August 2 - 8, 2015: Issue 225

The Riddles of The Spit and Church Point: Sailors, Rowers, Builders

Above from: 'Pearl Bay Heights Estate', Mosman [cartographic material] : Auction sale on the ground, Saturday, 30th Jan., 1897, at 3.30 o'clock 1897. MAP Folder 106, LFSP 1596. courtesy National Library of Australia

The Spit - circa 1929 - William Riddle's boatshed with 'Riddles' on the roof - Image No.: a1470196h, courtesy State Library of NSW

The Riddles of The Spit and Church Point: Sailors, Rowers, Builders

As so often happens when trying to imagine past conversations that you have no way of hearing again, and may only ‘suppose’ or glimmering roads of dusty ease lined with bush and wallabies still, one line may pop up from which some of the picture may tumble out:

In the 16ft Skiff Race at the Pittwater Regatta on Saturday, the limit boat Myrtle, 16min (J. Crouch), was the winner, beating Mat, 9min (W. Riddle), by a minute. SAILING. (1907, March 25 - Monday). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from 

At the Pittwater Regatta the State skiffs champion, Cornstalk, got away with the skiff event, her owner (J. B. Moffatt) being at the tiller. The other two places were filled by Amanda (C. Stewart) and Mat (W. Riddle). THE SYDNEY CLUB. (1909, January 20). Sydney Sportsman(Surry Hills, NSW : 1900 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from 

The ‘Mat’ was named for William George Riddle’s wife ‘Martha’ - William George Riddle (born 1871) was the elder brother of Andrew John Riddle (born 1882) of Church Point/Bayview.

Crews of four to five to eight (!) 'manned' these 16 footers, some records stating they needed this amount to hold down the boat when all sails were up! 

Scenes at Camp Middle Harbour ; Christmas 1885 & New Year 1886 - 'Tottie and her Crew"- ANMM Collection Gift from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 00013762. This image belongs to a photograph album relating to Edward Hungerford. The album contains images of shipping and street scenes around Sydney from the 1880s, most of which appear to have been taken by photographer Charles Bayliss.

Portside view of a 16 footer, Sydney Harbour - ANMM IMage: 00002191, During the late 1880s and early 1900s, photographers William F Hall and his son William J Hall documented the weekend sailors and yachts of Sydney Harbour. Each Monday the images would be displayed in the window of their studio at 20 Hunter Street.

When not sailing against the Crouch brothers, who won the race against Don Taylor and John Roche in 1906 (also of Mosman during these years as well Bayview and Church Point see: Katherine), inspiring the basis for the Pittwater Regattas that followed, the Riddle men were sailing against names remembered today for their skills at boat-building:


The race arranged by the Port Jackson Sailing Skiff Club for the 16ft championship of the State attracted 21 entries, and it was being looked forward to with keen interest by all sailing men. Unfortunately, owing to the wind dying away, the race had to be abandoned. The course was from a line between starter’s boat and Clark Island, thence round Lightship and Sow and Pigs, Shark Island buoy, starter's boat, and the triangle, viz, Taylor’s Bay buoy, Shark Island buoy, and finish across starting line

The competitors were -

Port Jackson -Aubrey (J. Smith), Frolic (J Robinson), Coquette (S Crouch), Idea (G. Holmes), Isidore(W Read), Linnet (R. Beashell), Madge (W Holmes),Native (H Roderick) Newt (J. Hawkes), Osprey (L. O'Toole), Queenie (C A M Fisher), Unique (W. Dunn), Oweenee (T M Banks)

Middle Harbour -Dart (C Hayes), Kalpini (W Anderson), Maitai (C Abbott), Mimosa (C Webb), Mat(W Riddle), Romp (H. Edwards)

Vaucluse- Dewildie (E S Sautelle), Hinemoa (H.Robinson)

The boats looked splendid at the start. Unique was the first to cross the line, fallowed by Linnet and Coquette, while Newt was about the last. By the time Bradley’s was reached Maitai had opened out a lead, with Idea second, and Mimosa third. When the boats got off Taylor Bay the breeze, which had been veering from west to northwest, backed to eastward, and the fleet spread out. Maitai was the only boat to make for Steel Point, the others taking midstream chances, so that when they had all got settled down on their courses from the Lightship, that boat had a long lead of Newt which had benefited by the change. In the meantime Isidore was becalmed off the Bottle and Glass. At Shark Inland buoy Maitai had a long lead, the times of rounding being -Maitai, 5h 11m 14s, Coquette, 5h 16m 57s, Idea 5h 20m 2s, Isidore,6h 20m 10s, Frolic, 5h 20m .., Newt … On the close haul to Clark Island Newt overhauled Frolic, which dropped astern.The light breeze began to die again, and by the time Maitai had passed Bradleys Head and was heading for Taylor Bay she ran into a dead calm which settled all over the harbour. The steamer Lady Manning, which had been following the race with about 250 spectators on board now returned to the wharf and landed most of her passengers, as there was no prospect of the race being finished. On going back to Taylor Bay it was found that the boats were in much the same position, so the race was abandoned. Soon afterwards a strong southerly sprung up. Mr. G Dew was umpire Mr. George Bowen, starter and judge Mr. W T Mitchell, director of steamer; and Mr. T G Wilson, timekeeper. It is probable that the race will be resailed at an early date. SAILING. (1907, April 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

The 1907 race on the Pittwater Estuary was not the first foray of Riddles over the other side of Middle Harbour. George Riddle, who seems to be brother number three of their father, although born in 1877 by some figures, and in 1866 in NSW's BDM's, two years before William George and Andrew J's father James married Margaret Hartland in 1868, and their uncle, was building roads and laying ballast for Warringah Council as early as records were made by this then new shire (1904), then laying foundations for the proposed tramway over The Spit.

Transport and building and being close to the water were in the family as their father, prior to marriage:

JAMES RIDDLE, the first cab(?) proprietor of St. Leonards, North Shore, begs to inform the public that his 'buses run daily from Milson's Point. Fares : To  the Royal Hotel, 3d ; Balmoral, Middle Harbour, Willoughby Falls, 6d each way. For picnic parties, Sand- spits and North Sydney, Lane Cove, Orange Grove,1s 6d. All orders punctually attended to. ; JAMES  RIDDLE. Middle-street. North Shore Advertising. (1867, November 16). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from 

On the 8th instant, by the Rev. Dr. Bailey, of the Free Church of England, Brisbane-street, Mr. JAMES RIDDLE, of Miller-street, North Shore, to MARGARET, daughter of the late Mr. CHARLES HARTLAND, of Lane Cove. Family Notices. (1868, May 23). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from





THE TRAM EXTENSIONS TO MIDDLE HARBOUR AND WATSON'S BAY. (1900, September 1). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 510. Retrieved from 


Last week Mr. Conyers, of the Public Works Department, measured up the second lot of stone from French's Forest now lying on the Pittwater-road, between North Manly and Brooklyn. The quantity was 500 cubic yards, for which Mr. Carew, the shire clerk, received a cheque for £150 this week from the department. This cheque (the second) he has passed on to the contractors, Messrs. G. Riddle and H. Thew, whose first cheque, for 585 cubic yards, amounted to £174.

Nearly 1100 yds from French's Forest, out of 4000 required for the tramway, have now been got out and paid for. The 1200yds got out of the quarry at Brookvale by the first contractor, for which the department paid about £250, will make up the full total of 5000 yds required for the tramway. The approved stone, under the new contract, is now coming out of French's Forest very fast.  BROOKVALE TRAM. (1909, April 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

The Riddles notes indicate this was a close family. Together they engaged in hiring out boats and fishing once they had established themselves at The Spit and as this beautiful area grew more popular so did their trade, possibly supplemented by winning or losing races in boats. These snippets show they were good seamen and knew how to stay alive during stormy Summer weather, as well as being familiar with Pittwater prior to that 1907 race:

AQUATICS. Williams v. Riddle. 

A race for £15 a side, between George Williams, of North Shore, and William Riddle, of Middle Harbour, was rowed in light skiffs on Saturday afternoon. The race took place in Middle Harbour, and the course, which was from the wharf in Bantry Bay to a boat moored off the head of Long Bay was about 21 miles in length. The steam launch Northumbria followed the race and was patronised by a number of the friends of the contestants. Mr Fred Robinson, of the Sydney Rowing Club, was the umpire At 4 o'clock both men got away by mutual consent to a good start, Riddle, if anything, having, the advantage. At tho end of the first quarter of a mile Riddle, who was pulling all he knew how, was a length ahead. Williams kept too close inshore. This he did to get out of the tide way, but whatever advantage he thus gained it was more than counterbalanced by the extra distance he had to cover. Riddle maintained a direct course, and aided by superior strength and greater weight than Williams, he at one point of the race seemed to have the result in his hands. Williams rowed in splendid form for a boy, his stroke being long and clean, and every ounce of his weight (9st 4lb) was judiciously applied, and at the end of a mile and a-half he had completely worn Riddle down and had him at his mercy. Riddle made several game attempts to regain his position, but was unable to do so, and Williams passed the winning post about 10 lengths ahead. The winner beyond pulling so cleanly, moved well on his slide. He rowed at 9st 4lb Riddle, 10st 21b, lacked the necessary science of his opponent. AQUATICS. (1890, June 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from 

A Boating Mystery. A boating party consisting of William and James Riddle and Richard Anderson left Sydney on Sunday for Cowan Creek and have not since been heard of. A Boating Mystery. (1895, January 11). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904), p. 2. Retrieved from

THREE MEN IN A BOAT. SUPPOSED TO BE LOST. Sydney. January 10. Three young men named W. Riddle, James Riddle, and Richard Anderson left their homes in North Sydney on Sunday last, and proceeded to Cowan Creek to bring back a boat left there on the previous Thursday. As nothing has been heard of them since it is supposed that they were lost in a gale which prevailed on Monday. THREE MEN IN A BOAT. (1895, January 11). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 5. Retrieved from

The Missing: Men. CAMPED AT BARRENJOEY. The grave fears that were entertained for the safety of the three men, William Riddle, James Riddle and Richard Anderson, who left North Sydney on Sunday last, to sail to Cowan Creek, have now been set at rest. Finding that the weather was rather too rough for them to make the voyage with safety to their own lives, they camped at Barrenjoey for some days. They made a start for home, but the weather still being boisterous, they had to run into Pittwater for shelter. The Missing Men. (1895, January 12). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from

And this incident seems to show the growing popularity of the area as a picnic destination and aquatic playground:


The Inquest concerning the fire which destroyed the pavilion at the Clontarf Pleasure Grounds early on the morning of November 28 was resumed today by the Acting City Coroner(Dr. R. H. Toed), at the Coroner's Court, Chancery Square. Sub-inspector Mitchell, Senior-sergeant Miller, and Sergeant Carson were present to watch the case for the police. Senior District Officer Watson, of the M.F.B., was also present. Mrs. Jane Warwick Lane stated that she was the owner of the Clontarf Pleasure Grounds. She purchased the property from Messrs. Dodds and Richardson, agents for the Thrower Estate. She was the mortgagor, and Dodds and Richardson were the mortgagees. Rent was paid, which appeared as interest on the mortgage. Witness had paid off none of the purchase money; the time had not expired. She paid all insurances. Her money was also the money of her husband, Mr. E. J. Lane. She had no separate estate. Early on the morning of November 28, Mr. Lane awakened witness, who looked out and saw that the pavilion was on fire. There had been an attempt by someone to burn down the pavilion on October 15. At about 5 p.m. on that day a cigar box was found in the tallies cloakroom, in it was a piece of candle wrapped in paper, and some burnt matches. The floor roundabout the cigar box was saturated by kerosene. She regarded these things as evidence of an attempt to bunt the place down. Witness had not yet received any insurance money, but had put in a claim for it. The fire, instalment of the purchase money, £2000, was due next April, and witness and her husband were able to meet it. The pavilion was a good, sound building, and was insured tor £1000.

Edward James Lane, husband of the previous witness, said that he did all the business in connection with the grounds. The mortgage was made out in his wife's name as a convenience. He had had the property for four years. There was a £7750 outstanding on the property, the first instalment being due in April. Witness was not in the pavilion on the evening of November 27. He went to the luncheon room at about 9.30 p.m., to get some ice, and then passed the pavilion. A girl named Lizzie Mitchell was with him. The roaring of the fire awakened him between 3 and 4 a.m., and he found that the building was a mass of flame. Continuing, the witness stated that the building was practically burned to ashes. No particular person had charge of the pavilion, and no one slept in it. The building was 185ft long and 40ft wide, and was of wood, with an iron roof. Witness corroborated Mrs. Lane's evidence as to the discovery of the cigar box and other articles, and said that a piece of old rope, pulled to shreds, and roiled up like a ball, was also found. This was saturated with kerosene. He Informed the police at once. He told them that he suspected William Riddle, a boatman at the Spit, just across Middle Harbour. Earlier that day there was a large Sunday School picnic there, and he had had an altercation with Riddle, who said that he would 'do for him.' Witness understood that to mean that Riddle would do him personal injury, he had no further reason for suspecting Riddle. The contents of the pavilion included a piano and sufficient crockery and table requisites for 800 persons. This was witness' property, and was not insured. Witness did not think that the fire occurred accidentally. William Riddle was asked by the Coroner if he wished to ask the witness any questions. He said: When we had the altercation, didn't you say dial you were a cleverer man than me?

Witness. No.

Didn't I ask you to put up your hands? — 


Didn't you always abuse me and other boatmen whenever there's a picnic on? — 


Haven't we had other rows since that particular picnic? — 

No. I followed you round one day, when I thought you were going to get on to the wharf, but I never spoke to you.

Do you remember ever telling me that the pavilion was in the wrong position?— 

Yes. I said at one time that I thought it was.

And you would like it to be east and west, instead of north and south — 

Yes, I did say that.'

William Riddle, boatman at the Spit, Middle Harbour, said that for years he and others had been in the habit of taking boats across to Clontarf for the use of the public. Mr. Lane also owned boats. Previous to Mr. Lane getting boats, they had always been on good terms. After Mr. Lane got his own boats, he got on to witness and other boatmen, and said that they had no right coming over, and should keep on their own side of the water. At nearly every picnic witness had a quarrel with Mr. Lane. He could not very well avoid It. He never said, however, that he 'would do for him.' He said once, 'Look. Lane, I'll get you some day and I'll give it to you properly.' He meant that he would do it with his hands. He didn't mean any other way.

The Coronor : Have you any knowledge of how the fire occurred? — 

I have no knowledge, but I have a strong suspicion.

What is your suspicion? — 

I think Mr.______did it.

Why?— Well, I heard two different stories from his men as to how the cigarbox was found and that fact seemed suspicious. One of the men too, hinted that he knew who had put it there.

Yes? Anything else?— 

Yes; the pavilion was an old one. The white ants went into it pretty bad, and Lane told me, too, that he would sooner have it facing the other way.

A Juror: You and Lane would do each other a good turn if you could, wouldn't you? — 

What doyou mean?

Well, I mean it the other way round. You would not go out of your way to do him a good turn, or he to do you one?— 

I would not do him a bad turn. I would like to punch him on the nose, thougth. (Laughter.) I would be satisfied then.

The Coroner: You mean you would like to work off your own feelings, rather than to injure him?— That's it.

A Juror: It didn't matter to you about the pavilion being east and west? — 

Not a bit.

Another juror: I suppose the fact of It being burned down did you no good? — 

No; it hurt our business.

To the Coroner: I didn't know anything about the fire until 7.30 that morning.(Continued on page 5.)


Bernard Gomersall, ship's steward, residing at Birmingham House, Circular Quay, said that he entered the witness Riddle's employ five weeks ago, and left it last Sunday week, the day after the fire. He slept in a room at the top of the bcatshed. Witness had taken boats to Clontarf. Mr. Lane never interfered with him, and witness never saw him interfere with Riddle or anyone else. He arose about 6.10 a.m. on the day of tie fire, and saw Riddle's boat Jimmy in the water. On the previous evening it had been left on the slip. It was an unusual thing for the boat to be out during the night. On the boat slip witness found a kerosene tin, which should have been beside the sail-bos. He connected that fact with the fire. On the previous night the tin had been three-quarters full, when witness filled a lamp; on the Saturday morning it was only a quarter full. Anybody could have got into the shed. Before breakfast that morning, he said to Riddle, 'What about the fire?'

Riddle replied, 'It was a mysterious affair?'

After breakfast. Riddle told him to washout one of the boats, and he again said, 'What about the fire?' Riddle said, 'You know too much about the fire.' Next day he asked Riddle again about the fire, and Riddle said, 'You don't suit me.' Witness said, '-You'd better pay me off, then.' Riddle paid him off and he left at once. He did not threaten Riddle when he was leaving. He thought Riddle knew something about the fire. In answer to further questions by the Coroner, witness said that he went to bed at about 11 p.m. on the night before the fire. He was only awakened once until 6.10 a.m., and that was by the ringing of the bell at the punt.

The Coroner: Did you not make a statement to the police about having seen a dark figure go through the shed at about 2 a.m., and calling out?— 

I don't remember. 

The witness said that he met Mr. Lane someday after he left Riddle's employ, and told him what he had just related.

The Coroner: Could anyone have taken this boat, Jimmy, without you hearing them?— 

Yes; I have known occasions when people have gone through the shed without waking anybody.

Did you ever know of a boat being pushed down the slip, into the water, without awakening you? — 

No, sir.

A. Juror: Are you a particularly sound sleeper?— 

Yes, I sleep well.

Did you talk with any of your friends at the Spit about the fire? — 


What made you take such interest in the fire?— 

Because Mr. Riddle was always threatening Mr. Lane.

Did you ever hear him say he would burn the place down?— 

No. To Another Juror: There were no sculls in the boat He did not tell Mr. Riddle about seeing the boat and the kerosene tin.

The Coroner: You thought Mr. Riddle knew all about it already? — 


A Juror: The statement you made about seeing a dark figure going into the kitchen at about 3 o'clock, and hearing a noise, was that true? — 

I am not sure about it.

The Coroner (reading from his papers) : Did you say. 'I heard a noise, and saw the figure of a man going through.' I called out, 'Who's that; do you want a boat? but got no answer?' — 

I am not sure about that part.

But didn't you make that statement to the police and sign it?— 

I'm not sure about it.

Riddle: — When you filled the lamp, on the night before the fire, didn't you shift the kerosene tin yourself? — 


Never moved it? — 


Quite sure? — 


Then how do you know it was then three quarters full? — 

By the weight.

But you didn't shift It?— 

I shifted it the night before.

Oh, then, the difference was from Thursday to Saturday, not from Friday to Saturday? — 


And you are not allowing for what you took out of It yourself? — 

I only filled one lamp.

How could you judge bow much was taken out?— 

Only by the weight,

You left me on the Sunday morning?— 



Because you said I didn't suit.

Now, why don't you say why It was? Weren't you baling out a boat that morning? — 


Didn't I find fault with the way you were doing it?— 


I was in a temper with you? — 

You were.

Speak out, now. Why did you leave?— 

Because you got on' to me for what I said about the fire. 

Before you said it, I spoke to you in a temper about the baling of the boat?— 


And what did you say?— 

I said, 'I have a suspicion that you set fire to the pavilion.'

And then?— 

Then you paid me off, and I left.

In answer to a juror, the witness said that sometimes the boats were left in the water at night. It was not an invariable practice to pull them up on to the slips.

Edward W. Spring and Alfred Cassidy, both In the employ of Mr. B. J. Lane at Clontarf, gave evidence respecting the previous supposed attempt to set fire to the pavilion. (Proceeding.) THE CLONTARF FIRE. (1903, December 8). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from


Bernard Gomersall, ship's steward, residing at Birmingham House, Circular Quay, said that he entered the witness Riddle's employ five weeks ago, and left it last Sunday week, the day after the fire. He slept in a room at the top of the boatshed. Witness had taken boats to Clontarf. Mr. Lane never interfered with him, and witness never saw him interfere with Riddle or anyone else. He arose about 6.10 a.m. on the day of the fire, and saw Riddle's boat ‘Jimmy' in the water. 

16 Foot Skiff on Middle Harbour with Clontarf Beach in the background. The building is the siphon for the Northern Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer (NSOOS) under Middle Harbour. Is this the Riddle's 'Jimmy' ?- Skiffs during this era often had an initial of the name of the boat on their sail. ANMM Object number: 00011396

This piture is later than this courts case as in 1903 sewerage was discharged into Middle Harbour. See: NORTH SYDNEY OUTFALL WORKS. (1903, August 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from - The NSOOS was completed in March 1930

On the previous evening it had been left on the slip. It was an unusual thing for the boat to be out daring the night. On the boatslip witness found a kerosene tin. Which should have been beside the mil-box. He connected that fact with, the fire. On the previous night the tin had been three-quarters full, when witness filled a lamp; on the Saturday morning it was only a quarter full. Anybody could have got into the shed. Before breakfast that morning, he said to Riddle, 'What about the fire? 'Riddle replied, 'It was a mysterious affair?' After breakfast. Riddle told him to washout one of the boats, and he again said, 'What about the fire?' Riddle said, 'You know too much about the fire.' Next day he asked Riddle again about the fire, and Riddle said, 'You don't suit me.' Witness said, 'You'd better pay me off, then.' Riddle paid him off, and he left at once. He did not threaten Riddle when he was leaving. He thought Riddle Knew something about the fire. In answer to further questions by the Coroner, witness said that he went to bed at about 11 p.m. on the night before the fire. He was only awakened once until 9.10 a.m., and that was by the ringing of the bell at the punt. The Coroner: Did you not make a statement to the police about having seen a dark figure go through the shed at about 1 a.m., and calling out?— I don’t remember. The witness said that he met Mr. Lane some days after he left Riddle’s employ, and told him what he had just related. The Coroner: Could anyone have taken this boat. Jimmy, without you hearing them? — Yes; I had known occasions when people have gone through the shed without waking anybody. Did you ever know of a boat being pushed down the slip, into the water, without awakening you? — No, sir.\ Juror: Are you a particularly sound sleeper?— Yes, I sleep well. Did you talk with any of your friends at tbeSpit abqut the fire? — No. What made you take such interest in the fire?— Because Mr. Riddle was always threatening Mr. Lane

Did you ever hear him say he would burn the place down? — No. To Another Juror: There were no sculls in the boat. He did not tell Mr. Riddle about seeing the boat and the kerosene tin. The Coroner: You thought Mr. Riddle knew all about it already? — Yes. A Juror: The statement you made about seeing a figure going into the kitchen at about 3 o'clock, and hearing a noise, was not true? — I am not sure about it. 'The Coroner (reading from his papers) : Did you say. 'I heard a noise, and saw the figure of a man going through.' I called out, 'Who's that; do you want a boat?' but got no answer?' — I am not sure about that part. But didn't you make that statement to the police and sign it? — I'm not sure about it Riddle: — When you filled the lamp, on the night before the fire, didn't you shift the kerosene tin yourself? — No. Never moved it? — No. Quite sure? — Yes. Then, how do you know it was then three quarters full ? — By the weight. But you didn't shift it?— I shifted It the night before. Oh, then, the difference was from Thursday to Saturday, not from Friday to Saturday? — Yes. And you are not allowing for what you took out of it yourself?—! only filled one lamp. How could you judge how much was taken out?— Only by the weight.Yoi1 left me on the Sunday morning? — Yes. Why? — Because you said I didn't suit. Now. why don't you say why It was? Weren't you baling out a boat that morning? — Yes. Didn't I find fault with the way you were doing it?— Yes. I was in a temper with you? — You were. Speak out, now. Why did you leave? — Because you got on to me for what I said about the fire. Before you said it, I spoke to you in a temper about the baling of the boat? — Yes. And what did you say? — I said, 'I have a suspicion that you set fire to the pavilion.' And then? — Then you paid me off, and I left. In answer to a juror, the witness said that sometimes the boats were left in the water at night. It was not an invariable practice to pull them us on to the slips. Edward W. Spring and Alfred Cassidy, both in the employ of Mr. E. J. Lane at Clontarf, gave evidence respecting the previous supposed attempt to set fire to the pavilion. Lizzie Mitchell and Catherine Murphy, two young women In the employ of Mr. Lane, also gave evidence. George F. Williamson, solicitor, said that on November 28 he was camping at Middle Harbour. Before 6 o'clock on that morning he went to the Spit for a swim, and he had an arrangement to meet Riddle afterwards. On his way down, he particularly watched Riddle's shed, and he distinctly remembered that his skiff 'Jimmy' was on the slip. There was no boat in the water. William Riddle, recalled, said that Gomersall did not get up, on the morning of November 28, until about 1 o'clock. The skiff referred to was not in the water that day until about 11 a.m., when witness let it out. The Coroner: Did you see the kerosene tin on' the slip that morning? — No. What time did you get up?— At about 20 past 6.You think that this story of Gomersall, then, is a pure invention? — I am certain of it; beyond doubt it is. A Juror: Have you any idea what sort of books the boy Gomersall used to read? — Yes; penny and three-penny novelettes. Of the 'Deadwood Dick' variety?— Yes; something like that. This concluded the evidence. The jury, without leaving the box, found that the premises were wilfully set on fire, but that the evidence did not enable them to say by whom. THE CLONTARF FIRE. (1903, December 9). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from

This wasn't the first fire that came near the Riddles while at The Spit:


Last night's conflagration at The Spit totally destroyed Dendy's refreshment rooms; 'Oily' Lyons' cottage burned, and burned 40 out of all craft in his boatsheds. The damage is estimated conservatively at well over £10,000.Henry Steele, the City auctioneer, and Jack Evans, who were residents in Miss Lucy Dandy's boarding-house, worked so hard in the fight against the flames that they collapsed. They were taken to Lauriston Private Hospital. They had net recovered sufficiently to leave the hospital today. Today a frroun of precocious banlams are making the best of their opportunity In the ruins. … for the refreshment premises were of two storeys, and contained 16 large rooms. Their blackened beams mixed with twisted iron-work, now lie level with the ground, and are merged with the charred remains of Lyons' cottage, residence, while 'Oily' Lyons, the erstwhile cheerful owner of both places gazes …. on the fire’s handiwork. Miss Hazel Brown, a niece of Mrs Lucy Dendy, the proprietress of the refreshment rooms, was really the first to notice the fire.


She returned from a visit to some friends, shortly after midnight, and heard a crackling sound from the direction of the kitchen, which was on the ground floor. She thought It was only the dying embers In the kitchen range. and paid no further heed, but She had Just retired when Mlsa Lucy Dendy wns awakened by what she thought was a burst In one of the hot-water pipes. Miss Dendy went to see what had happened, and found the place full of fire called her alsler, Mrs. Brown and the five men boarders. Mrs. Brown went downstairs to a room on the ground floor, which was unoccupied. When she opened the door, fierce flames licked out and enveloped her. Closing the door, she walked along the passage to the maid's room, which was … to the seat of the blaze. The door was locked.

The Spit circa 1910 - courtesy Powerhouse Museum Tyrell collection on Flickr


Mrs. Brown beat frantically on the door but it was some time before she was able to rouse the maid, who had been partly overcome by the smoke. As it was, the maid only escaped in nightclothes without waiting to rescue anything—by this time the whole of the place was alight— the occupants of the Refreshment-room ran out Into the road with what few clothes they had been able to hastily throw on. Mr. Lyons whose place was alongside, had his wife and brother, two daughters and three little children In his home. He notified the fire brigade and then set about saving his boats.


Messers. Steele and Evans, seeing there was no possibility of doing anything for the refreshment rooms or the cottage, lent a hand with the boats. It was hot work, for the sheds were situated behind the two places, which were by this time burning... the heat they succeeded in dragging out 80 of the -… craft in the shed before the flames got to the ….-Mr. Lyons Insisted on saving the private boats first, and by the time this was done Ills own- craft. The occupants of both places were able to get away with only a few clothes. The firemen arrived in good time, but their job was hopeless from the start. The places were built or wood, and flames rose many feet in the air. They licked across the roadway and made conditions so unpleasant in the places on the opposite side that people sleeping in Chris Webb's and Riddle's premises were forced to leave. Both places were scorched, and the glass in the windows melted. The high tension electric wires leading across to the Manly side of the Spit came down, and the trams on the Manly side were held up for hours today. Meanwhile the fight went on in the burning premises. With the great amount of woodwork there was ample food for the flames, and those who fought to rescue the boats were subjected to an awful experience. Subsequently, Steele and Evans collapsed, and were taken to Lauriston private hospital.


Miss Lucy Dendy said today - “We had so many things which we could not value. For Instance, we had two chests of drawers which my grandfather brought out from England In 1841. Then we had a huge library and many other little things that can never be replaced. Mr. Lyons stated to-day that though the places were Insured it was poor compensation. £10,000 DAMAGE. (1922, September 11). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from

The Spit circa 1910 - courtesy Powerhouse Museum Tyrell collection on Flickr

Along with providing pleasure craft for visitors, the people's who lived on The Spit were called on more than once to rescue others. Two examples of the not so pleasant aspects of being the owner of a boatshed on beautiful waters who must lookout for others and witness horrendous tradgedies:


A shocking boating fatality occurred about 3.30 yesterday afternoon at the Spit, Middle Harbour. A rowing boat, containing 14 persons, overturned during a sharp gust and a choppy sea, with the result that three of the number were drowned within a few minutes, although every effort was made by a number of people to save them.
The party consisted of Mrs. Edith Southan and Rene Southan, 13 months old, Macarthur-street, Ultimo; Mrs. Ellen Owens and Eileen and Mary Owens, aged 6 years and 18 months respectively, 27 Macarthur-street, Ultimo; Mrs. Hydes and her three sons — Archie (aged20), Hugh (17), and Arthur (13), 33 Macarthur-street; Mrs. Elsie Amy Weekes, aged 21, and her infant, 21 months old, Macarthur-street; John Creedon, hairdresser, and Leslie Cree-don, both residing at the intersection of Margaret and Sussex streets; and Mary Hamilton,17, who resided at the Friendship Hotel, Bathurst-street. Of the above mentioned the following were drowned :—
The fourteen, together with a number of others, arranged to spend the day at Clontarf. The party left Fort Macquarie at10.20 for that pleasure resort. About noon they had lunch. At 3 o'clock several of the party suggested that a boat should be hired, and that a visit should be made to the Spit, just opposite Clontarf. Six agreed, and a 16ft rowing boat named the Clon was chartered from Mr. Lane. The Clon was licensed to carry only eight, passengers. The men rowed across the water, and leaving the boat at the Spit took the tram to Mosman. The fact that a portion of the party had engaged a rowing craft caused the remainder to hire one called the Ted. They also pulled to the Spit. For some reason or other the occupants of the Ted decided to take the Clon, which had been left at the wharf by the first batch, and row across to Clontarf.
The sea was then rather lumpy, and the wind was blowing fresh from the south-west. It was not anticipated by those in the little craft that any trouble would be experienced in reaching the other side. Mr. Creedon and Archie Hydes had charge of the oars, and everything went well until the party was midway between Clontarf and the Spit. A sharp blow then sprang up, accompanied by an increased sea. Some water found its way in the boat, which had a heavy list. This evidently alarmed one of the occupants a woman — who stood up in the boat. Her action caused the boat to capsize, and all the occupants were precipitated into the water. Then commenced the fight for life.
The terrified screams of the struggling people in the water were heard by those onshore. But while assistance was coming from that direction Mr. Creedon and several others endeavoured to right the boat, and to prevent their friends from being drowned. The first portion of the task was quickly accomplished, but by this time several were on the verge of sinking. Among those who put off from the shore to go to the rescue of the victims of the accident were Mr. Riddle, of Lyons and Riddle's boatsheds at the Spit. When he reached the spot a number were clinging to the side. There was a cry, how-ever, that Mrs. Weekes's baby was underneath, and he promptly dived under and rescued it. On turning round he discovered that Mrs. Weekes had sunk, and although he made every effort to save her she was drowned.
As usual on Sunday afternoon a large number of boats, both sailing and pulling, were cruising about Middle Harbour, and many of these were attracted by screams to the scene of the disaster, and rendered yeoman service. It was by this means that Mr. Creedon was able to save his son, Leslie, and Mary Hamilton. After seizing his boy, Creedon  swam to a boat which was bearing down with all possible speed to those struggling in the water. On reaching it he handed his son to the occupants of the vessel, and then went to Mary Hamilton's assistance. Two youths, Hugh Hydes, a brother of one of the victims, and Frank Owens also secured a boat at the Spit, and rowed to the spot. They grasped a woman who was on the point of drowning, and endeavoured to pull her into the boat. The effort, however, was too great, and in the attempt to save her their own craft nearly capsized. One of the youths succeeded in holding her up until a sailing boat came alongside, and the woman, who was thoroughly exhausted, and had nearly collapsed, was placed in the boat and taken ashore.
By this time the majority of the occupants of the Clon had been taken from the water and removed to Lyons and Riddle's boatsheds. All severely felt the effects of the immersion, and of the trying ordeal through which theyhad passed. As soon as they reached land anxious inquiries were made by mother, brother, sister, or friend for the missing ones.
In the meantime those of the party who had not joined their friends in the Clon hurried over to the Spit in boats. Most of the party having assembled in the boatshed, it was discovered who were the victims of the sad fatality.  
Drs. Arthur, M.L.A., Mason, and Barnes, of Mosman, were communicated with, and the three gentlemen proceeded to the scene with all haste. The sufferers were attended to, and with the exception of two all recovered after a time, and were able to proceed to their homes. Mrs. Hydes and Mrs. Owens were both too ill to be removed.
The Water Police were promptly informed of the disaster, and the launch Argus, with a good staff on board, visited the spot. Dragging operations were commenced without delay, and the men continued their work until9 o'clock last evening, without success. Inspector Vane has ordered his men to resume operations this morning, when it is anticipated that the bodies of the three persons will be recovered.BOATING DISASTER. (1905, September 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

The body of Arthur Hydes, one of the victims of the Spit boating fatality, was found yesterday by a boat proprietor named Riddle. The body was discovered floating near the scene of the accident. The bodies of all the victims have now been recovered. An inquest has been dispensed with. SPIT BOATING FATALITY. (1905, October 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from 


Spit boat proprietor, Alfred Riddle, found a man's body, of between 65 and 70 years of age, floating near Clontarf at about 6 am yesterday. Sergeant Bultitude, of the Water Police, took the body to the Morgue. So far there has been no identification. To all appearances the body had been immersed for about three days. No marks of violence were apparent. Fully dressed, there was a carpet slipper on the left foot of the corpse. The toe of the right was bandaged. Description: Height, 5ft 8in; medium build, grey hair, whiskers, and moustache, bald on top of head. A pouch hanging from a strap encircling the waist containing 9s in silver, a clasp knife,  some needles and a North Sydney tram ticket, among other articles.  CASUALTIES. (1913, January 23). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

The Riddle family also made a living fishing:


Four dozen snapper taken in a prawn net at Middle Harbor yesterday. They weighed from 21lb down to 8lb each. Mr. Riddle, the boat shed proprietor at the Spit, is proud of the big haul. THAT'S THE WAY TO CATCH EM. (1922, January 28). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Another Snapper Haul CATCH AT MIDDLE HARBOR Fish Flee From Sharks

Another astonishing haul of snapper has been made In Middle Harbor near the Spit. Two fishermen, Andrew and James Riddle (brothers), this morning took no fewer than 134 from a mullet net. They were fine fish, ranging from about 9lb to 4lb weight each. Catches like this and that which fell to the lot of the third brother, Mr. Riddle, of the Spit boat shed, last Friday, as reported In that day's 'Evening News.' 'have never been known before In Middle Harbor. It Is Thought that large numbers of the fish are being chased In from the sea by sharks, for although many fish are caught on lines alone -the harbor only one In three, according to Mr. Riddle, can be saved from the sharks, which seem to be unusually plentiful. For this reason persons should be warned to he very careful about bathing in Middle Harbor Just now. Another Snapper Haul. (1922, February 3). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from 

And not the only time the Riddle boys, next generation, did well as fishermen:


Edgar Waldon and James Riddle pleaded guilty at North Sydney Court with having on December 12, at 2.20am having hauled a net in prohibited waters In Middle Harbor. The evidence of the Inspector of Fisheries was that there were about 20lb of fish in the net. The fish were all returned to the water. The Inspector stated this was defendants' first offence. A fine of £5 was imposed on each defendant. ILLEGAL NETTING. (1925, January 16). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from

In 1912 William's wife Martha passed away and was clearly much missed by her husband, children and  family. 1912 was also the year Andrew married Ethel Mary May Cook at Mosman. The following year, 1913, a daughter 'Ethel May' , was born.

RIDDLE.-In loving memory of my dear wife, Who passed away November 24, 1912, in her 40th year. Years will roam and time may fly; every leaf will fade and die: Every rising sun will set; But you, dear Mat I will never forget.  Inserted by her loving husband, William Riddle, the Spit, Middle Harbour. RIDDLE.-In loving memory of our darling mother, who departed this life November 24. 1912, aged 40 years.

Worthy of everlasting love was she from those she left behind. - A dearer mother could not be found, nor one so true and kind. Inserted by her loving children. Jessie, Jimmy, Madge, Arthur, Mollie, and Dickie.  

RIDDLE.-In ever-loving memory of my darling mother, who fell asleep November 24, 1912, aged 40 years. God needed one more angel amidst his shining band; And so he bent with a loving smile and clasped my darling mother's hand. Inserted by her loving daughter Dollie.

RIDDLE.-In sad but loving memory of my dear sister, Martha Riddle, who departed this life November 24, 1912, aged 40 years, R.I.P.Although the grave divides us, and your face I cannot see, Let this little token tell, dear sister, that I still remember thee. Inserted by her loving sister.

RIDDLE.-In loving memory of our dear auntie Martha who died on 24th November, 1912. Inserted by her loving nephews, Sid, George, and Les Miles. Family Notices. (1913, November 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

In 1924 William married Marion Carter. They had 11 years together before he passed away. The Riddles Spit property was soon afterwards placed on the market:

RIDDLE.-March 11, 1935 at a private hospital,  North Sydney, William, beloved husband of Marion  Riddle, of The Boatsheds, The Spit, Mosman, loving Father of Dorothy, Jessie, James, Madge (deceased).  Arthur,  Molly, and Dick, and brother of Alfred,  James, Andrew, and Min (Mrs. Waldon), aged 63 years. Family Notices. (1935, March 12). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

RIDDLE.-In loving memory of my dear husband and my father, William, who passed away March 11, 1935. One sad year has passed away, Yet love and grief remain. In life we loved you dearly, In death we do the same. Inserted by his loving wife and son, Arthur, daughter-in-law, Edna. RIDDLE.-In loving memory of dad, late of The Spit, Mosman, who passed away March 11, 1935; also our dear mother, who departed this life November 23, 1912. They never failed to do their best, Their hearts were true and tender; But now they are joined in Heaven above, And have left us to remember. Inserted by their loving son, Dick, daughter-in law, Edie, and family. RIDDLE.-To everlasting memory of William Riddle, The Spit. Gone but not forgotten by his son, James Riddle. Family Notices. (1936, March 11). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from 

TO BOATSHED, REFRESHMENT ROOM PROPRIETORS AND OTHERS - RICHARDSON and WRENCH. LTD., In conjunction with FRANK J. SMITH, of Spit-road, Mosman, under instructions from THE EXECUTOR OF THE LATE WILLIAM GEORGE RIDDLE, will offer for Sale, at the Rooms, 92 PITT-STREET, on FRIDAY, 14th FEBRUARY, 1936, at 11 a.m. ALL THAT the Business of a Boatshed and Shop and Refreshment Room, heretofore carried on by the late William George Riddle. Proprietor, at THE SPIT, MIDDLE HARBOUR, together with the Goodwill thereof, and together with (a) The Household Furniture, Plant, Tools,Boats (including a Launch), Fixtures and Fittings In or about the dwelling, refreshment room, and boatshed, situate in Spit-road, Mosman, (b) The Special Lease held of the Crown, and the benefit of the tenancy held of the Sydney Harbour Trust Commissioners In respect of the site of the said dwelling, Shopand Refreshment Room, and Boatshed. (In addition, the purchaser will be required to purchase the Stock-in-trade of the Shop and Refreshment Room at valuation.) TERMS: 10 per cent, deposit on signing of the contract, and balance in cash on completion.

POSSESSION ON COMPLETION. Inspection can be had by arrangement with the Auctioneers. A copy of the Conditions of Sale and of the Tenancy Agreement with the Harbour Trust Commissioners, together with schedules of the Furniture, Plant, Tools, Boats, Fittings, and Fixtures, can be inspected and particulars of the Special Lease obtained, at the office of the Auctioneers or the undersigned. JOHN WILLIAMSON and SONS, Solicitors to the Executor, The Trust Building, _ 155 King-street. Sydney._(105) Advertising. (1936, February 5). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 22. Retrieved from 

Andrew was at Church Point in his own boatshed from at least 1927, brother Alfred working with him until he passed away in 1938:


Mr. Percy Lindsay reveals his breadth of style with telling effect in his exhibition of oil paintings at the Australian Fine Art Gallery of Mr. W. R. Bennett. There is remark-able variety in these pictures, all of conspicuous attainment in colour and atmosphere. Mr. Lindsay has studied nature in varying moods, and has caught her spirit with manifest  fidelity. Such studies as "Riddle's Boatshed,"   ART EXHIBITION. (1927, July 5). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from

Not the only work Percy Lindsay did of Andrew Riddle's boatshed it seems:

"Morning, Riddle's Jetty" is distinguished for its bright, sunny treatment, and for the skill with which the artist has man-aged the water reflecting the brilliancy of the sun. The effect would have been better, however, without the clothing hanging out to dry on the boat at the pier, as this falls directly into the line of sunlight. There is moreover, some smudginess in the vessel's rigging. ART EXHIBITION. (1929, March 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from

The above painting doesn't  correspond with a Mona Vale Library image of A J Riddle's boatshed, but there are also other Percy Lindsay paintings of Pittwater with titles such as 'From Windy Jimmy, Scotland Island, Pittwater' - which may be a view towards this green gem in the estuary or another misnomer (sold at Sotheby's in Melbourne for six thousand in April 1989). The above is either a later version or...

Cars parked outside boatshed belong to A.J. Riddle. From the Pittwater Image Library, circa 1920's. Courtesy Pittwater Local Studies collection at Mona Vale Library: No 1830 PITTWATER ROAD, BAYVIEW

Below: The back of Riddle's Shop

And May was a watergirl, like her father and cousins:

SCULLING. PARRAMATTA RIVER CLUB. Parramatta River Sculling Club will hold a regatta on the Parramatta River on Saturday. The races will finish off George Towns's boatshed at Gladesville. The programme is: 3.40.-Women's Gladstone skiff handicap, (first heat): Misses J. Gilroy scr., M. Riddle 17s, M. Shaw l8. (MAY RIDDLE)  SCULLING. (1933, October 18). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from

LIST OF CHAPMAN PUP DRIVE YOURSELF LAUNCH HIRE STATIONS - CHURCH POINT PITTWATER - Mr Andrew Riddle the popular boat proprietor of Church Point Pittwater adopts the modern Idea of Installing CHAPMAN PUP Drive Yourself launches and has placed orders for a modest litter of Pups deliveries which have already commenced. Andy will make his big hit by launching at the Anniversary weekend holiday the first boat of his fleet which promises to be the best craft of its type ever seen on Pittwater. Advertising. (1936, January 11). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

Miss Betty Riddle is a daughter of the well-known, boatbuilder of Pittwater, "Andy" Riddle, and has been taught the art of sculling from an early age. She assists her father in his business and has always been prominent in aquatic, sport. Miss. Williamson has not had as much experience as the other entrants. She is a member of the Parramatta River Club and is accompanying her clubmates on a first visit to the Clarence. WHO'S WHO. (1936, April 2). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

LADIES' GLADSTONE SKIFF HANDICAP, Half a Mile/Scr.-r Miss Joan Gilroy , (Broken Bay).20secs.— Miss Betty Riddle. (Pittwater).; 22secs. — Mrs. J. Erickson (Pittwater).23secs. — Miss D. Hammond (Cabarita).27secs.— Miss D. Morris (Grafton),Miss D. Pamplin (Gladesville), Miss G. Stewart (Maclean.). -; 30secs.— Miss, M. Williamson (.Cabarita). EASTER REGATTA HANDCAPS. (1936, April 4). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Here too Andrew Riddle had to look out for people, especially those who hired his vessels:

Two brothers, Alan Lloyd Thompson (32) and Harold York Thompson(35) hired a launch from Riddle's boatshed at Newport on Saturday morning, stating that they intended fishing in the open sea. Yesterday afternoon the boat was found ashore on the rocks with a hole about four inches wide and -8 Inches from the waterline, but there was no sign o(the occupants. An examination of the petrol tank revealed that there was no water in the petrol, and only about a cupful of petrol had been used. This quantity could not have taken the launch as far as Danger Island. When they hired the launch they stated that they were due back in Sydney on Saturday night for a social engagement. The magneto of the engine was missing. The coast is still being searched for the missing men. ANOTHER MYSTERY OF THE SEA. (1936, May 12). The Braidwood Review and District Advocate (NSW : 1915 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

The above two turned up in peculiar circumstances, or perhaps not for Depression years in Australia:

SYDNEY LAUNCH MYSTERY CLEARED UP. Missing Brothers Located In Broken Hill
A well-known Parramatta (Sydney) solicitor and his brother, for whose safety fears have been entertained since Saturday morning, are safe in Broken Hill, and were yesterday afternoon taken to the Central Police Station, where their identity was established.
The sudden disappearance of the men, the discovery of their stranded boat on rocks at Dangar Island, and other mysterious happenings, caused Sydney police and relatives to fear the worst. Foul play was even suspected.
In an interview with a "Barrier Miner" reporter, the brothers expressed regret that they had caused any anxiety. They thought their relatives would feel that they were safe.
While a systematic search by sea was made for the bodies of the men, and a police search by land in the hope that the men may have become lost in bush country has been carried out the men have been travelling from place to place in the country.
They arrived in Broken Hill by train this morning, and it is alleged booked accommodation at the Freemasons Hotel under the names of Gunner and Collins. Inspector Elliot and Detectives Gibbons and Ramsey were soon on the trail of the men, and this afternoon the solicitor and his brother were taken to the Police Station.
The men concerned are:-  Harold York Thompson (35), a solicitor, of Pennant Hills-road, Parramatta, married, with one child. Alan Lloyd Thompson (32),clerk, single, of Osborne-road, Manly.
Both men are well known in Sydney and their identity has been established beyond doubt. They are alleged to have admitted their identity, and Inspector Elliot was acquainted with the solicitor brother when stationed in Parramatta.
Alan Lloyd Thompson has been more communicative than his solicitor brother.  He is alleged to have informed the police that he brought his brother away from Sydney to get away from all worry. They travelled as far as Orange, believing that place would prove ideal for a rest, but they found the bustle there too great. The men travelled to Orange by train, and it was by that method of transport that they came on to Broken Hill today.
The solicitor, it is stated, has told the police that he left Sydney to get away, from domestic troubles. Both men are well dressed and have sufficient money with them to pay their way. Inspector Elliot has been in touch with police headquarters in Sydney regarding the men, and he is awaiting 'instructions from the Commissioner of Police.
The men were last seen by friends on Saturday morning when they left Church Point, Sydney, in a launch on a fishing expedition, intending to return before nightfall. Their, launch, was found on the rocks at Dangar Island, near Brooklyn, on Sunday afternoon, and an examination of the boat revealed strange facts which baffled the police. A hole, about 4in, across, and made from the inside, was found amidships. The magneto of the engine was missing.
Throughout Saturday night a launch, equipped with a searchlight, scoured Pittwater and the Hawkesbury, and on Sunday scores of craft were informed that the men were missing, and many, joined the search. Land parties scoured the foreshores. During the afternoon two aeroplanes, each carrying two or three observers, flew along the coast as far north as Terrigal, and up and down either bank of the Hawkesbury.

Late on Sunday afternoon the Brooklyn water police-patrol found the launch, but there was no trace of the missing men on the Island. :
The brothers drove to Pittwater on Saturday morning and arrived at Mr. A. J. Riddle's boatshed at Church Point at about 11.30. They were carrying fishing gear and a small quantity of food. They told the launch proprietor, from whom they hired a 16ft. boat, that they would return before 5.30 p.m., and, after taking on board a bucket of fresh water, set out for the day. Both are experienced fishermen and over a period of years have been familiar with the Hawkesbury.
When the men failed, to return at nightfall, Mr. Riddle became anxious and notified the police. Later he decided to search for the men, thinking that the engine might have failed and that the boat might have drifted ashore miles from habitation. Throughout the bitterly cold night he cruised about the countless bays and inlets in the direction the men had taken. He played the searchlight on the banks, but could not find the boat. Fishermen who were spending the night with their lines were closely questioned, but no one had seen the missing launch.
At daybreak Mr. Riddle returned and after consultation with the police a more comprehensive search was organised. Owners of pleasure boats and other craft setting out from all points along the Hawkesbury were asked to keep a close lookout for the missing men. Mr. Dudley Thompson, a brother, joined the searchers, and from early morning to night kept in close touch with the search parties.
During the afternoon two aero-planes from the Kingsford Smith Air Service Ltd. joined in the search. A Monospar, piloted by Mr. Neville Stokes, who was accompanied by observers, flew up and down one bank of the Hawkesbury, while the Faith in Australia, In charge of Mr. Ben Goodson, who had several passengers as observers, flew up the other bank, carefully studying the Islands in the reaches. They could not see the launch, and then flew up the coast as far as Terrigal, returning to Mascot long after nightfall.
In the meantime the police patrol launch at Brooklyn had received a message and ultimately found a small launch high on the rocks at Dangar Island, about 14 miles from where the Thompsons had set out. No one was In the vicinity.  Mr. Riddle was notified, and from the police description was certain that the boat was his. Accordingly accompanied by police from Mona Vale and Mr. Dudley Thompson, Mr. Riddle set out for Dangar Island in a powerful launch.  The party reached the destination, and at high tide the launch was refloated and towed back to Brooklyn. It was the vessel hired by the Thompson brothers. An examination revealed that there, was a gaping hole amidships above the waterline, and the wood-work had been splintered on the outside, indicating that it had been smashed from the Inside of the launch. Fishing bait was in the boat, strewn all over the flooring.
Several strange features were revealed when the engine was examined. The cap of the petrol tank was closely screwed down, but the tank was full of petrol mixed with water. The magneto of the engine was missing. The launch was equipped with two oars when it left the boatshed. One had disappeared. One anchor cannot be found, and a long length of rope was missing. No food was in the launch, and, in addition, the water bucket had disappeared. The search for the missing men was continued in Sydney today.
Alan. Thompson's fiancée informed the police that, while on the corso at Manly with him on Friday night he showed her a bundle of notes. When she rebuked him for exhibiting it he replied: "Its only a mere 47quid." She said: "Somebody will knock you down one of these days." Alan's' employer said, today that there was no reason whatever for any idea that he should deliberately disappear. One theory formed by the police was that if a crime was committed it took place up the river, and the boat was then driven back to the spot near Brooklyn where an attempt was made to scuttle it.  SYDNEY LAUNCH MYSTERY CLEARED UP. (1936, May 13).Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

And a week and a bit later:

SYDNEY, Sunday. Grave fears are entertained for the safety of four men who left Newport on a fishing expedition on Saturday morning and completely disappeared. Huge seas pounded the coastline during the week-end, and it is feared their small launch may have broken down and foundered near the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.
On Saturday morning, four men in a motor car hired a launch from Riddle's boatshed and announced they would return about 4.30 p.m. After leaving most of their clothing in their car, they set off for Lion Island in the same launch which was used by the Thompson brothers when they disappeared.
When the men failed to return at nightfall, Riddle notified the police, and search parties were immediately organised. Today searches were made, including the patrolling of the Hawkesbury River by police boats and careful look outs from points along the coast. At great risk, police officers cruised near the mouth of the Hawkesbury River and near Lion Island, but without result.
Although the police have not yet definitely established the identity of the men, their names are believed to be G. Horan, of Concord, Mr. Medre of Dulwich Hill, and Brownson and Haines. HOODOO LAUNCH. (1936, May 25). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from

They too turned up:

Missing Fishermen Found on Lion Island
ALL WELL. Lack of Food .NO WATER. SYDNEY, Monday.
Wet to the skin, and ravenously hungry, the four men who set out on a fishing expedition on Saturday from Church Point, and who disappeared, were found on Lion Island today.
Their craft had been washed ashore in heavy seas, and they had been forced to shelter there during  the weekend. The men ' were: George Horan,' of Concord, William Haines, of Bondi, James Brownston, of Strathfield, and Sidney Malgre of Marrickville. When the men arrived at Riddle's boatshed on Saturday they hired' the 16-foot launch which had ' been used by the Thompson brothers recently; The boat  had been overhauled, and was considered unsinkable. The party was last seen about. 5p.m; on Saturday, when according toa man in another boat, they were wallowing in mountainous - seas. :When- they did not return . on ' Saturday. fears were entertained for their safety, and all day. yesterday parties were engaged in a search for them, 
Food Box Lost 
On the way to inspect his lobster traps to-day a man saw a 16-foot launch drawn up on the beach of Lion Island, and when he, hurried ashore he was met by four hungry men. .They Informed him they had been without food since they left their homes, their food box having been washed overboard. : They were also very thirsty, as they had been unable to secure water, 'The man; took them aboard: his craft-and on the way to Church- Point they were met  by the police party In another launch. Mr. Riddle, who was with the party, said that the men were starving, and did more than full justice to the meal they received  at Church Point. Missing Fishermen Found on Lion Island. (1936, May 25). The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW : 1894 - 1939), p. 1. Retrieved from

FOR SALE. 22ft Raised-deck Auxiliary Cruiser,-L1 4-cylinder Universal Marine, 4 bunks, lavatory, perfect condition. Any trial. Insured £200. Quick Sale. £150. RIDDLE'S Boatshed. Church Point. Advertising. (1936, August 15). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

MAST. 19ft, boom 16ft gaff lilt, With all fittings. £6. Riddle's Boatshed, BayviewAdvertising. (1936, August 29). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

Mr. Riddle, like his elder brother, had to have a permissive occupancy to be in the water:

IT IS NOTIFIED in the Government Gazette of 18th-August, 1939, that an application has been made by Andrew John Riddle for extension of terms of Special Lease No. 31/36. Land District of Metropolitan. for boatshed, jetty, and skids containing 28 ½ perches below high, water mark at Pittwater  fronting portion 27. Objection may be lodged at Land Board Office,  Sydney . 
A. MAX ALLEN. Acting District Surveyor. Advertising. (1939, September 8). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

The wonderful Eileen Gordon, the lady many associate with the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary, mentioned when we were interviewing her husbandJohn and speaking of the Mark Foy history page we were then researching, that May had left with her some pictures of the Riddles with Mark Foy - another champion of 'everyone should go sailing - it's not just a rich man's sport'. The rapport on 16 and 18 footers, particularly since Mr. Foy moored one of his favourites near the Riddle shed:

Sailing Man's Search For Freak Racer . The old racing 24-footer Flying Fish is being anxiously sought by the well-known sailing enthusiast Mr. Mark Foy. If the hull can be found, even in a derelict condition, Mr. Foy plans to build a big racer, 60ft long, on the same lines.   For some time he has been advertising a reward of £5 for news of  the boat's whereabouts.  Several reports that she was at George's River, and had become a houseboat, have proved untrue. The whereabouts of Flying Fish is still a mystery.   Sailing veteran and boatbuilder  Peter Cowie believes the lost boat will never be found. Some years ago the late Jack Gorman told him Flying Fish broke from her moorings at Pittwater and drifted out to sea. Mr. Foy, who gave Gorman the freak racer nearly 50 years ago, said last night that this explanation was quite plausible.    
He claims that Flying Fish had an amazing turn of speed on a beam wind. She often sailed past Manly ferries, and out-distanced all-comers  on the harbour. Shortened by two feet to enter an ocean race Flying Fish won it by about three miles, according to Mr.Foy.  The craft was of unorthodox build. She was actually two boats, each of 2ft 3in beam, bolted together by two cross pieces, one at the mast and one further aft. Flying Fish carried a crew of 20. She was rigged with a French lug sail and overall measured 60ft from bowsprit to tip of bumpkin. Mr. Foy is confident that if the Flying Fish could be found and reproduced with a 60ft hull the new boat would be a record-breaker.
''She was perfectly balanced," he declares.
A copy named the Flying Fox did not have the same balance and proved a complete failure. Mr. Foy is dubious about the success of any other attempts to duplicate the performance of the craft without her exact dimensions. Sailing Man's Search For Freak Racer. (1946, February 26).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

The legacy of these little racers is still in place on Pittwater today - The BYRA is on the verge of Riddle's Reserve - land named after May Riddle as requested by the community in 1989 after the lady passed away early in 1988 and the weatherboard cottage, which until then had still operated as a tearoom on this space, was demolished. May had left land to the Council in her Will.  - one of several incidences of recognition of almost two centuries of a saltwater family that gave and inspired and grew community. 

As established at the outset, the Riddle men were in at the start of the Pittwater Regatta, and through hard work they then ensured there was a focus on local people among the events listed, taking over providing the prize for the local boats race when they had grown older and decided to cease competing although Andrew competed with daughter May in the rowing events of both the Pitwtatre Regatta and the Pittwater Aquatic Club for years as a team and as individuals:

PITTWATER REGATTA.Currawong Race for VJs. 5½m: Kestrel (P. B. Docker). 1;Comet (W. S. Tost). 2: Achilles (K. W.Gravenor). 3. Won by 2 min., 4 min. Bayview Race for 16ft Skiffs, 7m: Pathfinder(H. Graham). 1: Martine (P. M. Evatt).2; Ronnie (A. J. Schultz.). 3. Won by lm 45s. lm 50s. W. J. Goddard Memorial Race for Yachts. 8½m: Judith Pihl(J. W. Jira). 1: Clipper (Dr. H. S. Kirkland),2; Julnar (G. L. Griffen). 3. Won  by 29s, 1m 23s. A. J. Riddle Race, local boats. 7m: Chance (R. Tumeth). 1; Planet(M. Porter). 2: Doris (R. Mayjor). 3. Won by 16s. lm 55s. Church Point Handicap for VSi, 7m: Shadow 8 (L. B. Smith). 1;Vlei (H. Marson). 2: Wendy (G. Thorne).3. Won by 35s. Im 55s. Sil Roim Memorial Handicap for VJs. 5'/2m: Kestrel (P.B. Docker). 1: The Rocket (P. Hanson), 2;Achilles (K. W. Gravenor). 3. Wen by20s, 12m 13s. Lionel V. Edye Scratch Race, Jubilee class yachts: Aeolus (L. Pound), 1:Petrel (A. P. Baldick and K. Clarke). 2;Gem ll tw. A. Audsley). 3. Won by 6m5s. 23s. John Roche Handicap, yacht!,8'/2 rn: Mustang (R. J. Singer), 1: Juinar(G. L. Griffin), 2; Kyeema (C. Galbraith),3. Won by 5s. 4m 30s. Don Taylor Handicap, yachts 18ft to 35ft14 m: Caprice (H.E. Pflcfferl. 1: Ozone (A. .1. Stone), .2;Janaway (J. Word). 3. Won by 20m 10s. 58s. Palm Beach Handicap, 16ftsk,'JTs, 14m: Pathfinder (H. Graham). 1;San Toy (E. O. Shaw). 2: Ronnie (A. J. Schultz), 3. Won by 7m 10s, 59s. Motor Yachts:-Cruiser Handicap. l'/3m: Karuah(H. Murphy). 1: Mconray (A. G. Peck). 2;Pastime (A. Pickering), 3. Power boat handicap, IVim: Karak! (Commodore Tylor),1: Gilda (H. Taylor). 2: Karuah (H. Murphy), 3. C. E. Le Gallien Speed Boat Trophy, 3m: Gilda (H. Taylor). 1; Lat» (D. Boyce and S. Lands), 2: D. St. E. (H. B. McIntosh). 3. Aerial Derby (Bankstown to Newport): VH Azr. 1: VH Ape. 2; VHAph. 3. SAILING. (1946, December 27). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from 

Good Day At Pittwater

The 45th annual Pittwater regatta was held yesterday in perfect conditions. Early in the day the wind was of moderate strength from the north-east. It faded slightly later, but not enough to spoil the racing. In the fifth race, the A. D. Walker Handicap for yachts of three and four divisions, some confusion was caused when one of the marks capsized. Sea Rover (S R. Dickinson)was put to a disadvantage by this, and was compensated by a special second prize. Andy Riddle Race for local boats: Nymph (25m) 1, Sea Sprite (scr ), 2, Avalon (scr ), 3 Won by 3m 30s. 17m Good Day At Pittwater. (1951, December 30). The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 9 Section: Sports Section . Retrieved from

Andrew John Riddle passed away in 1960, his wife in 1976.

 Along the foreshores of Broken Bay - 1918

The photograph was taken at Bayview , which overlooks lovely Pittwater, the southern part of Broken Bay* into which runs the beautiful Hawkesbury River . The whole of this locality is wonderfully rich in scenic charms. ALONG THE FORESHORES OF BROKEN BAY. (1918, January 23). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 5. Retrieved from

Above: Pittwater Regatta 1934 'Girl paddling her dinghy'. Image No.:  hood_06543h, courtesy State Library of NSW

SHE SAW EVERYTHING, but she had to paddle her own canoe. But that was a mere bagatelle to smiling Miss Ston yesterday. She enjoyed every moment at Pittwater. WATER SPORTSMEN'S GREAT DAY AT PITTWATER. (1934, December 30). Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

Extras and Research:


A meeting of residents of Mosman and Middle Harbour interested in aquatics was held at Mr. Adams's rooms, the Spit, Middle Harbour, on Thursday over-tug for the purpose of taking steps to inaugurate a sailing club for that district There was a good attendance, and Mr. George Snow was voted to the chair. After discussion, Mr. A Harpham moved,- " That a club, to be called the Middle Harbour Sailing Club, be formed " Mr. A. Ellis seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously. It was next re-solved that the club be open to boats from10ft. to 24ft. in length, and that the sails he restricted to jib and mainsail only The adoption of rules and regulations was discussed, and it was the opinion of the meeting that those of the Sydney Sailing Club would with certain amendments suit the requirements of the club. At least a dozen boat owners signified their intention of racing under the flag of the club, so that its success is practically assured. Mr. J. Alderton was appointed bon secretary pro tem It was decided that the next meeting be held on the 11th proximo at the Trafalgar Hall, Mosman.

The formation of the club will doubtless be the means of popularising the sport on Middle Harbour, where there are many boats, which, owing to the lengthy sail round to the starting points of the other clubs' contests, have been practically precluded from competing therein. The Middle Harbour Club, therefore, will provide good sport for these in their own locality. It is proposed to start the races from the Spit, where it is probable the club will have its headquarters.

Mr. J. E L Fisher has disposed of the 18-footer Doreen, the purchaser being Mi. W J. Joyce. She has been renamod Water Witch, and when not racing m the Sydney Sailing Club-or Sydney Flying Squadron is to be a competitor in the Neutral Bay Club's events. 

Carter is supplying new sails for Thalia, and it is understood that Mr. Solomon, her owner, intends availing himself of every opportunity to race his craft. The 18-footer, Wollami, built by Langford last season. Will also participate on the racing. It is understood, too, that the Elsie, another of that class, will also be a competitor in the various races. Mr P. Summerbell has disposed of his rater Quadratic, and it is not improbable that she will compete in the St George Club's racing at Botany. The Yogi has also changed hands, having gone to Newcastle. A NEW CLUB. (1902, August 30). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from 


The newly-formed Middle Harbour Sailing Club open their season on Saturday with a handicap for all boats, jib and mainsail only allowed, for which11 boots have entered. At the completion of the race the boats' crews will muster in Mr. Lyons's new sheds at the Spit, where the prizes will be presented. The boats are nearly all pleasure craft, from the 10-footer up to the 24, although there are a few racers of past seasons amongst them. MIDDLE HARBOUR SAILING CLUB. (1902, October 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from 

MIDDLE HARBOUR CLUB.  A general handicap will be sailed this afternoon by the Middle Harbour Club for prizes of £2, 15s,'and 10s. Handicaps are:-Maital (H. Everett), scr. Cornstalk (J. Moffatt), 2m; Amanda (O. Lyons), Dewhildie (E. Sautelle) 3m, Kalpini (E. C. Croft) Mat (W Riddle). 1m, Morwong (R. Adams), Gumleaf (L. Hoboys), Novice(N. Bramphton), 8m; Romp (W.J. Edwards), Mimosa (H. Harding), 8m; Winnie (V. Dewhurst), lira; Kiwi (O. Stewart), 12m; Aubrey (J. Carroll), 12m; Dorothy (W. Moore), 14m. MIDDLE HARBOUR CLUB. (1908, March 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from 

SKIFF For Sale, cheap,  Riddle's Boatshed, Spit, Middle Harbour.  Advertising. (1904, February 6). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

CHAMPIONSHIP OF MIDDLE HARBOUR. A match for heavy boats will be contested on Saturday next between R. Hopping and Bill Riddle at The Spit. The race is for £10 a side. The course is from Grotto Point to The Spit, 11 mile. Mr. S. Pearce is umpire, and Mr. H. Pearce stakeholder and judge.  CHAMPIONSHIP OF MIDDLE HARBOUR. (1911, December 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

Hopping v. Riddle this afternoon. The race is in equal 10ft pleasure skiffs, over a mile and a half course, Middle Harbor. Bob Hopping is no mug in this class of boat, and has won some good races, though he succumbed to Syd. Pearce. Riddle, who is a boat proprietor near the Spit, promises to keep the champion of the Tramway Department busy. ROWING. (1911, December 16). The Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1896 - 1912), p. 7. Retrieved from 

ROWING – WIN FOR W AND MISS RIDDLE. The race for the ladies and gentleman’s sculling championships between W Riddle and Miss Riddle and L. Rawden and Miss Counsell was rowed on Liechardt Bay this afternoon over a course of 1 ½  (or 11)miles. It attracted a good deal of attention the “Daphne’ having a large crowd on board. Mr Juild was umpire and Mr. C. Matterson was judge. After a good race the Riddles were victorious.  The time was 20min. ROWING. (1914, March 14). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 9. Retrieved from

Mr. W. RIDDLE, the well-known ex-oarsman and boat proprietor, says: "YOU CAN'T BEAT THE SAFIX-MILLER."

"Last week I ran my 13-foot fishing boat up to the Hawkesbury with one of your Safix-Miller Motors. I am perfectly satisfied that your motor Is good enough for anything, and she travels, too, for the Fishermen at Pittwater reckoned I would have to lie outside North Head all night, thinking I would never get down by sundown, but sheo did the 24 miles In 32 hours. The Motor has never given mo any trouble all the hundreds of miles I have run It r tell anyone that asks me that they don't want a better motor than the Safix-Miller Outboard, because I have proved what It will do." W. RIDDLE, Spit Boatsheds, Middle Harbour. Advertising. (1915, October 23). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from

Andrew may have been one of the many who attended the opening of thecycle track to Pittwater in 1901 as:

CYCLING. CAMDEN SPORTS. The following stilts nave been allotted for the half and one mile handicaps, open to members of the New South Wales Cyclists Union to be decided at Camden on Tuesday next -A 1 Taylor, scr se-, ti.Budln, 10yds, 20yds, O O Hooper, 15, 30, * A hTaylor, 15, 35, C N Cross 2o 50, W 0 ¡lill, 2o,60, C M Butler, 30, 00, W Barry, 30, 60, R. W.Webber, 35, 70, D Gillett, L Hammond, ¿.R Cross, W II Holdsworth, 35, 70 W J. Quigley, I' O Trost, P II Goggins 40, SO, G I. Wolcott, W Pearce, T Winterbottom, O M O Brien,W Lee, A Hodgkinson, MOO Brien, 45, 00, li Lowe, 60, 100, A J Riddle55, 110. C. Clissold, 00, CYCLING. (1915, January 22). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

Andrew John Riddle – Warringah Council Notices

31. N. Du Maurier, 11/12/33, drawing attention to the unsightly and insanitary condition of the building known as Riddle's boat shed at Church Point, and requesting Council to take remedial action. 'Resolved, - That the latter be "received". (Ors. Hughes,Austin) 

24/1/1939: By Cr. Latham - There is an unnamed road running out from 'Riddle's boat shed at Church Point, serving Buist's place, and four other houses, where a culvert needs attention:

A. J.  Riddle, 7/1/42, stating he will hold the Council entirely responsible for any accident to persons or damage to his property which may occur through the Council's negligence in not filling in a "cavity" in front of his boat shed and store at Church Point.- Resolved, - That the Engineer have the depression filled in and charge the coat of the work to the Main Roads grant. (Crs. Williams, Nixon).

15/9/1952- Council's' Boat-shed at Bayview - Reporting on request by A.J. Riddle  to be allowed to take over the old boat-shed and jetty- stating that both are in a dilapidated condition - That the boat-shed and jetty be demolished. (CR.s. Berry, Hewitt) 

Warringah Shire Council Records - Riddles and Incidentals from 1904

George Riddle as quarrying and delivering 1000 yards of spalls by Warringah Council September 6th 1904: “That Contractor Riddle had filled up the water table near the Spit Road and that he had been using some of the Council’s tools on this.” The President said that he had given Riddle permission to do so on payment of a fee’

Interestingly 15/11/1904 ‘G Boulton for supplying 100 c/yards of blue metal for Church Point Road at 5/6 per yard was unanimously accepted’ and in same Minutes ‘ C. Boutin given permission to make an approach to her hotel at Narrabeen.’ - While ‘Oliver’s, Riddles, Browns and Wilcoxes Contracts be placed against the Special Grants’

Also from this Meeting: ‘That W. Brewer was prepared to repair the culvert on cabbage tree road for 6 pounds and the one on Powder Works Road for 30/ - unanimously agreed to let Brewer carry out the work

‘That G. Riddle had put out some inferior Ballast’ + ‘that Cr. Holden and Cr. Ralston seconded move that the sum of 20 pounds be paid to G. Riddle as a progress payment on his Contract of Ballast supplied as per contract – carried unanimously. ‘

24/1/1906: Brown re breaking 500 yards of ballast to be supplied by G Riddle – decided to call for tenders for the same – in same Minutes; ‘re resumption of Collaroy Beach – It was decided to request that the Department do this without cost to the Council’. – and stand over until next meeting; ‘Protection fences at Dee Why Lagoon and Sheep Station Hill’

20th September 1907: Did Engineer tell Riddle he was dismissed? ‘No” – did Engineer tell Riddle he had Contract? ‘No.”

29th November 1907: G Riddle contract extend spalls from 100 to 1500 yards from Spit Road to Post Office

27th April 1908: pay G Riddle for 69 yards of ballast placed on Chard Road at one and six per yard

24th April 1908: ‘Tender of G Boulton accepted for 200 yards of metal for Newport At 5/6 per yard after lots had been drawn between he and T Douglas whop tendered at same price’ + The Tender of G. Riddle was accepted for metal ballast 600 yards at 4/3  from the Brookvale Post Office to the new metal, and 200 yards at 5/6 to be placed at the Salvation Army Home of Rest.

9. G..Riddle. 5/1/1920, in regard to Council!s requirements Sanitary to instal a steaming plant, &c. on sanitary depot : Resolved Depot. . . (Councinor Thew, Councillor Forbes). That the Board. of Health be asked to waive its requirements respecting the southern area sanitary depot for three months, i.e. until the expiration of the present Contract. . - Southern 10. G. Riddle Sanitary Contractor, submitting half-yearly Sanitary Statement, of services and fees. Received. 

16/2/1920:  'Sothern Area - The applicatIon of Mr. G. Riddle, Contractor for, the San. Contract. Southern Scavenging Area for renewal of his contract for - - three years at u increased fee was re-submitted. Resolved, (Councillor Sterland, Councillor Campbell) That from 1st - April, the fee for supplying a sanitary service in the - Southern Scavenging Area, that is to say, for the removal of nightsoil in connection with any land shall be at the - 1-c - Fees - rate of nine pence (9d) per week, such fee to be for the removal of nightsoil in respect f One pan, and each additional pan shall be paid for at a similar rate. 8226; 1 (Councillor Corkery voted against the motion. I fl r, Resolved, - ( Councillor Sterland. "nri1lor ontribution Campbell That G. Riddle  be given a re' contract for three years, at the increased fc t a und. Q ZA deduction be made by the Council of administrative expenses &c.

11/7/1921: That the proposal to sell the old tar-boiler to G. Riddle  for Two pounds be left in the hands of the President. – 

8/8/1922: 3. Resolved, (Crs. Campbell, Greenwood) That renewal of. the following Noxious Trades Licenses be approved, namely, F. A. Morrison, Eric Bennet, Lennard Riddle and Harold Rowland - Resolved, - (Ore, Crpbe1l, Cavin) +:

Letters from the Solicitor, as follow, were read –Acquisition of Land at Newport Beach (a) /26/7/22, submitting Contract for purchase from P. G. Taylor of land at Newport. Beach, Resolved, - (Crc. Hewitt, Hitchcock) ition. That the Seal of the Council be affixed to the Contract. - -- - I - . . (i,) 2 7/7/22, submitting Contract for purchase from JustIce G.H. Pike, of land at Newport Beach, . Resolved1 - (Cre, Hewitt, FatchcociS) That the Seal of the Council be affixed to the Contract - ( Crs. Quirk, Hewitt) That letters be sent to the owners of the allotments along Newport Beach, between Alphonese and Prattens, enquring at what price they will sell.

19/02/1923 : 9, W. A.  Makim, re his subdivision ("Facing the Dawn”) between Dee Why and Brookvale, submitting fresh agreement with G. Riddle  for the discharge of stormwater on to the land, and requesting return of former agreement. Referred to the Engineer.

 05/03/1923: Further in regard to Makim’s Subdivision, it was resolved, - That as the agreement as to the discharge of water from No 2 road onto the Riddle’s land is one between Makim and Riddle, and the Council apparently has no standing in the matter, Mr. Makim be requested to have the agreement made as between Riddle and the Council without cost to the Council, 

03/12/1923 11. Resolved, 8212; (Crs. Campbell, McKillop) That in view of the circumstances, E.  Riddle be not charged driving fees in respect of his horse released from the Impounding Officers. 

17/03/1924: Resolved, - (Crs. Campbell, McKillop) That theSeal of the Council be affixed to the Agreement with George Riddle  respecting the contract for the carrying out of the sanitary service " N 176;' in the Southern Section of the scavenging area for three years from 1st prox. 6 \ Resolved, - (Crs. Hewitt, Campbell) That the Mona Vvle Surf' Club be informed that Mr. Lane's transfer of land for site for the Club House has now been completed. 

16. G. Riddle 28/10/25., requesting Council’s permission to transfer his sanitary contract for the remainder of the period to Henry Ostler of Annandale and Harold..Richard . Brennan of Kogarah and . 17, H. B. B±'ennan.. 17/10/25intimating that he desires to purchase G. Riddle's Sanitary Contract, but cannot do so unless a three years' extension is granted Resolved, - (Crs; Campbell .Elsworth) That the Council agree to the transfer of the contract to Brennan and Ostler, and also to an-extension of the contract period for three years on the same terms, as at present

W.Maund and Co. 23.4.26. submitting, for affixing of Council's seal, Assignment of G. Riddle's Sanitary Contract Service Contract to Brennan and Ostler : Resolved, - (Crs Campbell, Cokery) .That the seal be affixed. 

24/01/1927: Resolved (Crs. Parr, Greenwood)--that the Tender of Alfred Howlett and George Riddle of £ 537.10.0 for the Alexander Street job be accepted subject to the specified deposit being lodged.

16/05/1927: TENDERS Resolved (Crs. Atkins, Greenwood) - That the tender of' Messrs. Howlett and Riddle  of £161 10.0 for the Mactier Street work be accepted

25/7/1927: Resolved (Cre.Campbcll, Parr) - That the lowest tender, that of G. Riddle , for. £360 for the formation and ballasting of Tyndora Avenue for 20 chains from Oliver Road to Albert Street be accepted. . . and 4...:-Freshwater Avenue. Resolved (Crc. Campbell, Parr) - that the lowest tender, that of G. Riddle, for £190.15.0,chaine. formation and ballasting of Freshwater Avenue, bet7 Al'tertin r.'SWeat and Charles Street, be accepted. • ' .5.. Mitchell Road, Short Street, Nicholson Street, part of Mitchell Road Wattle. Street and William Street. Resolved (Ore. Cam,tc-ll, Parr) - . That the lowest tender, that of Howlett and  Riddle, at £825 be accepted for 50 chains of formation and ballasting on the street.. 

7/ 75' F. Riddle 26/3/28. Drawing attention to the state of the footpath adjoining his property in Pittwater Road, Brookvale. £1 to be expected in attending to this complaint.

3/4/1929: "B" Riding Sanitary Service Letter from Shire Solicitors submitting Contract Agreement with. H.F. Riddle Resolved (Cra. Campbell, Mcpaul) a That the Seal of the Council be affixed to such Contract.

24/6/1929: 46. Resolved (Crs. Campbell, Austin) - That Arthur Brickwood's request for permission to place advertising signs on the wall of the fruit shop occupied by Kirby and on the roof of F. Riddle’s produce store, Brookvale, be refused. 

20/2/1930: TENDERS. Resolved (Crs. Campbell, McPaul) — That the Council go into Committee for the purpose of opening the tenders for the erection of a pavilion in Brookvale Park, in accordance with the Engineer's plan and specification. Resolved (Crs. Greenwood, Campbell) - ¶hat the tender received after the closing time be included. Six tenders were received. Resolved (Crs. Robertson, Campbell) —That A. Verrill's tender of £320 for the erection of a weatherboard pavilion be accepted, provided he can satisfy the President and Shire Clerk that he is in a position to finance the work; failing him being able to do so, R. M. Hood's tender be accepted on the same conditions.

On resumption in open Cothicil, representatives of the Vlarrjngah and Manly Agricultural & Horticultural Society viz Messrs. Riddle, Bate, Moon, Thew, Wailer discussed with the Council the matter of the pavilion and other improvements to the Park. Resolved (Crs. Campbell, Parr) — • That in the main pavilion, the two doors be placed on the one side of the building, about 3'6" from either end and that such doors be made to open outwards. Resolved (Cr8. Campbell, MePaul) — That the Engineer immediately make a start on the improvements to the track on the Park. Resolved (Crs. Corkery, Campbell) — That, for consideration at next meeting, the Engineer prepare plans and specification of another pavilion, making use of the timber already available, and in doing so, give consideration to the plan submitted by Mr. Moon. Resolved (Crs. Campbell, Robertson) — that Mr. Reid M.L.A. be requested to use his best endeavours to get the Governor to open the Show. 

28/7/1930: 7. G.  Riddle Senr. 24/7/30. Requesting approval to his using r depot site in Starkey Street, French's Forest, (Madgwtckes) for disposal of nightsoil from Manly Municipality. Resolved, - Mr. Riddle  be informed the Council approves of his using this depot for a period not more than three years (Crs. Campbell, McPaul)

23/2/1931:  Newport SLSC 2/2/31: On need for repairs to the Club's shed on the beach, advising that if the Council supply the necessary materials the Club will do the work. Resolvod, That the Inspector attend the meeting of the bathing Club at the end of week discuss the matter and that he be authorised to finalise. (Crs. Robertson, Mactin) 25.Bayview & Church Point Progress Association 9/2/31.. Inviting attention to two dangerous corners on Bayview Road, one adjoining Fermoy Avenue and the other near  Riddle's boat shed, viz - that  estimate a for the Improvement at these spots to be included in next year's maintenance programme to be submitted to the Main Roads Board! . 26• :9/2/3Reporting t hnt Yenoy Aveue and R &' 1. Alexandra Crescent are said to be dcnueroue in partdl. Referred to the Engineer for report. . 27.sat. 9/2/31. (1) Drawing attention to the need of Church Point - a report reporting the dangerous state or Church Point Wharf. Resolved, • That the Engineer furnish:a report and estimate for temporarily strengthening the wharf, (Crc. Austin, Robertson) . 28. Same 9/2/31. Requesting that Mr. Nusmith be furnished with  a lock and hey for the trolley on Bayview wharf so that the trolley will not be misused,. Resolved, -That the request be granted.

Also in same Minutes: Mona Vale Golf Club 9/2/1931: inquiring whether filling and construction work on The Black Swamp Reserve has been carried out to the satisfaction of the Council. Referred to Engineer for Report.

18/12/1933: N. Du Maurier, 11/12/33, drawing attention to the unsightly and insanitary condition of the building known as Riddle's boat shed at Church Point, and requesting Council to take remedial action. 'Resolved, - That the letter be "received".

19. Deewhy West Progress Assoc. 11/1/34, submitting following South Creek requests - (a) that the bush he removed from South Creek 'Road Road at the bend near Riddle's; (b) that 6 chains of clearing be done in Washington Avenue to give access to Mr. Roylson's Inman Road property; (c) that Inman Road be given attention; (d) that n large quantity of sand be removed from the corner of South Creek Road and Roseville Road; (e) that four culverts in South Creek Road at the corner of Thew Parade be attended to. Council's decisions:- (a) that the bush be removed by the relief workers, (Crs. Nicholas, Fox); (b) referred to the Works Committee for report; '(c) referred to the Works Committee for report; (d) that the culverts be at-budded to by the relief workers, (Crs. Nicholas, Fox). 

Meeting 7/5/1934: 43. Land Board Office, 1/5/34, inquiring whether Council had any objection to the granting of A.J. Riddle's application for a Permissive Occupancy for a boat slip already erected of Occupancy Bayview Church Point. Resolved, That the Council offer no objection. (Crs. Hughes; Sterland).

10/09/1934  43. A. B. Southward, 4/9/34; re removal by Council's workmen' of tree which had blown down on the footpath in front of his property at Bayview, suggesting that Mr. A. Riddle, who performed the voluntary work, be paid; also requesting that an inspection be made of the tree alongside the site of the fallen tree. Resolved, - That the other tree be removed, and that Alf. Riddle be granted 5/- in return for his labour. 

No. 4: A letter from G. Building Riddle, Contractor, 29/8/35, requesting permission to put on a coat of 3 inches of Gordon Road gravel instead of tar on the Wimbledon new road, and, if he could obtain.a refund from the Manly Gas ...Company, he he allowed to treat the completed road in the same way, was road in conjunction with the report. Resolved, - That the Committee's report ho, adopted, and the Contractor's request be granted, but only so far as it concerns the road inspected by the Works Committee. Resolved, -,That in future new roads be not tarred until the Tarzina o blinding wears down. (Crs, Hewitt, Campbell) Road 10. Re Land Board Office's letter respecting proposal by Miss D. Peterson to erect, community boat Shea and skids off Lake Park: Letters from R.

43. Mrs F.A. Riddle, 3/9/35, inquiring if Council desires to acquire her land, Lot 27, corner of Federal Parade and Consul Road., Brookvale, for better access to the brickworks. Resolved,- That she be informed the land is not required by the Council. 

49. G. Riddle, Contractor, 20/9/35 and 26/9/35, requesting Council to agree to the laying of 3 inches of gravel on the extension of Wimbledon Avenue in Wimbledon Estate RUA subdivision. Resolved, - That the Council comply with his request. 


Last week Mr. Conyers, of the Public Works Department, measured up the second lot of stone from French's Forest now lying on the Pittwater-road, between North Manly and Brooklyn. The quantity was 500 cubic yards, for which Mr. Carew, the shire clerk, received a cheque for £150 this week from the department. This cheque (the second) he has passed on to the contractors, Messrs. G. Riddle and H. Thew, whose first cheque, for 585 cubic yards, amounted to £174.

Nearly 1100 yds from French's Forest, out of 4000 required for the tramway, have now been got out and paid for. The 1200yds got out of the quarry at Brookvale by the first contractor, for which the department paid about £250, will make up the full total of 5000 yds required for the tramway. The approved stone, under the new contract, is now coming out of French's Forest very fast.  BROOKVALE TRAM. (1909, April 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from


The  ceremony of turning, the first sod in connection with, the three miles extension of the Manly-Brookvale tramway towards Narrabeen was performed  yesterday afternoon by the Minister for Works, Mr. Arthur Griffith. After the actual ceremony, at which Master Sturt Griffith assisted, the chairman, Mr. Alexander Ralston, president of the Warringah Shire Council, presented Mr. Griffith with a gold spade suitably inscribed as a memento of the occasion. In supporting this, Dr. Arthur, M.L. A. for the district, referred, to Mr. Griffith's ' brickworks, and said that if he could supply bricks to him at a cheaper rate than private enterprise when he required to build, he would- have them, provided they were good. The Narrabeen tramway was badly needed.  Mr. Griffith had 'the true interests of this district at- heart, and he was sure he would do his best for it. He was hopeful that very shortly the tramway route would be extended as far as Mona Vale and Bayview.-


Mr. Griffith, in responding-; said that the general policy of the Labor Government was one of progression, arid the extension of some of the schemes of the Wade Government. They had resumed a big area of the foreshores of the harbor, and were about to resume the Salvation Army's property at Long Reef Point. They had also recently resumed an, area at Narrabeen for a park site. The construction of the tram extension ; to Narrabeen would be done as cheaply as possible. The materials would be carried by steamer from Sydney to Manly jetty; taken out of the boat; and placed upon a tram on the wharf.  In order that this might be done, he had .arranged with the Port Jackson Ferry Co. to temporary exiena ino uaumue 0:1 iu the jetty, which would save a great deal of time ... The materials would be run out at half the cost. He hoped that the line would be completed before Christmas so that the public would have the benefit, of it during the Summer months.  Councillor Quirk proposed the toast of the Federal arid State Parliaments, to which Colonel Ryrie, M.H.R,.' Dr. Arthur, Dr.. Naah,  Mr.McFarlane, and Mr. -Briner',' M.'sL.A'. responded. Colonel Ryrie mentioned that from 'inside information'- .-it.-. was practically certain that the Mona Vale site for the Naval College had been abandoned, and in that case he would support the Barrenjoey scheme, for he considered Broken Bay and Manly- district the back-door to Sydney. BROOKVALE-NARRABEEN TRAMWAY. (1911, July 30).Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 12. Retrieved from 


Albert Kemsley, 47, of Hay-street, Collaroy, and Robert Riddle, 39, of Pittwater-road, Brookvale, had remarkable escapes from death or serious injury yesterday, when a stack of about 3000 bricks fell about them at the Brookvale Brickworks. The men were half buried in the bricks and were struck by many of them, but they suffered only cuts and abrasions. The Manly Ambulance took them to Manly Hospital.CASUALTIES. (1934, September 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from 

BROOKVALE BRICKWORKS DAMAGED BY FIREBALLThis picture shows the path of a fireball which severely damaged a brickworks at Brookvale yesterday. ' (Story page' 3.) BROOKVALE BRICKWORKS DAMAGED BY FIREBALL. (1952, August 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from 

At Brookvale a fireball struck a brickworks chimney at 6.10 a.m., and partly wrecked four brick kilns. Striking with a series of bomb-like blasts, it demolished a wooden structure 200feet square and hurled sheets of iron from it up to 200yards away. The works, in Federal Parade, Brookvale, are owned by Brickworks Ltd., Castlereagh Street, city. Only one man, Bill Bass, of Sydenham Road, Brook-vale, was on duty at the time. He was working in the first kiln. Bass jumped under a work-bench as bricks and sheets of iron fell around him. Scores of people in the Brookvale area reported seeing a flash in the sky. A spokesman for the company said last night that at least £3,000 worth of damage had been done to the kilns. They would be out of production for about a week. Willy-willy Rips Tiles And Iron From House Roofs. (1952, August 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

George Junior:


COLLISION AT MANLY.  Mrs. Ethel McDonald, of Roslyn-street, North Sydney, suffered injuries to the chest and a fracture of the left arm;George Riddle, of La Perouse-street, Manly, had his head cut. and Herbert Henry Kulhavy, also of La Perouse-street, was cut on the head and face last night, when two cars collided at the intersection of Woodlands and Griffiths streets, Manly. The Manly Ambulance took them to Manly Hospital. CASUALTIES. (1936, February 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved from 

PITTWATER Church Point -Cottage for Sale 3 rooms bathroom large verandah electric light furnished accommodate 6 persons. Splendid view and position 2 minutes from water garage cheap for cash or terms Apply _RIDDLE'S Boatshed. Advertising. (1934, December 29).The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from 

Mark Foy’s place(?) or 2nd Riddle home.


The inauguaral event of the inter-state18-footers carnival resulted in a very exciting finish between Zena, sailed by Walter Holmes, and Eileen, which bad her owner and skipper, Billy Read, up. At Shark Island buoy the last, time, it was a suit of sails to a clip hook that Eileen would Ret home in premier position, but Head made a fatal mistake in making for the finish, without jibing while every other skipper in the race had the sail sent across. Off Point Piper Read found his big spinnaker coming aback, and before the kite was lowered and rehoisted, the mainsail being sent across, Zena had drawn very close. A few hundred yards the small boat was level, and then went ahead, upsetting the dead sure win of Read by a few seconds.

The following are the results: —LICENSED FISHING BOATS. Lizzie (G. Newton), 36min, £3 1Winnie (E. Sly), 36min, £2 2 Jack (C. Etherington), 13min, £1 3 ALL BOATS— 16FT AND UNDER. Isadora (C. Press), 2min, £3 1 Coquette (R. Croll), scr, £2; 2 Mat (W. Riddle), min, £1„... 3 GENERAL HANDICAP. Tasman (A. Speer), 11min, £1; 1 Eclipse (A. Moodie), 18min, £2  2. Cutty Sark (C. Carruthers), 18min, £1 . ALL YACHTS (HANDICAP).Cooya (A. Beach), 18min, £6 6s 1 Kukuburra (A. E. Culler), 19 min, £3 3s 2 Fleetwing (A. R. Marks), Hmin, £2 2s . . 3BOATS— 25FT AND UNDER. Mavis (F. W. Moppell), 8min, £3 3s .. 1 Gumleaf (L. Holroyd), 13min £1 lls 6d 2 Wylo (W. Binnie), 4 min, 10s 6d. SKIFFS. Kiwi (C. Stewart). 13min £5 5s; 1 Linnet (R. Beashell), scr, £2 2s; 2Winnie (W. Dewhurst), lOsec, £1 Is  3

At the Pittwater regatta to be held on February 1st, the principal event will be a race for skiffs, the prizes being: £12,£5, and £3, with a cup presented by Mr. Norman Murray thrown in. INTER-STATE CARNIVAL. (1908, January 22). Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW : 1900 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from 

James and Ann Riddle: William (born 1840) married Julia Ann Pemberton in 1862, James (born 1844) married Margaret in 1868,Maria (born 1848) married John Lawless in 1869, Sarah A (born 1851), Elizabeth (born 1855), Charles (born 1858), John T (born 1861), Emma A (born 1863), George Thomas (born 1866) married Agnes Dutch in 1885.

James and Margaret's children:


19325/1874 RIDDLE JAMES JOSEPH born at TAMBAROORA (Hill End)

12686/1875 RIDDLE ANN M born at HARTLEY (Blue Mountains)

6571/1877 RIDDLE ALFRED H L born at ST LEONARDS  






THE FRIENDS of Mr. and Mrs. JAMES RIDDLE are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of their late beloved SON, David, to move from their residence, Grosvenor-street, Neutral Bay, THIS (Monday) AFTERNOON. at 3. 30 o'clock, for St. Thomas's Cemetery. WOOD and CO , Undertakers. THE FRIENDS of WILLIAM, JAMES, ALFRED, ANDREW, ANNIE, and MINNIE  RIDDLE are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of their late beloved BROTHER. David, to move from his late residence, Grosvenor-street, Neutral Bay, THIS (Monday)AFTERNOON, at 3 30 o'clock, for St Thomas's Cemetery.    Family Notices. (1893, December 4). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

RIDDLE-The Friends of Mr WILIIAM RIDDLE are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his dearly beloved MOTHER: to move from her late residence, Young street Neutral Bay, THIS DAY, at half-past 3 for St Thomas Cemetery. WOODS and CO Undertakers.  RIDDLE - The Friends of Messrs. JAMES, ALFRED,  ANDREW and MINNIE are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of their dearly beloved MOTHER: to move from her late residence Young street, Neutral Bay, THIS DAY at half past 3 for St Thomas Cemetery,  WOODS and CO Undertakers.    Family Notices. (1899, July 4). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

RIDDLE. - The Friends of Messrs. WILLIAM,JAMES, ALFRED and ANDREW RIDDLE are  respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of their late  dearly loved FATHER, James Riddle; to leave his sister-in-law's residence, Carlow-street. off Alfred-street,   THIS AFTERNOON, at 3.30 for St. Thomas' C. of E. Cemtery. COFFILL and COMPANY,  Tel., 424, &c. City and Suburbs. RIDDLE- The Friends and Relations of Mrs JULIA ANN RIDDLE are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of her late dearly loved BROTHER-IN-LAW James RIDDLE, to leave her residence, Carlow street off Alfred street at 3.30 THIS AFTERNOON, for the St. Thomas' C of E Cemetery.   COFFILL and COMPANY. Tel 135 N S North Sydney Branch, 183 Alfred street. Family Notices. (1903, June 6). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from

RIDDLE.-The Friends of the late Mrs. JULIA ANN RIDDLE are kindly invited to attend her Funeral; to leave her late residence, Coolgardie street, Willoughby, THIS MORNING, at 10 o'clock sharp, for Catholic Cemetery, Gore Hill. T. DIXON, Undertaker, corner Oxford and Crown streets, city.'Phone, Padd. 413.RIDDLE.-The Friends of Mr. WILLIAM RIDDLE and FAMILY, Mr. and Mrs. MARK RIDDLE and FAMILY, Mrs. WILSON, Mr. and Mrs. JOHN RIDDLE and FAMILY, and Mrs. HENRY RIDDLE and FAMILY, also WILLIAM THORNCROFT, and Mr. and Mrs. H.STEEL, are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of  their beloved MOTHER and GRANDMOTHER, Julia Ann; to leave Coolgardie street, Willoughby, THIS MORNING, at 10 o'clock, for Gore Hill Cemetery. RIDDLE.-The Friends of Mr. and Mrs. GEORGE RIDDLE are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of their beloved SISTER-IN-LAW, Julia Ann; to leave Coogardie street, Willoughby, THIS MORNING, at 10 o'clock, for Gore Hill Cemetery. Family Notices. (1919, October 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

Above: Yachting celebrities at the Pittwater Regatta. Frank Whiddon, president and Rear-Commodore of the Prince Edward Yacht Club; F. S. Adams, the father of Australian yachting; John Roche, hon. sec, Pittwater Regatta; and J. T. Mulhall, judge of sailing events. TENNIS GENIUS. (1929, January 1). Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), p. 16. Retrieved from 

PITTWATER REGATTA : THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S WIN MRS. J WILSON AND MISS HASTIE WINNING THE LADIES' DOUBLE SCULLS. The winners had a handicap of 15s, the distance being -1 mile. Mrs. Hendric and Miss-Beaumont (scr.) were second, and Mrs. Allen and Miss K. Knit (:5s)third. PITTWATER REGATTA : THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S WIN. (1922, January 4). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 18. Retrieved from 

Above: Middle Harbour Aquatic Carnival. MUSTER FOR THE PROCESSIONPhoto by Beresford. Middle Harbour Aquatic Carnival. (1905, March 8). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 610. Retrieved from 


At the Spit, Middle Harbour, on –Saturday afternoon, the Middle Harbour Aquatic Carnival Club, assisted by the Mosman Swimming Club and Middle Harbour Sailing Club, will hold an aquatic carnival of a novel character in aid of the Royal North Shore Hospital. The carnival will be free to the public, and will be carried out along the right hand shore of the spit. The Metropolitan Band has been engaged to render the musical, portion of the programme, and will play at the Mosman Post Office et 2 p.m. Then the musicians will march to the Spit-road where a procession of the competitors in the fancy dress will begin about 245 Special arrangements have been made for a good tramway service. The hospital committee has left no stone unturned in arranging 'for the collection. As all events are to be carried out in fancy costume, a good afternoon's fun is promised to the public. The programme includes the following events:— Fancy costume parade, best decorated poet, walking the greasy pole, pillow fights, ladies rowing race, flag and marble race, rescue race, climbing the greasy pole,. Mr. L. L. Flegueltaub has donated a gold brooch as prize for the ladies rowing race. The Middle Harbour Sailing Club wil anchor at the spot, and wil be decorated. AQUATIC CARNIVAL AT MIDDLE HARBOUR. (1905, March 2).Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from

 The Spit, circa 1900-1910 Image No.: a116144h courtesy State Library of NSW (shows regatta:?)

 The Powder Hulks, Middle Harbour.

Above: Some months ago the city was scared by the statement that powder enough was stowed in the magazines at Goat and Spectacle islands to reduce all our houses to ruins, and dynamite enough to make powder of the ruins. Ministers were importuned about the business, but they said it had always been so and it always would be so, or, at least they implied so much by their studied inaction. We' hurt

grown almost accustomed to the consciousness as well as the presence, of danger before it was' decided that some of the powder should be shifted. Many localities were spoken of, and at last one was chosen far up Middle Harbour, quite away from town -away also from the ordinary tracks of tourists. Yachts beat up sometimes and cruise about the old hulks, and with good wind venture even a little farther up the narrowing estuary ; but other life there is none. A little farther up that ' Artisans' College ' which is now amusing the Court and filling the4aily pipers might be found; a little lower, some of the loveliest homes our harbour foreshore knows ; but immediately around the hulks nothing hut rocks and water and trees. An explosion could only wreck beauty, and beauty would rise again, we know. The powder is safer down there and the old hulks complete rather than mar the picture. | POWDER HULKS, MIDDLE HARBOUR. The Powder Hulks, Middle Harbour. (1883, June 16). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 1120. Retrieved from 


FEW of those who are familiar with the beautiful scenery of Port Jackson are aware of the extent or picturesque beauty of what is known as Middle Harbour, which contains as many bits of exquisite natural scenery as any of the Scottish lakes or other

world-famed haunts of travellers and excursionists. Any of our readers who entertain any doubt on the matter can, by making up a party and chartering a small steamer, visit the spot and judge for themselves ; and small as they may think it, they will find it a good day's trip to skirt its shores and explore all the numerous bays and inlets which form a part of it. Our sketch is taken from that delightful resort of picnic par-ties, Clontarf Gardens, and is the view presented when looking across the sand-spit.

MIDDLE HARBOUR, AS SEEN FROM CLONTARF. -[SEE PAGE 83.] MIDDLE HARBOUR, FROM CLONTARF. (1866, December 15).Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Above: CLONTARF, MIDDLE HARBOUR, PORT JACKSON. CLONTARF, MIDDLE HARBOUR, PORT JACKSON. (1885, December 19). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 17. Retrieved from 


Below: OPENING OF THE MIDDLE HARBOUR BRIDGESeveral thousand people attended the official opening on Saturday afternoon of the –Middle Harbour Bridge between French's Forest and Roseville. After the opening ceremony, which was performed by the Premier, Sir George Fuller, hundreds of motor cars passed in procession over the bridge. Sir George Fuller said the new bridge would prove an important link between the northern suburbs and the important beaches on the northern side of Sydney Harbour, besides substantially assisting settlers in French’s Forest. OPENING OF THE MIDDLE HARBOUR BRIDGE. (1924, September 24). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 10. Retrieved from 

Riddles Reserve Pittwater as it is today and site of the former Riddle's Boatshed - site given to the people of Pittwater by May Riddle

The Riddles of The Spit and Church Point: Sailors, Rowers, Builders - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2015.

Previous History Pages:  

Marie Byles Lucy Gullett Kookoomgiligai Frank Hurley Archpriest JJ Therry Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor Bowen Bungaree W. Bradley 1788 Journal Midholme Loggan Rock Cabin La Corniche La Corniche II Lion Island Bungan Beach Botham Beach Scarred Trees  Castles in the Sand Dame Nellie Melba lunches at Bilgola Spring, 1914  First to Fly in Australia at North Narrabeen  Mona Vale Golf Club's Annual Balls Governor Phillip camps on Resolute Beach  Ruth Bedford  Jean Curlewis  Mollie Horseman  Charlotte Boutin  May Moore  Neville W Cayley Leon Houreux  Frederick Wymark  Sir Adrian Curlewis  Bilgola Heron Cove  Mullet Creek  Shark Point  Woodley's Cottage  A Tent at The Basin Collin's Retreat-Bay View House-Scott's Hotel  Bilgola Cottage and House  The First Pittwater Regatta  Women Cricketers Picnic Filmed In Pittwater  Governor Phillip's Barrenjoey Cairn  Waradiel Season The Church at Church Point  Governor Phillip’s Exploration of Broken Bay, 2 – 9 March 1788   Petroglyths: Aboriginal Rock Art on the Northern Beaches  Avalon Headland Landmarks  Steamers Part I Pittwater Aquatic Club Part I  Woody Point Yacht Club  Royal Motor Yacht Club Part I  Dorothea Mackellar  Elaine Haxton  Neva Carr Glynn Margaret Mulvey Jean Mary Daly  Walter Oswald Watt Wilfrid Kingsford Smith John William Cherry George Scotty Allan  McCarrs Creek Narrabeen Creek  Careel Creek Currawong Beach Creek  Bushrangers at Pittwater Smuggling at Broken Bay  An Illicit Still at McCarr's Creek  The Murder of David Foley  Mona Vale Outrages  Avalon Camping Ground  Bayview Koala Sanctuary  Ingleside Powder Works Palm Beach Golf Course  Avalon Sailing Club  Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club  Palm Beach SLSC Part I - The Sheds  Warriewood SLSC Whale Beach SLSC Flagstaff Hill Mount Loftus Pill Hill Sheep Station Hill  S.S. Florrie  S.S. Phoenix and General Gordon Paddlewheeler  MV Reliance The Elvina  Florida House  Careel House Ocean House and Billabong  Melrose-The Green Frog The Small Yacht Cruising Club of Pittwater  Canoe and I Go With The Mosquito Fleet - 1896  Pittwater Regattas Part I - Dates and Flagships to 1950 Shark Incidents In Pittwater  The Kalori  Church Point Wharf  Bayview Wharf  Newport Wharf Palm Beach Jetty - Gow's Wharf  Max Watt  Sir Francis Anderson Mark Foy  John Roche  Albert Verrills  Broken Bay Customs Station At Barrenjoey  Broken Bay Water Police  Broken Bay Marine Rescue - Volunteer Coastal Patrol  Pittwater Fire-Boats  Prospector Powder Hulk at Towler's Bay  Naval Visits to Pittwater 1788-1952  Pittwater's Torpedo Wharf and Range Naval Sea Cadets in Pittwater S.S. Charlotte Fenwick S.S. Erringhi  P.S. Namoi  S.Y. Ena I, II and III  Barrenjoey Headland - The Lessees  Barrenjoey Lighthouse - The Construction Barrenjoey Broken Bay Shipwrecks Up To 1900  Barrenjoey Light Keepers  Douglas  Adrian Ross Newport SLSC 1909 - 1938 Part I Overview  North Narrabeen SLSC - The Formative Years  Bilgola SLSC - the First 10 years  North Palm Beach SLSC A History of Pittwater Parts 1 and 4 Pittwater Regattas - 1907 and 1908  Pittwater Regattas - 1921 - The Year that Opened and Closed with a Regatta on Pittwater Pittwater Regatta Banishes Depression - 1933 The 1937 Pittwater Regatta - A Fashionable Affair  Careel Bay Jetty-Wharf-Boatshed Gow-Gonsalves Boatshed -Snapperman Beach  Camping at Narrabeen - A Trickle then a Flood Pittwater's Parallel Estuary - The Cowan 'Creek' RMYC Broken Bay Boathouse and Boatshed Barrenjoey Boat House The Bona - Classic Wooden Racing Yacht Mona Vale Hospital Golden Jubilee - A Few Insights on 50 Years as a Community Hospital Far West Children's Health Scheme - the Formation Years  The First Scotland Island Cup, Trophy and Race and the Gentleman who loved Elvina Bay Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay NSW - Cruiser Division History - A History of the oldest division in the Royal Motor Yacht Club   Royal Motor Yacht Club€“ Broken Bay€“ Early Motor Boats and Yachts, their Builders and Ocean Races to Broken Bay, the Hawkesbury and Pittwater  The Mail Route to Pittwater and Beyond  The Wild Coachmen of Pittwater - A Long and Sometimes Bumpy Ride on Tracks Instead of Roads  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'  Furlough House Narrabeen - Restful Sea Breezes For Children and Their Mothers  From Telegraphs to Telephones - For All Ships at Sea and Those On Land Mona Vale Training Grounds - From Lancers on Horses to Lasses on Transport Courses Fred Verrills; Builder of Bridges and Roads within Australia during WWII, Builder of Palm Beach Afterwards  Communications with Pittwater  Ferries To Pittwater A History of Pittwater - Part 4: West Head Fortress  Pittwater's Lone Rangers - 120 Years of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase and the Men of Flowers Inspired by Eccleston Du Faur  Early Pittwater Launches and Ferries Runs Avalon Beach SLSC - The First Clubhouse Avalon Beach SLSC The Second and Third Clubhouses From Beneath the Floorboards at Hyde Park Barracks Bungaree Was Flamboyant Andrew Thompson - 'Long Harry' Albert Thomas Black John Collins of Avalon Narrabeen Prawning Times - A Seasonal Tide of Returnings Oystering in the Pittwater Estuary - Oyster Kings and Pearl Kings and When Not to Harvest Oysters Yabbying In Warriewood Creeks Eeling in Warriewood's Creeks (Includes A Short History of community involvement in favour of environmental issues/campaigns in and around Narrabeen Lagoon - 1974 to present by David James OAM) Eunice Minnie Stelzer - Pittwater Matriarchs  Maria Louisa Therry - Pittwater Matriarchs Katherine Mary Roche - Pittwater Matriarchs Sarah A. Biddy Lewis and Martha Catherine Bens Pittwater Matriarchs Pittwater's New Cycle Track of 1901 Manly to Newport  The Rock Lily Hotel  Barrenjoey House The Pasadena Jonah's St Michael's Arch  The First Royal Visitor to Australia: the Incident at Clontarf March 12th, 1868  Pittwater: Lovely Arm of the Hawkesbury By NOEL GRIFFITHS - includes RMYC Wharf and Clareville Wharf of 1938 + An Insight into Public Relations in Australia George Mulhall First Champion of Australia in Rowing - First Light-Keeper  at Barranjuey Headland  Captain Francis Hixson - Superintendent of Pilots, Lights, and Harbours and Father of the Naval Brigade  The Marquise of Scotland Island  The First Boat Builders of Pittwater I: the Short Life and Long Voyages of Scotland Island Schooner the Geordy  Boat Builders of Pittwater II: from cargo schooners and coasters to sailing skiffs and motorised launches