture, having as its primary consideration the health of the people who consume it. Not from the time it is tipped out of the sack in the form of flour is the bread baked by this enterprising company touched by human hands. Again, from the time the pure flour is emptied into the blending hoppers the whole process is most orderly and wonderfully automatic.


Here is a brief outline o£ the mechanical operation, of the Abbco factory that results in a perfect loaf of bread : From the hoppers the flour is carried to a sifter, which collects such foreign matters as string and pieces of sacking that are the usual characteristics of carelessly-made bread; From the sifter the flour, blended in the meantime, is carried to a weighing machine, where the flour is weighed out to the exact fraction, thus ensuring a standard loaf.' Next the ingredients are turned into a revolving mixer, which machine supersedes the old, insanitary system of knuckle-kneading that is to-day even an incidental of hard labor. The kneaded dough, in giant, spotless pans, is then taken to the conditioning room, in which the air is kept at a standard temperature. Thence the preparation, snow-white and seemingly as light as a feather, is divided through a chute, in which it is again weighed and automatically dropped into little wire cradles, according to the size of the loaf required, and on which it is carried slowly backwards and forwards through a glass-sided machine known as a prover. This ingenious' contrivance treats the dough into a condition of hygienic and palatable perfection. It runs through the prover for ten minutes, and eventually enters a moulder, in which it assumes the shape of the loaf.


It runs through a second prover for another ten minutes, then runs along a carrier upon which it is rolled out, dropped into the dishes, and baked, every loaf uniformly, through giant ovens, for three-quarters of an hour. It is then cooled for two and a half hours, and after that runs down a chute and into the wrapping machine, in which it is automatically parcelled in strong, hygienic cartons and scaled. The cartons keep the bread fresh and clean, and if the finished loaf were thrown into a bin of germs it could not possibly become contaminated. From the coolers the bread goes into the delivery waggons — all marvellously clean, and thence to the consumer — all brown, crisp, and crunchy. It is sold at the same price as unwrapped bread. Strictest hygienic rules govern -the organisation of the factory. Even though they do not handle the bread except to discard occasional spoils, the bakers wear white gloves, which are boiled prior to every shift. The capacity of the plant is 50 tons of flour per week, working eight hours per day, and the daily output on this basis equals 11,200 loaves for an eight hour shift.


The following attended Wednesday's official opening: Dr. Arthur, Minister for Health; Messrs. Bennett, Olde, and Quirk, -M'sL.A.; Mr. A. E. Dalwood, managing director; Dr. Dick, Director General of Public Health; Dr. Purdy, Metropolitan Officer of Health ; Dr. Suckling, Board of Health; Mr. Neilly, Secretary of the Board of Health; Mr. Coates, M.Ij.C. ; Mr. George Fitzpatrick; Dr. Mary Booth, members of the Housewives' Association, and many other representatives of women's and public bodies. Subsequently, at the invitation of Mr. A. E. Dalwood, chairman of directors, the guests were entertained at lunch.

Dr. Arthur, responding to the toast of his health, said that since bread was the staff of life, it was essential that it should be as clean and pure as possible.

The Government had insisted on a high standard not only of bread, but of milk and other commodities ; yet, ' in spite of everything, he must confess that many of the regulations were more honored in their breach than observance. The machinery that had just been shown them was truly marvellous. What had given him ; a great deal of pleasure was the fact that it came from England, and not from one of those countries which got a great deal more from us than we got from them. He was satisfied that what he had seen was one of the highest examples of what modern methods could do. There was no better test of bread than its taste when eaten without the usual accompaniments — of butter and jam. He had tasted this bread, and found it first class. He had noticed that many others there were of the same opinion, judging by the enthusiasm with which the tasting was carried out.


The elimination of the handling of bread was of the greatest importance, especially when it was remembered that far too much bread was fated to be laid down in all sorts of out-of-the-way places, exposed to dust and dirt, while the boy deliverers were engaged in eating ice-creams and in other youthful pastimes. Baking in cellars in Sydney was now a thing of the past, and so were the cockroaches which formerly infested many bakeries. Much, however, remained to be done. Other suppliers of bread should follow the example of this up-to-date establishment, the proprietors of which he hoped would get all the encouragement they so well deserved, Mr. Coates,'' M.L.C., said that as the health and strength of the people were largely built up on good bread, it was most essential that everything in its production should be good. He congratulated the local people on possessing the very last in modern baking methods.

Mr. Dalwood had never been associated with failures, and the company, too, was to be congratulated in having at its head one whose name was synonymous with success.


Mr. Quirk, M.L.A., speaking as one reared on the spot where the bakery stood, congratulated the firm, not only an its foresight, but on the magnitude of its undertaking, which was a revelation. Mr. F. 0. McHugh, president of Rozelle Chamber of Commerce, said he was proud to think that in Balmain was a venture of such great importance. Mrs. Perry, president of the original Housewives' Association, also spoke.


Mr. Dalwood said it was over two years since the company had been formed, but, owing to delays in building -and the installation of machinery, it was only during the last eleven months that they had been able to make substantial progress. At present their capital was£75,000, fully paid-up, and it was quite likely that later on they would ask the public to put up more, to provide for extensions.

His one great regret was that he was growing old, and that others, too, were growing old with him. One of the principal things he would like to see was a reduction in the death rate. Hygienic conditions in connection with all we ate and drank would do much towards this. He thought it would be a good thing were it -compulsory for bakers to deliver their bread wrapped, as was done in Victoria. He had seen some fearsome things done in the handling of bread, but the machinery they had there had rendered these impossible. The elimination of hand-baking altogether would solve a problem which affected everyone. 

STAFF OF LIFE: Abbco Leaves are Hygienically Handled. (1928, October 14). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 11. Retrieved from