/ corrections / contributions: Contact John at
CONTINUED AT: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5737284/narrabeen-lagoon-cont.htm
The sand barrier/beach, and lagoon/lake, etc.)
dynamic area - Tracing its changes over time, and
GLOBAL WARMING PREDICTIONS BE TRUE THEN THIS IS ESTIMATED
THE 3rd MOST AT-RISK AREA IN THE NATION
sea level rise, Narrabeen embayment has become a barred
lagoon. A marine sand delta is seen at its mouth,
extending a little inwards from the bridge over the entrance. A
caravan park is northwest of the bridge. In heavy storms,
waves have reached as far in as there, and the beach is prone to
erosion. Modern opinion is that subdivision and housing was
allowed too close to the beach. Storms caused considerable
damage in the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s and 1970s. Some houses
were lost to the sea, other properties significantly damaged.
Council's existing policy is to open the Lagoon entrance at a defined
trigger water level (currently 1.3m AHD). Obviously with
expected sealevel rise that figure will need to be adjusted.
Council was enquired to (early 2013) if there was any evidence yet at
Narrabeen that sealevel is rising - as yet no response. The two
Councils around the lagoon are understood to be considering
information on historical and projected future sea level rise that is
widely accepted by scientific opinion, yet nothing on that was
available either. The matter of climate change is much debated
but according to some sea level have been rising since the early 1880s
(some think due to industrialisation and greenhouse effect) - has
there been any evidence of that at Narrabeen?
over the western end of Narrabeen Lagoon, showing the deltas/spits of the three
creeks entering there.
= South Creek; MC = Middle Creek; DC = Deep Creek.
Lagoon catchment. The Narrabeen Lagoon catchment encompasses an area of
approximately 55 km2. The Lagoon's water area is 2.2 km2.
catchment includes a number of major subcatchments including Nareen
Creek, Mullet Creek, Narrabeen Creek (incorporating Fern Creek), Deep
Creek, Middle Creek (incorporating Snake Creek, Oxford Creek and TreFoil
Creek) and South Creek (incorporating Wheeler Creek). See
map below for Narrabeen (and Fern) Creeks. Some past maps
have been confusing because at times people have called both Deep Creek
and Middle Creek "Narrabeen Creek".
Lagoon catchment topogrpahy coloured in - note the colour change at +
5m AHD. Note the big areas, especially Warriewood where drilling
might be expected to intersect some Pleistocene remnants. There
is some (limited) understanding from drilling, as discussed
herein. Until recently the Warriewood area had a lot of open
space, sometimes swampy (sand from the lagoon may have been taken there at
various times for filling?) but recently it began undergoing rapid
residential development under the "Warriewood Valley Urban Land
am a student of the past (geology, Ph.D. Sydney University) and of sociology
with special reference to policy (Master of Policy Studies, University of New
South Wales). I have a blog "Some Interesting
Sites" ( http://someinterestingsites.wordpress.com
) and over the years have written about hundreds of places.
say the past can be a guide to the future.
can knowledge of the past help us re the future? In
"Toward an integrated history to guide the future" (Ecology and
Society 16: 2) the paper's authors believe:.
contemporary societal challenges manifest themselves in the domain of human -
environment interactions. There is a growing recognition that responses
to these challenges formulated within current disciplinary boundaries, in
isolation from their wider contexts, cannot adequately address them.
Here, we outline the need for an integrated, transdisciplinary synthesis that
allows for a holistic approach, and, above all, a much longer time
perspective. We outline both the need for and the fundamental
characteristics of what we call “integrated history.” This approach
promises to yield new understandings of the relationship between the past,
present, and possible futures of our integrated human–environment
system. We recommend a unique new focus of our historical efforts on the
future, rather than the past, concentrated on learning about future
possibilities from history. A growing worldwide community of
transdisciplinary scholars is forming around building this Integrated History
and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE). Building integrated models of
past human societies and their interactions with their environments yields new
insights into those interactions and can help to create a more sustainable and
desirable future. The activity has become a major focus within the
global change community."
of IHOPE - "At the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme’s
(IGBP) 2003 conference in Banff, Robert Costanza and colleagues addressed the
meeting’s challenge: how can the Earth System and human societies be viewed
as a single system? IHOPE thus began as an initiative of IGBP’s core
project The Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES),
and is now a part of both IGBP and the International Human Dimensions
Programme (IHDP). Soon IGBP, IHDP and other global programs will be
further amalgamated within the new Future Earth framework. IHOPE" (
Narrabeen lagoon and sand barrier area (rated by some as the nation's third
most "at risk" area under the orthodox model followed for predicting
climate and sea level change) is an area this might be applicable to think
about. As best I can learn, the local Council (Warringah)
has not begun this thinking for itself in any way - and as essentially an arm
of the State political structure if follows handed-down imperatives and
guidelines on what to do re "nature". Also, the
Council asked (a number of times during the current compilation) if it is
aware of any individuals in its LGA who have any interests in the matters on
the this webpage has thus far known of none. That certainly
doesn't mean there is nobody - just that they are hard to
find. Outside of the Warringah LGA, however, there is
no shortage of individuals who have expressed opinions on, and who have
researched to varying degrees, some of the things discussed
herein. With climate change, for example, although earth
science academic bodies (.e.g the Geological Society of Australia) support the
orthodox view that Earth's climate is now changing due to the actions of man,
there are individual Australian geologists who consider what they call the
'climate change alarmism' to be the greatest hoax/fraud in human
history. Perhaps the most prominent of these are Dr Ian Plimer ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Plimer
). Also well known for his similar views is Dr Bob Carter ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Carter
Carter is critical of the IPCC
(as is Ian Plimer and many others). Carter believes that
statements about dangerous human-caused global warming are unjustified and
based on invalid 'science' (as do many other 'skeptics'). In 2005,
Carter argued against climate change being "man-made" and asserted
that the global average temperature did not increase between 1998 and 2005, whereas
the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been continuing to increase. In
2007, Carter participated in an 'expert panel' discussion after the airing of The
Great Global Warming Swindle documentary on the ABC. Ian
Plimer has been even more influential, and widely viewed as an 'expert'
because he has written a widely read book on the whole topic. In
2009, Plimer published a book "Heaven
and Earth" that has proved very influential on the thinking of the
Liberal Party and its leadership. In late 2009, at the United
Nations climate summit in New York, Barack Obama told his fellow leaders that
''the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent and it is
growing''. The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, called the threat
''catastrophic'', the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, stated that
addressing it is ''crucial for the future of mankind''.
Australia's Tony Abbott that year described the same threat as ''absolute
crap''. In dismissing the International Panel on Climate Change
and its findings, Abbot commented: "Now not everyone agrees with
Ian Plimer's position, but he is a highly credible scientist and he has
written what seems like a very well-argued book refuting most of the claims of
the climate catastrophists" (Source: SMH article by Marian
Wilkinson , Sydney Morning Herald environment editor -
on, Tony Abbott became the Prime Minister of Australia (2013). The
new Abbott government announced that Austraila would not be represented at the
upcoming international climate change negotiations about to start.
Mr Abbott also abolished the Climate Change Commission, and took the highly
unusual step of not appointing a Science minister in the
government. On 8 November 2013 it was announced (Sydney Morning
Herald, front page) that under new Commonwealth (Federal) government cuts
"Almost a quarter of scientists, researchers and workers at Australia's
premier science institution [CSIRO] will lose their jobs ...".
Narrageen Lagoon and two creeks feeding into it - Middle Creek and Narrabeen
Creek. The lower length of Narrabeen Creek became known as Deep
Creek. ( Source: per Shelagh Champion, http://www.pittwateronlinenews.com/anillicitstillatmccarrscreekby-shelaghchampionoam.php
the 1970s it was being said by some that of all the Northern Beaches lagoons
only Narrabeen Lagoon remained which was not close to being biologically dead
from pollution. In August 1977 the then Minister for Environment
Minister, Mr Landa, issued a public statement accusing Warringah Shire Council
of "doing too little too late", and of
"truculence" in its response to State Government directives, and
of "making no serious, attempt" to control pollution from
leaching and other sources within the 55 square kilometre catchment.
From that time one State and Local Government have greatly increased their
cooperation to protect this important area.
like most large water bodies, is owned by the State (unalientated Crown
Land) is administered by a Trust as a reserve under the Crown Lands Act
1989 (CL Act). Warringah Council is the appointed Reserve Trust Manager
and so is responsible for the care, control and management of the
lagoon. Council has been one of the major sources of information
Early European history -
There has been, in early
recorded European history of the "Northern Beaches" area, much
confusion about lagoon identities. Later on at Narrabeen Lagoon there
has also been some minor confusion of creek names by some. There has
also been confusion, or a number of different versions about the first
European family at the lagoon - wiped out by escaped convicts +/- natives, or
attempted to be saved (unsuccessfully) by the natives (Aborigines) in other
versions - in which the heroine was a 'daughter of the chief' after whom
Narrabeen takes its name. There has also been 'confusion' or at
least alternation between whether the Narrabeen water body is called a Lake or
Lagoon (and some even call such the "Narrabeen Lakes" but why that
would be so is not apparent).
The Aboriginal history of the area is poorly described and
only one site has been must sturied. The lagoon was first sighted
by Europeans on Captain Cook voyage in 1770. Early exploration and
very minor inhabitation happened in the late 1700s. The first land
grants to settlers were made in 1818. In the 1880s, the Narrabeen Lake
Bridge was constructed and a causeway and narrow bridge were built at
Pittwater Road by the early 1900s. By that time residential development
The commonplace modern
duplicity about Narrabeen Lagoon is that some people say "Lake" is
the better or more correct name, others "Lagoon". However, the
identity confusion at various times goes far deeper or older than that - as
there was considerable confusion at first between the lagoons of the northern
Swancott (undated, p. 89),
in his book Dee Why to Barrenjoey and Pittwater, wrote that Narrabeen Lagoon
had been discovered by the Governor, Arthur Phillip, in April 1788.
There, Swancott thought, Phillip saw a black swan for the first time and
thought it a noble bird.
Swancott and others have
thought that Narrabeen is a native word for black swan but the source for this
belief has not yet been located. More recent writings by
descendants of the Aborigines (Guringai) have stated that the Black Swan was
their totem and inspired their culture along "‘Coastal Dreaming
Track" (Refer to pp. 62-70 in: Lee, Emma, 2002. "The Tale of a
Whale – significantcant Aboriginal landscapes of the northern beaches",
Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council)( Dennis Foley gave a talk
"Secrets of our Aboriginal Past to the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon
Catchment on 27 May 2013.
However, the early business of
the 'swan lagoon' is very murky indeed. There are
four very similar lagoons northwards along the coast (all with mouths at the
northern end of there embayment), Manly Lagoon, Curl Curl Lagoon,
Dee Why Lagoon and Narrabeen Lagoon and each at some time has been interpreted
as Phillip's 'swan lagoon'. For a longer discussion of which
one was really Phillip's lagoon of the first swan sighting see: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5737284/curl-curl.htm
According to Swancott, Surveyor
Meehan in 1815 surveyed at Narrabeen and called the lagoon "Narrabang",
which he stated was an Aboriginal word meaning "swan". It was
written as Narrabine in a survey map of 1827. Again according to
Swancott: "The name Narrabang was replaced by Narrabin after a celebrated
daughter of the Yowal tribe who befriended Captain Reynolds and his
family" (Swancott goes on to relate that Narrabin was sent to Sydney town
to call for help because of rogues in the area but by the time she returned
with a party of soldiers, the whole family and all their servants were
murdered and the Reynolds' rubble stone farmhouse had been burned - the
crumbling remains of this early settler's house, on the north side of the
lagoon were later pulled down and the cottage of Obadiah West built there.
The Reynolds and their 13 year old son all killed, 1810?). Even if there was an Aboriginal girl who
was despatched to Sydney to get help in this manner, her name, if then
recorded, might have meant 'the girl from Narrabang/Narrabin" rather than
that the lagoon got named after her, as Swancott thought? The
name "Narrabin Lagoon" occurs as later as 1834 in Government usage;
and the spelling "Narrabeen" is noted as early as 1829.
As to why those at the early
farm were massacred, it is said that the gang of desperadoes who did it was
lead by a man named "Big Mick", who recognised the owner of this
farm as being a man who had once ordered him to be flogged, related by Bill
Beatty: "And so the district of Narrabeen to-day named after that
brave young aboriginal girl" ( http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17994295
; "How Narrabeen Was Named" by BILL BEATTY, The Sydney Morning
Herald, 11 September 1946, page 2S). Bill's sources are not stated in
By now the story of the girl
Narrabin who helped soldiers capture the escaped convicts involved in the
massacre has been repeated 22,000 times on the Internet (as at
2013). A random perusal of some of those showed that none gave any
source and just termed it all "a popular belief" or "a
tale" or similar.
Another claim, which takes the
name back as far as 1801, is that on 26 January 1801, Lieutenant James Grant
and a party of three were walking to Pittwater and that according to Grant's
journal, they crossed the mouth of a lagoon which the Aborigines told him was
called "Narrowbine" (not checked - but this comes from an
article in the Manly Daily of 18, March 1998 by John Morcombe - and it is
noted that Grant's journal was published). The name "Narrobine
Creek" is also said to appear in records relating to two escaped convicts
in the district at this time (1801)(this may have come via Nan Bosler, a local
historian - but has not yet been checked with her as to source).
The first land grants were made
to John Lees (40 acres), Philip Schaffer (50 acres), and James Wheeler (80
acres or 86 acres from another source) all along the south bank of Mullet Creek.
Wheeler later acquired land on the southern side of the Lagoon and built his
home on the banks of South Creek. Wheeler cultivated potatoes and cabbages and
these were sent to Sydney markets via boat from North Harbour, Manly.
Apparently nobody has
found any record of tenure to confirm Bill Beatty's story of the Reynolds
dwelling and massacre. Swancott's source for the story was likely
Beatty, and Beatty's source is still unknown. Swancott's source for
identifying the Reynolds farmhouse site with the later cottage of Obadiah West
is not known.
And even more elaborate version
of the Reynolds massacre story is told at pages 89-90 in the 1983 book
"Pictorial Memories - Manly to Palm Beach" by Alan Shape, who states
the source was an article published in the Town and Country Journal in January
1886. According to that, Narrabeen Lagoon was also referred to as
"the long water" by Aboriginals whom Reynolds conversed with at
Sydney Town. It was said to be full of game and Reynolds asked to be
taken there. He found it to be "a vast lake dotted with
islands", and he resolved to one day return there and set up a home on it
for himself and his family, for he had observed the soil was fertile.
This version states that he was given a grant there and set out "with
four assigned servants for the long trek to this new home".
Before long he had several acres under crop. This version,
however, states it was 1818 when "Big Mick" escaped. It also
says Reynold's son was 15 years old, not 13 years old, and that it was not
Narrabin who was sent to Sydney but rather "a trusted convict servant,
accompanied by two Aboriginals, on an overnight journey to Sydney, to bring
help". It also says that the ruffians "even killed the
Reynolds' baby who was still crawling in the dust". It is
stated that three of the perpetrators were shot dead after the redcoats
arrived, following Narrabin; and that three others were taken back to Sydney
and hanged there. The victims were buried at the farm and it also states
that this is where Obadiah West later built his home. Another
version has stated "Reynolds and his family were killed during an attack
by bushrangers and hostile Aboriginals and his homestead burned".
Contradicting "a trusted convict servant,
accompanied by two Aboriginals, on an overnight journey to Sydney, to bring
help", and restoring the girl Narrabin to a more central position in the
tale, is this 1961 version: "A girl, Narrabeen, in the early days
of Sydney, was working for a settler named Reynolds and his family near the
area north of Sydney now called (after her) Narrabeen. At this time
escaped convicts were at large in the bush. Narrabeen overheard one such
named Big Mick plotting against the Reynolds family. She warned
them but they disregarded her warnings. Big Mick and his party killed
them and some of their aborignal friends. Narrabeen spread the alarm,
carrying news of the tragedy to an Army Camp at Manly and, as a result, all of
the murderers were either killed or captured". That has Narrabin
setting off after the massacre (all other versions have her going for soldiers
before the massacre). It also has her going to Manly rather than Sydney
(which is not illogical). It adds that friendly aboriginals were
also killed by the escaped convicts (whereas other versions have had
aboriginals joining with the convict as attackers/killers of the
Reynolds). This version appeared in Dawn ("A Magazine for the
Aboriginal People of N.S.W.") of July 1961. It is in an article
entitled "One People" which was "prepared under the authority
of the Minister for Territories, with the co-operation of the Ministers
responsible for aboriginal welfare in the Australian States, for use by the
National Aborigines’ Dav Observance Committee and its associates in
connection with the celebration of National Aborigines’ Day in Australia,
14th July, 1961".
There is no record found for
any Obadiah West born, married or died in New South Wales. However for
"Obed West" there are two finds. The first died in 1891 and
the second, who was Obed the son of Obed, died in 1912. In 1885
Obed (snr.) wrote to the Herald about how he deplored the rapid extirpation of
our beautiful wild flowers, ferns, and indigenous plants in the districts
adjacent to Sydney. He stated that he had purchased a property at
"Lake Narrabeen" purposely to preserve the beautiful cabbage trees,
ferns and lilly pilly trees upon it.
There are few other mentions
found to Swancott's "Yowal tribe" of which Narrabin was said to be a
daugther. However in the 17th Annual Report and Balance Sheet of the
Long Reef Surf Life Saving Club (1967) it was mentioned that they had sold
their old boat "Marie Rosseta" to a New Zealand club and had
christened their new boat after "Nambaree" who was another child of
Yowal's tribe. Here they also mention Narrabin but the story gets
changed considerably in that annual report. The surf living saving club knew that Narrabin (whose name they stated meant "Black
Swan") had been heroic. But they say she made a "marathon run
from Collaroy to Sydney on behalf of an early survey party about
to be ambushed by bushrangers". Thus they morphed the Reynolds who
were murdered at Narrabeen from settlers to surveyors.
The surf living savings club
also subscribed to Swancott's theory that the area was first explored in April
1788 by Phillip - only about ten weeks after the British first invaded/claimed
Australia and set up their Sydney Cove camp which later grew to a town then a
When the ?foreign disease,
often suspected as smallpox, wiped out local natives, James Scott a Sergeant
of Marines, found the child Nambaree next to a corpse and took him to the
Sydney hospital under the charge of Surgeon-General John White.
Nambaree was important as an
interpeter and was with His Excellency the Governor, Arthur Phillip, when the
Governor was speared at Manly Cove on 7 September 1790.
The Club stated that they'd
gotten the history from the Manly Warringah and Pittwater Historical Society.
According to Swancott
(undated), Narrabeen continued to have but small population for quite some
time. According to him, Narrabeen (possibly meaning for three miles
around the beach) had only eight residents in 1884, and 115 by
1912. Records about the coal/gas exploration in the late 1800s
show concern on the part of the explorers that the Department of Lands was
planning a significant subdivision and land release in the area. The
Lands Department people apparently thought that the thought/prospect of a coal
mine could lessen the amount of money they'd be able to get from selling
LAKE/LAGOON .... "Lakes"
or Lake? I certainly prefer "Lagoon" but both
names "Narrabeen Lake" and "Narrabeen Lagoon" are found to
Lake is the more commonly used. For example, Google finds for each
were 37,600 for 'Narrabeen Lake', and 29,100 for 'Narrabeen Lagoon' some time
ago. By May 2013 these numbers had changed 29,600 for 'Narrabeen Lake', and
25,200 for 'Narrabeen Lagoon'.
common misconception exaggerates the extent of Narrabeen Lagoon and cases of
this are found going back to the 1880s. The modern example below,
in the Dictionary of Sydney could imply to some there is whole 'system' of
lagoons/lakes that extends behind more than one beach barrier along the
coast. That is not so - each embayment sand barrier entraps
but one lagoon (or none at all).
(viewed 18 June 2013)
finds for "Narrabeen lakes" at 18 June 2013 number about 37,000,
which is actually more than one finds for "Narrabeen lake" (about
29,400). This supports the general impression that those who use
"lake" for this water are less aware of its nature/extent than those
who use "lagoon" (nobody has been noted who calls it 'Narrabeen
"Lakes" aggrandisation has been suggested as relatively recent, and
related to real estate promotion in the 1950s ( http://jota.uniq.com.au/narrabeen/trivia.html
). The name Narrabeen Lakes certainly was very evident in the 1950s but
it also occurs sporadically back as far as 1882 if not earlier. The
earliest noted use is also in connection with land sales.
name Narrabeen Lagoon was assigned by the Geographic Names Board on 16 October
2009 to "A lagoon fed by waters of Mullet Ck, Deep Ck, Middle Ck and
South Ck with an entrance to the Tasman Sea on the south side of Narrabeen
Head Within the suburb of Narrabeen, it is about 4.5km north west of Long Reef
"Narrabeen Lake" it states "No features were found matching
your search criteria".
Narrabeen Lagoon is certainly the official name for this body of
water. Some very early mentions of it (and of the use
of the word 'lagoon' in general are these ones collected by Peter Macinnis (pers.
Phillip, 'Voyage', chapter IX:
On the 2d of March Governor Phillip went with a long boat and cutter to
examine the broken land, mentioned by Captain Cook, about eight miles to the
northward of Port Jackson, and by him named Broken Bay. This bay proved to be
very extensive. The first night they slept in the boats, within a rocky point
in the north-west part of the bay, as the natives, though friendly, appeared
to be numerous; and the next day, after passing a bar that had only water for
small vessels, they entered a very extensive branch, from which the ebb tide
came out so strong that the boats could not row against it in the stream; and
here was deep water. This opening appeared to end in several small
branches, and in a large lagoon which could not then be examined, as there was
not time to seek a channel for the boats among the banks of sand and mud.
'Journal', chapter III:
When speaking of birds, I should have mentioned, that some of our gentlemen
have seen in the lagoons and swamps which they have fallen in with, in their
shooting excursions, the black swan...
Collins, 'Account of the English Colony' V1, ch. XV:
Three of these miserable people were some time after met by some officers who
were on an excursion to the lagoon between this harbour and Broken Bay...
[escaped convicts, this may also have been Dee Why, which like Curl Curl and
Manly (Queenscliff), remains a lagoon].
Surgeon White, Journal, 15/4/1788
15th April. His excellency, attended by Lieutenant Ball of the navy,
Lieutenant George Johnston of the marines, the judge advocate, myself, three
soldiers, and two seamen, landed in Manly Cove (so called from the manly
conduct of the natives when the governor first visited it), on the north side
of the entrance into Port Jackson harbour, in order to trace to its source a
river which had been discovered a few days before. We, however, found this
impracticable, owing to a thicket and swamp which ran along the side of it.
The governor, anxious to acquire all the knowledge of the country in his
power, forded the river in two places, and more than up to our waists in
water, in hopes of being able to avoid the thicket and swamp; but,
notwithstanding all his perseverance, we were at length obliged to return and
to proceed along the sea-shore, a mile or two to the northward.
At the end of this we fell in with a small salt-water lagoon, on which we
found nine birds that, whilst swimming, most perfectly resembled the rara
avis of the ancients - a black swan.
[From the distance involved this was likely Curl Curl, not Narrabeen.
Manly would be about one mile north, Curl Curl two miles, Dee Why a bit over
three, Narrabeen six. I think the thicket and swamp would be today's Warringah
White (again--and this one sounds like Narrabeen):
22nd August. His Excellency Governor Phillip, Lieutenant George Johnston, his
Adjutant of Orders, Lieutenant Cresswell of the Marines, myself, and six
soldiers, landed in Manly Cove, in order to examine the coast to Broken Bay.
We sent back our boats, and proceeded northward along the coast about six
miles, where we were forced to halt for near two hours, until the tide had run
out of a lagoon, or piece of water, so as to admit of its being forded.
While we were detained here an old native came to us, and, in the most
friendly manner, pointed out the shallowest part of the
water we had to cross; but the tide ran with too much rapidity at that time
for us to attempt it.
Narrabeen Lagoon is the largest of the lagoons on Sydney's "Northern
area has voluminous development now upon sand barrier of the
embayment. When sealevel rises, as it is predicted to, the
problems of marine erosion and innundation can only
increase. Hence it is an area which the local Council is
presumably much interested in, and may become increasingly so.
send any thoughts, corrections for errors herein or new information re
Narrabeen Lagoon to John Byrnes at email@example.com
Initial information seeking was to government groups. After this
webpage had been uploaded, my thanks to Ross Johnson and many others for
sending me references to additional bits and pieces and to articles appearing
in newspapers or elsewhere.
examples of the statistics on the effort involved in seeking information (or
even comment) can be got from reading Council planning documents. For
example, on one relatively recent (2012) planning exercise (for the North
Narrabeen dunes around Birdwood Park) some comments from 19 persons were
eventually obtained. These were the product from this amount of recorded
1 February - 1800 emails
promoting project launch
2 February - 1200 emails
promoting project launch
23 February - 1800 emails
promoting the online forum and project
24 February - 1200 emails
promoting the online forum and project
14 March - 1800 emails
promoting the drop in session and online forum
15 March - 1200 emails
promoting the drop in session and online forum
23 March - 3000 emails promoting the
online forum and the project distributed
A setup website (web forum) received
1,883 and gained comments from 19 person.
many thousands of emails and setting up of a website gained comments from 19
in those comments, how many (of any) rew facts might have
emerged? (This is not known, although an opinion/impression
on that might be sought from the organisers?).
seeking for the Narrageen Lagoon area has been long-ongoing and is still
continuing (at end of 2013). Narrabeen
Lagoon and its catchment straddle two Local Government areas – Warringah
Council and Pittwater Council. The boundary between the two is the northern
foreshore of the Lagoon, with the waterbody itself wholly within the Warringah
Local Government Area. I have much more often contacted Wahringah
Council for information to date than Pittwater Council.
enquiries have been to Warringah Council. Initially it had little or
nothing, e.g. on archaeological/historical sites. However that is
illusionary as eventually a lot did turn up as held by Council. A lot of
good information may be in files but there is no indexing of them (e.g. old
correspondence records) and hence no way of knowing what's where.
Quite a lot does exist on some topics, e.g. Mr Stone and his 'cement factory'
area, but on some topics (e.g. the described Aboriginal camp of recent times
at the western end of the lagoon) absolutely nothing had been locatable in
Council records as late as 2013.
considerable amount of general information has been obtained (and is herein)
on dredging, and it is thought that even more information about dredging
almost certainly exists. Also there's a lot of information obtainable on
the area of Deep Creek mouth, especially the lime and cement works established
aspects on the past of the area, however, have been very difficult to find
anything specific on. That includes the area's Aboriginal past (esp. re
the nature and history of the Aboriginal camp near the mouth of Middle Creek)
- and where exactly was John Coghan's drilling for coal (and which struck gas)
carried out, which is generally recorded as "Deep Creek, Narrabeen".
One source (Swancott, undated, page 93) has stated this was "at a point
about half a mile up Deep Creek" but for various reasons that does not
seem likely to me. Also very interesting is the statement (again
Swancott page 93) that gas from this was "lead through pipes to a nearby
cottage and used for cooking and lighting" (in 1888). Given
the small population (Swancott on page 97 states "The official list of
residents at Narrabeen in 1884 was as follows: - H. Hill, J. Lawson, J.H.
Legg, Gustav Lix, F. Ward - all farmers - Carl Von Bieren, Gunpowder
Manufacturer, J. Wheeler and J. Wheeler, Jnr."), the likelihood of a
"cottage" anywhere near wherever this drilling was done seems rather
information gathered herein comes via quite ready sources like the Internet
and no public libraries have yet been visited to further research any of the
matters herein. In addition, other persons of similar interests were
sought by widely asking around, including to societies, Councils and persons
who might know other persons like politicans. The latter included the
Member for Pittwater whose
electorate covers the
northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches area, from Narrabeen
northwards. The usual run of enquiry was if they knew of anybody (individuals not groups,
seeing I can find
groups myself on the Internet) with any interests the same as mine, namely the
past (history/heritage) or environment. I conveyed that I was also interested in
all early primary industry, such as quarrying or brickworks or forestry.
A wide net was cast as I also intended later to probably be writing similar
scope webpages for other areas on the Northern Beaches (Long Reef, Dee Why, Curl
Curl and Manly areas). Re primary industry, I especially began
enquiring in greater depth to Warringah Council about the ruins of Stone's Deep
Creek factory (supposed to be a cement works) and about dredging, as I was
previously aware that Council itself had engaged in the past in the dredging of
Narrabeen Lagoon (and I recalled seeing longstanding dredging myself at
Narrabeen Lagoon as a child - when I had a very small backyard 'museum' and was
interested in such things as what shells the dredgers might be bringing up -
usually only the commonest estuarine species for the most part but 'one never
first interested person I knew of for the Narrabeen Lagoon area, and for quite
some time the only person, was Mr John Gibson. Later on I found a
small number of others, including Mr Matt Hunt of Collaroy, who have interest
in the area. Mr
John Gibson has extensively researched the works of that innovative
cement/concrete man, Mr Stone who has left substantial ruins around Deep
Creek. Mr Gibson has researched Mr Stone's life generally and has introduced many others to an
appreciation of Mr Stone's work with concrete and design (wide-ranging, to as
far afield as Tasmania). Nonetheless, only a very few
locals of the district have yet been found who have interests in the past
around Narrabeen Lagoon. Various groups (including Friends of Narrabeen
Lagoon others) were early enquired to in order to ask if anyone could supply photos of natural processes
at the Lagoon, and also if anyone knew of any occurrences of beachrock, peat
or acid sulphate soil, Aboriginal or 'industrial' remains,
whatever. Some thought there might be some peat on the southern side of
the lagoon but nothing really specific emerged. Earliest enquiries
soon focussed on the
ruins of Edward Giles Stone's works west of Deep Creek, and also the whereabouts of
the Deep Creek drilling site in the late 1800s (one hole of which program struck gas which
was for a time apparently used domestically to some extent - according to some accounts).
Various people knew of Stone's works but nobody knew where the drill
holes at Deep Creek had been put down. Council when first
asked could locate
no records whatsoever of Stone's presence or works (cement works, a dam, bridge over Deep Creek,
etc.). However it eventually turned out that there probably is quite a bit on this
scattered in Council records
[perhaps mainly within correspondence records and perhaps not yet
One newspaper article has been found which expresses what the contemporary concern
at the time (1930s) over Mr Stone's ideas for industrial activity at the
Lagoon (dredging and cement-making).
Warringah Council was able to supply some dredging records but what could be found
likely covers but a portion of the total dredging that actually has been done in
the lagoon over time. None of the local Aboriginal connections
contacted initially had or knew of any
documentary information of any sort on the Middle Creek Aboriginal camp - of
relatively recent years. Nor could the present State Government management of
the sporting facilities which are now there (the land was taken up for
"National Fitness" development) say where early development or land
records might be for that place [they did saw however that's they'd be
potentially interested as it was their own history too]. In the end, Dennis Foley
remained the only source of
information available thus far on that part of the lagoon's history (which is
based on what he
saw or was told as a child).
Foley - known to surrounding Councils as keeper/teller of long-held
wisdom: "Narrabeen Lake is our placenta of all things and
spent quite some time hereabouts as a child, learning things from Aboriginal
uncles and aunties.
Dennis Foley bringing the Middle Creek Aboriginal camp to strong notice, and
also a major chance find near the ocean beach in recent years (the "Narrabeen Man"
skeleton), and some general interest in things Aboriginal generally (an
Australian-wide interest + there are about 15 Aboriginal support groups
between Sydney and the Hawkesbury River), repeated enquiries did not locate any persons in Warringah LGA with any local research interests
around Narrabeen Lagoon (nor anywhere else in the LGA) on Aboriginal
sites. Council does, however, support any modern Aboriginal cultural
events as may be held (e.g. Warringah Council in 2000 began supporting Guringai
(Kuringai) people with festivals first organised by Susan Moylan-Coombs).
According to the result of enquiry to Council the very important "Narrabeen
Man" find was never notified to the Council in any way and the Council did not make
any independent note of it either (albeit that it surely would have been from local
newspapers reports that Council could have been quite aware of it
nevertheless). The quite large scientific
paper which was eventually published on Narrabeen Man is good in many ways but
was poorly edited in as much as that it is not as comprehensive as general scientific
requirements require, and failed to record some quite essential basic data. .
Even with history as recent as this discovery was (2005), errors about where
the find was soon manifested (shown/discussed herein). And according
to the current main general research program on "A history of Aboriginal
Sydney", at Sydney University, skeletal remains of fourteen people
"dated at 4000 bp" were "discovered during excavations for a
bus shelter at Narrabeen" and the remains were later "put to rest at
North Head" ( http://www.historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au/north-coastal/2000s
). The remains were not found during excavations 'for' a bus shelter and
more importantly this should perhaps have been "West Head", not
"North Head"?. Nonetheless, in case it was really North Head, Manly Council was also enquired
to (some media note also being recalled by myself on some skeletal remains found at a
construction site in a Manly street some time ago). Manly Council knew
nothing on any of that and a reply from Manly stated in summary "There
has been comparatively little research into Aboriginal traces in the Manly
area". Thus although considerable advance has been made in
information gathering on the Narrabeen Lagoon area in recent years (e.g. knowledge of
the Stone's "lime and cement" endeavour has been much improved - and
the Council has erected some informative signage at the site) fundamental research on Aboriginal prehistory remains a local black hole -
despite the purely accidental discovery of such a very important find as the
remains of 'Narrabeen Man'. Narrabeen man appears to certainly
have been speared (and clubbed?) to death and researchers were of the opinion
he likely was not a local. Early Europeans recorded lengthy travel
of Aborigines along the coast zone, e.g. from Broken Bay 'down' to Sydney and
from the Illawarra 'up' to Sydney, and Narrabeen Man might have been on some
long journey or wandering too?
one organisation, the "Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment" have
it as part of their aims to "gather scientific and other information"
relating to the past and present of the area, and "to support the
identification of all aboriginal, cultural, ecological, historical and
recreational artefacts, places, rock carvings" etc., no references of
specific knowledge of anyone else interested in the area's natural history was
obtainable initially from them or from any community organisation; nor any references obtained from the
two Councils up till 2012. In 2012 a further attempt was made in
asking Pittwater Council for any references - or guide to photographs - and
some trickle of further information finds did begin that year. All those enquired
who said they had no information on the area, were also asked if they'd come
across anyone else interested in seeking information. This finally did reveal
the pleasing fact that there was one person who had actually been building a
bibliography for some time on the Narrabeen Lagoon (not known if this is yet finished or
available - 2013). This should be very helpful when it becomes
things of note, information-wise, include that in
2010 Warringah Council produced and uploaded a WMV file ( NarrabeenLagoonStandardDef.wmv
, 103 Mb) about "Caring for our Catchment: the Story of Narrabeen Lagoon".
This can also be viewed at YouTube as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cha91f4Ano0
(Uploaded 21 June 2010, 363 views by May
2013). [ Also related is: "The Story of Narrabeen Lagoon - part
2" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gijYbkto8Q
popular for recreation and picnics, various knowledge-focussed excursions also
have been conducted around the Lagoon, e.g. Dennis Foley taking people around
Middle Creek, John Gibson taking people to the ruins of Mr Stone's would-be
industrial activities, and Dr Peter Mitchell consducting geological excursions
here and elsewhere on the coast. Probably there has been zoological
excursions and research conducted as well (details unknown here - but check with
the "Coastal Environment Centre" that is on the northern shore of the Lagoon
near the entrance). Known-about research has been on geology, Aboriginal
archaeology (mainly "Narrabeen man"), and shoreline
processes. Interest in shoreline processes include that surfers have
become involved (as noted herein). There is likely to be a particular ongoing
emphasis on the
last-mentioned on account of the prediction that sealevel will rise, and re the
dangers that brings to certain coastal buildings (some coastal erosion already
having happened in recent times along the beach at Narrabeen).
others who might be interested in natural history, there have been some
interesting "Forums" held by the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment,
which may give additional leads if followed up further. These may be found via:
for a long time nobody could be directly found within, or known to, any of the local
organisations who was interested in natural history research or the past, the
forums (viz. at above link) do provide some leads to who interested persons
might be. For example, from the various forums conducted by the
'Friends' it is seen that:
Angus Gordon "organised a discussion about dredging of Narrabeen
Lagoon" on 22 February, 2010. Angus in 2010 also "reviewed
the latest science" re how the catchment is "likely to be impacted
by climate change".
Mia Dalby-Ball, formerly Natural Environment Manager at Pittwater Council, has
discussed what we can learn about climate change from history.
Dalby-Ball was the former Natural Environment Manager at Pittwater Council and
was said there to be an expert on estuarine plants. After leaving the
Council ca. 2009 she formed a business named "Dragonfly
Environmental" that is stated to be "Specialising in wetland and
waterway projects" at Studio 1/33 Avalon Parade, Avalon. ( http://au.linkedin.com/in/miadalbyball
- University of Sydney BSc, Ecology, Botany, Fine Arts, 1990 - 1995).
She is also interested in geomophology. However, at July 2012 the
business website was returning "Dragonfly Environmental site is currently
undergoing an upgrade. We apologise for any inconvenience". As at
June 2013 the website ( http://www.dfe.net.au
) was still saying "The Dragonfly Environmental site is currently
undergoing an upgrade. We applogise for any inconvenience" but it does
give some basic information and states "we have planted over 3 million
plants and regenerated over 100 ha. of natural area".
The first major 'paydirt' struck in this search was Ken Higgs, who contacted
me on 21 July 2012 after having been informed by the "Friends" that
I was seeking references. Ken, it turned out, already has numerous for Narrabeen Lagoon.
Here is sample of his mode of collecting such:
11/07/1890 SMH 3 A Natural gas and
coal at Narrabeen - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13796868
19/07/1890 ATCJ 24 A Natural gas
and coal at Narrabeen - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/71179594
28/10/1903 NS 6 A Is our coast
moving? - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/72069096
03/10/1904 MB 3 A Geological
discovery at Narrabeen - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/53024004
12/10/1904 ATCJ 16 A A bit of old
Australia - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/71515376
07/04/1909 SMH 8 A Nature and Law
[Dee Why] - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15049087
[mentions a midden to 4 ft thickness]
05/11/1910 SMH 12 A The mysteries
of marine strata - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15164585
30/09/1914 SMH 7 A Near and far - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/15556498
17/06/1933 SMH 13 A Sea level.
Evidence of alteration - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28029254
01/07/1933 MB 11 A Sea level.
Evidence of alteration - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55505817
18/10/1941 SMH 11 A Sydney Harbour
before the dawn of history - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/17769451
(Ken has also made some
corrections to the OCR of these articles.)
May 2013 the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon organised more talks, including on
"Aboriginal secrets" of Narrabeen Lagoon (such as the Middle Creek
camp). I checked if anything further had come up, and/or were there any
members researching any aspects of the past - but it was thought
not. It was confirmed that Dennis Foley had said that he thought
the Aboriginal persons in the past (around time of his childhood) had reversed
the names of Middle and Deep Creeks in their usage of the names (Dennis had
earlier told me that same thing).
with the Dee Why Library (725 Pittwater Road, Dee Why, cnr. Pittwater Road and
St Davids Avenue) the Local Studies Library informed me that they had more
information than I had regarding the German ("Nazi") presence at
Deep Creek, including pertinent material from Commonweatlh archives.
Also a friend (Matt) said that he would go there at night and try to
photograph such by torch light as it is becoming diffilcult to
photographically capture these faint engravings.
2003, Council sent a few more dredging details (mainly for later years, and
details of dredging in the early years remain mostly not relocated yet).
early accounts give a good picture of the tide running out vigorously from the
entrance to Narrabeen Lagoon but at times the lagoon must of course have been blocked
for considerable periods - with at least one writer (one of the above set) at
one time thinking there was not tidal influence in the lagoon.
Various themes that might be pursued more around Narrabeen Lake/Lagoon include: Sea-level change effects(?), beachrock
at the Lake entrance, dredging and seagrass beds, and the strange or curious works of a rather famous man
in concrete-making history, Edward Giles Stone (17 February 1873/1876? -
16 October 1947). Mr Stone has been variously considered as either
crazy, or a "con-man", or else an innovative genius.
Generally, his efforts are admired or found astounding/curious. Mr
Stone in later life withdrew to land located at the western side of Deep Creek
where he apparently planned to make cement [viz. the "Never Been Beaten
Lime and Cement Works"]. It is doubtful, however, if any
cement ever got manufactured there. Mr Stone apparently envisaged a
business mixture of dredging (to sell the sand and/or use some such for
concrete, and to combine the dredged shells content with estuarine mud content
in order to form cement clinker. It is all 'theoretically'
possible but also very unlikely to work economically. Mr Stone also
considered the construction of a fleet of concrete ships. Stone is
not merely important because of his application of a concrete reinforcing
system in Australia, from also because some of of his daringly innovative
design ideas suggest genius (or advancing eccentricity maybe? - opinion varies
amongst those interested in engineering heritage). The interesting
story of E.G. Stone (a.k.a. "Stoney") may be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Giles_Stone
) . Clues to what Mr Stone was "up too" at his Deep Creek area have
been sought from the local Council and others; and it is understood that
Council has begun some signage on the industrial relics there.
That is in connection with Warringah and Pittwater Councils (which meet around this point)
in 2011 beginning a
trail over a new pedestian + bikes bridge over Deep Creek and along the lake
shore west from there - so enabling walkers and bike-riders to traverse along the western
foreshore of Narrabeen Lagoon a bit away away from the busy Wakehurst Parkway.
The trail goes via "possible buried Aboriginal archaeological material"
(likely a 'PAD' or Potential Archaeological Deposit), and some of the ruins of
area bore locations (GS 1982/343). Drilling was carried out in
1980 in Narrabeen Lagoon by the Geological Survey. A report on
it was sent to Warringah Council (Roy and Lean 1981).
Drilling site N4 was nearest to Deep Creek. The area of
W1-W3 is also sometimes called the Warriewood Wetland.
N4 - just offshore from "Stoney's" cement works ruins.
Of interest is some leaching below 5m (?origin) and the 2m thick mud
layer which might have been potentially of interest to E.G. Stone as a
mud source (shale substitute in cement making). The mud
thickness is about 2m in N9 and increases to 6m further offshore (in
N1). [ "-" = muddy sand, "+" = wood,
"c" = shell, "##" = peaty).
Some 18,000 years ago the sea level was 120
m below its present
level, and the coast 20 km east of where it is today. And the end of
the last Glacial the water rose quite rapidly, a metre every 100 years.
Sea level stopped
rising ca. 6500 years ago and the presently seen beaches and barrier systems
have been evident since then. The
coastal embayment at Narrabeen is at two pre-existing
bedrock valleys which are thought to probably coalese offshore from Narrabeen
Beach. The smalley berock valley trends inland to the NW and is
called the "Warriewood" palaeovalley (along the trend of bores W1-W3
shown above). Drillhole W3 has 12m of estuarine sediment and the
site would have been a valley mouth during the last sealevel rise. The
larger branch of the original valley system at Narrabeen probably passed E to
ESE in much the same trend as the present day Narrabeen Creek (Deep Creek)
which flows into the northwestern end of Narrabeen Lagoon. The original
course of this main valley may pass under the present Narrabeen Beach just
south of the position of bore N18 above. The old "Warriewood
valley" is now completely infilled with thick Holocene sediments whereas
the Narrabeen valley is not entirely filled up and instead hosts a
"large" (by Sydney standards) lagoon. Eroded Pleistocene
surface would continue east of the present coastline. Likely Pleistocene
clay is cut (eroded in last Glacial time) to a depth of -18m where the
Narrabeen palaeovalley likely passed to sea prior to the development of the
current sand barrier. Under the lagoon there is some 20+ m
thickness of Holocene sediments known from bores. The leached and
oxidised sand at 5-8m down is similar to effects known elsewhere (e.g.
possible leaching around 7m in N1, oxidised and mottled in N5, oxidised at
around 11m near a date of 8Ka in N8, oxidised around 11m in N9. These
things have not been investigated but could perhaps be the result of the
pauses or slight retreats in the overall marine transgression.
Under the beach/barrier of the lagoon beachrock has been found in drillholes,
down about 2m below sealevel. At
Palm Beach there is also beachrock at 2-2.5m below sealevel and shell from
1.5m below that has been dated at 6,800 +/- 337 years (GS
1982/343). This suggests the beachrock formed under stillstand
sand extraction from Narrabeen Lagoon have as yet been little compiled
here. Production was ongoing since the 1960s? Was their earlier
production? The ruins of something that has been called a cement works
at Deep Creek on the shore of the lagoon, likely dating from well before the
1960s, suggests this is a possibility, and facts will continue to be sought on
Lakeside Caravan park; 2. Mullet Creek; 3. Pittwater Road weed beds; 4.
Woolworths Bridge; 5. The Alley; 6. Robertson Road; 7. Deep Hole; 8. Wakehurst
Parkway Billarong Reserve; 9. Deep Creek; 10. Middle Creek;
Golf Course; 12. South Creek; 13. Pipeclay Point; 14. Jamieson Park; 15.
north over the lagoon.
Lagoon, also known as Narrabeen Lakes, is an area of shallow water with three
main creeks that drain into it - Deep Creek, Middle Creek and South
Creek. Narrabeen Lagoon has a surface area of 2 square kilometres and is
the largest of several coastal lagoons between Sydney and Broken
Bay. It shows the typical pattern of a presumably
"diverted" northern entrance/exit connection to the sea, as is
usually attributed to sand spit development under the influence of northerly
inshore coastal drift of sediment. It is usually open to the sea
but has been intermittently blocks.
Lakes outlet, looking south from atop of Narrabeen Head. The
'forced' to be over an area of shallow rock presence. There is no old
channel at this point.
may move into the lagoon at high tide or in storms.
Lagoon mouth, 1943. The rock baths at the headland were already
there, plus a small ?club house.In this view the lagoon mouth is closed by
beach sand. According to some "Historical records show that
prior to 1970 the Lagoon was predominantly closed", whereas the
lagoon is now predominantly open (e.g. the company BMT WBM in the 2013
Narrabeen Lagoon Flood Study). In March 1942, with the lagoon
mouth closed, rain runoff from the catchment caused the lagoon to rise
2.7m, with major flooding.
photo of a manual opening of the lagoon mouth.
of the previous photo, 1943, presently Lakeside Park. This shows the
mouth of Mullet Creek and the
sand depositional sequence there which presumably marks the filling up of that
as sea level reached its present height.
Creek (a lateral stream to the drowned main stream of Narrabeen Lagoon
valley) has a lobate sand delta whereas Middle Creek which is aligned to
upstream continuation of the main value capture/deposits much of its sand
before its present mouth and hence wants to form a mudy long spit or
potential birds-foot delta. The oblong is where one
record places John Coghlan's Deep Creek coal drilling but this is obviously
drilling and gas discovery by John Coghlan
had the project gained more capital, could have become the first near-Sydney coal
mine, and the gas encountered was hailed as perhaps the first (potentially)
useable natural gas found - spurring dreams of forming a company to pipe it to
Sydney. Nothing came of that, nor did the drilling reach the coal
measures - but it likely came pretty close to doing so.
are many references to this drilling having been at "Deep Creek",
but exactly where still remained undetermined despite effort to discover
where. Swancott (n.d., page 93) wrote that it was "at a point
about half a mile up Deep Creek". That seems unlikely.
On flat land near the mouth of the creek would be feasible, but why take
difficult machinery up the creek for no apparent reason? The only
possible reason might have been land tenure if Mr John Coghlan who did this
could not get permission of the landowner to drill at the easiest
interestingly, Swancott (n.d., page 93) wrote that an inflow of natural gas
appeared at 1,200 ft and that "This was lead through pipes to a nearby
cottage and used for cooking and lighting". If that were true
it would make it one of the first times natural gas was used
domestically. Other information is that gas was first noted
plans for a coal mine at Narrabeen certainly did become very advanced.
Bit by bit he ended up leasing for coal mining all of Narrabeen Lagoon,
plus considerable land along Middle and Deep Creeks. Why the plan failed was presumably for want of continuing finance.
drilling probably got close enough to the coal to begin leaking coal seam gas
and this has been remembered down to the present day, as per the mention in
Swancott's book and elsewhere. For example, from
Pittwater Council's Monavale Library website is a statement: "In 1888 coal mining was
attempted near Deep Creek. Natural gas was found and piped to adjacent
cottages". That seems as though it might have come from
Swancott's book in history, except that the "cottage" where the gas
was reputedly used became "cottages".
that were true, it would be some of the first coal seam gas to be domestically
used in the State.
amount of gas encountered may have been somewhat exaggerated (or at least the
hopes/dreams for it were grandiose) by an unknown writer in the Daily
Telegraph (presumably in 1889, but seen per The Brisbane Courier, of 5 December 1889, page
5). This was as follows (in part) and suggests that Mr Coghlan actually
began boring at Narrabeen ca. 1884:
DISCOVERY IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
falls to our lot, says the Sydney Daily Telegraph, to make public announcement
of the discovery of another of those resources with which nature has so
abundantly endowed our country. The latest addition to our national
assets belongs to a class of remarkable products that
nobody, as far as we are aware, has ever
made it a business to search for in Australia.
A very large percentage of the population, indeed,
probably do not know of its existence at
all; and to everyone the news that it has been
found in our midst will come as a surprise.
The frenzy of the digging days will not return
with its appearance. There will be no sudden
bounds from damper and tents to champagne
and villa residences. Fortunes may be lost in
searching for it, and fortunes made in finding
it, but the very nature of the product in its
house of storage, deep down in the bowels of
the earth, will place temptation far out of the
reach of individual adventurers, and shelve the
onus on to the shoulders of capital. But if only
in this instance the discovery is of the importance
that such developments have been in
other parts of the world it should prove an
ever-flowing source of wealth of immense
wealth - to the community at large. And
wherever it has been found it has
come as a revolutionary force. It is distinctly "phenomenal!"
; hitherto only very few communities have gained the treasure, and to those
that have it has come as a piece of accidental fortune. In this respect
New South Wales is no exception to the rule. Whilst boring for coal in
the neighbourhood of Narrabeen, about seven miles from Manly Beach, a party of
miners have tapped a reservoir of natural gas.
Nearly five years ago Mr. John Coghlan commenced to bore for coal in the
neighbourhood of Narrabeen. There is little doubt that the vast coal bed
through which we tunnel at Bulli and Wollongong and sink shafts at Newcastle
spreads out beneath the whole of the intervening country. It is being worked
within twenty miles of Sydney to the south, and probably underlies the
metropolis itself, but at too great a depth to bring to the surface. Mr.
Coghlan was endeavouring to strike the seam within a few miles to the north of
Sydney. He put down his diamond drill amongst the picturesque scenery in
the midst of which Mr.Von Bieren bad previously tried in vain to procure wood
suitable for the charcoal used in the manufacture of gunpowder. It is
not far from the lagoon, about halfway between Manly and Newport, and at the foot
of a range of hills. It is "poor" country, covered with out-cropping
rock, and barely clothed with impoverished gum-trees. Beneath the
surface to unproved depths the strata is composed of sandstone and
conglomerate. After boring for two or three years, probing 1556ft.
down and finding no trace of coal, the miners observed an inflammable vapour
exhaling from the side of the bore. Mistaking it for what is known as
marsh gas, a product which by itself has no commercial value and is frequently
encountered in wells and mines all the world over, and never dreaming of the
existence in Australia of natural gas that might take the place of light or
fuel, they paid no attention to it, and proceeded to go deeper and deeper into
the rock. At length, with nearly 2000ft. of tubing down, the vapour
increased in volume and intensity. Then Mr. Coghlan began seriously to
consider its nature, and having no knowledge of the valuable gases engendered
in Nature's own laboratory in other parts of tho world he invited Dr. Storer,
a scientific chemist, and Mr. Key, a mining engineer, to inspect the bore.
These gentlemen visited the scene of operations several months ago, offered
the opinion that the gas was similar to that discovered at Pittsburg, and
subsequently analysing some which they carried away in a bottle, stated
definitely that the product was in all respects identical with the American
natural gas. Thus, after nearly five years work, the patient energy of
the prospectors for coal on the shores of Narrabeen was rewarded by the
discovery of something they had never dreamed of looking for, something which
they did not even know when they saw it. The bore they put down measured
3in. in diameter, and the gas issued through it in spite of a pressure of
water equal to 8001b. to the square inch. Until now nothing has been
said publicly about the circumstance. Now it is proposed to float the
well into a company, but whether the shares will be issued immediately is
doubtful. Probably the concern will be put on the market at the
beginning of the year. If the well proves rich in gas, pipes will be
laid from Narrabeen to the city, and the natural product reticulated when
mixed with coal gas to the dwellings for light, and unadulterated to the
factories and workshops for fuel. Meanwhile the few workmen employed at
the well are boiling their billies and grilling their steaks on the gas that
flows up over the surface from hundreds of feet beneath them, and at night
they are illuminating their huts and tents with the same arcadian product.
would have it that this was Australia's first gas discovery!
The strong hopes of it proving commercial were apparently short lived.
best known early production of gas for use was from the abandonned
Sydney Harbour Colliery in the 1940s, tragically terminated by a gas
Sydney Harbour Colliery opened in 1897. Had the first Sydney area
coal mine instread been at Narrabeen just where the promoter, John Coghlan,
was thinking of shipping the coal from has not been discovered, but a full
forward plan for coal mining must have existed in order to attract the
gas available at the abandonned Balmain Colliery had a ready market in WWII
when petrol was scarce.
in 1888 near Deep Creek, "natural gas was found and piped to adjacent
cottages" and used then this would be very historic. But the idea
of adjacent cottages at Deep Creek at that time seems unusual.
Later on, in the time of Stone's lime and cement works, men who worked for
Stone were locals and some lived on huts they built for themselves along Deep
Creek. Thus it is possible there might have been habitation there
in even earlier times (late 1800s), yet this seems unlikely to me as
there probably would have been better more open sites available for lake-side
dwelling. Another version of the creek's history there in the
1930s states it was a colony of "gypsies" who lives up that little
valley, but that is not necessarily incompatible as such might have been who
Stone employed. He is not known to have ever been making a profit
there so presumbly would have been attracted to employing the cheapest
possible labour. Some of it was very hard labour, such as lugging
cement up the hill for the sizeable dam he had built, all done by hand labour
where, exactly, was the drilling done?
same source as the above ( http://www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/library/local_history/Pittwaters_past/elanora_heights?SQ_DESIGN_NAME=printer_friendly
) also states "Coal was discovered at 1900 feet (625 metres) but the
drilling was abandoned.". That is unlikely too. If it
really had clearly reached the coal measures and demonstrated the physical
existence of the coal geologically predicted to be under Sydney then finance
would have been obtainable and he would not have had to give up. A
mention of coal at 1,900 ft is also in Swancott (n.d., p. 93).
another modern account of the matter ( http://www.sydneyarchitecture.com/SUB/SUB-06.htm
) Mr Coghlan becomes "a Mr Coglan" and it mentions gas being collected,
but not that it was domestically used.
far the exact location of the drilling has not been found and only one of the
leases (ML 1134 shown below ) has been located.
the obvious error that it would not have been completed the same year as
it was started. Where
was the 1880s Deep Creek deep drilling for coal done? I have not
been able to locate any original records yet. If the elevation of 5
ft is correct then it was likely on the the flat forming the immediate
sides of Deep Creek. Some data on it, and according to Mines Department
"Well Completion Report No. 2", has a lat/long which might put it just
offshore from the creek mouth but that is likely a misplot or
since it was not likely offshore (i.e. elevation 5 ft - and likely very
heavy equipment ,and people did not operate big offshore drilling platforms
then ). The portion 77 (or 7) mention if true, would place it
well up Deep Creek and that's a mystery as that too would seem most unlikely.
Why go that far up the creek to drill.
Despite not having reached the coal in his 1885 drilling the Government
received his application in 1886 in regard to 200 acres at Narrabeen to mine
there for coal (Government Gazette, Friday the 15th, January
1886). Mr Coghlan was doubtless someone then into coal or
coal exploration in a big way - as he is also known to have applied for
government permissions to mine at Parish of Holsworthy (800 acres), Parish of
Terramungamine (four areas amounting to 220 acres), and the Parish of Dubbo
(247 acres, in association with E.E. Brett). He did not get
considerable leasehold land granted to mine for coal at Narrabeen but not all
of his applications were granted. In 1888 it is
learned of that the Government refused Mr Coglan on of his application for a mining
lease there because the Lands Department was about to subdivide Crown land
there and offer a good deal of the land for sale and public
take-up. A mining lease was seen as inimical to that. Thus
in October 1888 a deputation consisting of Messrs. A. E. Jacques, J. Coghlan,
J. T. Hinwood, and E. C. Batt waited on the Minister for Mines with regard to
this lease at Narrabeen. The mining lease had been applied for by John
Coghlan, and the others are presumably associates/investors who he had since
gathered as interested in seeing a coal mine formed there.
Narrabeen might have seemed an even better place for a coal mine than Sydney
Harbour (where one later eventuated) as it was near the base of the Hawesbury
Sandstone and could have been slightly less sinking to get to coal - albeit
that the difference is not great (Narrabeen Group is also exposed on the ocean
side of North Head at Sydney Harbour but that might not have been realised in
the 1880s). Coghlan is also believed to have looked unsuccessfully for a
drilling site close to Sydney Harbour. It was represented by the deputation to the Minister
in 1888 that for some time past a lease of 437 acres had been held by Mr. Coghlan in
conjunction with other gentlemen [which lease was this? - it has not
yet been traced], and that the search for minerals had so far proved so successful that the holders of the lease considered that they would be
justified in continuing their work. They accordingly desired to extend
the area of the land included within the lease, and an application with that
object in view had been made, but it had not yet been granted. A sale of
the Government land in that locality was shortly to be held, and the
deputation therefore asked that the lease, as requested, should be issued
without delay. Mr. Abigail, in replying, pointed out that a question of
policy was involved in the application. The land in respect of which the
application had been made was situated, he revealed in the midst of a large
area of Government property, which had been surveyed and laid out for sale.
It had been represented by the Lands Department that if the lease, as applied
for, were issued the forthcoming sale would be seriously affected, and having
regard to the strong representations which had been made by that Department on
the subject he had decided not to grant the application. In reply to a
question from a member of the deputation, the Minister said that if the Lands
Department recommended that the request should be complied with he should
offer no objection (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 1888, page 10).
Thus it was then up to these coal mining promoters to trot on down the hall or
to wherever the Minister for Lands had his office, to try and get that
Minister to change his mind. It is not known if they did this or not,
but they presumably would likely have tried it. However, not long
afterwards, in 1890, Geological Surveyor T.W.E. David, recommended Narrabeen
as a good place for warranting continued expenditure of capital towards coal
mining (Australian Town and Country Journal, 19 July 1890, page 24).
This must have considerably encouraged Coglan and his associates in their
commercial endeavours. Nevertherless, no coal mine shaft sinking
was ever commenced at or near Narrabeen.
Coghlan's interest in the Narrabeen area for coal can be tracked back at least
as far as 1885 (Australian Town and Country Journal, 28 November 1885, page
24), when with Mr. T. M. Dalveen and Mr. W. T. Coonan, he applied for
permission to mine in regard to coal for an amazing 1,730 acres, under
Narrabeen Lagoon and part of the Pacific Ocean. The application
was dated 14 November 1885 and was received in the Department of Mines on 14
November 1885, hence must have been hand-delivered (Evening News, 16 December
1885, page 8).
John Coghlan had formed the Australasian Diamond Drill Company in 1882, as
revealed by his following advertisement ( Sydney Morning Herald, 16 December
182, page 4):
AUSTRALASIAN DIAMOND DRILL COMPANY.
will be undertaken by the above Company to bore any
sized holes up to 3
INCHES OR LARGER if
required, to any depth, at a reduction of 25
PER CENT. BELOW ANY PREVIOUS CHARGE.
Company in all.case will find their own fuel and water for
drilling purposes, and will make no charge for loss of diamonds
or wear and tear on plant, and will also provide workmen, engineers,
new duplex barrel introduced into the colony by Mr. J.
Coghlan will be used free of charge to
persons searching for minerals.
Coghlan has every confidence, from his
of the Diamond Drill, that he will bo able to give general
satisfaction, as well as quick despatch to all orders addressed to the
Offices, 283, George-strect
Manager. pro tem.
283 was a temporary address, as stated. The office address later on was
311 George Street, as in 1886 (Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 1886, page 20),
Mr Coghlan ran this very short ad: "WANTED, competent ENGINEER - one used
to diamond drill preferred. Apply J. Coghlan, 311, Geo.-st.".
Dalveen and Coonan no longer seemed in association with Mr Coghlan when all
waited on the Minister for Mines in 1888, wishing him to speed up lease grant
before Lands Department action might alienate coal mining by closer
settlement, as detailed above. In the 1800s numerous parties were
engaging in the seeking of applying for permission to mine for coal over large
areas. As just one example, at the same time as Mr Coglan was exploring
and promoting the Narrabeen area, T.
J. W. Manson, and others had applied for
coal over 4,480
acres at Lake
in the first hole went to 1985 ft total depth [or 1,998 ft according to Mines
Department Annual Report. 1887, p. 137; and the Evening News of 22 July 1890,
page 8, stated 1,980 ft.], and did not reach the coal measures. It
might have terminated only about 100ft short of its goal of striking
coal(?). One Mines Department map, which has
probably followed the same lat/long record as shown on a data card
illustrated above, had the drill hole site at the mouth of the creek (the Lat/Long
goven actually plots in the lake).
Edgeworth David depicted it as having been up Deep Creek, on the right bank
first drill hole was in 1885 and the natural gas encountered was apparently in
sufficient quantity for domestic use according to various mentions (and
was analysed as N2 and CH4).
drilling recorded the following the depths stated to formational bases: sand (20'),
black mud ('loam') and peat (38'), clay in alternate red and yellow bands
(68'), sand full of shells and cockles (70'), sand on Hawkesbury Sandstone
(100') [fide T.W.E. Edgeworth David 1890], etc. A second hole was sunk
to 1,200 ft (or slightly over 1,200 ft according to Ann. Rep. 1889, Appendix
L; and the Evening News of 22 July 1890, page 8, stated it as 1,200 ft.).
(n.d., 93) mentioned that "At 90' down, the drill penetrated a 10' deep
bed of oyster shells, indicating a subsidence at some time" - not
apparent in the above description (the ?first hole), so this may have been in
the second hole. A 1933 letter on the matter (shown below) also has it
that a bed of shells was penetrated "at a depth of 90 ft", but that
states the bed was only 2'6" thick, not ten feet thick as in Swancott.
account states "Non bituminous coal was found at 1900'. At
1200' an inflow of natural gas occurred". The latter figure
is also the depth of the second hole.
of John Coghlan's coal holdings at Narrabeen Lagoon, this 532 acre lease being
along Middle Creek. ML 1134 was Lease 515 under the Mining Act of the
time and was applied for in February 1888 and cancelled in 1892.
Coghlan died possibly about 1900. As founder of the Australian Diamond
Rock Drill Company, which drilling method he was the first to introduce to
Australia, and did a great deal towards the discovery of coal at various
places. The early bores at Stockton, Teralba, Camp Creek, Port Hacking,
Holt-Sutherland, Hoorebank, Heathcote, Moore Park and Rose Bay, were all put
flown by him, as well as the bores at Narrabeen Lagoon. It was also him
who suggested the eventually successful drilling site at Sydney Harbour.
to later desciption the
gas encountered in the first drillhole was initially noticed when drawing the rods
from 1,650 ft. (Upper Narrabeen Group). But note that the
1888 newspaper long article about natural gas discovery states "After
boring for two or three years, probing 1556ft. down and finding no trace of
coal, the miners observed an inflammable vapour exhaling from the side of the
bore" (1,560 possibly got confused as 1,650 over time - and some other
mentions/rewrites also suggest this). .
The gas was
apparently collected and used on a small scale for domestic purposes.
Rather strangely, the then Chief Government Geologist, Mr. C.
S. Wilkinson (Mines Department Annual Report, 1889, page 198) suggested that
gas derived from the Quaternary lake sediments. Equally
surprisingly, Edgeworth David in
1890 (Annual Report for 1890, p. 236) also thought likewise. The
gas was mainly methane (46%) and nitrogen (43%). Gas from the No.2
bore was rather similar, a little richer in methane (54% methane and 45% nitrogen).
Commonwealth asked the State about the matter in 1933 (Letter of 26 September
1933. WCR 02) and as noted, the Department at that time seems to have
had "considerable" data in regard to this Narrabeen
drilling. In searching for the original data there was
suspicion that some may have been in books related to lease records that
were discarded due to water damage sustained when records were stored at
the Department's Chemical Laboratory in Lidcombe(?).
little later (same report, WCR 02) the "90 ft" becomes "190
feet" - a mistake.
amateurish or routh diagram by Edgeworth David in Mines Department Annual Report about
these Narrabeen bores.
strangely amateurish looking diagram by David above, plus that he thought gas
was from shells bed is a bit surprising, and may suggest that he had not
closely thought about the matter(?). However, it might have been what
got David interested in later investigating Narrabeen Lagoon's Quaternary
himself. Using a borrowed hand bore coupled to student labour, David managed to penetrate down
to a very respectable depth (with such primitive methods) of 24m. This
was done near Pittwater Road
Bridge at the sand barrier there, and they "bottomed" on apparently
stilff sediment (difficult to drill further in?) which had tree roots and a
Casuarina cone - early obtained evidence of our "coastal
the The European Ice Age cycles were well known by 1904 so why did not David
recognise that option? Later on this was re-interpreted as
evidence not of submergence of the land, but that the sea had withdrawn due
the last great ice age.
gas perhaps wasn't entirely forgotten about locally. In 1939 the
Minister for Mines and others witnessed a divination for oil at Narrabeen by a
Mr. McAndrews. Mr McAndrews used willow tree forks. It's not
recorded what the Minister thought but one of the mines department men whio
was present seemed
decidedly unimpressed, even though he could offer no explanation for the
behaviour of the rod which Mr McAndrews claimed was bending to indicate oil
main water area of the lagoon, ca. 2 sq km, is also known as the "central
basin". On the eastern flank the elongate
barrier/back-barrier sand expanse occupies 1.5 sq km. The area at
the mouth, of about 0.5 sq km acts as probably as a fluvial-bayhead tidal
delta. In the above photo a tongue of apparent seawards sand
influx forces the course of the outgoing stream somewhat to the west.
clearance purposes, and for commencial production in the past, considerable
sand has likely been dredged from the lagoon (quantities not ascertained at
present). In recent years the sand from clearance operations near the
entrance has been placed as replenishment supply onto the Collaroy/Narrabeen
Beach which has a long history of coastal erosion fears.
lagoon is mostly less than 2m depth. Deeper holes, up to 8m deep,
may be where there was past commercial dredging for sand.
must be divided in three - even the Narrabeen Lagoon. Hence we have
from east to west: 1) Eastern Channel (clean sand), 2) Central
Basin (muddy sand) and 3) Western Basin (sandy mud except for Deep Creek
Delta which is clean sand). Five creeks enter the lagoon,
counterclockwise: Mullet, Nareen, Deep, Deep, Middle and South
Creeks. The name Narrabeen Creek has also been used - mostly for
Deep Creek, occasionally for Middle Creek.
The western basin
is large and shallow, with average depth of about 1 metre. It is the
primary receiving water of three major tributaries of Narrabeen Lagoon, namely
Deep Creek, Middle Creek and South Creek, which combined, drain approximately
70% of the total Narrabeen Lagoon catchment. The central basin was
dredged extensively from the 1920s through to the mid 1980s. While some
of the central basin escaped the dredging, most is now between 2 and 6 metres
deeper than the original depths. The eastern channel has also undergone
extensive dredging since the 1920s, with typical depths now about 2 to 4
metres below mean water level.
the bathymetry of the lake there are three distinct deep holes.
These possibly relate to three distinct commercial
sand extraction operations in the past(?). Supposedly millions of tons
of sand have been extracted, and search for the records is
dredging configuration desired by the sailing club. The
"dog-leg channel" is a narrow channel (approximately 1–1.5m
deep and 10m wide) extending approximately 40 metres westward, and
then approximately 90 southwards that has been made by some previous
cuspate lesions around the edge of the sandy shallows that the seagrass
patches grow on. These are presumably caused by dredging.
- Narrabeen Lagoon has
had commercial sand extraction from the 1911 to 1985 (Patterson Britton and Partners
1998), although 1960s details are the earliest found. By 1985, the bed
level of the whole eastern channel had been lowered by about 2-3 metres and
much of the central basin lowered, with a noteworthy deep hole area of 200 m
radius off Wimbledon Island had been dredged to a depth of about 6 m.
Presumably there might have been a dredging base as Wimbledon Island but who
dredged that deep hole is not yet known.
Stone held a 20 years dredging licence for the lake, from 1933, but what he
actually did remains uncertain. There is mention of dredging four
acres near the lagoon entrance and of wishing to recover shell there (but that
particular application was withdrawn)Garl. I was informed that Stone definitely did
do some dredging - but when, where and how is not yet known.
1934 (The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 1934, p. 11) an article stated
"Referring to the recent discussion on the effects of certain dredging to
be carried out by a company in Narrabeen Lake, Mr. E. G. Stone, consulting
engineer, states in a letter to the Editor that the dredging lease was granted
after an inquiry held by the warden, that the granting of the lease was
supported by the Warringah Shire, and that no objections were raised by any of
the Government departments that were consulted. Dredging of sand from the
lake's bottom for reclamation purposes has already been carried out by private
individuals to the extent of many millions of tons. The effect of the
dredging, says Mr. Stone, has been to improve the lake: in fact, the part
where it has been carried out is the only place where boats can move with- out
danger and where fishing success is a certainty. The dredging proposed to be
car- ried out by his company would be through areas which at low tide are
filthy morasses of decaying seaweed, especially the part between the two
bridges. At present it is only by following certain channels that boats can
reach their destinations. The channel which the company proposes to create
will alter this condition of things, and will add to the pleasure of the
public. Besides giving em- ployment to local and other unemployed, the work
will create a beauty spot of greater interest than at present".
came upon mentions of dredging in the Lagoon in 1967-1968, not for sand
production but for putting directly ashore via a 4" suction dredge for
purposes of reclamation. This was done at both especially at the
southern side of the Lagoon and the owner of the dredge was stated to be
Warringah Shire Council. Some dredging was carried out in 1950-1970 by
Council to reclaim foreshore reserves (including Jamieson Park and Billarong
Reserve). In 1967 it was also intended to do
similar on the northern side of the lagoon, and fill in low patches within the
'North Narrabeen' recreation area. However, it is not certain to
what extent (if at all) the intended filling along the north side with sand
from the lagoon was ever carried out, for in 1967 the Shire Councillors were
dismissed and an Administrator appointed (one of three times up till then that
councils had been replaced by an Administrator in the northern beaches
area). In October 1967 the Administrator, Mr. C.J. Barnett,
apparently put the plans for the northern side of the lagoon on indefinite
hold. Strangely though, there is also
from 1968 record of a company Warringah Earth Moving and Plant Hire Pty. Ltd.
also working with a "4" suction dredge", operating off
Street. It was getting sand to sell for concrete
making. Perhaps this was the same plant that the Council had been
operating and the 'strange' coincidence might mean that the Administrator sold
off the Council's dredge. The same company as was dredging then also has
been noted as doing minor quarrying at Belrose.
This company may have later changed names to Warringah Sand and Gravel
Supplies Pty Ltd. which later dredged at Narrabeen Lagoon for years, under manager K.
Fear. It generally engaged just two men in doing this, and was mostly selling
the sand to concrete makers like Readymix. The lower
grade sand was sold or disposed of for filling purposes.
on, in 1971-1975 sand was extracted
from the Lagoon by another two man dredging operation, with Council back in
control, and with the sand being produced for its
own use only. This was apparently done under a permissive occupancy
permission from the State Government(?). At the same time, in
1972, the Council formed the Narrabeen
Lagoon Investigation Committee, which would advise about future
dredging. When the Council resumed dredging
in 1977 and 1980 it had been advised about the ill-effects of damaging
marginal reed beds etc, and a resolution had been made in 1977 to cease any
more of the former reclamation work done with sand dredged from the
lagoon was advised. The Council was dredging to the west of Warringah Sand
and Gravel Supplies' dredge operations.
of the lagoon seen to have been silted up in 1977, at which time some
estimated the lagoon might be fully silted up by end of the
century. The Council resolved to keep on with the necessity of
extensive and prolonged dredging
in the creation of some distinct holes, 2 to 6m deeper than the original lagoon bed in the central basin and between
2 and 4 m deeper in the eastern channel.
Sand and Gravel Supplies - One of the main sand miners at Narrabeen
Lagoon. Operated 1970-1985 via a dredge and floating pipe line
to shore. This is possibly the same company as commenced operations
there as early as the 1960s under the name of Warringah Earthmoving and Plant
Hire Pty Ltd and had a variety of interests including quarrying at Belrose and
elsewhere. The main sand stockpiling and despatch yard on shore
was at the western end of Robertson Street. The sand was bought mainly
for concrete use. The one or two operations ongoing in the 1970s was of
relatively small scale, each employing 2-3 men. Dredge capacity was
about 1000 cubic yards per week. The Manager in 1973-1979 was Mr K. Fear.
Production had increased to 2000t per week in 1974. The
commercial sandmining may have ended in the latest 1970s or early 1980s.
It was still operating in 1981. The similarly named "Warringah
Gravel and Stone Company Pty Ltd was in 1978-1980 ripping and crushing
sandstone at Crozier Road, Belrose, in part for supply to the DMR for widening
of Warringah Road and Mona Vale Road, and also supplying Warringah
Council. After the government contracts ceased in 1981 it reported
there was little demand for the quarry's crushed sandstone. That seems
to be the same time that it stopped dredging at Narrabeen Lagoon(?). The
Warringah Sand and Gravel plant and processing area were likely removed in
Council's role in dredging - The
commercial dredging of the lagoon in the 1970s might have been encouraged by
Council in order to help alleviate flooding of properties near the mouth of
the lagoon (suggested by RTA File 479). After cessation of
commercial sand dredging operations, Warringah Council has been the main party
concerned with the production and use of dredging or excavation sand in the
area. According to the Narrabeen Lagoon Plan of Managerment (p. 33) Warringah
Shire Council carried out dredging in the central basin in the 1950s and 1960s
to create Jamieson Park and Bilarong
Reserve. Where the records may be of who exactly dredged where,
and when, has not yet been ascertained. There are contradictory
statements found. For example, the Narrabeen Lagoon Plan of Management
states "Dredging ceased in the 1970s due to the restrictions imposed by
the Clean Waters Act 1970" but eslewhere dredging record through to the
1980s are found. In
1982 Warringah Shire Council proposed increased dredging, to produce 4.8 Mt of
sand from Narrabeen Lagoon. An EIS for the proposal was prepared by J.H.
and E.S. Laxton. The proposal was to dredge to a depth of
sand has 5-8% shell fragment content, rendering it of limited suitability
apart from filling and general purpose concrete.
an amount of sand extraction has not yet happened but since 1975, Warringah Council
has carried out maintenance dredging near the entrance of the lagoon at approximately
three year intervals. Each such
operation usually removes about 20,000 cubic metres of sand.
of the sand Council obtains it has placed on Narrabeen Beach,
and sometimes other locations, for beach renourishment. In the latest
such entrance maintenance dredging, during 2006, more than usual sand was
removed, approximately 45,000 cubic metres.
Council ( Dr Alicia Loveless, Senior Environmental Officer) has supplied the
following list of dates pertinent to the sand barrier and dredging in the
Community push for regional park and recreational use
Power boat and water ski ban enacted
& 1983 Dredging of entrance shoal for flushing. Rock and
concrete retaining walls built
Warringah Sand and Gravel decommissioned and
revegetated and renamed
Continuous community pressure to dredge and address siltation
Periodic mechanical opening of entrance for water level management
Narrabeen Lagoon Summit suggests there is a need for “carefully planned and
carefully implemented dredging”
Narrabeen Lagoon Restoration Project is proposed by key users and seeks to
dredge 120,000 m3 of material from central and western basins
Scientific studies reveal no environmental benefit and high risk of
environmental impact in the scope of works proposed Restoration Project.
Council investigates benefits and impacts of a refined dredging scope of works
targeting 30,000 m3 in designated areas to enhance kayaking and sailing
Draft Plan of Management provide legislative framework to dredge Narrabeen
Lagoon to enhance recreation use
Broader community supports selective dredging provided there is no significant
Council Environmental Sustainability Strategic Reference Group (SRG)
recommends smallest possible disturbance and no net loss of potential seagrass
habitat in the selective dredging project.
Council undertakes feasibility assessment of community preferred dredging
Dredging is covered in:
Council 2013. Interim Report on Narrabeen Lagoon Recreational Dredging (see
item 9.5 of the Council report):
Warringah Council 2013. Interim Report on Narrabeen Lagoon Recreational
Dredging Attachment (see item 9.5 of the Council report): http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/meetings/create-meeting/attachment-booklet-2-ordinary-council-20130423-web.pdf
Narrabeen Lagoon Estuary Management Plan http://yoursaywarringah.com.au/document/show/111
Narrabeen Lagoon Recreational Dredging information page and FAQs http://yoursaywarringah.com.au/nlrecdredging
Comparison of the first hydrographic survey in
1911 and the most recent hydrographic survey in 2005 indicates that bed levels
have not changed greatly except for becoming deeper in those areas that
have been dredged in the past. Many in the community are surprised to learn
that the change in depth that people have experienced is due to the entrance
to the lagoon being kept open, rather than a significant "silting
up" of the lagoon.
2005 "Narrabeen Lagoon Summit" was held wth Local and State
Government representatives, the community and environmental organisations.
It discussed the need to formally examine the merits of selective
dredging. The Narrabeen Lagoon Restoration Project was established to
(among other objectives) formally investigate dredging of the
of the lagoon. Subsequent scientific investigations found that there
would be no environmental benefits to the proposed dredging
and that, alarmingly, large areas of seagrass would likely be
impacted or killed. This was concluded in a 2008 report by BMT,
WBM and Cardno Ecology Lab.
was clear that the dredging proposals being considered were unlikely to have
environmental benefits and would not be supported. It therefore
became necessary to find alternative pathways to progress dredging
specifically for "recreational benefit". In 2009, Council
investigated (in partnership with key stakeholders) a much reduced dredging
proposal for recreational purposes. This approval pathway required a
Plan of Management to be prepared under the Crown Lands Act 1989. This
approach was confirmed by the then Minister for Lands in July 2010. Council
prepared, adopted and submitted the Draft Narrabeen Lagoon Plan of Management
(PoM) to the Minister for Primary Industries in October 2011. In mid
2013 Council was still now awaiting approval by the Minister of the PoM
to make dredging of the Lagoon permissible. At least it is thought that
the Minister has not approved it (another reference, by the consultation
consultant, stated that it was pending "Ministerial
Gazettal). In the meantime, Council has continued to progress
the project, e.g. doing feasibilty and costing, and undertaking community
consultationas described below:
Stage 1 Community Consultation - investigation of the wider
community’s preference for selective dredging.
A majority (51%) of the community and stakeholders supported dredging selected
areas of the lagoon. A high proportion of the community (81%) believe it
is important that there are no environmental impacts from dredging. In
essence, it was evident that the community are supportive of
dredging but that dredging must proceed in an environmentally
responsible way. In July 2012, Council resolved to proceed with Stage 2
and investigate the environmental feasibility and cost/benefit of
selective recreational dredging.
Stage 2 Feasibility Assessment - investigation of the environmental
and financial feasibility, recreational benefit, risks and
impacts of recreational dredging.
2 commenced in September 2012. A short-list of potentially
environmentally feasible dredging options was developed and presented to
Council on 23 April 2013. A cost/benefit, risk and impact
assessment is now underway. A final list of recommendations on
recreational dredging will be presented to Council by December 2013.
the completion of Stage 2, Council may decide to proceed to Stage 3
Environmental Approvals and Works. Council will need to seek
approval and financial contributions from Local, State and Federal
Government for Stage 3 to be realised.
following reports exist relevant to the recretational dredging planning:
Community Consultation Outcomes Report (pdf) (6 MB)
Minutes Council 24
June 2012 Item 8.1 Lagoon Dredging (pdf) (39 KB)
Recreational Dredging Brochure (pdf) (300 KB)
Scenarios (DOC) (9 MB)
Proposal (DOC) (2 MB)
Plan of Management (PDF) (6 MB)
Bed Levels (jpg) (919 KB)
Mayoral Minute 20
2011 Narrabeen Lagoon Dredging 20110823 (pdf) (82 KB)
Estuary Management Plan (pdf) (8 MB)
Restoration Project - Potential Ecological Impacts of Re-Profiling Work (pdf)
Central Basin Recreation Channel Feasibility Assessment (pdf) (8 MB)
there has been a very large amount of planning documentation on all this, the
actual sampling work on biota, and especially on sediments, has been
small. For example potential acid sulphate sediment problems have often
been mention but zero sampling undertaken. Planning for central basin
dredging states "Narrabeen Lagoon is surrounded by areas considered to be
at high risk for acid sulphate soil. There is consequently a substantial risk
of acid contamination if the underlying sediments disturbed or exposed
by dredging are potential acid sulphate soils. SMEC noted that monosulphides
and monosulphitic black oozes that commonly form in coastal estuarine areas
and tend to accumulate at the bottom of waterways can give rise to severe
acidification and severe deoxygenation of the water when mobilised".
That may all be so but why there would be consequently a substantial risk of
acid contamination if the underlying sediments disturbed or exposed by
dredging is not explained (why would acid sulphate soils be expected to go
below sealevel here) and nowhere was it tested to see if they were really
there or not. A series of reports stated similar, one copying from
the other - but with nobody actually testing sediments. Thus it seems
unknown if anything like "monosulphides and monosulphitic black oozes
that commonly form in coastal estuarine areas" are present at Narrabeen
extensive community consultation in all this showed there was widespread
community misconception about planning approval processes, and that Council
could "approve dredging as it has done in the past" (nor was it
clear that the consultant explaining things to the public had things perfectly
clear either? It was stated that "Dredging of natural waterways
without consent is only permissible if it is for environmental protection
works, not recreational purposes). Some of the public were frustrated
over funding for previous dredging projects having seemingly been
re-allocated. Community perceptions vary according to how
questions are asked. For example, 81% thought it important that there be
"no environmenal effects" from dredging, yet there must be some
effects and by slight majority (51%) the community approved that dredging
proceed. About a quarter of the community contacted had no idea -
neither supported nor opposed "selective dredging". Some
who did not support dredging thought that dredging would only allow/encourage
more users of the lagoon and hence bring more adverse human impact on
it. The extent of dredging which Council consulted upon was
estimated to cost $1.3M.
comments included opposites. E.g. one said dredging should not fill in
the existing deep holes but another said "to fill in the deep anaerobic
holes would be a bonus". A misconception was widespread that
dredging the lagoon would "restore its depth to what it once
was". This idea that if not dredged the lagoon might silt up
in a few decades and not be there is very common but apparently not supported
by available old survey data. However, comparisons of historical
hydrosurveys indicate that siltation rates were high during the 1960s and
1970s. The rates have reduced considerably since that time.
remarked that there was "considerable silting especially where Middle and
Deep Creek enter", however those are deltas and have 'always'
existed. One suggested that instead of dredging being done at any
ratepayer expense by Council it should be arranged for a private operator to
do it, who could sell the sand (that commentator likely did not know the
larger picture, or what the sand was wanted for?).
the greater sediment transport (generally undoubted) resultant from suburban
development in the catchment has not silted the lagoon then were is
it? Some may be in the creek channels? The Academy of
Sports and Recreation reported that Middle Creek has become too shallow for
regular use any more, whereas prior to 1998 it was being used
regularly. The top of the Deep Creek delta sand body may also have
risen as boats now have to be dragged over that so generally only very light
boats will get into Deep Creek itself - in contrast with old photos showing
more sizeable boats up the creek.
National Parks Association submitted that shallow areas have always been there
since prehistory, that the sand will not move fast, and that it is a
misconception that the lagoon was filling up. This was most in
contrast to the views of the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment.
NPAA was specifically against dredging the creek deltas.
the effectiveness of entrance mainenance dredging, in 1993, John Murtagh (NSW Public Works, Manly Hydraulics
Laboratory) and Heather
Nelson (Waningah Shire Council) addressed the 11th
Australasian Conference on Coastal and Ocean Engineering ("Coastal
Engineering a Partnership with Nature") with
a paper on "Sand Fluidisation Scheme Pilot Study". This described a a pilot
sand fluidisation scheme for maintaining a perennially open entrance at Narrabeen
Lagoon. The trial results were not greatly encouraging compared
with other options considered. These were to excavate down to a
rock shelf entrance and install walls to allow more "formalised"
mechanical breakout and entrance clearance operations. According to Council, the
entrance is over "a rock shelf", which has presumably been
examined by drilling.
views on desirable sand relocation - Contemporary views of what is
desirable for the area focus both on perceived marine erosion dangers along
Narrabeen Beach as well as claimed silting up of the lagoon. A
complementary solution to both problems would be large scale sand movement
from lagoon to beach. Phil Colman,
a former Warringah councillor and marine expert, has been interested in
Narrabeen Lagoon for years. He believes it is threatened most by
sediment buildup and diminishing water level. This he largely attributes
to increased runoff from building development in the higher parts of the
surrounding catchment area. There has been a "massive
increase in sediment being transferred to the lagoon'' Mr Colman thinks.
This may well be so, although no data have been sighted.
the beach storm erosion has many times been seen. In 2001 storm seas,
estimated to have waves up to 14 m high. eroded for about 100 m
into North Narrabeen Beach, leaving a 2m high scarp at their limit of
reach. According to Dr Ian Turner,
deputy director of the University of NSW Water Research Laboratory, this beach
is the "No. 1 erosion spot in metropolitan Sydney." Professor
Andrew Short, Director of the Coastal Studies Unit at the University of
Sydney, is another who has been in favour of the plan for putting a large
amount of sand (a million cubic metres or more) onto Narrabeen
Beach. Such an amount of "nourishment" could widen it by as
much as 50 m. The usefulness and desirability of beach
renourishment has been widely accepted although not by all. In 2002,
following some dredging of lagoon sand and its transfer to the beach, at its
southern end, one local remarked on what
"a futile waste of time and money the recent sand dredging has been".
On checking the beach shortly afterwards there seemed to be no remant of the sand
dumped there and some thought it just washes out to sea rather than staying on
To gain greater certainty of
what was happening with the beach, in 2005 a number of cameras were installed
for contant monitoring. A bank of nine cameras watch the 3.5 km long stretch of
beach and every hour take pictures.
One curious discovery
that emerged from the beach monitoring is that the
Collaroy to North Narrabeen beach line "rotates" on a regular cycle.
Every two to seven years North Narrabeen gets wider as Collaroy narrows.
Then, two to seven years later, the pattern reverses. Each cycle the beaches
grow by or lose up to 80 m width of sand. Turner suspects the cycle is
climatic. As the climate shifts, so does the direction
of offshore winds, which in turn change the direction of waves that pound the
beaches. A change in wave direction of only "a couple of degrees" is
thought to be enough to trigger the next swing. However, the data collected from Turner's cameras, combined with 30 years of
beach mapping records collected by Professor Andrew Short, director of the
University of Sydney's coastal studies unit, find that there is an "unusually large amount of sand
compared with the last 30 years". Overall there has been fall off
in severe erosive events. Fierce coastal storms were once regular events, striking at
least once a decade, but there have been less since the 1970s.
About Deep Creek
The Parish map, shown above, shows two large
blocks, each of 640 acres, extending from Deep Creek to Mona Vale
Road. These must have later come under common ownership for the
Sydney Morning Herald of 21 December 1912 (page 12) states: "For £1280
(subject to approval) 1280 acres of land at Narrabeen were sold by Messrs.
Raine and Horne this week. The north-western portions of this land is
served by a road leading off the Lane Cove-road, immediately at the bottom of
Tumble-down Dick Hill; and the south-eastern portion of the land has an
extensive frontage to a navigable creek, known locally as Deep Creek, running
into Narrabeen Lagoon".
Prior to the commencement of Stone's works at
Deep Creek there is scant indication of anyone living there. However in
December 1934 there was a surf rescue at Narrabeen Beach on a person recorded
as "Ronald Bowyer, 25, of Deep Creek, Narrabeen". This
however is likely misreporting, since the following year there appeared (SMH,
24 September 1935, p. 9): "BOWYER.-The Relatives and Friends of Mr. R.
BOWYER, of Deep Creek-road, Narrabeen, are kindly invited to attend the
Funeral of his dearly heloved WIFE. Beatrice Bowyer, which will leave the
Prince Henry Auxiliary Hospital. Randwick. THIS TUESDAY, at l p.m, for the
Church of England Cemetery, Botany.".
Camping / picnicing
There's a date of 26-11-87 carved on a rock at
Deep Creek which suggests that excursionists were going there as early as 1887
(and the 1880s coal-seeking drillers may well have been there. However,
the earliest documented record so far found of people visiting the place in a
recreational manner is 1898.
men in boat on Narrabeen lagoon, c 1905. (Photo: a116488, State
Library of NSW) Several
native fish species live in Narrabeen Lagoon and up the creeks,
including freshwater, estuarine and marine species. For photos
of such see http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/environment/fish-n-macro.aspx
Some of the earliest found proponents of Deep Creek as
a good recreational place were bicycle clubs.
In November 1898 the North Sydney Bicycle Club
announced a ride to visit to Deep Creek, Narrabeen, departing after 9:30 a.m.
at the Power House
The Club must have liked Deep Creek since In
November 1899 it announced that it would hold an all-day picnic to Deep Creek,
Narrabeen Lakes the following week (on the Prince of Wales
Birthday). They stated that boats had boen engaged at Narrabeen to
convey them to the creek, and that "As this is a most ideal and popular
spot, a very large muster is expected". The
following year the Redfern cycling club also went there.
The above shows that Deep Creek was already
popular by 1899. Perhaps no road at all went to it at that time
along the shore from Narrabeen as the cyclists could otherwise have riden
there - yet they organised for boats to convey them to the creek.
For some years most mentions of Deep Creek are
about persons going there by boat, to fish. Picnicing is evident too, by
Bob Evans family
picnicing at Deep Creek, ca. 1914. They rowed there. (
Photo: Warringah Library )
In December 1915 it was reported that William
Davidson, 64 years of age, a blacksmith of Narrabeen, was found hanging by a
rope around the neck from the Deep Creek Bridge, Narrabeen.
This was clearly suicide. Mr Davidson about four months ago had thrown
himself into the sea. He had not died as he was washed ashore by the
This reported suicide shows that by 1915 a road
had been constructed to, and across Deep Creek. Following that we
find reports commencing of camping at Deep Creek.
By 1920 (or before) families were likely
picnicing at Deep Creek. In 1920 a man (F.C. Cooke of Mortlake)
advertised that a child's bracelet was found there - no doubt hoping to return
The first known-of camp held at Deep Creek was
in 1920. It was an anniverary week-end camp in connection with tho boys'
division of tho Sydney Y.M.C.A. At that time the Y.M.C.A. was also
looking for a site on the coast, near Sydney, to equip with "all
facilities for camping exercise and entertainment".
The next camp at Deep Creek was in 1925, by 130
boys of the Methodist Order of Knights, "a secret society founded on the
traditions of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table".
In 1926 the Boy Scouts camped at Deep
Creek. Whilst there they saved a man, Tom Moffatt, from
drowning. "I congratulate you on your very gallant act," said
Sir Dudley de Chair, at Government House, as he presented the gilt medal of
merit for bravery to Patrol-Leader Cecil Thompson, of the Second Dulwich Hill
troop of Boy Scouts, in connection with the rescue of Tom from drowning,
while the Boy Scouts were camped there.
In 1927 a camp of about 100 Boy Scouts was
again held at Deep Creek.
In November 1927 there was discovery of
the remains of a man judged to have been about 60 years of age in a cave above
Deep Creek. The discovery was made by a member of a picnic party.
Death was probably from natural causes. The body was dressed in a blue
serge coat and vest, dark grey tweed trousers, a white shirt with dark
stripes, and a plain woollen undershirt, black lace-up boots, and brown
woollen socks, and a dark green felt hat. A note in the clothing read
"Taff Jones, 45 years, coalminer's sickness, Cardiff, South
In 1929 at a picnic party a ten year old boy,
Ralph Cobley Stephen, drowned in about 5ft of water at Deep Creek.
Apparently he had stepped from a sand bank into deep water. This
was the first of what would be several recorded drownings in Deep Creek.
In 1936 Mrs. Mary Elizabeth May McWhinney (60),
was drowned when a rowing boat capsized in Deep Creek. Mr. Arthur Ernest
Higgs was given a medal for endeavouring to save her.
In September 1950, a three year old boy, Ronald
Stanley Roach, drowned in about six feet of water in Deep Creek.
In August 1994 Stephen Dempsey was shot with a
bow and arrow down at Deep Creek. He was killed by a psychopath who then
cut up his body and took it home and kept it in the freezer for four
months. It took him two trips on his motorcycle to transport the
parts. This killer, Richard Leonard, also murdered a taxi driver,
Ezzedine Bahmad., at Collaroy Plateau three months after he killed
Stephen. At Dempsey's trial, Justice Badgery-Parker who said Mr Dempsey
was killed "for no motive that any rational mind can discern".
He also said there was strong evidence that some months earlier Leonard had
pointed his bow and arrow in a similar fashion at two men who turned and fled
into the undergrowth ( http://www.pew.com.au/pew-articles/1997/11/11/smiling-killer-winks-at-victims-mum
). Justice Badgery-Parker accepted psychiatrist Dr Bruce Westmore's
description of Leonard as a psychopath. When Stephen's remains were
found, dumped into water at Pittwater, an arrowhead was discovered in the
heart. When police released that information, five people rang up and
nominated a particular person as being someone who had spent time down at Deep
Creek carrying a bow and arrow. The police searched on that name -
Richard Leonard - and found he had been admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital
with stab wounds two hours after the taxi driver was knifed to death at
Collaroy Plateau. Leonard used to spend time at Deep Creek looking for
snakes. He had a history of sadistic cruelty to animals, and had worked
at an abattoirs. He once talked about killing his parents. Leonard
was obsessed with militaria, knives, bows and arrows, and sadistic
practices. Before the taxi-driver killing he was living with Denise
Shipley, a devil-worshipper, and they were into the occult and books on horror
West of Deep Creek - and
land E.G. Stone established himself on
land around Deep Creek now apprears to be all in Reserves for a good way up
the creek. Formerly it was private property since the 1840s or
earlier. How it got to be Reserves, and when, is still not known despite
many enquiries to what seemed like relevant government sources. The
following compiled history, as so far known of, comes mostly from TROVE.
acres west of Deep Creek - The Sydney Morning Herald of Saturday
27 April 1912 (page 6) records: APPLICATIONS
having been made to bring the lands hereunder
described under the provisions of the Real
Property Act, Certificates of Indefeasible Title will
issue, unless Caveats be lodged in accordance with the
Third Schedule of the said Act on or before the
29th May, 1912 .......No.
17,637. APPLICANTS:-George Scales and David
Lindsay Aitken, both Sydney. LAND - County Cumberland,
Parish Manly Cove, shire Warringah, 96 acres
2 roods 7 1/4 acres (sic / perches), on Narrabeen
Creek, near Narrabeen
Lagoon, land granted as 30 acres (portion 51 of parish),
to James Wheeler, and 50 acres (portion 48 of
parish), to John William Alexander White, adjoining
property of estate late T.H. Kelly and Crown Land" -
Land Titles Office. Stone's activities were in eastern
part of Por. 48.
block might be the 30 acres offered for sale at the upset price by the
Colonial Treasury in 1844 (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 1844, p. 4).
It was not bought and was offered again a number of times up till September
1844. It was advertised for sale in the Sydney Morning Herald on
26 August (p. 11) as lot 7 of 18 lots of land, some around Narrabeen,
This was the disposal of the estate of "James Wheeler of Narrabeen".
The adjoining 50 acre block was offered for auction on 9 April
1842 (p.4), and seems to have been land previously selected to purchase but
never completed on(?). It was acquired by John William Alexander White
who also had land elsewhere (e.g. Lime Kiln Bay, Georges River).
The total 80 acres (Pors. 48 and 51) shown
above (actually estimated later as 96 acres),
is found to have later belonged jto co-owners George Scales and David
Lindsay Aitken, both of Sydney - as revealed when they applied to have it
converted to Torrens Title. PA (Primary Application) 17637 by
George Scales & David Lindsay Aitken - 96 acres on Narrabeen Creek near
Narrabeen Lagoon, Shire Warringah, Parish Manly Cove, is at State Records in
primary application packets series (series )
PRIMARY APPLICATION PACKET NOTES -
On 1 January 1863 the Torrens Title system was introduced to NSW
with the commencement of the Real Property Act of 1862 (26 Vic No.9).
The system was designed by Robert Richard Torrens for the South
Australian Land Title Registry following his appointment as Registrar,
and was based on a system for insuring shipping used by Lloyds of
London. The Torrens Title system used a single register for each land
holding which recorded all details and interests affecting the land
including easements, covenants, mortgages, resumptions, caveats, and
subsequent changes in ownership. (1)
To convert land from Old System to Torrens Title required lodgement of
an Application with all supporting documentation evidencing title
listed on an attached Schedule and then lodged in packets with the
Registrar General. The form of the application was specified in
Schedule A of the Real Property Act of 1862 and in the Second Schedule
of the Real Property Act, 1900. (2) Section 14 of the 1862 Act and
Section 16 of the 1900 Act required the applicant to surrender
instruments of title and to furnish an abstract of title if required.
It also required a schedule of such instruments to be submitted. (3)
NRS 17513, Primary Application Packets was originally one series which
has since been split into three parts. The Packets once contained the
Primary Application form which has since been extracted and is now NRS
13012, Primary Applications. Various documents required to be
submitted with the primary application were also extracted and now
form the series NRS 13011, Documents relating to Primary Applications.
Primary Application Packets contain a variety of records including
registered deeds, grants, and original purchase records, examiner’s
and surveyor’s reports, lists of investigations and searches made by
the Registrar General to validify title, copies of plans, conveyances,
mortgage papers, copies of wills and associated papers regarding title
to property, solicitor’s correspondence, memoranda of agreements,
papers associated with the lodgement of caveats, valuation of the
land, submissions from parties claiming an interest in the land, lists
of notifications to adjoining property owners, and details of
certificates of title issued.
The later records are more ordered listing searches and reports made,
details of registered deeds evidencing ownership, conveyances, Plan
Lodgement Forms listing details of lodging parties, surveyors, and
plans of the property, plus solicitor’s correspondence and copies of
maps. Resumption Applications are also included.
A Torrens Title Purchaser’s Index also commenced on 1 January 1863,
in book form until 1970 and available on microfiche from 1971, then
merging with the Integrated Titling System (ITS) from 4 June 2001. (4)
This is held by Land and Property Information New South Wales
(formerly the Land Titles Office).
(1) Department of Lands website http://www.lands.nsw.gov.au/land_titles/public_registers/torrens_title_register
(accessed 12 March 2007).
(2) Real Property Act of 1862 (26 Vic. No.9) Schedule A; Real Property
Act, 1900 (Act No.25, 1900) Second Schedule.
(3) Real Property Act of 1862 (26 Vic. No.9) s.14; Real Property Act,
1900 (Act No.25, 1900) s.16.
(4) Loc. cit. note 1.
records (not yet viewed) indicate that this land was land titles: Volume 2269
Folios 45 & 46 (which may make further details easily findable at Land
Nothing about Mr Stone's acquisition
of it has yet been located.
the presumed partnership of
George Scales & David Lindsay Aitken must have been finished, with the
death of Mr Scales, by 1922. We find a law case by his widow (vs. Aitken),
presumably seeking George Scales' part of that wealth. As
the case was reported in the Brisbane Courier (13 December 1922, p. 8), Mrs
Scales lost, and costs were awarded against her:
hearing was closed today in the
Equity Court of the suit instituted by
Mary Scales, a clairvoyant, against David
Lindsay Aitken and Joseph Reuben
Wolstenholme Battye, as executors and
trustees of the estate of her deceased
husband, George Scales, in which the
plaintiff asked, among other things, for
a declaration that the defendants had
acquired, as trustee for her, all property,
legal or equitable title to which stood
in the name of, or was otherwise vested
in, her husband's name at the date of
his death. Plaintiff claimed that property
of a gross value of £50,000, consisting
mostly of real estate, was held by
her husband on her behalf.
Justice Owen said that he did not
believe plaintiff's story that she dug up
12,000 sovereigns from her garden and
gave them to her husband, nor did he
accept her story that large sums of money
were put through her hands by mysterious
persons. In his opinion those stories
probably were due to plaintiff's imaginations.
He accepted her story that when
she was arrested for fortune telling she
took out of a pocket in her petticoat
£4000 and handed it to her husband.
After carefully considering the whole of
the evidence, he came to the conclusion
that the suit must be dismissed, with
costs against the plaintiff.
the early part of the Scales case his Honor stated that Mrs Scales was doing
herself a grave injustice in attempting to conduct her own case (Sydney
Morning Herald, 10 August 1922, p. 5). This followed when she
reportedly went into a trance at Court. The Western Argus of 8 August
1922 (p. 20) reported "REMARKABLE COURT SCENE - WOMAN IN A TRANCE.
Sydney, Aug. 2. To the amazement of the judge, barristers, and everyone else
in the court. Mrs. Mary Scales, clairvoyant, who is contesting the will of her
late husband, .went into a trance in the Equity Court today. She
suddenly rose from the solicitors' table, and with a fixed and vacant stare in
her eyes, her arms extended before her, and her whole body rigid, she walked
slowly and solemnly out of the court. Before the apparently entranced
medium reached the door of the court her women friends rushed to her
assistance, and quietly led her outside, where a glass of water revived her.
She returned to the court in her normal condition, and the case proceeded.
...... William Giles, an estate agent at Narrabeen said that the
testator, Mr. G. Scales, had told him in 1920 that his wife had dug up £12;000
in gold out of the garden, and that on another occasion she had drawn from a
pocket in her skirt £4000 in a bag. "What do you think of a woman like
that?" Mr. Scales had asked witness. Scales said that he did not
know where his wife obtained the £12,000 she had dug up in the garden,
nor did he know that she had such a sum. Scales remarked to witness, "I
have the best woman in the world." George
Darby, a plumber, told the Court a near identical story, that the deceased.
Scales frequented two-up schools and pony racecourses. Scales related
that ho was gambling with bis .wife's money. The witness remembered
Scales telling him that his wife was a great source of wealth to him, and that
she had produced 12,000 sovereigns .which, to his amazement, she had buried,
in a garden some years before ( The Daily News, 3 August 1922, page 7).
Maxwell Daisley, a former police
officer, stated that the plaintiff's husband had told him that Mrs.
Scales was a wonderful woman, and that once, when he wanted money, she dug up
an amount that nearly paralysed him. because he did not know she had a
shilling (Chronicle, 5 August 1922, p. 34). Mary's son,
Alfred Daniel Scales, also testified how his mother told him about her having
dug up the £12,000 in the yard near the lily tree at Ashfield
(Recorder, 14 August 1922, p. 2) (Alfred Daniel Sales was born in 1886,
registered at Glebe, and died in 1966).
shows George Scales being sometime at Narrabeen, as would be expected - and
that, if the tales are true, some money to buy the land came via Mary Scales
from unknown sources. Mary Scales was a very perplexing/unreliable
witness it appears. She spoke in Court about her (out of body?) visits
to six different worlds. She also said that he did not really live with
her husband in the last 20 years, and that he had another wife; in fact
he had two others. Mary apparently had some history of
arrest. If the testimony from Giles, Darby and Mary herself, and her
son, was correct about her having amassed 12,000 sovereigns then the source
was possibly prostitution but is essentially unknown (she told her son that
she made it over the washtub - from washing? - but that would be
impossible). Mary told the court that the box with the 12,000
sovereigns, dug up in 1902, was too heavy for both her and her husband to
carry it when they tried to. The son's testimony showed he doubted if
his mother really had dug up such money and given it to his father, because
his father had never mentioned it to him. However, Giles and Darby
Daisley all testified
about her husband having told them the same unlikely-sounding tale -- thereby
supporting that he did get money from Mary. Thus It may be that some
rather 'suss' money was investigated in the Deep Creek land before Mr Stone
came to be associated with it. What Scales and Aitken did with the
land, if anything, during their ownership of it is not known.
Scales did not give up on this matter, even though defeated at court in
Sydney. After she had died in 1928 the Sydney Morning Herald (5
September 1930, p. 8) published a story on her "£59,000 FORTUNE. - Left
by Clairvoyant - LATE MRS. MARY SCALES". Though unable to
read or write (except sign her own name), she not only amassed a considerable
fortune, but she made a special trip to England and conducted an appeal before
the Privy Council, with some success, after an Equity suit, arising out of her
husband's will, brought by her against the executors, had failed, and an
appeal from that decision had been dismissed by the Full Court. Mary
Scales married George Scales, a stonemason, who came out from England In
1883. He had three children by a former wife. For a time they
lived at Ashfield and Canterbury, first in a rough shed built by the husband,
and then for 10 years
in a house built by him. In their early struggles Mrs. Scales conducted a
laundry business, in which her husband assisted, but from 1897 to 1913 she
carried on business in Sydney Arcade as a beauty specialist and clairvoyant
She saved considerable sums, and from time to time handed money to her husband
to invest for her. After her husband died she claimed that certain
property standing in his name had been held by him on her behalf.
During the hearing of that Equity suit, Mrs Scales dramatically told the Court
how she had directed her husband to dig up from the garden several thousands
of sovereigns, which she said she had planted in a tin beneath the ground.
The judge had declared he did not believe this and decided against her. She
then appealed to the Full Court, which also decided against her. Sill
undaunted, she appealed to the Privy Council, which allowed the appeal in
respect of £ 4000 and the investment thereof, but said that, in all other
respects, the judgment of the Full Court should stand The Full
Court appeal had been in 1923 ( Sydney Morning Herald, 22 May 1923, p. 6).
years after Mrs Scale, David Lindsay Aitken also died, in 1930. He had
been a principal of the legal firm of Messrs. David L. Aitken and Barron, and
died on 25 July 1930, at the age of 67 years. He left an estate valued
at £13,780 to his widow during her lifetime, and after her death to their
children. Probate of the was granted to his executors and trustees,
Duncan Barron, solicitor, and his son, Lindsay S. Aitken ( Sydney Morning
Herald, 4 September 1930, p. 6).
was likely after this, and in early 1930s that the land was put up for sale
and Stone purchased it. Stone presumably paid rates on it, but
enquiry to the Council about Mr. Stone and this land initially found no
records or any sort.
1929 the land on the opposite side of Deep Creek near the mouth, the land on
the map above to Robert Pearce (Portion 55 of 50 acres) was applied for on
30th October 1929 (Application No 27,488 by Tertius Horatio Macpherson,
claiming a title by possession claimed against John Scanlon or Michael Sullivan,
devisee of Robert Pearce who died In 1840 (Sydney Morning Herald, 6 September
1929, p. 20) (Tertius had died by 1937, and in 1930 dedicated
to Council the land on the northern shore of Narrabeen Lagoon that is now
known as Bilarong Reserve.
this land now, on both sides of the Creek is Reserve land. In
Gregory's street directory the reserve on the western side has no name, and
that on the eastern side is "Deep Creek Reserve" (Pittwater Council
concrete relics of Deep Creek - The "Never Been Beaten Lime and
Cement Works" ?
concrete remains include a dam up a nearby mountain side valley for Mr
Stone's intended works, remains around the old factory site, and
remains of a bridge he built over Deep Creek. In this 1943 photo
the works site is clear (at right) and the dam is the NNE aligned
structure seen in the top left corner.
Known colloquially as the “Never Been Beaten
Lime and Cement Works” or “Stoney’s”, this works site was active 1934
to 1945. It was the creation of Edward Giles Stone, a pioneer in
concrete work (particularly in the use of reinforced concrete).
Earlier, in partnership with Ernest Joshua Siddeley, Stone had built some
remarkable structures in NSW and Victoria, including a floating pontoon at
Circular Quay and a sewerage aqueduct at Geelong. The company floundered
in not being able to complete the breakwater at Glenelg in South Australia,
due to extremely stormy conditions. Stone then turned his attention to
the manufacture of cement. Processes and projects he was involved with
in Tasmania and Port Kembla were unsuccessful. In 1934 Stone moved
to Narrabeen to persist with the already once-failed plan to produce cement
(and lime) using shell grit, which he intended to dredge from Narrabeen
Lagoon. His plant at Deep Creek never entered production. The
relics reflect Stone’s inventiveness (and include a 70m long dam of novel
design, a midget submarine (since destroyed) and an enigmatic structure
thought to be prototype for a submersible anti-aircraft gun platform he had
during WWII. Partial land resumption for the Wakehurst Parkway in 1941,
impeded access to the Lagoon, and difficulties with the Council had stymied
Stone by the time the above photo was taken. Stone continued on spending
some (or much?) or his time at the site, until he died six years later.
coming of Mr Stone's interests to the area had happened by 1934, as this
article in the Sydney Morning Herald of 12 November 1934 (page 10) reveals:
Lease Applied For.
was stated at a conference between
Warrlngah Shire councillors, local residents,
and representatives of public bodies, at Narrabeen
on Saturday, that in addition to a
dredging lease having been granted for Narrabeen
Lake, an application had been lodged
for a mining lease on the sand spit at the entrance
to the lake
F W. Heaton, an ex-Mayor of Manly
who stated that the proposal in the first
instance was to dredge a channel 200ft wide
from the entrance to the head ot the lake,
said he lodged a caveat against it as he knew
it would destroy the lake, the bed of which
was a couple of feet above the ocean. He had
no objection if the dredging was confined to
the part above the bridges, and an agreement
to that effect had been signed. He read a
letter from the department, which intimated
that Industries and Cements. Ltd. (the company
concerned) had been Informed that no
mining or dredging operations could be carried
on between the two bridges until tide
gates had been erected at the entrance to the lake.
have lodged an objection to the application
of Edward Garland Stone for a mining
lease of four acres of land on the sand spit
at the entrance to the lake," Mr H S Harvey,
a local resldent, stated. He said there was a
bar of rock at the entrance, which should
only be interfered with by a Government department.
the lease Is granted" Mr Harvey stated
"the Act allows the lessee to erect any building
or machlnery. and he could take or divert
any stream flowing through it. and use the
water for mining or domestic purposes."
A. J. Small (acting president of the
Parks and Playgrounds Movement) said that
to interfere with the lake would be a crime
against the public. It was one of the beauty
spots of the State. The proposal was now
to industrialise it, and make it a second
Botany Bay. A request had been made to the
Government for £14,000, to purchase the land
around Deewhv Lagoon and at Narrabeen
they had a lake infinitely more beautiful. The
safety of it for children would be destroyed
just to get a very limited supply of sea shell for
Edward Giles Stone, speaking for the
company concerned, said there was a misconception
about the whole matter. The
original lease was for the area between the
bridge and the side of the cement works at
This had received the unanimous
approval of the shire council. Later
they found that the bulk of the shell was between
the two bridges, and when objection
was raised to dredging there, they agreed to
erect tide gates. They did not intend to mine
on the spit, or to move a bit of sand from
there. They were prepared to abandon the
application for the mining lease if they were
allowed to build the tide gates
Small: I am astounded that the council
should agree to commercialise this area. If
the council compromises, we will fight to get
the departmental decision reversed.
Austin (president of the Warringah
Shire) stated that the matter of the
mining lease would be brought before the
would both a dredging lease and mining lease have been applied
for? It seems likely that the SMH misreported this and that it had
actually been a Mining Purposes Lease that had been applied for, not a Mining
Lease as reported !?
following article in the Sydney Morning Herald of 15 October 1936 (p. 5) so
shows that Stone began some sort of work at Deep Creek in 1936.
THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
- I was greatly interested in the article
by C. E. W. Bean published in the issue of
8th instant. The Parks and Playgrounds
Movement is certainly doing great work, but
I wonder if they are aware that some of
the recreation reserves are being blocked to
the public. I refer specially to an area at the
junction of Deep Creek
and Narrabeen Lagoon,
which on maps issued by the Lands Department
is shown as a recreation reserve. This
site was largely availed of by camping parties
of boy scouts and others until a couple of
years ago, when Warringah Shire Council
posted notices that camping was prohibited
unless permission was obtained and a fee paid.
splendid area is now enclosed with wire
netting surmounted with barbs, and notices
are displayed saying trespassers will be prosecuted.
Has the council the right to lease
this site to an industrial company and so
stop ingress to one of the best camping and
walking districts convenient to the northern suburbs?
similar letter followed soon afterwards ( Sydney Morning Herald of 22 October
1936, p. 5):
THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
- You have lately published various
references to the Narrabeen Lagoon reserves,
particularly to that of Deep Creek.
matter is of great public interest, as many
thousands visit this delightful locality during
each year. It is probable that the importance
of the preservation of these beauty spots
is not fully appreciated by the local
authorities. The Narrabeen Lagoon should
be regarded as a valuable public asset, situated
as it is within easy distance of the city, and
combining as it does the placid waters of the
lake with the three pretty natural water
courses, viz., Deep, Middle, and South Creeks,
together with the delights of the primeval
bush. There is a Government reserve on
the northern bank of Middle Creek, but an
additional area should be secured there for
public purposes. Unless some provision is
exercised there is a danger of these fine picnicking
spots being built upon or enclosed.
It is of vital importance to the public that
the Warringah Shire Council should move in
the matter, so that the public may have the
benefit of these natural assets for all time.
Dulwich Hill, Oct. 19.
may be recalled that a bravery medal was given to Patrol-Leader Cecil
Thompson, of the Second Dulwich Hill troop of Boy Scouts, and perhaps Mr Rex
Chateaux, also of Dulwhich Hill, knew of the area via the scouts somehow?
another letter on the matter came to the paper that same month (SMH, 28
October 1936, p. 10):
AND LONG REEF.
THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
- Recently a letter appeared in your
columns concerning the fencing off of the
at Narrabeen Lakes. Unfortunately
this land is now private property, and
the owner can plead that as his justification
for closing the banks of the creek to the
public. However, in the same shire is the
magnificent headland of Long Reef - one of
our best view points, and a beautiful, handy
picnic ground - taken up by a comparative
few as a golf links. It is getting larger and
taking up more ground. What right, legal
or moral, is there for handing over such a
beautiful spot and depriving citizens of their
birthright in this way? If it can be justified,
I, as one of many, would like to hear
Queenscliff, Oct. 26 .
we see different accounts re the land of Stone's 1930s enterprise - was
it lease of Government (?Reserve) land, or was it private land?
done for the Council by John Gibson, in 2008.
Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Works
view of Stone's bridge over Deep Creek. (State Library of NSW, No.
former times, picnickers etc. had rowed up Deep Creek. Such a bridge as
this, which Mr. Stone built, would have considerably closed the creek off to boat access from the lake. One
would wonder that Council, or anyone, would permit that. They
probably didn't, and 1947 correspondence from the Lands Dept. noted that the
bridge constructed by Mr. Stone over Deep Creek "was not authorised
under any title” (Lands Dept., 19 September 1947).
Deep Creek in a boat in early times. Would Stoney's bridge have
inhibited such excursions?
supposed activity near Deep Creek - supposed German ('Gestapo')
presence. [ Rudolf Durkop an alleged Nazi leader who
worked for the Sydney Port Service may have organized picnics there in the
years just before WWII]. Barrier Miner 29/8/1945.
least six publications of the above "Gestapo" story on Deep Creek
appeared in 1945.
manuscript by Willlam A.
Scholes of Port Macquarie about Nazi spies in Australia includes: "Rudolf
Durkop, a leading Nazi, was the section leader in charge of the Harbor Port
Service, which would arrange excursions for the crews of German vessels to the
Deep Creek cottage and picnic grounds. These excursions always included
raising the Nazi flag, singing of the Horst Vessel song (which was the
official Germnan national anthem at the time) and a pep talk from local Nazi
chiefs." Near the engravings there are also sparse
remains of stone base of a wall and pieces of concrete slab, as if there was a
small building there once.
are some German engravings at Deep Creek (?1937-1938). The
carvings show a swastika and eagle (the eagle seen here seems to
be surmounted on the cirlce and swastiki indicative of the Nazi
era), together with the names of
German Ships. Some think a camp was established in 1934 by
the German Labour Front (DAF). It is uncertain who first
noted German engravings at Deep Creek and when, or if anyone early
on attempted to transcribe the now-fading markings there.
Strangley, there is also on the same rock as the 1930s German
markings another clear and old-looking engraving of
26-11-87. This looks too old to be 1987 and shows someone
was there in 1887.
swastika, carved 1938 - 6.3.38
group at Deep Creek in 1938. ( Source: Fairfax Magazines )
site was owned or rented by the German Embassy apparently.
German eagle carving: "I'd
been looking at Google maps and had come across a spot called Deep
Creek Reserve just around the corner from where we are - about 5
minutes by car towards Narrabeen. We decided to go explore a
little..... We came across two rocks like this. One had the
German eagle with Dortmund 1937 carved below it - there was other
writing but I couldn't make it out. The other rock had the swastika
and 1938 carved into it. I haven't been able to find anything on the
'net about this - it'd be interesting to know what the Germans were
doing hiding out in Deep Creek Reserve...." Scott &
German camp at Deep Creek apparently ran from 1933 till 1938. At
the outbreak of WWII members of the Nazi party were interned and no doubt
questionned closely. The Mercury (14 June 1940, page 2) reported
Federal Government was
made fully aware of the activities
of the Nazi "fifth column"
in Australia from information
contained in official documents
seized on the internment of
statement was made in an address
to the Legacy Club today by Mr.
A. M. Pooley, who said that there were
also in Australia members of the Ger-
Tooley said that like other countries,
Australia had a Nazi organisation
under the control of an official for
the whole of the Commonwealth, with
head officials for each State and also
for the principal cities. Under this
scheme information regarding the life
history and activities of all Germans
in Australia was sent to Berlin, where
it was filed. This applied also to Germans
who were naturalised Australian
subjects. The German Government
did not recognise this naturalisation,
so that there were many persons in
Australia with a dual nationality. The
duties of the members of the Gestapo
were to watch the Australian Nazi
leaders as well as the rank-and-file of
the Nazi party.
object of the "fifth column" in
Australia, Mr.'Pooley added, was to
make friends with Australian persons
of influence and importance by
propaganda and false friendships, to
work through musical and cultural
societies and to send valuable information
to Germany by radio and other
a step towardsd dealing with "fifth
column" and other anti-Britlsh agencies
in Australia, the staft of the Commonwealth
Investigation Branch will
be increased. It was announced today
that the Ministry had decided to
strengthen the administration of the
branch by appointing a deputy-director
to help the director (Col. H. E. Jones).
A salary of about £700 a year is being
offered for the new post, and it is open
to State police officers as well as members
of the Federal Service
article in The Mail of 16 September 1939, page 2, about those who had just
been interned mentioned that it was believed that one man in Sydney was in
charge of Nazi activities throughout Australia. It is also mentioned
thate that Associated with them was a "beautiful young woman, who was
interned after her activities had been watched for some time. This woman, who
had many acquaintances in the social world, is believed to ae a Hungarian
baroness, and attracted attention wherever she went". The
anti-Nazi investigators were known as the "Alien Squad".
was she? records of investigation of known or suspected enemy
sympathisers by the NSW Branch of the Commonwealth Security Service, are
located in the following series: INVESTIGATION FILES (PERSONS AND
ORGANISATIONS), ALPHA-NUMERIC SERIES, 1942–46 C320
Recorded by: 1942–1945 Commonwealth Security Service, NSW (CA 946)
1945–1946 Commonwealth Investigation Branch, NSW (CA 904)
Quantity: 4.5 metres (Sydney)
NSW Security Service file – Enemy aliens released from internment [2 pages,
box 9], 1940–44 C320, 134
reminescent of the latter is the following story about an Australian woman who
after the war told her children she had been a German spy. In October
2010 a New Zelander wrote to WWII online discussion group: "When my
mother was an 18-19 year old, she was held for 3 weeks at an American base in
North Queensland on suspicions of being a German Spy. It would have been
1942 or 1943. She was kept in a tent under armed guard while they tried
to find out information on her. Finally after 3 weeks they let her go as
she would not give any details. I now have documents, codes and
maps which imply that she really was a German agent. She would tell us
the story that she had just parachuted into the top of Australia and was
making her way down to Sydney, but never confirmed some details. She was
an Australian and was uniquely beautiful and so would make a lasting memory
for any soldiers at the camp. I am hoping that someone would either have
memories of those days or be able to refer me to some other site. I am
writing a book about her life and how and why she became a German agent.
I have tried NARA but they say I need the unit who held her. I am
looking for evidence that could prove her story. My mother had German
friends in Sydney before the war. She married one of them overseas in
1940. He was in the Panzers in North Africa and killed in 1941. She said
because of that and her love of languages she got involved in something that
got out of control. She worked as an "agent" in Singapore, Hong Kong
and was a lot in Cairo and North Africa. She spoke French, German and
Italian fluently and worked as an interpreter in later years in
Melbourne. Landing in North Queensland was her way of getting back into
Australia. She lived in Sydney. I do not think she would have spied in
Australia. I do not have all the answers. I have only accessed a
locked case of hers and there is enough in there to show her story was not
imagination but not enough to tell all answers. One of this spy group of
hers Ulrich blackmailed her in Sydney in 1953, with threat of exposure to the
authorities. He had kept some evidence on her. This caused her to
abandon her Australian husband and us three children. She was
blackmailed until he died in 1957. I know this story sounds
fictitious but I remember some of this as a child. She was 16 when she
got married. I have tracked down where the abwehr files are in
Germany and will have to pay a researcher to find my information. I am
holding off on that expense until I try all avenues. I am slowly trying to
find my way around the American files, with difficulty and have found some pre
war German info from Australian Archives. It is a slow process ......
The Americans were about to let my mother go after a few days, when the person
in charge spoke in German as my mother was leaving the tent. S he reacted and
he realized that she could speak German and said "I knew you were
German." Her reply was I speak French too, but that does not make
me a Frenchwoman". He kept her for a few weeks but could not get
her to talk or find out anything on her. She told us that she never carried
any identification on her but always posted it ahead of her to the next
town. My mother travelled on false passports so could not have come back
into the country legally. She didn't apply for Australian passport until 1956.
She didn't have identification on her when travelling down to Sydney as she
didn't want any of her activities to be linked to her father, who was a well
known and respected police sergeant in Sydney." Apparently
this story will appear eventually as a book(?).
historian William A. Scholes of Port Macquarie has written on Nazi spies in
Australia. He noted that via the Auslands
Organisation, which had been
in the habit of contacting all Reich Germans overseas, pressure began to be
exerted on all Reich Germans to support the Nazis by working for the party,
paying contributions ...... or suffer the consequences. He
wrote "As the dangers of war loomed closer, the activities of the Nazis
in Sydney often aroused considerable press comment. Meetings were
held at Narrabeen, a northern beach suburb of Sydney, and one newspaper report
described a lonely cottage, near Deep Creek, as Gestapo
headquarters" (However I only know of articles which did that as
being published AFTER the war - not as the dangers of war loomed).
Scholes also wrote: "Gestapo officials from the German Consulate in
Sydney made a point of entertaining officers and sailors from German merchant
ships at the cottage at Narrabeen, where they drank German beer and sang Nazi
songs. If any crew members were reported for anti Nazi activities, they were
dragged to a secluded spot on Deep Creek and flogged. So great was their
terror of the Gestapo, that not one of the seamen could be persuaded to
complain to the Australian authorities".
to Scholes, it was Rudolf Durkop, a leading Nazi, was the section leader in
charge of the Harbor Port Service, which would arrange excursions for the
crews of German vessels to the Deep Creek cottage and picnic grounds.
These excursions always included raising the Nazi flag, singing of the Horst
Vessel song (which was the official Gennan national anthem at the time) and a
pep talk from local Nazi chiefs.
WWII there was consideration to deport Mrs Durkop (and maybe him too) as shown
by The Argus (1 December 1945, p. 4):
Our Special Reporter
her hands to her eyes and
declaring excitedly that she could
not stand any more and wanted to
go back to Germany, Helena Franz Durkop,
45, rushed out of the Tatura
internment inquiry yesterday. Mrs.
Durkop, de facto wife of Rudolf
Karl Otto Durkop, former leader of
the Sydney Nazi Harbour Port Service,
was a prominent member of
the women's section of the Australian
became agitated under cross
examination by Mr J. G. Norris,
counsel assisting Mr Justice W. B.
Simpson, who is conducting the inquiry
to decide whether internees
should be deported. Mrs Durkop
came to Australia in 1927 and helped
to distribute Nazi propaganda and
to organise German picnics. She
said that although there were now
no more Nazi ideas she still believed
in Nazism. Asked why, before
her internment, she secreted
lists of internees' names in a cushion,
she placed her clenched hands
on the table and exclaimed to Mr
Norris: "I want to go home after all
this." Rudolf Durkop, who had
sat impassively near Mrs Durkop
during her outburst, stood up as
she ran from the room. Holding
his hands out toward Mr Justice
Simpson, he said, "I apologise for
her. She. is highly strung. She told
me she wanted to stay in Australia."
Rudolf Durkop was also being considered for
deportation in late 1945 and the Advocate (28 November 1945, pages 4-5) noted
that Rudolf Karl Otto Durkop (then aged 55) came to Australia as a
stow-away in 1911, escaped from internment during the 1914-18 war, and was
never captured. The enquiry was told that Durkop was a leading
member of the Nazi Parly in Australia, and had entertained the crews of German
ships and brought Nazi literature ashore. Durkop told the enquiry that
he joined the Party in 1934 and for four years organised parties for German
seamen to Narrabeen. German and Australian girls joined the picnic
During WWI Durkop has been sent to Penridge,
for ninety days and apparently sent for internment but escaped.
The St Arnaud Mercury of 23 December 1916 (p. 2) recorded that Rudolf Durkop
had been fined 25 pounds, with costs, for failing to register (as a German) or
report himself to the Police. He had been living as a
Frenchman. This was also reported in the The Ararat Advertiser (23
December 1916, p. 2) which said he was aged 26, and had been living with his
French brother-in-law, and representing himself as a Frenchman. He also had
assumed his brother-in-law's name. When first stopped by Detective
Howard in the street, Durkop had stated that he was Swiss. He
later stated that he was born in Hamburg and had left Germany at age 18 to
escape military service. He was married to an Australian girl and had a
daughter three months old when arrested. Durkop was living at St. Arnaud
and earlier that month had written he was "sure I will be imprisioned for
six months and sent to a Concentration Camp for not reporting since the war
broke out, because I am a German as everybody knows".
He further wrote that he was a tradesman in the metal industry and was doing
more good for the country than if he were interned. The Magistrate said
he would not inflict heavy penalties because "To my mind,. the only bad
feature of the case is Durkop's assumption of his brother in law's
name". How or when Durkop escaped from internment is not
known but he was never recaptured during the war.
Strangely enough, when National Nine TV Network
made its "Spyforce" series, starring Jack Thompson and Peter Sumner,
about espionage in World War II, various episodes have were made in Hong Kong,
Macao, Bangkok, Malaysia, and Singapore, but most of it was apparently shot at
Deep Creek, Narrabeen - where heavy bush doubled as New Guinea and Asian
relics of Stoney's works appear to have received little attention prior to when in January 1994,
bushfires raged across the peninsula, better exposed the remains of an
almost-forgotten industrial site at Deep Creek on Narrabeen Lagoon.
is the “Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Works”, or “Stoney’s” as
known colloqually. The works were active apparently from 1934 to
1945, and had been established by Edward Giles Stone, a pioneer in the use of
Earlier, in partnership with Ernest Joshua
Siddeley, Stone had built some remarkable structures in NSW and Victoria,
including a floating pontoon at Circular Quay and a sewerage aqueduct at
Geelong. However, the company foundered over its failure to
complete a breakwater at Glenelg in South Australia.
Stone turned his attention to schemes for the
manufacture of hopefully cheaper cement. Companies he formed or
was connected with in Tasmania and Port Kembla were all markedly
unsuccessful. In 1934 Stone moved to Lake Narrabeen where he seemingly
intended to produce lime from a combination of shell grit dredged from the
lagoon and estuarine mud. There is a circular depression
seen on aerial photography between the works and Deep Creek. It is
now known if Stone made that, for getting mud - or if Nature made it, or both?
The things revealed to locals after the
bushfire intrigued some and the matter got into the local paper. A
70-metre-long dam of novel design, a midget/model submarine and a submersible
anti-aircraft gun platform, were the most unusual things seen.
Vandals later destroyed the submarine-like object. Also near his
house site was something (likely still there) which some thought might have
been intended as a model of Warragamba Dam. This could indicate that
Stone was even dreaming of tendering to build Warragamba Dam (??).
The encroachment of the Wakehurst Parkway in
1941 no doubt greatly interferred with any grand plans that Mr Stone might
have been entertaining - and that was the end of that. Mr Stone
himself died jsix years later.
relics at Deep Creek mark the last chapter in the very protracted (but
unsuccessful?) cement-making endeavours of engineer Ernest Giles Stone.
Stone apparently sought to make cement from shell grit and clay as starting
materials, and using a rotary kiln made of concrete - all deemed
"impossible", or at least impractical
by some, and totally unfeasible economically by many. At least one
person has written of such endeavour as a fraud or con; others think Mr Stone
may have been sincere but somewhat misguided, and/or even grown eccentric in
his older age. But such has been mainly just speculation, and it would be
nice to know in much greater detail exactly what Mr Stone was doing at Deep
Creek. Industrial heritage specialist Mr John Gibson in 2008 began
detailed research into Mr Stone's career. There is also a Wikipedia
article which summarises what is known of his life and work - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Giles_Stone
references, and a chronology of his works, can be found in the Wikipedia
article. Whether or not he was a con-man in cement making at all
is in doubt. Not is doubt is that he was a great engineer in the use of
cement, in concrete. Stone blamed the government (and sought legal
compensation from it) for the ultimate failure of his planned cement works at
Deep Creek. Putting the Wakehurst Parkway through, and resuming
the prime part of his land, thus also blocking his direct access to the
lagoon, certainly would have spoiled his grand plan for that site. By
then Mr Stone was too old to ever try again at some other (fourth)
place. Thus Deep Creek, his third place of attempted
cement-making, became Stone's final retreat for this endeavour. Whether
he began constructing a concrete rotary kiln at Deep Creek, of began the
shifting in parts of the one he had built at Port Kembla, remains to be
Stone was born on in Sydney, the son of John
Jasper Stone, Civil Engineer, and Caroline Smith. He worked at first
with his father's business, then for the Roads and Bridges Branch of the
Public Works Department for about seven years. After that he joined the
Sewerage Construction Department. Three years later, in 1900, he joined
the then newly formed Sydney Harbour Trust as its Chief Design Engineer.
Stone left the Public Service for private
practice In 1907, setting up as a 'Consulting Engineer and Structural
Architect, specialising in Reinforced Concrete'. He built concrete
silos, houses and other structures via a precasting
plant in Emu Plains NSW. In 1912
he entered into partnership with Ernest J. Siddeley and business
expanded. Stone was the designer and Siddeley was the project
manager who executed the works. The works produced by Stone &
Siddeley include a wool store at Geelong, the Barwon Sewerage Aqueduct,
floating pontoon at Circular Quay, structures at Mortlake Gas Works, and the
Breakwater at Glenelg.
The Glenelg Breakwater job proved the downfall
of Stone & Siddeley's company. Stormy seas defeated the
efforts to build the breakwater and the company was financially
ruined. After the partnership ended Stone's aspirations to make
cement began in Tasmania, then later moved to Port Kembla, and finally to Deep
Creek at Narrabeen Lagoon. Stone
was one of the founders of Tasmanian Cement Pty Ltd in 1922. The initial plant
was to be near Hobart but Stone instead suggested a Railton site because of
oil shale there. He proposed using the exhaust gases from the cement
kiln to distil oil from the oil shale. Erection of plant began there in
1923. Stone was eventually sacked as construction engineer there,
and it is evident that his cement-oil shale ideas did not work. Stone
thereafter was behind the erection of a substantial-looking cement works at
Port Kembla, but it too was apparently a failure. Stone likely did
not accept that it was his process or design which was at fault, and he set
out to try again with the "Never Been Beaten Lime & Cement
Works" at Deep Creek.
of rotary kiln segment still present at Deep Creek
kiln segment lay formerly in heavy overgrowth, since cleared away somewhat
(some general brush clearing took place along a power line running
nearby). Note the geared turning ring about
half way along the structure.
view of the large gearing teeth and the note concrete construction of the
kiln. The opinion of some concrete technicans (pers.comm.,
esp. PB) is that this kiln could not have long withstood any actual
interesting relics, which include a large dam, a ?retort of uncertain function
and evidences of a "cement" factory
a segment of a rotary kiln) relate to a former industrial site known as
"Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Works" or "Stoney's
works", believed to have been organised by the engineer E. G. Stone who
had a long career associated with concrete and with attempted
cement-making. None of his cement-making initiatives are known to have
been commercially successful, however.
1994, a local family, that of builder Bob Bray, "re-discovered" the
works, as reported in a local newspaper, the Manly Daily, on 17 February
1994. This got a local history student, Ken A. Gardener interested in it
and he made a case study of it - recognising it as a site which perhaps had
"significant potential to be preserved as an example of an industry that
played a part in the history of Warringah and was unique to the
area". Mr Gardener had no way of then knowing that this was
not a story "unique to the area" but rather the end of a longer
story of one engineer's attempted cement-making that started in Tasmania,
moved to Port Kembla and ended at Deep Creek.
Gardner contacted Warringah Council and received information from them that
the area in question lay in the then newly formed Pittwater
Municipality. However, on contacted Pittwater Council they believed it
was instead in Warringah Shire. Mr Gardner could find no records
of the area with Warringah Council, however.
the newspaper got the name "Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Works"
has not yet been noted. However Department of Main Roads (1966, p.26)
shows a creek named Cement Works Creek, showing that the site was known as a
cement works in the 1940s.
Manly Daily 17 February 1994 article states "A 70m long dam,
submersible anti-aircraft weapons, a midget submarine and scale model of
Burrinjuck Dam are just a few of the wonders revealed at Narrabeen by last
month's bushfire. For almost 60 years the, the secrets of the Never Been
Beaten (NBB) Lime and Cement Co. have lain hidden, veiled by lush
newspaper article describes the dam as more than 5m high, built on a 3m wide
base and topped by a 1m-thick concrete beam, with "12 braced buttresses,
between which are outward-sloping catenaries of curved corrugated steel".
continuing to be studied by Mr John Gibson. Mr Gibson has been
collecting all information on the owner of the plant, Mr. E.G. Stone (Edward Giles),
and also information on his partner Mr. Siddeley, in the hope of
clarifying further what the activities were at this site.
has not at present been found where that name (Never Been Beaten Lime &
Cement) come from. It is not found to have been a registered company
name, nor a business name, from the records of ASIC or NSW Fair Trading.
Nor is the other name encountered, of "Narrabeen Lime and Cement"
formally traceable. Mr Gibson thinks that Stone purchased the land
at Deep Creek 1941 and sold it in 1951, but that he could have leasing the
site prior to that. The site is a very interesting
one. Mr Gibbson tallies seven individual spots over quite a large area where one or more artefacts exist,
often hidden in rather heavy bush. Some of these things include a 'retort',
the remains of a rotary kiln, concrete tanks (both on the shoreline and on
land), a model dam, a full size concrete dam (70m), and a model submarine in concrete.
The site is listed as local heritage interest. If it really was
"making" cement then this is rare and would be of state
significance. However, if any cement making at all was carried on there
it perhaps might have been only at experimental scale(?).
retort as photographed in K. Gardner's report, then about 5m high. It
had cast iron doors
the base. The incline ramp apparently delivered timber to the top.
The 17 February
article refers to the retort as used to produce charcoal which was then used
provide power for the different operations (at the Deep Creek plant).
view, collapsed, as seen today. How the collapse took place,
leaving the crowning structure undamaged, is unknown.
supporting stilts were largely of wood and burned away bit-by-bit, gradually,
over a succession of bushfires?
(Photo: J. Gibson)
October 2008, and showing a ?lidded ?grate structure below the platform.
of the same in 2012. Still more subsidence perhaps ongoing and the
'grate' perhaps now difficult to see. ( Photo: Matt Hunt)
(loading ramp) end of the collapsed structure. (Photo: Matt Hunt,
find the remains of this not-understood structure
('burner"/"retort") go to point "A" to park
(parking is not good along Wakehurst Parkway) then walk east along the
power line track - and it cannot be missed.
this "retort", during WWII Stone apparently also started using
"pits" at Deep Creek for
charcoal production (State Library Archives, Stone papers, re legal case for
compensation, 4 March 1947). This may indicate that he wished to
rapidly increase charcoal production for sale, in addition to that which he'd
wanted perhaps at first just for his own use(?).
case all the charcoal was not needed on site there was a ready market in WWII
for charcoal, e.g. for vehicles.
simple double barrel charcoal retort built by Daniel O'Connor in Dallas, Texas
to how Daniel O'Connor, who built the above successful retort, describes it,
charcoal making is slow but easy work. There are two ways to make
charcoal direct and indirect. The direct method involves setting a pile of
wood on fire and controlling the air intake in order to char the wood and not
burn it into ash, e.g. by covering the pile with dirt and sod. The
indirect or retort method involves cooking the wood with a outside energy
source to drive off the volatile gases and char the wood. The indirect
method usually yields more charcoal for a given amount of wood. Even though an
outside energy source (a fire) is needed in the beginning, the process can be
made self sustaining after a short time. The expelled volatiles can be
distilled to produce products like turpentine and wood alchohol, which was
done prior to the petrochemicals industry. Or the volatile gases can be
diverted to make the process self sustaining. It is simple in concept and
execution. The wood is heated until it starts giving off gas. Route this gas
back under the container and ignite it. Once this is happening, the wood
gives off enough energy to 'cook' or char itself. When all the gas is
driven off the the fire dies out and charcoal remains. A pipe from
the top, in the above contraption, is routed under the barrel. The pipe
below the drum has 1/2" holes drilled every 6" along either side of
it. Under the above two barrels,
loaded with cut wood and sealed, a large fire underneath takes 45 minutes
before the emission of volatiles begins. As the gass yield starts,
flames begin licking out of the holes drilled in the bottom pipes. In
about 5 or 10 minutes the flames become like pressurised gas and if the drums
are enclosed (e.g. within concrete blocks) they will shoot out the holes, hit
the side walls and travel up and around the barrels. The fire dies
on its own after about 2 hours, and the charcoal is let cool down overnight.
Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Works (Source being sought - a photo
which appeared in the Manly Daily, in 2008).
The site today is
known as entrance to Morgan Road Firetrail.
The original of the above photo (per Manly
Daily) is, per Mr Peter Benkendorff, known to be held in the Mitchell Library
collection and is there labelled "Cement works, Warringah Shire) (No.
GPO1-23305, dated 5/1941) it is associated with another photo with a note
"Looking north up bank of Middle Creek from Cement works" (No.
GP01-23617 dated 9/1940). Both are from the Department of Main
Roads collection. (Is there some confusion between Middle Creek and Deep
For 1940-1941 it is generally agreed that no
company in the Manly-Warringah area could have been in any way competitive in
cement or lime production with the existing manufacturers such as Commonwealth
Portland Cement (Portland), Kandos Cement (Kandos), Southern Portland Cement
(Berrima), Standard Portland Cement (Charbon), and Sulphide Corporation
(Newcastle) who had their own coal mines or nearby supplies. The last
manufacturer of cement and lime in the Sydney area (Goodlet and Smith) closed
in 1918, after proving uneconomic in competing against these large concerns
close to natural resource bases.
above Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Works seen clearly on 1943 aerial
Airways photo). The partitioned circular structure seen to the
right of the factory
buildings is there standing and provides a ready reference point.
Note also that Mr Stone had some sort of drain leading out from the
factory area to the Lake, here seen passing under roadway (the
"Parkway" road at this time seeming to have been constructed
from the west eastwards and to have gotten as far as "Stoney's"
works. A semi-circle of ?mud seems to surround the exit of the
drain at the lake shore? Both the dua/joined 'poontoons' at
southern side of Stoney's road (just east of the entrance to the works)
and also the circular structure with radial partitions (directly east of
the works) are visible in this 1943 view.
circular and radially partitioned structure.
or similar area, where Council appears to have built a viewing platform close
to some E.G. Stone era relics?
tanks at the lake shore - no doubt connected with Mr Stone a prominent
experimenter with concrete .
(Photo: Matt Hunt, 2012)
Council has been working to commemorate the old works here. Heritage
investigator John Gibson was engaged to research and report on things.
John has written on how at least "a small recognition of Mr Stone's works
and life" has appeared on the this new walkway between Deep Creek and
Middle Creek, Narrabeen, near where he had his last attempts at producing
cheap cement. John Gibson notes that Mr Stone had started with the
Public Works Dept. in 1892 and died in 1947. The present writer has also
been interested in his works at Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River (Mortlake
Gasworks). Of special interest has been a concrete barge constructed by
E. G. Stone. It was was of two apparently made initially for the
circular quay wharves 6 and 7 in 1914. It was noted as “the largest in
the world" at the time. John Gibson presented the story of Stone's
work in a 16th Engineering Heritage Conference in
in 2011 (not seen). The present writer tried to trace where are the
Maritime Services Board (or earlier) records today - and thereing maybe
someone on the fate of the "world's largest barge".
After many fruitless letters to the State Government on what happened to the
records this was given up on. However in April 2013, "Colin Brady @
Waverley" sent to a heritage interest group: "Subscribers, For
those that missed the outrage sheets in this week's papers, the concrete
cellular barge previously discussed on this site as an early item of
significant concrete engineering has made a reappearance. Once moored
as a themed Dance Pavilion and later River Boat, the barge has now been
proposed as the much hated landing pontoon for the helicopter service soon for
. The image in Tuesday's SMH shows a very down at heel barge sulking somewhere
about the Harbour (possibly
) with the disparaging comment that this was once considered as a
heritage item. These days that's about the worst insult one can use, the same
disparagement being employed in relation to the fatal wall collapse in
. Despite the wall being identified as of relatively recent construction and
poorly maintained, the TV commentators constantly identify the heritage factor
as the potential cause of collapse".
the "biggest concrete barge in the world" as referred to above by
Mr. Stone. The pontoon was
built for the Sydney Harbour Trust in 1914 and was divided into 44 watertight
many years if formed part of wharves Nos. 6 and 7 at Circular quay, and
slightly smaller pontoon
(?builder) formed No. 5 jetty. The pontoons disappeared when Circular
rebuilt in the 1950s.
the slipway and the potoon or barge hits to water.
Quay, looking south, in 1914.
Above three photos survive from "Maritime Service Board archives",
but where those archives now are is elusvie.)
happened to this Stone-designed item .. once the world's biggest floatable
concrete barge/pontoon? Enquiries were made about where are the
Harbour authorities records now(?). The present Sydney Harbour
authorities did not know. It can only be presumed that some of the
old Maritime Services Board or other Harbour authority records might be at
Kingswood (State Archives). This deserves further
Clarke (a member on an engineering heritage discussion list) noted "John
- I'm not surprised that NSW Maritime knows nothing about the Circular Quay pontoons - I suspect they have lost virtually all of their history - and into the bargain, don't care.
Some years ago I bought a copy of First Port Future Port written to celebrate their 100th anniversary; while it contains an extensive timeline (my scan is attached) it contains
***** all about the engineering and engineers, but it does record a lot about the Commissioners and administrators! Obviously written by a PR firm and approved by bean counters!".
the past Mr Don Fraser, who has written "Sydney from Settlement to City"
had also promoted interest in finding the fate of this barge, but was later on doubtful
if any trace of it had yet been found. [Source: Fraser, D.(Ed.), 1989 Sydney
From Settlement to City: An engineering history of Sydney. Engineers
Australia Pty Ltd. Sydney.]
follow-up suggested that after its service as a pontoon for ferry passengers
at Circular Quay it was taken over to the other side of the Harbour and ended
up as dance floor moored at Luna Park. The North Sydney Council
was asked about it but knew nothing of it. One problem is
that suggestion was also found that Stone had two such structures built, the
other one being somewhat smaller - but the one which was seemingly for years
at Luna Park is currently suspected to have been the once "world's
largest concrete barge" one. The last word about it, by those
interested in Luna Park history, was that it was thought to have been taken to
nearby Lavendar Bay (a ship wrecking area?).
Some of the Stone-built structures
at Deep Creek are clearly visible on the
1943 airphoto and there is a photo of them in pristine (but unfinished?)
condtition taken in 1941 (photo 23306 above). The had been joined
together mid-height by a T-shaped metal bar. They are large cylindrical
hollow reinforced concrete structures that had been blocked off at both
ends. They have a truncated-flat surface along each side, as if they
were designed to be joined together in banks. They are divided into
three parts with concrete dividers (each with a 7 sided hole in it for uknown
purpse), and each had three rectangular openings at the top. These
structures have been referred to as either ‘pontoons’ or ‘submersible
anti-aircraft gun platform'. It was John Gibson's opinion that they were
pontoons maybe intended to support Mr. Stone’s intended dredging
It is known that Mr. Stone, via
the name of company Industries & Cements Ltd., held a 20 years dredging
licence for the Lake commencing from 1933 (Mines Department, 26 March
1943). It is also believed that he'd been actively dredging the entrance
to both the Lake and the mouth of Deep Creek at different times.
The "Chairman of Directors" of Industries & Cements Ltd (was
that Mr. Stone?) wrote to the Warringah Council requesting security of rights
to dredge (Council Correspondence, 1 April 1937). It is noted that
the shells dredged “… were barged to circular concrete lime burning kilns
just west of deep creek” (Butterworth, 1980).
remains of Stoney's dam, NW above the cement works and no doubt intended to
supply water to the works.
dam in 1943, at that time holding some water. This small creek
which the dam is on has been called "Cement Creek" by some
but how that name originated is not known.
1943 view of the works area, zoomed out more. As seen here, sand bars
are usually present at mouth of Deep Creek.
does the above photo "mean". The current writer (JGB) on first
seeing it immediately assumed that when this was taken the Wakehurst Parkway
must have been being constructed from the west and had just reached "Stoney's"
works. It had not yet built over the Cement Works Creek (small creek
draining from the works area to the lake) but the same main roads works,
coming from the east as well, had reached and bridged over Deep
Creek. However, the foremost expert on these relics (John Gibson)
in his reporting to the Council described Mr Stone's roadway thus:
"Extending from the ends of the bridge abutments on each side of Deep
Creek [Stone's bridge] there is an extent of raised land about 2 m wide. On
the eastern (Pittwater) shore this appears to extend for about 100 m almost
south east where it turns almost nor-north east. On the eastern side there are
some pieces of sandstone paving that could have been part of the road
structure. On the western shore (Warringah), the raised ground appears to
extend from the bridge abutment almost west to the concrete structures (items
13 and 14). Just west of these structures the road splits with one arm
continuing west, and another arm turning right to provide access into Mr.
Stone’s cement works. Past this junction the remains continue on to where
there must have been a bridge over the canal (Cement Works Creek). From
here it is apparent that the road followed the lake shore toward Middle
Creek. This raised ground is considered to be the remnants of the
original roadway between Narrabeen, Stone’s works and Oxford Falls.
This road is clearly visible on the Department of Lands Spacial (sic)
Information Exchange (SIX) aerial photograph of 1943". If
this had been a roadway running from Oxford Falls to Narrabeen then was it a
Public Road? One would then presume so - i.e. that Stone had built
besides an existing public road and had not constructed a length of roadway
from the east, with a major creek crossing, solely to get to his works site on
the western side of Deep Creek. Now if it were a public roadway in
use from Oxford Falls to Narrabeen that predated Mr Stone's presence, then it
presumably had a wooden bridge over Deep Creek, which Mr Stone replaced with a
concrete bridge. The amazing thing is that when such questions
first arose how difficult it was to find any answers to such. Was
it an earlier public road or not? If it was then who approved Mr Stone
replacing the public bridge with his own? Even now (2012) no map
to show if it was a public road of not has been able to be found - nor does
anyone seem to know if or how Mr Stone was enabled to replace a public bridge
over a significant creek? Unless the old public road never had any
bridge across Deep Creek and people had to row that bit?
sand bars (and small boat) at mouth of Deep Creek - commonly visited by
craft are sometimes dragged across sand to gain access into Deep Creek.
waves moving down Deep Creek.
site today. The radially partitioned circular structure is still
there, just to the left of where
entrance road goes into the trues, although not discernable in this photo. The
lies near the power line, next pole along.
kiln segment visible. Although the rotatry kikn segment (photos
above) is very close to the busy Wakehurst Parkway it has never yet been
pickable from the air. The partitioned rounded concrete structure,
is visible however, as seen above. What that structure was
for is unkown. It has been noted that shells dredged from
Narrabeen “… were barged to circular concrete lime burning kilns
just west of deep creek” (Butterworth, 1980). This is a
circular structure but without evidence that it was ever a 'kiln'.
smaller rectangular outline in a small clearing further north, near the equant
intertidal pool. This
one is later and is not not evident on the 1943 air photo. It is likely
a Water Board
works compound (small fenced square near western end?), related to building a new sewer pipe crossing of
of Deep Creek. A considerable amount of land may have been cleared
past on the west bank. Outlined area on east is the Deep Creek Reserve.
terms of overall valley bedrock trend, the original course of the valley may have
been through the lower right corner of this view. The piece of land which
now forces the discharge of the creek around to the southwest may
hence been formed when the lagoon was open to the sea prior
to the growth of the present coastal barrier(?) No significant
driling is know of hereabouts, however when a narrow pedestrian bridge was
put in on the upstream side of the Wakehurst Parkway bridge it was thought
that there is some weak cementation layers in the sand above 4m
depth. No samples of the cementation were recovered for
study. Numerous peat bands exist. The dark bands seen just
offshore in this view are zones of vegetated patches (mounds?), zoomed in on
in following view.
of dark banks just offshore - this resolves further as a pattern of
anastomosing vegetated (and ?muddy) mounds.
patches, just breaking water at low tide.
rings result when the centres have die-off.
how the patches are at lakeward-convex sandy shallows.
Deep Creek intertidal bullseye pool. Presumably this is
remnant from former channel.
last apparent movement of the creek channel has been eastwards.
extent of the Deep Creek Reserve. This runs along the east side of the
creek. Within the reserve there are known to be a number of Aboriginal
sites ( rock shelters and
one occupation shelter; fire places and stone tools, and several rock
sites with human figures, wallabies, fish, and a shield).
general area is favourable for sandstone overhangs. On
Mullet Creek near the Elanora Conference Centre (off Wesley Street).
at Deep Creek
country north of Deep Creek, and the area of present day Dendrobium Crescent,
Elanora Heights. Note
the excellent clarity of NNE jointing - which is not apparent in current
imagery (below). The
below is to the strong outcrops above "Dendrob.." above.
These sorts of joint-controlled eminences, especially when of square-ish
plan sometimes get name (elsewhere) with names like 'the fortress',
and a quite similar feature as the above one, but west of Stoney's
works, was picked by somebody in 2012 from the air as an "ancient
area today, at Dendrobium Crescent, Elanora Heights
series in the same area - north of Deep Creek, near Bungonia
Avenue. Again NNE jointing is seen.
back down over Narrabeen Lagoon and Deep Creek from over Eleanora Heights
the NNE trending barrier deflecting the mouth of Deep Creek note also
the forms of similar orientation seen on the lagoon floor nearby on the
bathymetric map (above).
Warringah Library holds the following undated report (not yet seen):
K. A. Gardner,
(?1994). A Case Study of a Former Industrial Site at Deep Creek, Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, known as a Never Been Beaten Lime &
Cement Works or "Stoneys". Unpublished, date unknown, Warringah Local Studies
is presumably copy of a thesis findable at one of the metropolitan
universities. Mr John Gibson (pers. comm.) who has looked at the site
further and took the above present day photo informs that Ken Gardner's study
was an undergrad historical archaeology report. It gives some historical
background and interpretation. There are seven remaining artefact
clusters remaining at the site. For some reason (report not yet read),
the author interpreted the above structure as a
"retort". From the modern view of it that is puzzling,
but in light of what Mr Gardner saw and photographed in 1994 it then had a
more extensive appearance. The structure has since collapsed or the area
infilled(?). All the remnants are heavily overgrown but there
could be considerable plant remains still present. But what was it
is a heritage site noted in the Council LEP. At first Council ca.
2005 could not locate it but the site has since been relocated. When Mr
Gardner had done his study on it the ruins were particularly well exposed in
consequence of a preceeding bush fire having removed dense undergrowth from
more colloqual name of the "Never Been Beaten Lime & Cement Works",
i.e."'Stoney's", relates to the name of the company believed to have
built it: The partners E.G. Stone and Siddeley.
so-called "Narrabeen Lime & Cement Co." is also that was supposed to
have existed but sounds very likely to have been the same as for the ruins at
has been found as yet about the Stone and Siddeley company, although it seems
to have been quite sizeable. It
incorporated in 1915, or thereabouts, and was dissolved in 1939. It's
greatest activity and maximum expansion was likely in the 1920s. It
maintained offices in 8 Spring St, Sydney for some time
company built the Barwon Sewer Aqueduct in Victoria 1916-1920 and E G Stone is
considered a significant Australian engineer. They are mentioned in Colin O'Connor's bridge book
(although that states they are from Tasmania) and there are mentioned here: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~aholgate/jm/unbltarchtexts/unbltarches6.html
with photograph of a bridge they built: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~aholgate/jm/unbltarchdrgs/gsa_s-and-s.jpg
... and are also mentioned here:
Stone's work has been researched by a number of people, including Iain Stuart
(pers. comm.), principally to do with the development
of reinforced concrete and its application in Australia.
Edward Giles Stone was born on 17th February
1873 in Sydney and served a 'cadetship' with his father, a Civil Engineer, J.J.
Stone. He then worked for the Roads and Bridges Branch of the Public
Works Department for about seven years, after which he joined the Sewerage
Construction Department. Three years later, in 1900, he joined the newly
formed Sydney Harbour Trust as Chief Design Engineer. In 1907 he entered
private practice as "Consulting Engineer and Structural Architect,
specialising in Reinforced Concrete".
Some time after 1909 Stone set up a precasting
plant in Emu Plains NSW, for the manufacture of reinforced concrete houses,
silos, water troughs, bins and other products. The system he developed was
used for the construction of a five-roomed cottage, still standing at 2
Railway Street, Emu Plains, and for a large house of two storeys in Iandra ( 7
Windermere Avenue, Northmead) for the Hon. George Greene, member of the
Legislative Council of NSW (listed on the Baulkham Hills LEP).
In 1912 Stone began his partnership with Ernest
J. Siddeley, in which Stone was the driving design force while Siddeley was
the project manager who executed the works. Edward Giles Stone adopted
the Considère system and the partnership produced some remarkable buildings
and structures using this system, notably the Dennys Lascelles Austin wool
store at Geelong, the Barwon Sewerage Aqueduct, Floating Pontoons at Circular
Quay and the Breakwater at Glenelg (Lewis 2004 see also the article in the
Commonwealth Engineer). Stone and his partner Siddley designed and constructed
the concrete structures on the Mortlake site including the coal and coke
bunkers, the tunnel to take the Telpher system under the retorts, as well as
the Power House.
Some interesting aspects of the Stone story are
on a website about engineer John Monash and his pre-WWI works ( http://home.vicnet.net.au/~aholgate/jm/texts/asbhist.html
), Alan Holgate mentions Stone and Siddeley as rivals to Monash (People who
interacted with JM - http://home.vicnet.net.au/~aholgate/jm/mainpages/people1.htm
) - S&S being in competition with JM on the Queensland
Sewage Aqueduct, Tooronga
Rd Br, Echuca
Service Reservoir, and the Mortlake
Service Reservoir. With regard to pontoons, The
Porsgrunds Cementstöperi A/S, in Norway, is known to have began experimenting with small concrete
pontoons in 1913, but in Australia concrete pontoons must have been at least
under consideration even before that. south Australia's Chief
engineer in 1908 asked Monash to design a pontoon for a crane, which was built
in 1909. Moncrieff sent a sketch showing a length of 50 feet
(15.2m) and a beam of 22 feet (6.71m), specified a maximum draught of
2'-6" (762mm), and suggested a shell thickness of two inches (51mm),
which was later considered insufficient: "In a class of its
own is a reinforced concrete pontoon designed and built to an order of A. B.
Moncrieff, Chief Engineer of South Australia, for use on the Port River. The
pontoon was 15.2m long and 6.7m wide and had a crane mounted at one end. Only
one was supplied. In 1909, South Australia's Chief Engineer asked
Monash if he could supply reinforced concrete "pontoons" for river
work, of the type being built in Europe. Monash admitted that he and his
workforce had no experience in this type of construction; but he was keen to
open up a new line of business and negotiated to build a prototype with others
to follow if the first was successful. Design of the hull, and stability
calculations, were carried out in the Melbourne office under Monash's
direction. His Resident Engineer in Adelaide worried about the problems of
building and launching the vessel ..... The prototype hull was floated on 16
March 1910 and was afterwards worked for some time equipped with a Priestman
steam crane .... However, no further orders were made and there is evidence
that the crane was removed within a year, and the hull used as a simple barge."
June 1906 the South Australian Reinforced Concrete Co was formed. John
Gibson, an industrial chemist by training was one of the Directors.
Gibson was also manager of the David Mitchell cement works. He became
involved in the setting up of Monash's South Australian Reinforced Concrete
Company (SARC), and subsequent problems and 'political fallout' of the
ill-fated Glenelg breakwater project. In 1907, the Public Works
Department of South Australia formulated plans for a breakwater at
Glenelg. In 1908 SARC won the contract.
of Australia, the Earl of Dudley, was to 'drive' the first pile with due
ceremony; however, on 13 March 1909, strong winds and choppy waves turned the
cermony into a fiasco - the barge jolted in the rough water, a crane hook
snapped, the pile disappeared beneath the waves and officials were concerned
for the safety of the Earl (Guests arriving for the cermony - http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/searcy/11/PRG280_1_11_578.jpg
The 13 March
1909 ceremony to drive the first pile for the Glenelg breakwater. The
seen to the right. Lord Dudley, the Governor-General, was brought out by
the small decorated platform which had been establised at the site.
SA State Library, Searcy collection ; misidentified as ca. 1911).
keenness for the Governor General to be involved may be because Glenelg’s
jetty, built between 1857 and 1859 was opened by His Excellency, the
Governor-in-Chief, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell in a huge ceremony at 2pm on
Monday 25th April 1859. One of the first piles has also been
driven by the Governor on 29 August 1857:
breakwater building task proceeded it remained very
difficult and hazardous because of high waves and repeated storms. The elderly
foreman was unable to cope with the danger and responsibility, and developed
nervous exhaustion. In April, Glenelg was hit by a heavy storm that
sank boats and caused damage over a wide area. The winch and boiler were
washed off the construction site. On 13 June another storm struck and
damaged piles already emplaced. Monash decided to pull out of the
project and seek settlement with the government, attesting that further work
would be futile and a waste of public money. However the Public Works
Department would not terminate the contract and insisted that work
continue. Work, however stalled in negotiations and legalities, and
eventually (1911) SARC did extricate itself from Glenelg, at a loss.
more was done regarding the Glenelg breakwater until 1914, when Monash's
competitors, Stone & Siddeley, won a contract to build the breakwater
based on concrete caissons - rectangular tanks sunk at regular intervals and
filled with sand. Stone & Siddeley started work on a 1400 feet long
structure in 1914 but their work too was destroyed by a storm in 1915.
Government renegotiated with Stone & Siddeley in 1916 (some mentions say
work started in 1915) for a 2470 feet long
structure linked to the jetty. Considerable progress was then made with the
work until a further series of storms and a partial collapse forced the firm
into bankruptcy in 1917. Stone & Siddeley sued the Government
for supplying faulty data.
from the ruins, Glenelg still has no breakwater. Huge concrete
‘blocks’ visible out from the present Glenelg jetty are the remains of the
caissons from Stone & Siddeley's unfinished work.
jetty in shallow water. The water deepens rapidly beyond it.
out to sea from jetty showing area of the breakwater ruins.
or more rectangular concrete caissons seem apparent.
original 1907 plan was for and arc of piles 1200 feet long, and 1500 feet from
from the existing jetty. The
revised plan in 1916 was for Stone & Siddeley to construct
much longer ?straight structure of 2470 feet, and linked to the jetty.
similar concept drawn by artist J.R. Jobbins in ca. 1850 for a Glenelg pier.
An illustration of
of the proposed Glenelg pier and breakwater by engineer William Bennett
was intended that the jetty would have a curved "head" on it, which
could be faced by
plates to act as a breakwater. These
iron plates were delivered to the beach
never installed for some reason, and were eventually disposed of
S.A. State Library)
1853 Hays applied for a years leave of absence to return to England. While
there he supervised the purchase of material for the Glenelg jetty.
Before leaving, he had prepared plans for the extension of the Port Willunga
jetty using a special T-shaped head for the breakwater. He charged the
contractor £76 extra for his design, without the knowledge of the government.
An investigation was instituted when the contractor asked for reimbursement
from the department. Hays, in Britain, maintained that the patent had been
registered in London, and that he was legally entitled to charge for its use.
The colonial secretary was scathing in reply, saying that Hays's behaviour was
'most inexcusable and highly unbecoming an officer in his position', and
suggesting underhand conduct. It was decided that his behaviour merited
dismissal and his services were terminated in January 1856.
breakwater story may be little known to much of the public today, e.g. "Unfortunately
Glenelg is fronted by open sea. If they built a breakwater and pier there
could be a possibility. I think there were intentions of building one in the
past. You can see it at low tide further out from the current jetty";
although divers have a better appreciation of it and call it 'The Blocks' or
'Glenelg Blocks' - "The Blocks is a relatively shallow dive straight out
from Glenelg. If you are fit enough you can snorkel out there, but we suggest
going by boat. The blocks are part of the old Glenelg Jetty and break
water that washed away in a storm in the early 1920s. Made up of a
series of large concrete blocks, with a depth of approx. 6-8m, it makes a
great easy dive. Expect to see large varieties of marine life including
many resident Wobbegong sharks. The dive can be limited in visibility because
of its proximity to the Patawalonga outlet, but on a clear day can make an
awesome dive." (although even this particular better appreciation of it
has the date wrong, 'early 1920s'); "The Glenelg Blocks are situated a
few hundred metres from the shore, in line with the Glenelg jetty. They
are a series of huge cement blocks, originally placed to serve as a
breakwater. The tops of the blocks usually break the surface and can be
located easily. Colourful growth and numerous fish make this an
interesting dive. It is best not to dive this site after rain when
visibility deteriorates. Depth 4-6 metres. Wobbegongs,
nudibranchs, common reef fish, spider crabs; An interesting and mostly
overlooked site. Plenty of fish and nooks and crannies".
mention of blocks in line with the jetty (in addition to the line orthogonal
to it) shows that Stone & Siddeley did construct the stipulated link
between the jetty and the breakwater. Thus the jetty actually did
get built out to the breakwater.
jetty has quite a long history. In August 1857, construction of it
started and it it was opened on 25 April, 1859. Costing over £31,000 to
build, the structure was 381 metres (1,250 ft) long. There were several
additions to the jetty. A lighthouse was built in 1872 at the jetty's end, but
a year later it caught fire and was cast into the sea to save the rest of the
structure. A replacement lighthouse was built in 1874, and was 12.1 metres (40
ft) tall. Other additions include public baths, and aquarium, a police shed
and a three-story kiosk with tea rooms. The
large aquarium was built on the jetty in 1929. It would display creatures such
as fish, sharks, dolphins, seals, stingrays and octopuses. The
kiosk was wrecked in a storm in 1943, and the entire jetty was destroyed by a
hurricane in 1948. Most of the structure washed away and the
rest unsafe. Re-construction was not completed till 1969. At just 215
metres (705 ft) long, the new structure was than two thirds of the original
the Stone & Siddeley company failed, i.e. sometime after 1917, Stone moved
his interest to Tasmania and to cement rather than concrete.
John Monash was amongst the group of well known business people who financed and
started the National Portland Cement company on Maria Island Tasmania in 1920
(which plant was closed in 1929). At that time Stone seems to also
have gotten interested in cement making. He gave an address to the
Launceston Stock Exchange in Jan 1921, about potential cement production; and
he became one of the founders of Tasmanian Cement Pty Ltd in 1922. The
initial plant was to have been near Hobart but Stone became interested in
Railton as an alternative site because of nearby oil shale. He
formulated an invention to conjointly exploit that as well, by using exhaust
gases from the cement kiln to distil oil from the oil shale, and/or oil form
the oil shale to fuel the cement making. Erection of a plant began there
in late 1923 or early 1924. Stone
worked as Managing Director but without salary. He received shares for
his part in founding the company and assignment of his inventions and
patents. The company was continuously short of money in 1924. It
persuaded Dorman and Long (who had secured the contract to build the Sydney
harbour bridge to take up shares. In 1925 the company was still short of
money. The president (Sir Hugh Bell) of Dorman and Long visited Tasmania
and D & L again agreed to put in money, but only on condition that they
took over management. Stone was asked to resign as Managing Director,
and the board (including L. Ennis of D & L) later decided to terminate
Stone as construction engineer. The company was reformed in July
1928 as Goliath Portland Cement. Because of the problems at Railton,
Dorman and Long had to buy their cement from Kandos for the harbour bridge,
and arranged to sell a portion of their shares to Kandos (this information
mostly pers. comm. Peter Benkendorff). Stone then went on to try
and establish a cement works at Port Kembla, and when that to failed he seems
to have shifted these interests to Deep Creek, Narrabeen(?).
Stone registered a company "Industries and Cements Ltd" in 1933,
which was not dissolved until 1949.
According to those who have endeavoured to research the Deep Creek site, E.G. Stone purchased the
land there in 1941 and sold it in 1951. Perhaps pertinent to this is the
fact that the bridge that carries the
Wakehurst Parkway over Deep Creek was built in 1941-1942, which would have
given access to the western shore area for heavy trucks etc. The area alongside Deep Creek in 1941 and
earlier had a caravan park and
The company Stone and Sideley did many works involving major use of
concrete. They made large concrete pontoons at Circular Quay ferry wharves,
concrete bridges over Hickson Road in the Rocks, set up quite a large plant in
Port Kembla in the depression years, and had projects in Victoria, South
Australia and Tasmania. They had a noteable concrete pipe-making factory at Geelong.
Messrs Stone and Siddeley, were referred to primarily as reinforced concrete
specialists "of Sydney" who also had branches in Tasmania and South Australia.
Mr E.J. Siddeley presumably lived in Sydney as a man of that name was appointed club patron in 1957 of Briars sporting club at Greenlees Park, at the Corner of Ian Parade and Wellbank Street in Concord.
were possibly of of an experimental or innovative inclination, as the name of
one subsidiary might suggest: "Exploratory Construction Products" (formed
in the early 1930s).
This was apparently some sort of plant to produce cement in the Illawarra
area. Like with the Narrabeen plant it too was sited at a lagoon,
the Tom Thumb Lagoon.
from in Gardner's study, no other reference to any business called the "Never Been Beaten Lime and Cement Co."
has been located apart from knowledge obtained in August 2008 that the Manly
Daily carried a story and photographs about it [this is currently being
followed up on].
idea of the place seems to have developed that "Stoney's" works was using shell grit.
There is also the equant ?shallow hole just a bit north of the plant, with a track going to it from the plant in 1943.
Estuarine clay for experimenting with *could* have been taken from there.
But it could just as likely, or more likely, be a completely natural feature.
Re chronology of the site Stone could possibly have resurrected/continued
there with some experimenting he is known to have been doing at Port
Kembla. His leases were apparently cancelled at Port Kembla in 1938, and
from the evidence of the photos in the Mitchell Library the "cement" plant was present
at Narrabeen Lagoon in 1940. However the note "Looking north up bank of Middle Creek from Cement works" (No. GP01-23617 dated 9/1940, Mitchell
Library) is erroneous on the creek name. The works are in fact on Deep Creek. They are not on Middle Creek, which is another creek which drains into Narrabeen Lagoon.
Such an error is unlikely if the annotation was contemporaneous or made by the photographer. This suggests the thought that the annotation was made later on. Indeed, the whole idea that this was a "cement" works may be a later myth added to the site because the man there was well known at the time to be a cement-maker (or wannabe cement-maker .. as you have now detailed).
There is the booklet "Swept under the Carpet - A History of a Failed Cement Works Project at Port Kembla" by Don Reynolds (Illawarra Historical Society Wollongong 2003)
which may throw much light on Mr Stone's activities. It is the opinion
in that work that Stone had little practical knowledge of the cement making process.
Reynolds research indicates he was sacked from Tasmanian Cement Pty Ltd.
Other information (fide P.B.) indicates that Stone's plant to combine oil shale recovery with cement making did not work and nearly sent the Tasmanian Cement company broke.
It seems that he convinced investors that he could make cheap cement from shellgrit and clay.
The shellgrit was to be separated from a deposit, off the coast made up, of
ca. 50% shellgrit and 50% quartz sand. Surviving photos show a clay digester and pipes for
a shellgrit handling facility. Peter Benkendoff noted that Stone installed a rotary kiln made of reinforced
concrete, but that anyone familiar with cement making and cement clinker mineralogy would realise the kiln would have fallen apart the first time it was lit up.
The works was never completed due to financial difficulties and technical problems.
Don Reynolds states in the booklet "There has been a great deal of speculation that the project was in fact a major confidence trick."
SE towards Stone's Cement Works which was built within the Reid's Hill Quarry
Port Kembla, 1932 (Photo: Weber Collection, National Library
looking SW, slightly earlier.
and Siddeley's pipe factory plant at Marshall, which photo may include Mr.
Stone. This plant's oviform pipes went for the Geelong Sewerage ocean
1913-1914, and also to the Barwon river aqueduct.
Barwon Water Archives, Geelong.
was also an article in the Express, 29th October 1969, about the Stone
endeavour at Port Kembla. This state's: "It's known as 'Stone's Monument' but some call it a monument to business miscalculation and, still others, a monument to business conspiracy".
full biography of Edward Giles Stone has been found but there are numerous
scattered articles showing how innovative he was. He was perhaps one of
the first, or the first, to propose large scale building of concrete ships in
Australia, as shown by an article in the "The Argus" of Friday 8 June, 1917, p
PROPOSAL TO FEDERAL MINISTRY.
Mr. E. G. Stone, of Messrs. Stone and Siddeley, engineers and contractors, has put
before the Prime Minister a proposal to construct a 4,000 ton concrete vessel within
seven months, and after that, if the work is organised on a large enough scale, to
maintain an output of one similar vessel a week. Mr. Stone stated last night that
the Prime Minister had received the proposal very favourably, and was fully alive
to the situation.
"This is the one kind of vessel for which we have all the materials available in
Aus tralia," said Mr. Stone last night," and the question of labour will offer no difficulties.
Tiie vessels would be built of concrete, with a framework of steel bars, which can easily
be obtained. Messrs. Thompson Brothers, of Castlemaine, and other engineering firms
have offered to supply the necessary engines within the specified time. They will be
internal combustion engines, of the semi-Diesel type, and the vessels will be capable
of a speed of 10 knots an hour. A greater speed could be attained, but it would not
justify the expense. The vessels will be purely cargo-carriers, of course. My firm
has offered to back my opinion that the vessels will be seaworthy and satisfactory,
by a guarantee of £10,000, and Messrs. Thompson Brothers will back their engines.
Private shipping companies have approached me with regard to designing 8,000 ton vessels. I think that these larger
vessels can he built without difficulty, and with equal safety. Our suggestion is to
build the vessels at Geelong and Adelaide. Both places have an ample supply of
materials and the necessary facilities, and at both special terms have been offered
which would enable the vessels to be very cheaply constructed.
"We built the biggest concrete barge in the world," continued Mr. Stone. "It is
180ft. long, with a beam of 80ft., and is now in use in Sydney Harbour, where it
serves its purpose well, and has stood many heavy shocks. We have gone very
carefully, into the matter of the seaworthiness of concrete vessels, and studied all the
various strains and stresses, including the 'hogging' and 'sagging' strains to which they
would be subjected. We have had our calculations and data checked by University
professors and other experts, and are satisfied that, when properly designed and
constructed, concrete vessels will have an elasticity equal to steel ships, and be quite as
seaworthy. Concrete vessels are being built in Norway, and a recent cable
message stated that the Norwegian Government had ordered 50,000 tons of shipping
built of concrete. We have been in touch by cable with the builders of these vessels
in Norway, and are absolutely certain that, we are on the right track. I may say that
we believe that with properly constructed compartments, these concrete vessels would
be proof against submarine attacks; that is to say, that they would not.sink if
thanks to Ken McInnes)
how long Stone's barge remained the world's biggest is unknown. By 1995
the then biggest, made in France for use off the coast of West Africa as an
oil production platform, was 220m long. It was almost 80 m longer than
its then nearest rival that had been floating off Indonesia since 1976.
Concrete usage avoids rust. "Concrete is a good material for marine
applications - durability is no problem," said Claude Valencho, of
Boygues, the Paris-based company building the vessel. (New Scientist, 11
of an abandonned concrete barge, England. Boat graveyard near
rusts, concrete doesn't.
An old concrete barge with
caissons, at Portland Harbour Island, England. Concrete
barges were towed
the English Channel to Normandy, to form an artificial harbour (the "Mulberry"
D Day, which hastened the end of the Second Great War (1939-1945).
The plan was
sink caissons to form a six mile long half circle breakwater and create an
Building of a commissioned
273 concrete barges commenced in 1940
Barrow-in-Furness and elsewhere. Completed barges were launched
as Stone did in 1917. (Photo: CanveyIsland.org , Essex)
(For more information - http://www.ConcreteBarge.co.uk
today, with one of these concrete constructions.
old WWII barges are mostly gone, and sometimes lamented, as internet
discussion shows: "Please also remember the seven French - Canadians that
were killed in a Wellington bomber that flew down the length of long road,
engine ablaze and crashed and burned so fiercly at the end of Northwick Road,
that when the bodies were recovered the pennies in their pockets had melted
and fused to the bones. These guys are buried in Sutton Rd cemetry in
Southend. I moved to France and when I returned I found the Barge had
gone to my great dismay. Who was responsable for this and with whos permission
? ---- [Answer] by Dave Bullock ~ As explained on
the adjacent Yacht Club demolished our Barge on May 22nd 2004 during a Bank
Holiday weekend. Apparently it was an "eye sore" ~ History
of our Beloved Barge gathered so far: Dave Bullock recalls "I was born on
Canvey Island in the early 1960's and can remember as a small child first
looking over the concrete crowned black sea wall at Canvey Point and seeing a
strange boat made of concrete! I remember being told it was probably
built by a failed inventor and had never floated - well who could believe a
boat made of concrete could ever float?" As the years went on the
general opinion was that she was part of
the WWII Mulberry Harbour, another part of which is still off Southend-on-Sea
to this very day. ~~~ It was May 2003 when we received "guess what
they've demolished now" phone calls from family. Surely not the
Labworth cafe - no - they couldn't destroy it as they even had to build the
new sea wall around it! The Lobster Smack perhaps? "Not the
Concrete Barge?"... sickenly yes. On the Friday before the Bank
holiday weekend the adjacent Yacht Club had destroyed the Barge. The reason
given was that it was 'an eye sore' and a danger to the kids who played on it.
We believe they did own the vessel (compare it with owning an animal - you are
just its keeper!) but after much argument in the local press (see 'NEWS'
section) the fact was she had gone. A visit to the site (see 'VISITS')
resulted in the sad sight of a few remnants covered in a foul black clay and
the decision to set up this website in her memory, and indeed in memory of all
the Canvey landmarks that have disappeared over the last few decades.)
old English concrete barges, England. From an article "Concrete on
the Cut" by Robert Hamilton
Waterways World, Jan 2000. This states that the first
concrete boats were built by a Frenchman,
in about 1848. It was in WWI when iron was directed toward the war
boats appeared in Britains canals. The first of these reinforced
were launched in 1917, the same year that Stone launched in Sydney.
Louis Lambot , in Carces, France, built
concrete vessels from 1848 onwards. In
he made a concrete rowing-boat for display in
the World Exhibition in Paris.
concrete schooner was built in America
in 1892, and in 1905-1913 practical concrete vessels were being built in
Germany, England, Holland and Norway.
several concrete barges were built in the Panama Canal in 1911. The
Porsgrunds Cementstöperi A/S, Norway, began experimenting with small concrete
pontoons in 1913. Stone in his 1917 letter to the PM particularly
mentioned Norway. The the first Norwegian iron and concrete ship was
launched on 20 August 1917 at the Porsgrund Cement Works in the presence of
the Prime Minister M. Knudsen.
1917 the Ferro-Concrete Ship Construction Co. was set up at Barrow-in-Furness
and proposed building concrete ships. However, the British Admiralty in
WWI inaugurated a program for concrete barge building. These were
initially thought desirable for transporting ores from Spain. A combined
requirement for tugs and barges amounted to 154 vessels, but this output was never
achieved. Bt the time the war ended only one of these barges had been
completed and 74 were in progress of being built. Things slowed down and by
the end of July 1919, only 19 vessels of the program had been launched.
By this company. Other companies were also building and the final figure
for British concrete barges of WWI programs is perhaps 54.
Lengths were 51.8-57.9 m. A noteable one launched in 1918 by Hill,
Richards & Co. of Poole was the "Creteacre" (57.96 x 10.29
x 3.99 m). This and other large barges (this company made about 9 large
barges) were ordered in 1917, the year that Stone made his Australian
are two Wikipedia pages on Stone which gather much of what is known:
to Warringah Council for information on the former factory at the mouth of
Deep Creek, or traces of Mr Stone in records at first produced nothing.
Regarding the Deep Creek site, Council advised that they have no area files earlier than
1959, nor could any maps that far back be found. A check of building cards for Wakehurst Parkway and
Morgan Road back to 1946 found no mention of Edward Giles Stone, nor did the
old rates record microfilms for those two roads contain
anything. However from other sources it emerged that
there was believed to be data in early Council minutes, including that Stone
was paid by Council to dredge the entry to Deep Ck for 50 pounds in 1935, and
that he doggedly petitioned Council for a lease to dredge the lake entrance
and put up flood gates over period 1933-1937. It does rather
seem that he was dredging sometime around 1937, but that gates such as he
envisaged were never built.
possible connection which came to light is that of the undeveloped part of the
Deep Creek catchment approximately 40 percent was Crown land and approximately
37 percent of it was owned by a company known as Hawker Siddeley
Aviation. Mr Stone used to be in a Stone and Seddeley business - could
there be any connection?
Head - Lake/lagoon entrance, and changes along the sand
knows this is a dynamic environment, and could change ever more with rising
marine delta at the lagoon mouth.
sand waves atop ditto.
It is stated that at the beginning of the
twentieth century, Narrabeen Lagoon was relatively shallow and mostly closed
to the ocean. In 1911, widespread dredging of the lagoon commenced
(information from Council) and
this continued until 1985. In the 1950-60s dredging was prominent with
operations entrance on the western side of the main road south of the entrance
bridge. By the 1980s the bed level of the whole eastern
channel had apparently been lowered by some 2-3 meters and even deeper in some
areas where deep dredged out holes were left. Where the records are of
this dredging has not yet been located. Warringah Council has records
for the later years; and in 1982 that Council did an EIS proposing to take 4.5
Mt of sand out of the Lagoon over 20 years. Edward G. Stone apparently
did get a 20 year dredging licence to run from 1933 but how much (if any)
dredging he actually did do I have not yet been able to find out
about. Various verbal advice has been that he did do some dredging
operation, and may even have made some lime. If he did make any
lime, no record has yet been found of where he sold it to.
order to keep the Lagoon open, mouth "clearances" have been
undertaken every 3-5 years since the mid 1970s, paid for by the Warringah and
Pittwater Councils. The 2006
clearance, for example, lasted over about 12 weeks and saw some 45,000 m3
of sand removed. This was dumped to replenish Collaroy/Narrabeen
Beach. The NSW Government repays Warringah Council for up to two
thirds of the total costs of clearance (in accordance with a 2:1 cost sharing
arrangement in the NSW Floodplain Management Program). Warringah
Council pays the balance intitally but then seeks a share of re-imbursement
from Pittwater Council because this work also benefits residents from that
Flow-on benefits of clearance
may include significant improvements in recreational amenity around the lagoon
entrance area. For example, during the peak summer holiday period of 2006/07
the Sydney Lakeside Caravan Park (the only park of its type on the Sydney
Northern Beaches), which is just west of the entrance, was once again filled
with ‘happy campers’. This contrasted with the previous year when
the entrance had become closed with sand and tidal flushing had fallen to
zero. The water had become stagnant and in the summer of 2005/06), both
Pittwater and Warringah Councils were receiving numerous complaints from
park visitors and members of the community about its condition.
the clearance works commence (based on 2006 example) the Lagoon entrance must
be artificially closed with sand. The primary motivation for doing that
is to minimise turbidity and the transport of suspended sediments during
clearance works and ensure that lagoon water levels remain sufficient to cover
the seagrass beds and ensure their survival during the entrance clearance
operations. The artificial closure is via construction of a sand
"levee" to a height of 1m AHD, with levee sand being progressively
emplaced deposited in a south-north direction. Such levee height is
sufficient to maintain water level for ecological purposes, while also
providing some storage capacity for any rainfall events that might occur
during the entrance clearance works (CLT, 2007).
last Review of Environmental Factors was completed in February 2011.
Sand excavated from the entrance continues to be spread at selected locations
along Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach as part of the replenishment program.
Approximately 35,000 cubic metres of sand was moved to there in the
September-December 2011 operation. Some past clearance figures (from
Cameron et al, 2007) are:
Respect to Ocean
East and West
East and West
East and West
East and West
East and West
East and West
in the 1940s digging a channel to liberate the impounded lagoon.
mechanised opening began in 1975.
lagoon opening in February 1995.
on the entrance in September 2011. At that time 40,000 cubic
metres of sand was extracted over 12 weeks and spread on the
Collaroy-Narrabeen beachfront, starting at Jenkins St and working
north. This was the tenth sand removal from the entrance since
1975, and the last removal before that was 43,000 c.m. in 2006.
waves off the rock baths at Narrabeen Head
on 5 March 1976. The offshore waves are 4-5m high and at this
time a mega rip current developed at the northern end of the embayment that
extended a kilometre offshore.
Beach at 7 July 1978. Storms caused moderate erosion towards the
northern end of the embayment. The erosion scarp visible is up to 3m
high. The greatest erosion is believed to have occurred at the head of a
rip current cell. The remnant form of the rip cell is seen visible
here opposite Octavia Street. (Photo: NSW PWD)
are the sites of particularly strong beach erosion during storms.
Rips are the return flow of the massive amounts of water breaking on the beach
during the storms. Erosion propagates 'upstream' of the
rips. On the Narrabeen/Collaroy beach the rips are spaced ca. 100m
apart in fair weather and up to 500m apart during major storms.
During severe storms there is preferred rip development in the Clarke to
Devitt Street area, which may be related to effect of offshore 'reefs' upon
first of all punctuate any offshore bar, and this may allow larger waves to
penetrate further down the rip channel and attach the beach at the head of the
rip. This wave breaking further up the beach at a rip is shown in the
1978 photo above. Rip associated erosion may form scarps up to 5m
high, up to 200m long, and extending back up 10m further than erosion on
adjacent areas of the beach.
front sharp offset - what causes this?
entrance viewed from the lagoon side. Area immediately inside the
entrance, on the northern side, is a caravan park.
lagoon entrance, and camp, in much earlier times.
lagoon entrance in 2008 looking north from the southern sand spit side towards
the rock platform where the baths are.
entrance close-up. The beachrock is unjointed material near the
beachrock is just above high tide. More beachrock has been found further
south along the beach, as at thin layer in drillhole N16, at 0.3m R.L. A.H.D.
And in same hole, which began at R.L. 4m, more beachrock was encountered
deeper, as two layers at 6.0 and 9.5m In nearby hole N17 which
also began at R.L. 4m, beachrock layers were encountered at 5.5 and 7 m (below
which the sediment was red-brown). At nearby hole N18 which began
at R.L. 9.5m, there was some very weak cementation between beachrock
encountered between 4.5 and 6.5 m (probably not beachrock-related). At
N21, not far south of the entrance to the lagoon, drilled from 10.5m R.L.,
there was weak cementation met with at 8.0-8.5 (not beachrock?), and three
layers of beachrock between 11.5 and 14.5m (i.e. 2-4m below sea level, similar
as the beachrock at 2 and 5.5m below sea level in N16). It appears
that beachrock formed levels around present high tide level and also at an
?earlier time/s where it is now found about 2m and 4-5.5m below sealevel.
The upper level of beachrock around present sealevel is also seen at northern
side of Long Reef, and at Palm Beach beachrock occurs at 5-5.5m in PB DH26
(commenced at R.L. 3m; hence at 2-2.5m below sealevel. Shell from
1.5m below the Palm Beach breachrock was dated at 6,800 +/- 337 years (GS
lower sea/tide view (2005) of the same, with the baths and low sand at the
entrance more emergent.
entrance to the lagoon can periodically fill with marine sediment when the
amount of sand moved
by incoming tide continues to exceed the amount of sand removed by the
outgoing tide. Such
of the lagoon, if coupled by strong rainfall, can then cause flooding of
entrance "throat" to the lagoon is usually so inundated with sand
load that it is always
shallows area, and the tidal
range there is typically only 0.25 m.
rock platform on the ocean side of Narrabeen Head was the site for an early
1930s rock baths which was built under the Unemployment Relief Scheme.
At that time it became one of the largest and most distinctive rock baths in
the Sydney area.
strong swell showing off South Narrabeen Beach in mid 2007, looking
north. Note the high waves and the sand heaped up in yards. Also
the back of beach was eroding as a wall in places up to 4-5m
high, with the sand sand thrown into yards. (Photo: by Surfers group -
with comment by "Indo Surf" http://www.indosurf.com.au
- "I took my first shiny new board out to the Pool in 1962,
when Nat used to surf there, a (little) bit like a right pointbreak. The sand
all washed away from Narrabeen
too in the late 1960’s. The houses and units should never have been built
there on the sand dunes,
but too late now. I wonder what global warming will do to the real estate
prices along this strip in
the next decade?! What do you reckon they bulldoze the lot and set up 'surfer’s
only' camping areas
every couple of hundred metres, with all the rest just bush!").
of change along Collaroy/Narrabeen Beach might have been undertaken by
multiple parties? One has been the Water Research Laboratory (WRL), a
part of UNSW, as part of their ongoing research work. They have used
equipment (a RTK-DGPS) mounted on a quad bike and driven shore-parallel
along the length of the beach. The design for beach
replenishment rests on the need to create a profile which endeavours to
secure some short-term stability and protection for the properties along the
beach-front. Further information on the management of
Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach is available at http://warringah.nsw.gov.au/environment/coastline.aspx
above, 2007, showing eroded beach rear, and a half-buried seat for sitting and
gazing out to sea.
end erosion - a bit of somebody's backyard destroyed(?) - and
houses not far distant. By 1987 a number of houses had been lost,
and there was considerable general concern that the Council was
allowing big houses to continue to be built right adjacent to the
public beach (Clarke and Malone, 1987). Already by 1987 this
had become one of the most highly capitalised sections of the NSW.
the southern (Collaroy) end of the beach the sea took two houses in 1945, and
six to seven others were substantially damaged. In a 1967 storm
one house and a hise rise block of flats began to be undermined but were saved
from any bad damage. In 1974 several houses and a high rise block of
units were again threatened. Dumping of rock and fill at the back of the
beach was done (as seen above) to try and counter the advance of marine
erosion. (More recent history is uncertain, apart from the sand
houses in 1920 at Collaroy Beach.
erosion in 1967 (photo of 4 September 1967) at the "Flight
Deck" home units block. Prior to the storm the beach was
at the level of the concrete slab seen projecting out from the
building. The storm eroded away 5m thickness of
sand. Extensive fill, hundreds of tonnes, was brought in to
protect the building. (Photo: Water Research
date. House undermined at north side of Frazer Street.
(Photo: Water Research Lab., UNSW)
March 1996 a prolonged battering by storm waves did major damage to the rock
baths. Also, waves were such that on one occasion a seven-year-old
boy playing on a bodyboard was washed out of the baths and his body was never
In 2002 the NSW government declared an aquatic reserve from the
south end of Turimetta Beach to the rockbaths at Narrabeen Head. Within the
protection zone, which extends to 100 m offshore, but there are bans on taking
a whole range of intertidal invertebrates.
one time in the late 1900s storm activity also moved boulders so as to expose
part of the previously obscured cliff face, and this was found to be covered
with a veneer of calcite-cemented sand. Such was suggestive that at some
time in the past there may have been a depth of mobile sand deposited upon the
rock platform area (and since removed). Similar "recent"
carbonate cementation of detritus is observed at other places along this
length of coast. For there to have been significant sand over the
rock platform area it may have been a period when the lagoon was permanently
blocked(?). Partial cementation (unknown nature) has also been
logged in bores in the barrier sand area, e.g. drillhole N21 (not ascertained
if samples are preserved. Cementation can be beachrock (such as is known
from Palm Beach further north and also near Long Reef on the beach at the end
of Florence Avenue) or it could be the weaker
type of cementation as occurs around buried trees ("pseudofulgarite"
beachrock opposite Florence Avenue at Fisherman's Beach, Collaroy Basin, seen
at low tide. (Photo: Peter Mitchell)
This occurrence is noted in quite old excursion guides from Sydney University
- The 1902 handbook of the Geological & Mining Museum (p. 186) lists
dolerite from "Narrabeen" (but exact location is not known)
NARRABEEN AREA ABORIGINAL PRESENCE
fish hooks, carved from shell - occasionally/rarely found along the shores.
perhaps continue to find/note occasionally the various indications of former
Aboriginal presence, yet despite extensive enquiries made for this district
there were only very few persons ever contactable in the Narrabeen area who
have a direct interest in local deposits (further details on this are
herein). There have been occasional talks given on
Aboriginal presence in the area, especially about the western end of the
Lagoon and if any continuous Aboriginal presence may have existed there till
quite recent times (No signage today records the presence of that remembered
camp within what is now the Sydney
Academy of Sport. - viz. http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/aboriginal_settlement_narrabeen_lagoon
). Or "Destruction of Narrabeen reserve - North Coastal
- 1959 - The last community campsite on the northern Sydney coast, at
Narrabeen, is destroyed to make way for the National Fitness camp.
Dennis Foley writes (Foley, 2001: 57-8):"'
“Many of our people lived in and around
the Narrabeen area long into the 1960s. They were fishermen or
worked in rural industry before the 1940s when cattle and farming were
still attempted in the northern beach areas. The area that the New South
Wales Academy of Sport is built on, was one of our last camps. The
National Fitness Camp as it was then known was constructed on the
bulldozed foundations of a camp that survived on the urban fringe right
up to the late 1950s. … As children we would accompany our uncles
fishing for blackfish, crab and prawn. They knew exactly when and where
to fish. This was of course before the murder of the lake by pollution"
Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment spokeswoman Judith Bennett was quoted as saying in
2013 "There is all this fabulous Aboriginal heritage on our
doorstep" - although there may be general 'impression' of such, when
individuals have been specifically asked what they knew of any sites the
matter has evaporated thus far [and insufficient persons interested could be
found to invite to any discussion meeting - but still looking ] (
however, Museum authorities have collected and preserved assorted
information. One find - "Narrabeen man" - is of
outstanding interest, and the oldest skeleton found around Sydney.
"inland" (Brewarrina area) children visit Narrabeen Beach, January
Australia Pty Ltd.(2011) in "Narrabeen Lagoon Plan of Management",
has written "The earliest known evidence
of Aboriginal activity is 30,000 years ago in the Parramatta area (Jo
MacDonald Cultural Heritage Management 2005)" [NB: older evidence, at
least to 40,000 years has been proposed at Upper Castlereagh which SMEC did
not mention]. SMEC (2011, p. 33) also wrote "Evidence of Aboriginal
activity in the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment is about 6,000 - 20,000 years ago
(Harris et al. 2010)". By mid 2013 I thought I had pretty much
finished reviewing sources for Aboriginal history of the Lagoon yet I had
nowhere else seen anything as old as 20,000 years mentioned. Hence this
seemed important. Seeing it could take be a long time to actually get
and search the Harris et al. (2010) book I thought I'd ask the Council if they
knew where that oldest site was.
It is thought that there's about 30 sites with Aboriginal
traces around the Lagoon shore.
are two main highlights of this - a find of a significant skeleton ("Narrabeen
Man") near the beach, and an "Aboriginal camp" at the western
end of the lagoon (Middle Creek mouth) which was in quite 'recent' times (last
century). Narrabeen Man has been well studied.
Nobody is known to have commenced any sort of study of the "Aboriginal
camp" but a substantial oral record of it has been recorded from the
knowledge of Dennis Foley. Denis Foley's information/memories re the
camp is readily findable on the internet, and includes a video made of him
speaking about it.
early 2013 the following steps had been taken in searching for any information
on the Aboriginal camp:
1) Initially when starting this webpage the Council and others were
contacted. Did they know anyone interested in history or
heritage or environment? No. Did they have any records on
Stone's old "cement factory" just west of Deep Creek, or the bridge
he built over that creek, etc.? No. Did they know anything about
the 'supposed Aboriginal camp being displaced by a National Fitness camp?' -
2) After the webpage was uploaded the
same potential sources were informed of it and again asked the same things, in
case anything further had cropped up that they might be aware of. Council
still had nothing at all, so far as they were aware of, regarding the Middle Creek camp. They
did know that the whole area there at the creek mouth had been infilled at some time,
but they did not know by whom, or when, that was done. However, they, and others, this time around were able to
give me some names of possibly interested people. This lead to the
following being ascertained:
- A man named Mr Hunter, who is or was a painter, found old newspapers laid
under some old linoleum which he took up inside a house. There were two
articles about this camp. He gave these cuttings to Mr John Ogden of Plateau
Road, who he must have known was interested in Aboriginal history.
It is recalled that one of the articles was a Manly Daily article and one was
probably a Herald article.
- The Manly Daily offices burned down; and all records/newspapers
are lost (?). Hence it is not possible to follow up with
- Mr Ogden gave the articles to his next door neighbour, Julie Jackson, who
is researching Aboriginal history (for a Sydney Univesity project on
Aboriginal history of region around Sydney).
- Julie had gone to Rome when first sought but
was later got in contact with and she supplied copy of one of the
abovementioned newspaper articles ( narrabeen-abor-camp-3.jpg which
shows a suitcase as baby's bed and is in the Herald article). That
article gave an interesting clue in the name of the child's father.
- According to the Herald article the baby and
her three brothers and sisters, and parents, comprised one of a number of families
there which the
Council ordered to leave. There is no mention about anyone
ordered off being Aboriginal, however. It would seem from the article that
the Council were merely ordering away some people who had over-stayed the set
limits for camping at this place. According to the paper they
refused to move on. The article records that Council said they would
be fined five pounds a day for being there after a stipulated date.
- Although there's no hint about anything aboriginal at this
place if one only had the newspaper information, and the baby
looks light-skinned, it was not difficult to find that this baby and father
were clearly of Aboriginal
descendant. This can be done merely from the surname reported reported
in the newspaper. That baby's family
name was Embrey, and a search for any "Embrey family" via NSW BDM shows
such surname as
virtually unknown in the past in NSW. However, search on "Embrey" quickly
finds them as Queenlanders, viz. Fred Embrey (attached: fred-embrey.jpg).
Data for that photo reads "Fred Embrey and breasplate. "WITHIN
a few miles of Murgon is the Queensland Government's settlement for
aborigines, the Cherbourg Mission Station. The
picture gives some idea of the class of habitation provided. On the right is a
conspicuous member of the settlement, Fred Embrey,
who holds the title of King of the Mt. Mia Station blacks." (
The Queenslander, 28 December 1938, p. 22)".
- The next lead to follow, from John Ogden, was advice to
contact Bob Waterer, who John thouight might know about the camp. Bob, now in his
late 80s, is currently at the "War Veterans Home" (RSL retirement
village), at Collaroy Plateau. Bob, however, was not contacted,
because other persons who known him later advised me that he didn't have any
direct knowledge of that camp. Some of John Ogen's photographic work
(which has ranged all over Australia) is shown below:
Aboriginal Australia" - a study of photographic sources by John Ogden.
Ogden has extensively been to all libraries across Australia reviewing
Aboriginal recorded ethnography/anthropology, photos etc. He
published a selection of the photos timed to coincide with the first
anniversary of Kevin Rudd's prime ministerial apology to the "stolen
generations" for the behaviour of the Government towards the
"From Truganini the 'last Tasmanian', to
'King' Murray Jack, Burnam Burnam,
Bob Bellear, Cathy Freeman and Tracey Moffatt, only one man can say he has
eyeballed them all. Consumed by what he calls his 'beautiful
obsession', John Ogden has trawled public libraries, galleries and museums
and private collections in every state and territory in the past four
years, poring over more than 300,000 images taken from 1847 to
today. With one more sponsor to cover production costs, he
hopes the book will raise more than $200,000 for renal health programs run
by the Jimmy Little Foundation. Five hundred copies will be sent to remote
communities, "where some people can't read or write and they can look
at it and say, 'Wow, that's my culture'". "A
fourth-generation Anglo-Australian, Ogden was driven to compile the book
by the so-called "history wars", which debated the mistreatment
of the first Australians - 'You only need to look at the pictures to see
there were frontier wars. But it's not to make people feel ashamed. It's
not a political rant … It's basically trying to show the richness,
resilience and diversity of the culture' ".
By 2012, John Ogden had published three books
by Cyclops Press( since 1999): Australienation, Portraits from a Land
Without People and Saltwater People of the Broken Bays, and he was working on
a companion book to Saltwater People, looking at the history of Sydney’s
eastern and southern beaches.
- John Ogden said that he has some coverage of
the Middle Creek camp in "Saltwater People". [Not yet seen.]
"Landscapes of Clearance: Archaeological and Anthropological
Perspectives", edited by Angèle Angele Patricia Smith and Amy Gazin-Schwartz,
the book's page 156 relates a
sad-sounding account:of the clearance by the local Council of the Middle Creek
Aboriginal encampment :-
camps, broken toys, bulldozers at dawn ... smoke drifting up from one or two
places in the sandy soil where the last campfires of millenia still lay
smouldering ....' , so runs the account in that book.
is that all factual? Did bulldozers really come at
this really a site "millenia old", or was it some Council camping
ground where relatively recent
newcomers were occupying space at, and the Council didn't want that situation
has real story, or even the simple facts of land ownership/administration at
that time? Who actually took people away - and where
to? Dennis Foley (pers. comm.) says they were taken away, by
truck. It is thought they were possibly taken to somewhere in the
One writer describes that those Aboriginal people who
lived in such camps (and could not afford rents elsewhere), were rounded up by
authorities and subsequently "disappeared". This
writer states "Their camps—including the well-known one at Narrabeen
Lakes - were demolished. The whereabouts of many of these people remained
forever unknown to other members of their families, many of whom were too
afraid to ask questions" ( http://epress.anu.edu.au/caepr_series/no_27/mobile_devices/ch09s02.html
). The same source also states: "By the 1880s small pockets
of traditional owners and others continued to exist in various locations of
Sydney. They included Manly, Neutral Bay, Double Bay, Blues’ Point, the
north shore of Botany Bay, La Perouse, Kurnell, Sans Souci and a noisy camp at
Circular Quay (Nugent 2005: 47). Other settlements have been recorded at
Pittwater, Narrabeen Lakes and in isolated pockets along the Hawkesbury and
its tributaries (Brook 1999; Foley 2001). Darug families could still be found
along the Hawkesbury, the Nepean and Colo Rivers, on the Sackville Reserve,
near Rooty Hill, and in and around the various farms working on the western
urban fringe (Goodall 1988: 35)." The writer of this is
Dennis Foley, so it is not any additional person who might be a further lead.
of the lagoon or 'lake' water from area where they had
lived. Image at historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au , tagged
"Probably all of the Narrabeen community are trucked to western
Sydney". No signage today records the former
presence of the camp, which became the Narrabeen National Fitness Camp
(now administered by the Sydney Academy of Sport).
organised at Byron Bay in 2006 by The Centre for Peace and Social
Justice, Southern Cross University. One of the conference items
was "Peter Read interviews Denis Foley. Whose
Landscape? Who's Exiled".
what extent were the people who were taken away (and who had their humpies demolished
- apparently where the National Fitness Centre was later constructed) just illegal squatters
camping ground over-stayers) or to what extent were/are they direct descendants of those who were there for
the writer of what is so far the main found fragment of contemporary newspaper
information, it seems that he may not have thought they were aboriginal/part-aboriginal people in any way.
Some at the camp area which was flattened appear to have been recent
immigrants from Germany. The State Government over the years has
flattened the buildings of poor squatters on public lands at many places.
Foley is related to the people of that camp although he never lived there
himself. He believes that they were to some extent the direct descendants of the ancient
native people of
the Narrabeen area - not in a loose or figurative sense he says, but in a very direct
has made this matter now widely known about (e.g. it is found in the
Dictionary of Sydney) but it is interesting to reflect that if it had not been
for one man (Dennis) nobody seems to have a record of the event.
That perhaps illustrates how hit-or-miss our sense of
history may sometimes be.
Professor Peter Reed who also likes or feels affinity with this country has
recognised/accepted Dennis Foley as the spiritual custodian for Aborigines of
this place. Dennis
is one of many "white Aborigines" who have traced, or maintained
knowledge of their mixed descent from local clans - other
prominent ones including "Darug" groups around Doonside/Blacktown,
at the Cumberland Plain west of
to reports, the camp was removed in 1959, and some say it was removed to
"make way" for a National
Fitness Camp. The book
"Landscapes of Clearance: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives
edited by Angèle Angele Patricia Smith, Amy Gazin-Schwartz" on page 156
gives the year the camp was bulldozed "by the Council" as 1957
rather than 1959. Yet
another 'source' states that the clearance occurred in 1958. So we
find three different stated years for the reputed bulldozing.
baby in a suitcase bed. She and her three brothers and sisters, and
parents, comprised one of the families the Council ordered to
leave. She may not be of dark skin and the newspaper
article makes no mention at all about the families ordered to leave being
in any way Aboriginal. However the article gave the baby's family name
as Embrey - and a search for Embrey family, does rather suggest that
this family was likely of Aboriginal descent.
father of the above child (not named at the time of the photo) was recorded as
Mr E.A. Embrey. The following two men are E.A.
Embrey's and their marriage dates are:
B registered at
JOHN ALFRED married
IRIS registered at
noted that in 2012 in Rita Rainbow’s second-hand shop in
Marcoola, on the Sunshine Coast, there was a smooth, crescent-shaped piece of
metal which a shopping browser (Jamie Dunn) recognised
instantly as an Aboriginal breast plate and thought he'd buy it. On it was a name
– "Fred Embrey" – as well as a date and place. Jamie
bought the object and decided to find the rightful family who owned it - and
return it to them. He
began phoning every Embrey he could find in the phone directory and asking - "“Hello
- Are you Aboriginal?” Nup .. nobody was. The people he
phoned were indifferent, polite, and of no help. None knew of
having any Aboriginal links. However, on further search, Jamie found in a
history book a photograph of Fred Embrey wearing the very breast plate now
in his possession. Jamie presented the breastplate to the school at
Cherbourg, an Aboriginal community, northwest of Brisbane. There was a
scream from the back of the children, and it was someone who said they were
related to Fred Embrey.
assembly or "roll call". Cherbourg was
established by William Thompson of the Salvation Army in 1899. It was
taken by the Government 1904 under the “Aboriginal Protection Act” and
Aboriginal people ofr all tribes, from "all over Queensland and New
South Wales" were indiscriminately moved there according to the current
Cherbourg history project.
breastplate (this one is not Fred Embrey).
and breasplate. "WITHIN
a few miles of Murgon is the Queensland Government's settlement for
aborigines, the Cherbourg Mission Station. The
picture gives some idea of the class of habitation provided. On the right is
a conspicuous member of the settlement, Fred Embrey,
who holds the title of King of the Mt. Mia Station blacks."
( The Queenslander, 28 December 1938, p. 22)
( Fred was
photographed as "King of Mt Mia Station, Kilkivan, 1 February 1927 -
Cherbourg, Queensland. South Australian Museum: N1375)
(Fred Embrey), a great songman, a chief who struggled to maintain the
culture of the Kabi people during the reservation days of Aboriginal
Australia." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabi
Foley wrote a 2000 book "Dispossession: The Story of My People, the Eora
of Tuhbowgule" and this is described also by Peter Read, "Whitefellas,
Our Country", Sydney Morning Herald (Spectrum liftout), 26 August 2000, p
4.]: "One night late in the 1950s came news that the camp had been
destroyed. At dawn his uncles raced to Narrabeen to find the settlement
flattened, the people vanished among the hills and smoke rising here and there
from twisted sheets of iron littering the sand. The national fitness
camp was coming. Foley still wonders what happened to the
residents." Read added "Not a hectare of land has been
returned to the Gai-mariagal people, not a single sign erected to commemorate
any of their old sites and camps, which people still remember, at Narrabeen,
Manly Lagoon and on the harbour foreshores."
was born in 1950 so his memory of seeing the destroyed camp one morning was
from when he was very young, under ten.
- A further wave of revocation relating to the Government policy of
assimilation and the removal of Aboriginal people from traditional reserves to
new reserves set aside in other places or outside towns. Probably all of the
Narrabeen community are trucked to western Sydney. After this time, no
official or unofficial reserves remain in Guringai country. 1959 - The
last community campsite on the northern Sydney coast, at Narrabeen, is
destroyed to make way for the National Fitness camp." ( http://www.historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au/north-coastal/1950s
was a reserve there, as seen in below map - R7504 (notified 6-10-1888).
10663, National Fitness Council Policy book, c.Nov 1939-21 May 1959,
[11/19038] Plan of land resumed for National Fitness Camp at Narrabeen Lakes
(NSW State Records)
Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 1947, p. 4.
National Fitness Camp must have existed in 1951 because 500 girls (and 4 boys)
GUIDES' CAMP AT NARRABEEN
Ann Charlton, 14, of Brisbane, cleaning hurricane lamps at the Jubilee
International Girl Guides' camp at Narrabeen
RIGHT: Paul Conroy, 17, of Narrabeen,
shows Alice Lee, l8, of Boston, U.S.A., some of the sights at the Narrabeen
Fitness Camp, where
the Guides' camp is being held. Alice is the only girl from America in the
camp. Paul, who is a King's
is one of the four boys in the camp with 500 girls.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 August 1951, p. 1 - http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/18218180
shows the girls camped there 27 August till 5 September 1951 (The Courier-Mail
(Brisbane, Qld.), 2 May 1951, p. 8). Another article says Papuan
guides came in grass skirts but donned navy overalls for formal
occasions. One report states the area they camped on was about 80 acres
( The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 August 1951, page 2).
An article in the
The Sunday Herald of 3 December 1950 (page 4) described a number of national
fitness camps ready for children in the holidays. Narrabeen was
not mentioned, whence it must have commenced being ready in 1951.
is confirmed by a report in The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania) of 6 December 1950,
p. 3, which stated "National Fitness is spending over £12,000 this
holiday season. Its officers will supervise in N.S.W. 61 play centres, and it
is holding camps at Broken Bay (the mouth of the Hawkesbury, near Sydney),
Lennox Head and Commodore Heights. It is also opening- a new camp at Narrabeen
in January, and the first occupants will be 80 aborigine children.
can see the cave in the rock up there. Well, down below that where
you can see a building - there used to be a couple of humpies
there. It wouldn't take much to dig around there and I guarantee
you'll find a midden all along there, and broken bottles. I can
remember that cave. Because that cave is a nice ledge that runs
all the way along there.
- all the trees were bulldozed down - we came out, I think it was a
day or two later. We got told, by someone who'd witnessed it
.. he saw the truck go away .... with everyone in the back,
wailing. We don't know how many people .. 20?! 15,
20, 25? .. who knows.
from the book "Belonging: Australians, Place and Aboriginal Ownership"
by Peter Read
other mentions of William De Serve have been found, nor any death record by
that name. Nor any records at all of "De Serve" in
NSW. There are many records for Le Serve surname but of those no William
Le Serve birth or death found. William de Serve, via Peter Read
(from Dennis Foley), was born in 1895 (on Barrenjoey?).
"Council came in and got rid of the lot", Council was queried re the
Deep Creek camp when this webpage was first commenced but knew
nothing. They were also again checked with in June 2014 in case
any records had since turned up. The State Government has been
enquired to several times but can find nothing so far re the Deep Creek camp.
MAN ... speared thousands of years ago
man was a remarkable discovery in 2005, and probably the discovery for which
Narrabeen should be most famous (unless natural gas should take that
distinction?). The excavation of this skeleton behind North
Narrabeen Beach was the first such scientific excavation known for Narrabeen.
However a skeleton was earlier found nearby earlier on. That was
recorded from "North Narrabeen beach" and was the full skeleton of
an adolesent buried in the dune sand. Details of that earlier find
are not yet known.
Narrabeen man find is scientifically significant, even at national
level. The site of the discovery was nominated as local
heritage. Particularly noteworthy is the VERY poor Government support
given to the study of Narrabeen man, the State Government being unwilling to
pay ever for a full suite of radiometric/radiocarbon dating. This may be
compared to the case of a seemingly very significant find by an archaeologist,
Fr. Eugene Stockton, at Upper Castlereagh many years ago. Fr. Stockton
(a Catholic priest and also a qualified, Masters Degree, archaeologist - well
regarded for his work on the Blue Mountains, found a large flat pebble with
serial strike marks on it (such things are usually regarded as human artefacts)
in situ near the base of the extensive gravel sheet of the Upper
Castlereagh river flats, Nepean River. I was still at Sydney Uni
when Fr Stockton announced and spoke on this find. As a geologist
the stratigraphic position of that find immediately shouted VERY
OLD! Yet Government would give no funding at all for the better
recording of such a potentially very important site - not even the estimated
$200 to made a thorough photograhic record.
Narrabeen man skeleton and its associated archaeological recovered material
have very high scientific significance. This is not only the oldest
known Narrabeen person, but also provides the only archaeological evidence
anywhere in Australia for death in this manner - interpreted as via
multi-barbed spears (known as "death spears").
the case of Narrabeen man, Government was apparently unwilling to have the bus
shelter damaged or destroyed; and the recovery of the skeleton was a
development-driven salvage operation rather than a full-scaled piece of
scientific research. Also there was more that could have been done, and
still could be done (especially more carbon dating of things from the
excavation) but Government was unwilling to pay for more than one radiocarbon
dating. Five charcoal samples were collected very close to bones, and
there was also a piece of wood. There are also shells and other things
that can be dated. Also, bone dating should ideally be duplicated at
different laboratories to maximise reliability.
of this discovery are described in "The
first archaeological evidence for death by spearing in Australia"
(McDonald et al., 2007); and also in " Deadly weapons: Backed microliths
from Narrabeen, New South Wales" by Fullalgar et al. in
"Archaeological science under a microscope: studies in residue and
ancient DNA analysis in honour of Thomas H. Loy". [ Richard
Fullagar is of Scarp Archaeology ( 25 Balfour Road, Austinmer ), firstname.lastname@example.org
discovery was made by workmen digging a hole at the southern side of the bus
shelter in Ocean Street (not "Oceania Street" as first reported), as
short distance from the intersection with Octavia Street, on the northeast
side of the intersecton. This is about 120m west of the scarp at
the rear of Narrabeen Beach. Besides excavating the skeleton at
the bus shelter, archaelogical monitory of the Energy Australia work also
extended for 70m north and 100m south along that side of Ocean Street.
Street is at the crest of the dune sand between the beach and the
lagoon. About 80m south of Octavio Street, at the corner of
Loftus Street, a 3m deep house excavation entered cross-bedded dune
sand. The spoil of this dune sand showed no whole shells. Further
south near the end of Ocean Street, years ago, a large excavation between
Ocean Street and Pittwater Road showed the sand to be remarkably featureless -
no shells or pseudofulgarites or other features noted (by the present writer -
geotech reports could be checked for along Ocean Street).
identity of the discoverers had not yet been learned of. Later on it was
learned that they were David Lloyd Davies of Mangrove Mountain and Paul
Greaney of Bondi, employees of Emerald Civil Engineering of Chester
Hill. The men informed their manager, John Pratsas, that they
thought they'd found a possible finger and hip bone. Pratsas contacted Police
immediately.and Mobile unit NB104 picked up the call to proceed to the
scene. The bones were noted by the diggers between 3:30-4:00 p.m.
on 20 January 2005, and Police attended 6:10-8:30 p.m. The story
was written up by a reported the next day and was in the newspapers by 22
of 22 January 2005
had found a threepence piece dated 1916 in close proximity to the bones.
The Police made arrangements for the threepence to be delivered to Bondi
Police Station and have it entered there as Miscellaneous Property pending
further investigation. A pathologist from Glebe attended and
informed Police that it was highly likely that the remains were
Aboriginal. It is not known if the threepence reached Bondi Police
Station or if Police interest was aborted before that happened.
The Police endeavoured to contact NPWS but found nobody available.
Police also called the Aboriginal Land Council but nobody was
available. The Police also called the Warringah Council but nobody
was available (years later the Council was enquired to as to whether they'd
ever been informed of the discovery before it was in the newspaper - initially
it was thought "no", but that answer was later modified). The
Police also contacted the State Government (Dominic Adshead, a State Parks
Operational Officer) but were told nobody was availalbe to
the find was recorded by someone as being at the wrong end of the opened
trench (as the southern end instead of the northern end). The first
bones encountered were unfortunately broken into many pieces (the bone of the
skeleton was particularly brittle for bone buried in dune sand - reason
unknown, perhaps because grass/brush fire once affected the skeleton?).
A few bones or bone fragements proceeded to crumble after collection.
discovery of bones was on 20 January 2005, at a trench from which about 5t of
sand had been excavated and stockpiled. Police were called and removed
about 20 bones (with or without recording details?) which they took to the
Coroner's Morgue in Glebe. Ms Margrit Koettig (an archaeologist
with NPWS) was informed of the discovery by Energy Australia. NPWS
registered the site as 45-6-2747 in the AHIMS system. Energy Australia
engaged Jo McDonald Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd to carry out salvage
excavation. Such was done by Jo McDonald, Denise Donlon, Mark
Rawson, Amy Stevens and Peter Veth. Richard Fullagar and Jude Field were
subsequently involved in study of the finds (residue analysis and artefact
was possibly a contractor working for Energy Australia Pty Ltd who own
electrical cabling in the area. Apparently at the same time
further human bone fragments were later on found in spoil (from that pit)
which was then sitting at the ocean end of Octavia Street, a short distance to
the east. Energy Australia apparently encountered further faunal remains
(including non-human bones) as trenching continued along Ocean Street.
It is likely that these too were collected.
in the area are generally 25-50 cm below surface but at this point excavation
had gone in excess of metre in preparation for intended directional boring to
carry the cables below the bus shelter.
man had clearly been speared to death. It also began to be early
said that he'd been "ritually" slain, but what any evidence of that
is remains unknown. The discovery was not a burial as the bones
were partly disarticulated and the skull in particular was considerably
offset. Moreover a mark on skull is interpreted as a fire burn scorch -
whence the skeleton was for a time on the surface and subject to (?bush)fire,
before being buried probably by windblown drifting sand. Several
bones were recorded as "charred" but none were calcined. A
large piece of partly burnt wood was found lying beneath his left shoulder
bone (not known if this wood has been carbon dated). Small quantities of
charcoal were also collected during the excavation. The radiocarbon date of
ca. 3,700 years ago was obtained from pelvic bone fragments, and became the
oldest dates human remains in the Sydney region. No sites had previously
been excavated at Narrabeen.
isotope analysis and carbon-14 dating was done by Joan Brenner-Coltrain.
The initial prognosis from the nature of the sand and freshness of the shell
content was for an age unlikely older than 1000 years and perhaps as young as
200-300 years. The bone dating came out more than ten times that initial
younger estimate. It is not known if any of the accompanying shell
content that was recovered has yet been dated. The isotope analysis was
done on acid extracted bone collagen. Collagen yield was 3.3% (bone
begins with 25% collagen and yields above 1% are considered suitable for
sand containing the skeleton yielded little other than the stone tips (17
stone fragments, including 6 broken pieces, such that when refitted there was
a total of 14 assumed implements - of which at least 12 were steeply retouched
or "backed"). There were also some shells and some small fish
bones which may or may not have been stomach contents once. A number of
fresh looking (unweathered) small shells were found at the level of the
of fish bones which Narrabeen Man might have consumed.
et al. wrote that "A recently excavated skeleton dated to 3677 cal BP
provides an extraordinary opportunity to determine the function of its
associated backed artefacts". Seventeen stone artefacts were recovered
during excavation there. Three were refitted, and, of the 14 near
complete artifacts, 12 have been clearly backed. One backed artefact was found
lodged between the L2 and L3 vertebrae with unhealed wounds, indicating spear
penetration near the left hip. Other backed artefacts were found adjacent to
or lodged in vertebrae suggesting two spears had penetrated from the back.
Breakage and use-wear on most artefacts indicate use as barbs or ‘lacerators’.
The skeletal injuries, penetration depth, distribution of fragments and
use-wear indicate a minimum of three weapons, and probably more, were used in
the slaying of the Narrabeen man.
top of the cranium was below the concrete slab of the bus shelter,
well down. "Dots
on the spinal column indicate the location of the lodged backed
artefacts (arrowed) and the placement of the other images indicates
schematically the locations in which the artefacts were found
(Reproduced from Antiquity" (cf. "Three were
refitted" / one lodged between L1 and L2 and that had "bone
residue (similar in colour and structure to the human vertebra)
embedded in cracks at the crushed tip".) [
McDonald et al., 2007]. There may be some confusion on this as
the initial report stated that two stone tips had been "found
embedded in his vertebral column" whereas the subsequent
reports refers to one in bone (at L1/L2) and three having been
"re-fitted". Also, the same report stating "Two
backed artefacts were found embedded in his vertebral column"
also elsewhere states "We found a total of 12 backed artefacts
(spear barbs) around the body including the three embedded in his
spine". The "Two backed artefacts were found
embedded in his vertebral column" were between L1/L2 and L3/L4
as initially reported, however as shown in the above diagram they
were between L1/L2 and L2/L3. This might be the result of bone
identity misinterpreted in field notes(?). The third one was
in the spinal process of T11. One artefact (OON11) was found
lying flat and in situ on the spinal column but appeared not
to have penetrated bone (the fourth up of the dots shown on the
figure description that the dots are "the location of the lodged backed
artefacts" could be more accurately stated as impact
points. Some may be points where stone barbs reached
bone but did not embed and fell away from contact after
et al., 2007. The skull was interpreted to have a series of
old healed depressions plus the more recent cut to the top of
the "burn mark" and sand cementation onto the skull.
Burn marks are also present on the right ulna and right tibia.
of the bones had sand encrustation but apart from the patch shown above most
of it fell away from the bones.
ulna burn mark.
the adult male skeleton had been exposed during cable installations "1.5
m below the present ground level" (no measured vertical section of
vertical/oblique photography of the excavation walls have yet been noted
- some photos of the site may have been afterwards posed?).
find was at a bus stop but the main publication on it showed no location map and no
site plan - already at least one person has mixed up which bus stop was
involved. Some reports said the skeleton was besides the bus stop,
others stated it was below it.
information that appeared about it was quickly full of inconsistencies.
The Sydney Morning Herald (Richard Macey
) reported "Four barbs were embedded in Octavia Man's spine" but
probably only one was.
one was the artefact numbered "OON1". There seem to be
early photos showing the OONI stone point embedded in a vertebra.
However, a later published photo of the same vertebra no longer shows the
stone in it.
source says that sea level at the time, about 4,000 years ago may have been up
to 1.5m higher, another says uo to 3m higher (quite a difference).
Others in general (but not quoting in connection with Narrabeen man) doubt it
was any higher.
SMH report of on 26
stated that the land council (MLALC) requested the dig to recover all the
remains. But is that true? Would the remains, first
detected by workmen digging a trench for electricity cables, otherwise have
just been left there? No map showing where the electricity trench
went has been published either, it seems.
man (a skeleton found in Ocean just north of Octavia Street) became the oldest
dated skeletal remains in the Sydney Basin, and the first archaeological
evidence of death by spearing in Australia.
ca. 4,000 year old skeleton provided the first archaeological evidence in
Australia both for death by spearing and for the use of backed artefacts as
spear armatures. The associated assemblage of stone fragments
consists of 17 small flaked artefacts including three fragments embedded
within or between bones. Several stone fragments were refitted, and all but
two artefacts are backed microliths. Anatomical, forensic and artefact
studies all pointed to death by spearing.
skeleton site is 9.0m above present sea level and the skeleton was down
approximately 1.5m the publised reports have stated (initial report stated it
was encountered at between 1.3-1.5m depth). Sand was loose and
uniform, hence there was no "stratigraphic section" definable.
this was the first recorded scientific excavation of a skeleton at Narrabeen
others may have been found accidentally in the past, with remains going to the
Australian Museum and the Shellshear Museum at Sydney University. The AM
has in the catalogue the record of having an infrant cranium from 'North
Narrabeen' (this, Octavio St. section) of the beach has often been referred to
as "North Narrabeen Beach" (and the southern part called South
Narrabeen Beach, although it is just one continuous sand body). The
Australian Museum item is now unfindable (and might have been given to
Aboriginal representatives for burial?). The Shellshear Museum
holds material of four skeletons, including three earlier ones than Narrabeen
Man. One is also recorded from "North Narrabeen beach"
and is the full skeleton of an adolesent buried in the dune sand. The
third was cranium of a young adult, recorded as being from Long Reef/Narrabeen.
TV Catalyst - Narrabeen Man forensics report - Video
Willis: "And from early in the excavations, it was obvious that
Narrabeen man had met a violent end".
a trench in the sand for electricity cables in January 2005 unearthed
a skeleton. This was reported as being at the "Octavio
Street bus shelter". The find was reported in all the
Sydney newspapers and became known as "Narrabeen man".
After study, the skeleton was later reburied in the National
Park. Initially taken to the Coroner in Glebe, the remains
were noted as aboriginal and soon confirmed as ancient.
Willis: "Four thousand years ago, when Narrabeen man
was wandering around this area, sea levels were up to 1.5 m
Mitchell advising Jo McDonald had earlier suggested 2-3m
words of Willis are hardly similar to what the paper (McDonald et al., 2007)
says on that. Both are about supposed higher sealevel at the time
but the "up to 1.5m" of Willis is doubled at maximum in the paper,
which states "A direct radiocarbon age determination on fragments of bone
from the skeleton confirms that the individual died around 3677 cal BP (3480+/−
30 radiocarbon years, CAMS-120202). This date is
consistent with a high sea level stand on the NSW central coast (2-3m above
the present level) between 3700 to 3200 BP (Haworth et
al. 2002). In the first report it was
stated re the obtained date that "At this time, the sea level was
slightly higher than than today, and we interpret the finding as indicating
that the man was killed at the top of the foredune, about 5m above sea
level". The 2-3m higher sea level at the time is was inferred
from a review of Haworth et
al. (2002) and four other papers.
showing Ocean Street / Octavia Street roundabout. The bus shed is at
right between the two cars seen just north of the roundabout.
view looking east, roundabout arrowed.
clear digging scar was present on the southern (SW) side of the bus shed up
till April 2010 but later disappeared as grass took over. The excavation
extended very slightly under the southern edge of the bus shelter base.
and described in a Narrabeen visitor's narrative (by Peter
Harris). Peter got very close to the right spot but mistook it
for a bus stop on the opposite site of Ocean Road and a bit further
south. Also, as the below shows the
"Octavia Street bus stop" is actually NOT in Octavia St. at
all. Rather it is in Ocean Street near Octavia Street!
The above bus shelter is SW of the intersection, in Ocean Street.
The "Octavia Street bus stop" at the corner
with Ocean Street, was where in in January 2005 contractors digging a
trench for electricity cabling unearthed the skeleton of a 183 cm (6
feet) tall aboriginal male who died aged between 30-40 years
old. However this does not look to be the right bus
shelter (presuming the below photos are of the right
one). What gives with this? Well, the site
is known as the "Octavia Street" but stop and it seems a
photographer went and photographed a bus stop in
Octavia St. (at Ocean Street) in order to write about Narrabeen
Man. He was pleased to be notified years later (in 2012)
that the actual bus top was on the opposite side of Ocean Street not
shelter shown above which was mistaken for the right one is near
the below sign, in Ocean Street - but at the SW side of the roundabout at the
intersection of Octavia and Ocean Streets.
The find provided evidence that, in Australia,
backed artifacts were used as armatures on spears.
Ocean Street, Narrabeen.during salvage excavation
the right bus stop: The
ABC Catalyst video (Paul Willis narrator) on Narrabeen man is
puzzling, for it firsts shows that workmen dug the skeleton up (bones
sitting atop a pile of sand (above). The later is shows
the above two people digging with spades. However digging
may have halted in January 2005 when bones were encountered and the hole
perhaps covered/backfilled, before being later resumed upon in late
April by the Jo McDonald team? Morever,
this photo does not
seem to tally with the "Excavation BELOW a bus shelter in the
beachside suburb of Narrabeen" that is elsewhere reported
(perhaps the skull may have lain slightly under one end of the bus
shelter?). The published article on the site ("The first
archaeological evidence for death by spearing in Australia")
gives no locality map of the site and no site plan - although by
virtue of the bus shelter the site is fortunately very well marked.
in late April 2005. Neither the State Government (NPWS) nor the
local Aboriginal Land Council attended this excavation but both were
of bones as found. Skull was well separated (40 cm) from
anthropologist Dr Denise Donlon
Madden and Dr Denise Donion of the University of Sydney with Octavia
Man" Photo: Edwina Pickles
"Bus stop an execution site … 1500 years ago" by
Richard Macey, SMH, 26
Australia's spoil heap at the end of Octavia St was also thoroughly
sieved, and more bone fragments found. The excavated sand pile was
about 5t to begin with. it was sieved and then what became of it
is unknown. Bone fragments in the spoil pile were first detected
about 4 p.m. on 20 January 2013 by the Police who were called to the
scene from Dee Why police station (Constable M. Hayes and Senior
Constable R. Mulheron).
Backed artefacts have a global distribution,
and in Australia were very prevalent around 3,000-4,000 years ago (the
Narrabeen man skeleton dates to this time as well). Backed
artefacts are flakes with 90 degree retouch along one or several margins
made by bipolar techniques on an anvil.
The Narrabeen man was found 1.5 m below
current ground level. Some of the bone was charred, but not calcined
and the authors of the paper argue that this is consistent with the body
being partially covered with burning branches.
The skeleton belonged to a male of 30-40
years old. Stature was estimated to be around 183 cm. Seventeen backed
artefacts were found interspersed in the skeleton. The skull has several
puncture wounds, either of which would likely have caused death. Several of
the artifacts were found in situ between the vertebrae:
in vertebral column (photo whilst still in pit)
the stone (what sort of stone?) tip embedded.
as " Backed artefacts (sic - only one is shown) found with
the Narrabeen skeletal remains during excavation. A. The backed
artefact (OON1) in situ between L2 and L3 as photographed in
the field. B. Damaged L3 vertebra where backed artefact OON1was found lodged. (McDonald et al., 2007).
It was estimated that three spears were used
to dispatch the Narrabeen man.
The authors of the paper argued that the
death occurred during a period of increased territoriality and social
conflict caused by higher sea levels and other climate changes.
REFERENCES to Narrabeen man (see also a
fuller references listing at end of page)::
Josephine J. McDonald, Denise Donlon, Judith
H. Field, Richard L.K. Fullagar, Joan Brenner Coltrain, Peter Mitchell &
Mark Rawson. The first archaeological evidence for death by
spearing in Australia. Antiquity Volume: 81 Number: 314 Page: 877-885.
Peter Hiscock. Blunt and to the Point:
Changing Technological Strategies in Holocene Australia. Archaeology
of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands, ed by Ian Lilley, Pgs 69-95.
ABC CATALYST: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2278381.htm
2005, when contractors were digging a trench for electricity cabling north
of Sydney, they made a gruesome discovery.
Unbeknown to them, their find was to lead to an intriguing forensic
investigation and eventually uncover a 4,000 year old killing mystery.
Dr. Jo Macdonald from Cultural Heritage Management led the expedition and
uncovered some remarkable forensic information about who this person was,
where this ancient man came from and even what he ate.
However, it turns out that Narabeen Man is far more unique than first
thought. Not only is he the oldest dated skeleton in Sydney, he provides
scientists with the earliest evidence yet of ritual punishment among
Dr. Paul Willis follows the forensic path that pieces together the mystery
of a brutal killing that occurred some 4,000 years ago.
Narration: This is a story of a most remarkable death, a
long time ago, and a very unremarkable location.
Dr Paul Willis: On this spot 4000 years ago there was a
particularly grizzly death. It was a very violent event that is the earliest
recorded ritualised killing in Australia.
Forensic science and modern indigenous culture have combined to work out
what happened here at the Octavia Street bus stop.
Narration: The startling discovery occurred here at
Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches in January 2005 when contractors
were digging a trench for electricity cabling. In doing so, they unearthed
the remains of a skeleton
After a trip to Glebe Coroner’s Morgue the remains were turned over to
archaeologist Jo MacDonald …and a forensic process followed…
Dr Macdonald: A find exactly like this has never been found
before in Australia.
Narration: The first thing that Jo needed to do was to
establish the time of death. A small sample was sent to the Lawrence
Livermore National laboratory in California for Carbon dating. And the
result was astounding.
Dr Macdonald: The date came back at about 4000 years ago,
which was quite spectacular we were very surprised.
Narration: 4000 years ago when Narrabeen Man was wondering
around this area the sea levels were up to 1.5 metres higher than they are
Paul: So that spit would have been much narrower. The water
levels in the Narrabeen lagoon would also have been higher and it would have
acted like a saline estuary.
Narration: And there were aspects of the find that aroused
Jo’s suspicions: this was no ordinary burial.
Dr Macdonald: No certainly it doesn’t appear to be a
burial at all.
Paul: What told you that?
Dr Macdonald: His posture he certainly looked as though
he’d been flung on the ground he had one arm across his neck and his head
had been shifted off the top of his veritable column// Most formal burials
that you find in Australia are in particular postures and certainly wasn’t
one of them.
Narration: To physical archaeologist Denise Donlon, there
were many features that indicated this was the skeleton of an aboriginal
Dr Denise Donlon: The shape of the base of the nose which
is particularly Aboriginal and of course the very large teeth and strong
tooth ware (sic) indicating a traditional Aboriginal diet.
Narration: Denise helped excavate the skeleton back in
Dr Donlon: I estimated from his limb bones that he was
183cm tall, which is about six foot in the old terminology and this is very
tall for an Aboriginal man and the average height for Aboriginal men was
five foot six.
Paul: So he really was quite tall?
Dr Donlon: Yes unusually so.
Allan Madden: Even when we looked at this guy, this guy
seemed to be very thick boned; he was very tall for Aboriginal people that
were in this region here in and around the Ku-ring-gai Garrigal mob.
Narration: And from early in the excavations, it was
obvious that Narrabeen Man had met a violent end…
Paul: So what wounds have you found?
Dr Donlon: The most amazing wound was found here in this
lumber vertebra and it was a spear tip embedded in the vertebra. And you see
it actually here in this bag.
Paul: What does that tell you?
Dr Donlon: Well that would have actually passed through his
abdomen from the front and the side and would have caused immense damage to
the abdominal cavity.
Allan Madden: The most common spear around this area was
the fishing spear, you had ceremonial spears here, then you had hunting
spears, for different animals that you hunted there were different tips that
would penetrate and couldn’t come out and that was the same with death
spears. And I think this feller got the bloody lot of them.
Paul: Death spears are of composite construction that is
they’ve got a central wooden shaft and along and embedded in resin along
two sides of the head would be a number of small sharp pieces of stone like
this called backed artefacts; there could be a couple of dozen in the head
of a death spear. And Narrabeen man was the victim of at least three of this
kind of spear.
Narration: Richard Fullagar has been taking a close look at
the wear patterns and fractures on the 17 backed artefacts found at the
Paul: Now these are really tiny little chips of rock how
much damage could they actually do to a human?
Dr Richard Fullagar: Well in this case they killed him.
Narration: One spear entered from the front, cutting the
intestines and a kidney and lodging in the spin. A second spear was thrown
from behind and also lodged in the spin. A third spear ricocheted off the
skull, which was also hit with another sharp implement. Other artefacts
suggest more spears were embedded in the body but they did not do any damage
to the bones.
Allan Madden: He hasn’t been initiated; if he was he
would have his front two tooth been removed or knocked out as the case may
be. And that was in and around this area in the Sydney basin that was the
initiation rituals that a lot of the young boys went through to become men.
Paul: As you can see Narrabeen Man has all of his upper
front teeth and he’s thought to be thirty to forty years of age, so either
he’s not from the local area or the practice of knocking out front teeth
at initiation had not started 4000 years ago.
Narration: Perhaps another clue to his origin can be found
by examining the contents of his stomach that were recovered inside to the
Dr Donlon: In the stomach region we found these tiny fish
bones which must have been his last meal, it’s interesting because this is
also consistent with stable isotope analysis which was done of the bone
which also showed he had a marine diet.
Paul: So this suggests he was a coastal dweller?
Dr Donlon: Yes absolutely
Paul: So Narrabeen Man was a tall Aboriginal male who lived
by the coast but not necessarily in that area and who died a violent
ritualised death some 4,000 years ago.
But who was he and why was he killed in such a horrific manner?
Allan Madden: He must have done something very bad to the
mobs here, for what he would have done that would only be speculation on my
behalf, but the way the wounds are and what we see of him it would have been
something really bad.
- Reporter: Dr Paul Willis
- Producer: Max Lloyd
- Researcher: Anja Taylor
- Camera: Kevin May
- Sound: Steve Ravich
- Editor: Chris Spurr
Dr.Jo Macdonald (Archaeologist) [ = JMcDonald@jmcdchm.com.au
Dr. Denise Donlan (Forensic Anthropologist)
Dr. Richard Fullagar (Senior research Fellow)
Allen Madden (Cultural and Education Officer) [ = Metro LALC
Archaeological Consultancy Monograph Series
[ David was not responded to ..]
Speared man unearthed after 4,000 years
Narrabeen Beach Sydney
By Sabra Lane ABC News
Posted Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:47pm AEDT
Updated Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:48pm AEDT
These days Aborigines use spears for fishing, but in
ancient times spearing was used to punish people for transgressions .
Construction workers in Sydney have unearthed what
archaeologists say is the earliest evidence of death by spearing.
The men, who were digging a gas pipeline in Sydney, thought
at first that they had discovered the bones of a recent murder victim and
police and the New South Wales coroner were called in to investigate.
But now it appears the deadly deed happened not in the last
few years or even in the last few centuries, but 4,000 years ago.
The workers were digging a hole under a bus shelter at
Narrabeen on Sydney's northern beaches to put in a new gas pipeline in 2005,
when they made the startling discovery.
Dr Jo McDonald, an archaeologist and senior research fellow
at the Australian National University, explains what they found.
"The workmen were digging a hole to put their pipeline
underneath the bus shelter and they interrupted or intersected with the legs
of a human, which of course caused a bit of excitement," she said.
"They called the police, the police called the
coroner, the coroner called National Parks."
And then the National Parks and Wildlife Service called in
Dr McDonald and her team to investigate.
"Fortunately... when they encountered the bones, they
stopped immediately, so they did fairly limited damage," she said.
But the team had to carefully remove a huge pile of sand to
start piecing together this ancient puzzle, before they realised this skeleton
had a dark secret.
"It was actually still articulated, all the bones were
still in their right anatomical position," Dr McDonald said.
"It was lying there where it had fallen, basically.
But basically underneath the bus shelter."
Among the bones the team found 17 stone artefacts.
"We started to find a lot of these little points,
which are called back artefacts," she said.
"They're quite common tools that we find in
archaeological sites around Australia. But the function of these has never
actually been totally demonstrated.
"People have started doing residue studies on these
and we've discovered that they've been used for a range of purposes.
"They've been used to cut up vegetables, we found
starch on them. We found bits of feather and plant remains and proteins and
things on them.
"But we'd never actually found them in a human body,
and so in this particular case we've been able to demonstrate that these
particular types of tools were used as barbs on a spear and the spear was used
to kill somebody."
Speared for transgressions
Dr McDonald says she and her colleagues believe the man was
murdered in some way.
"The spear's barbs that we found in the body were
found in front, with a front and a rear entry, which indicates at least two
spears were used," she said.
"We know from ethnographic accounts around Australia
that a spearing was used as a form of punishment for transgressions, but we
know that this spearing, very rarely, actually intended death as the outcome.
"So ritual spearing is pretty much part of a
prescribed social process, and it's to do with somebody who's really
transgressed to the rules badly or has done it repeatedly.
"And we think in this instance that the person had
obviously been caught for doing something wrong and has been ritually
dispatched. He wasn't well liked, I'd say."
She says the man also had a punctured point, also caused by
a spear, on his head.
"But he also had been hit on the head with an axe -
he's got a huge slice right through the top of his cranium," she said.
"So dispatched well and truly, I think you'd have to
Sydney's oldest skeleton
Dr McDonald says it's a very significant find.
"It's actually the oldest dated skeleton in Sydney -
it is the oldest body that we've actually dated," she said.
"And it is the earliest dating of this sort of social
practice, going back into times."
She says this is the earliest evidence yet of ritual
punishment among Indigenous Australians, dating back 4,000 years.
"It was the first time we found these tools in this
context for a start, but it's also 4,000 years old, which means it's much,
much older than we might have considered in terms of the social practices that
we were observing at contact," she said.
The skeleton has been dubbed Narrabeen Man after the suburb
he was found in, but Dr McDonald says that wasn't what the team had originally
"We originally called him the Octavia Man because he
was found on the corner of Octavia Street. But the British editor said, 'You
can't call a man Octavia!'" she said.
"So he being a classicist and us not being classicist,
Octavia's a Roman woman. So we weren't allowed to call him Octavia Man, so
we've had to call him the Narrabeen Man."
Dr McDonald says the find shows that important discoveries
can still be made in modern Australia.
"It is really important to keep understanding that
this intact archaeology is there, and these people put paths, bus shelters in
people's front yards and that archaeology can still give us these sorts of
stories, even 200 years after roads have been built, buses have been put in
and all the rest," she said.
And with the research now finished on the bones, Narrabeen
Man will be buried in Ku-ring-gai National Park in Sydney's north some time
all of the above compilation done on this site where Narrabeen man was found
(besides a modern bus shelter) only mentions of the remains of one man were
ever noted. However in a later write-up of the story (viewed in
2013 it states that remains of many more individuals were found there, i.e.:
- Skeletal remains of fourteen Indigenous people dated at 4000 bp [before the
present] are discovered during excavations for a bus shelter at Narrabeen.
They are the oldest skeletal remains so far located in the Sydney region. The
remains are put to rest at North Head. Among the skeletal material are 17
stone artefacts including back blades. One man appears to have been
ritually killed. Stone back blades, used as barbs on spears are found
inside his body. There is also an axe mark on the skull. (abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/2125690.htm)"
Re location of remains (cf. statements "Narrabeen
Man will be buried in Ku-ring-gai National Park in Sydney's north some time
next year" or "The
remains are put to rest at North Head", it was ascertained in June 2013
that the remains of Narrabeen Man are still at the University of Sydney.
Footprints - ABC documentary
the ABC documentary "First Footprints", shown on Sydney TV in July
2013, Allan Madden refers to the discovery as a Cadigal man found "under
a bus shed". Was it actually found "under" the bus
shelter? McDonald et al. (2007) actually does state "An
Aboriginal man done to death on the dunes 4000 years ago was recently
discovered during excavations beneath a bus shelter in Narrabeen .." and
"Excavation below a bus shelter in the beachside suburb of Narrabeen
in northern Sydney, south-eastern Australia, uncovered the articulated
skeletal remains of an adult Aboriginal male (estimated age 30-40
years)". In the documentary Jo also refers to when the death
happened as being with "sea level slightly higher" (cf. as
above - Paul
Willis: "Four thousand years ago, when Narrabeen man
was wandering around this area, sea levels were up to 1.5 m
higher" and in the 2007 paper "This date is
consistent with a high sea level stand on the NSW central coast (2-3m above
the present level) between 3700 to 3200 BP (Haworth et
and heritage consideration
bus stop excavation site was nominated to Council as local heritage, and some
signage was suggested. However, Warringah Council advised in
August 2013 that they would not progress this. This, it was said, was
because the (Metropolitan) Local Aboriginal Land Council did not want the 'Narrabeen
man' honoured in any way, nor any signage about him put up. The reason
for that was because they consider he must have done something terribly wrong
in order to have been speared to death. Council initially referred
to the site in correspondence as an "aboriginal burial" but it was
pointed out that all study of it to date had interpreted it as NOT a
becoming a National Park
Narrabeen National Park has been advocated for years and on
Lagoon has been made a state park, providing increased environmental
protections. Picture: Adam Ward
Source: News Corp Australia
Narrabeen Lagoon state park status to provide improved
- by: Andrew
- From: Manly
FRIENDS of Narrabeen Lagoon have hailed the waterway becoming a state
The NSW government announced yesterday that 4.7 million sq m covering the
lagoon and surrounding areas would be afforded the new status.
Becoming a state park would protect the lagoon’s its environmental,
tourism and recreation assets, the government stated.
The Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment was established in 2005 to
extend environmental protections for the lagoon catchment.
They have been campaigning for a state park to protect the area’s
environmental assets for nearly six years.
President Tony Carr said he and fellow supporters were rapt with the
“This is a joyous day. This is great news,” he said.
“This is the first signal we’ve had they’re serious about
preserving the remaining bushland around Narrabeen Lagoon.”
Mr Carr said the status would protect the area from further development,
which he said had already affected the lagoon.
The park does not cover sections of bushland Mr Carr’s organisation
originally wanted included, due to these areas being part of an aboriginal
Mr Carr said he hoped a national park under aboriginal control would be
established in these areas, and he would be satisfied with the protections
The move fulfils an election promise the O’Farrell government made
before the 2011 election.
Pittwater MP Rob Stokes, whose electorate contains the lagoon, said the
lagoon was more than worthy of the state park status.
“Narrabeen Lagoon is a valuable natural asset and we must ensure it’s
available for future generations to enjoy,” he said.
The lagoon will be the 18th state park established by the NSW government.
According to the government’s information website, state parks are
“truly a national treasure with stunning locations to relax and enjoy a
myriad of recreational activities.
FUTURE ... and reactions to debate on climate change and sea level rise
of what is in this webpage is detailing the past, or attempting
to. When it comes to the future, the Narrabeen area is of
special interest re climate change. How the Liberal party and its
leadership, especially Tony Abbot, has been greatly influenced by reading 'denialist'
literature on climate change has already been referenced near the commencement
of this webpage.
to Mr Abbott leading the Liberal party, and being Prime Minister, that same
role was carried out by Mr John Howard ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Howard
Abbot had read Dr Ian Plimer's book on climate change (Heaven and Earth),
which he considered a "very well-argued book" for refuting most of
the claims about man-made global warming, written by a "highly credible
scientist". Mr Howard by his own admission (The Sydney
Morning Herald of 7 November 2013, page NEWS-7) had only ever read one book on
climate change. This was "An Appeal to Reason: a Cool
Look at Global Warming" by Nigel Lawson ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Lawson
was a key proponent of Margaret
Thatcher's policy of privatisation
, keenly pursued Australia also by both Mr Howard and Mr Abbott.
Lawson contributed to the 2007 documentary film The
Great Global Warming Swindle then in 2008 followed that with his book
expanding on his 2006 lecture to the Centre
for Policy Studies, An
Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming. His book has been
criticised by the IPCC, and HM Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir
John Beddington, whio is reported to have told Lawson that he had
"incorrect" and "misleading" claims in the book ( Boffey,
Daniel - 27 March 2011 - Lord
Lawson's 'misleading' climate claims challenged by scientific adviser
same year, 2009, that Dr. Ian Plimeer published his "Heaven and
Earth" to further expose the great global warming 'fraud', Nigel Lawson
and others launched yet another right-wing think tank on the subject - the Global
Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).
stated aim of GWPF is to challenge "extremely damaging and harmful
policies" envisaged by governments to mitigate
warming. After Tony Abbott came to power in 2013 and abolished
the Australian Climate Change Commission, former PM John Howard addressed the
GWPF in November that year. Mr Howard related how he had used
Nigel Lawson's "...A Cool Look at Global Warming" when he was PM to
counter the advice being given to him by government departments to take
stronger mitigation action.
Mr Howard was repeatedly called a climate denier by the Labor party
(Opposition), Mr Howard did at one stage announce that he had been 'converted'
at last into believing in climate change. However, after his
speech to the GWPF ( http://www.spectator.co.uk/australia/australia-features/9071781/one-religion-is-enough
) , the editorial of the Sydney Morning Herald (7 November 2013) reflected
that what he'd told the Australian people, re seeming to have been converted
to a believer, was now to be seen as only an act of political convenience.
SMH editorial of 7 November 2013 wrote on how Mr Howard's talk at GWPF was
"another worrying sign of the dangerous groupthink among the most
influential Abbott govdernment advisers, mentors and spiritual guides.
Their behaviour and Abbott's silence on Howard's speech suggest they deny the
need for a decisive policy response to human-induced global warming
..... Howard is feeding a dangerous misinformation
presentation by Daylan Cameron in 2006. Similarly on
2010 ( "Coastal Erosion Emergency Action Plan Public
Forum", Long Reef Golf Club, 29 August 2010).
Cameron stated the above, that this is the area 3rd most at risk from coastal
processes in the nation at the 15th NSW Coastal Conference at Coffs Harbour
(7-9 November, 2006). Daylan had worked at Warringah
Council, and previous to that at Department of Land and Water Conservation,
and at Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust. He is now
Team Leader (Waters, Floodplains & Coast) at the Office of Environment and
global warming debate raged in headlines over a long period for years in
recent times, until by 2013 the controversy had largely died away in the major
the left wing of politics was more dedicated to "taking global warming
seriously" and the right wing more prone to deny it.
The latter were/are called "denialists" or "right wing
denialists", and they in turn labelled/label their opposites the
"alarmists" or "warmists" (and themselves
2013 the right won politically and abolished the Climate Commission (Federal)
and in NSW greatly downsized (by about 2/3rd the number of public servants
working to communicate on climate change and work on ways of addressing it.
anti-orthodox think tanks vary right through to ones saying that increased CO2
and global warming are excellent things, making for a greener
earth. There are many thousands of discussions on all this
easily found with Google. One example runs:
Listening to the global warming alarmists, one would think that man-made
CO2 emissions are threatening the globe. But that’s speculation. Let’s
deal in reality. And the reality, according to Australian research, is that
in this era of higher carbon concentrations, plant life in dry regions has
The greening of the deserts is due to the “fertilization effect” — the
impact carbon dioxide has on plant life.
So, thanks to Steve my interest in this phenomena was rekindled and I did
some more searching. I found this
source quoting from the Australian Research Council and Land
& Water Australia.
Thanks to satellites we know the world has “greened up” since 1980,
but we were not sure how much of that was due to the fertilizing effect of
CO2. To solve that, one group suggests we need to look in warm arid
environments where water is the predominant limiting factor. These are the
areas which ought to show whether CO2 was really helping plants grow,
because when there is more CO2 it enables plants to use water more
efficiently for photosynthesis. In places where there is already a lot of
water, it won’t make as much difference. So Donohue et al. did that,
studying regions with a low level of rainfall. They found that the
fertilization effect is real and significant and that the cover in these
arid zones increased 11% from 1982 – 2010 and CO2 played a
This article has a detailed explanation of the modeling technique used by
the scientist and how they allowed for differentiating for rainfall effects
and other climate variables. This is the summary paragraph:
“The effect of higher carbon dioxide levels on plant function is an
important process that needs greater consideration,” said Donohue. “Even
if nothing else in the climate changes as global CO2 levels
rise, we will still see significant environmental changes because of the CO2 fertilization
So, although CO2 concentrations have been increasing and have recently
reached the threshold of 400 ppm, those claiming all kinds of calamities
because of projected global warming due to the increased levels of carbon
dioxide have some explaining to do since it is now known that so-called global
warming stopped 16 years ago while CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere
continued to increase.
Isn’t it ironic that the so-called “green house gas” is doing what
green houses do: create an environment to make plants grow!
I also found an interesting article at Skeptical
Science. There have been other eras in the earth’s history when CO2
levels were much higher than they are today. You would expect, if you believe
the proponents of global warming that the earth heated up then too, right?
Look at this:
CO2 was higher in the past
“The killer proof that CO2 does not drive climate is
to be found during the Ordovician- Silurian and the Jurassic-Cretaceous
periods when CO2 levels were greater than 4000ppmv (parts per
million by volume) and about 2000 ppmv respectively. If the IPCC theory
is correct there should have been runaway greenhouse induced global warming
during these periods but instead there was glaciation.”
Lavoisier Group referred to (with "Proof that CO2 is not the Cause of the
Current Global Warming" by Ian C McClintock), website http://www.lavoisier.com.au/index.php
, is the best known organisation based in Australia which promotes scepticism
of current scientific
consensus on global warming. The group was founded in April
2000 by former Finance Minister Peter
Walsh and others, and strongly supported by Hugh
Morgan of Western Mining. Walsh had served as Minister
for Resources and Energy from 1983 to 1984 and Finance
Minister from 1984 to 1990. He has strong right-wing
market and for limiting government. He is particularly critical of
any form of environmentalism. Clive
Hamilton (director of The
Australia Institute) identified Walsh as one the climate change sceptics
with most influence over Australian
Government policy. Walsh and others at Lavoisier claim that
many scientists choose to endorse prevailing theories of global warming in
order to protect their research funding, as was the subject of the book
Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists,
Politicians, and the Media by Patrick
Michaels. Clive Hamilton in his book
"Scorcher" states that one can find the following arguments in the
various papers promoted by the Lavoisier Group:
- There is no evidence of global warming.
- If there is evidence of global warming, then
it is not due to human activity.
- If global warming is occurring and it is due
to human activity, then it is not going to be damaging.
- If global warming is occurring and it is due
to human activity, and it is going to be damaging, then the costs of
avoiding it are too high, so we should do nothing.
July 2013, Quadrant published "The Age of Global Warming is Over" by
Paul Collits. Collits wrote: "Climate change is no longer
flavour of the month .. It just doesn't get talked about so much, or at least
not in the same way". He predicted (accurately as it
turned out) how in Australia there would be more cuts, and "climate
policy will be the first to go".
all a load of rubbish", Collits believes. Two well known
Australian geologists had been saying that for years - and going even further
to say it was the greatest hoax or faud ever perpetrated in human
Collits' article in Quadrant (July-August 2103, pp. 30-33) is of similar theme
to Robert Darwall's book "The Age of Global Warming: A History".
Those who write publications like this largely have links to business and
development bodies, or think-tanks largely funded by the same. The
work of the think tanks is disseminated through many channels, including
journalists and radio commentators ('shock jocks'), some with very wide popular
followings. These include Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Chris Smith,
Jason Morrison, Piers Akerman, Nick Cater, Janet Albrechtsen, Paul Sheehan,
Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Tim Blair, Miranda Devine, Howard Sattler, Gary
Hardgrave, on and on, in print and on radio. For most of them, climate
change is a political issue, and anyone who doesn't scoff at the science is a
Their effect in undermining the "official" views
about global warming was increasingly evident by 2010. At that time 111
countries surveyed surveyed by Gallup showed a substantial decrease in the
number of 'believers'. In the US, a little over half the
population (53%) now viewed it as a serious concern, being 10% below the
2008 poll (63%). That global poll did find that people are more likely
to attribute global warming to human activities than to natural causes, except
in the USA where nearly half (47%) of the population attributed global warming
to natural causes. Polls, as widely known, yield different results
according to how the questions are phrased, yet recent Australian polls also
demonstrated falling belief in the "orthodox" position on global
warming and what to do about it.
scientists, however, do not share the view that all this is the biggest hoax
in history. Many follow the "orthodox science" views
that since the early 20th century, Earth's mean surface temperature has
increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), with about two-thirds of the
increase occurring since 1980. That the primary cause is from
anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gases is accepted by numerous nations and
national science academies. Especially from the 1990s onwards in the
United States, the business-funded think tanks were mobilized to undermine, or
cast doubt upon, the legitimacy of global warming as a social problem. These
challenge the scientific theory and evidence, and many also argue that global
warming it if did occur would be a very good thing, rather than doing
best as is know, local councils in NSW do little or no independent research of
their own on climate change or global warming. They act on
top-down information and directives from the State Government.
Seeing global warming should cause sealevel rise, the coastal councils
are - at least nominally - all preparing to cope with this.
Morning Herald, 3 November 2013
Coast protection costs rise with
Eroded sand: Ashleigh Smith (left) and Michaela
Norris play at City Beach, Wollongong. Photo: Sylvia Liber
Sydney councils and the state government are facing a multibillion-dollar
bill to strengthen and maintain sea walls around the harbour and beaches in
the face of rising sea levels.
But despite the threat to low-lying areas, housing densities are increasing
in high-risk areas. New developments are being constructed in areas that
depend on sea walls around Manly lagoon, at Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay and
along the Parramatta River.
If the 82-centimetre rise in the sea level predicted by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is realised by 2100, coastal
developments the length of the NSW coast will be at risk.
In Sydney, the hundreds of kilometres of walls around the harbour will
become increasingly vulnerable to stronger wave action in deeper water. These
waves can scour out the footings and cause ''overtopping'', when waves slop
over a retaining wall and erode it from behind.
The threat comes not just from seawater advancing onto land. Sydney
Coastal Councils executive director Geoff Withycombe said higher sea levels
are likely to raise the water table and alter the flow of stormwater into the
This has been a concern during the approval process for the Kiaora Lands
development at Double Bay.
After a series of dramatic storms, home owners in beach areas such as Byron
Bay, Collaroy and Narrabeen are in a pitched battle with nature to protect
their multimillion-dollar homes.
But Mr Withycombe said the concept of encouraging individuals to attempt to
fortify themselves in vulnerable areas, both coastal and within the harbour,
is not sustainable in the longer term.
''We must ensure we stop building in current and future hazardous areas,''
An idea of the cost involved in sea wall remediation can be gleaned from
the work being completed in the Royal Botanic Garden. The historic sandstone
Farm Cove sea wall, built between 1830 and 1860, was mostly rebuilt in the
But a 200-metre section of the wall is now being painstakingly
disassembled. New, state-of-the-art concrete footings are being inserted
before the numbered stones are replaced, at a cost of $8.6 million.
Nevertheless, this work is not necessarily going to keep the garden safe
from rising sea levels. ''The wall is designed with penetrations in it every
15 to 20 metres and at king tides the sea runs into the gardens,'' acting
director of horticultural operations Brad Horan said.
''After heavy storms, water also runs out of the garden into the harbour.
It's not meant to be a dam or a dyke,'' he said.
Sea walls are largely the responsibility of councils, but the Sydney
Harbour Foreshore Authority looks after them in Cockle Bay, Dawes Point, a
small section of Circular Quay, Pyrmont and Ballast Point, and has suspended
structures at Darling Harbour and Pyrmont.
The state government's Roads and Maritime Services also has some
responsibility, while some are on private property.
Engineering consultant Doug Lord, who ran the coastal and estuary
management programs for the NSW government for a decade, said: ''I don't think
anyone has a total figure for the extent and maintenance cost of sea walls in
the harbour, let alone what state they are in.''
Mr Withycombe said the community needed to fully understand the
consequences of building sea walls - both the upfront cost and the continuing
costs - as well as the fact that building a wall can sometimes just deflect
wave energy elsewhere.
''We simply can't afford - socially, environmentally or economically - to
build sea walls everywhere,'' he said.
He said the state government, in partnership with councils, needs to start
having meaningful engagement with coastal communities, preferably with some
Mr Lord predicted it will take storms on the scale of 1974 to really jolt
people into facing the problem. ''Fortunately, we have time to deal with
rising sea levels but the cost will only increase over time,'' he said.
A spokesman for Manly council, Chris Parsons, said the council provided
maps on its website on areas that were vulnerable to inundation to help
residents and developers.
the need to start having meaningful engagement with coastal communities - has
this commenced at Narrabeen?
it has. Council is known to have started various informational
program. However, rntering < sealevel > in the search box at
Council's homepage ( http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au
) yields ZERO finds. Entering < sea level > in the search
box similarly finds nothing about sea level.
does have a coast zone management policy ( http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/general-information/coastal-erosion/cncoastlinemanagementplan.pdf
is subheaded "A Coastline Hazards Policy - Plan of
Management". The project director for that study and
plan was Ms Erica Griffiths.
was Senior Policy Officer at Warringah Council in 1995-1997, then General
Manager (Australasia) at An Mea in 2001-2008, then became EFG Consulting.
this plan was formulated there was relatively little publicity being given to
global warming and sealevel rise.
it does get a mention. On page 5 of the report it does mention
that the situation is "expected to deteriorate into the future due to
Greenhouse induced climatic changes and predicted rises in sea level".
website currently (2013) announces that it is revising the Coastal Zone
Management Plan for Collaroy-Narrabeen and Fishermans Beach, and that "many
people have asked; "will a seawall be built?".
seawalls in fact already exist along Collaroy-Narrabeen. Most of them
are sloping rock walls on private property. Some were built at
times of severe erosion, to arrest such. These 'old' walls are usually
only visible after major storms.
future of seawalls will be determined by the Coastal Zone Management Plan.
opposed a sea wall for Narrabeen Beach and organised, in 2002, a protest of
about 3,000 people against it. Brendan Donohoe, chairman of the
local branch of the Surfrider Foundation, said the sea wall being proposed by
Warringah Council to prevent beach erosion reaching houses and units on dunes
along Pittwater Road would dump 85,000 tonnes of sandstone on the beach, at a
cost of $12 million. "Sea walls do nothing to ensure the
ongoing conservation of the beach in front of them," he said.
"Worldwide experience shows us they actively destroy it" ( http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/17/1037490053904.html
Council was asked if they understood why the Surfrider Foundation was opposing
a seawall for Narrabeen Beach, or if they knew what any of the 'wordwide
experience' or research or model might be that the Surfrider Foundation was
influenced by. However, nothing was know. The same
query to the Surfrider Foundation also produced nothing.
residents opposed to seawall, 2002. ( Photo: Nick Moir )
opinion varies on what is best to do. The above is a
demonstration against a 2002 Council proposal for a
seawall. Over 550 submissions were made. The vast
majority objected to a seawall.
Warringah Council continued thinking of a seawall - but acknowledged that this
was not popular with the community. Council in 2003 resolved not
to proceed with a large seawall (after getting over 550 submissions on the
matter, the majority of which were opposed to a seawall).
March 2013 the matter was re-visited with the issue by
Council of a new "Discussion Paper" for revamping the coastzone
management plan. This stated that Haskoning
Australia Pty Ltd, a company of Royal HaskoningDHV,
had been engaged as consultant. Their team included:
engineers Peter Horton and Greg Britton from Haskoning Australia; Angus Gordon
from Coastal Zone Management and Planning (coastal engineer and former General
Manager of Pittwater Council);
* a planner, Sue
Francis from City Plan;
* a lawyer, Neil
Howie from Wilshire Webb Staunton Beattie;
* an economist,
Nara Crowe from Ernst & Young;
* an ecologist,
Jennie Powell from Eco Logical Australia; and
engagement consultants Brendan Blakeley and Vicky Critchley from Elton
paper stated "The
risk of damage to public and private development from coastal erosion has been
reduced as a result of past construction of protective works (in particular
seawalls) at many locations in the study area. These works include the
vertical sandstone seawall near Collaroy SLSC, and sloping rock seawalls along
the southern part of Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach. In general, the sloping rock
walls are buried under sand, but they can become significantly exposed after
erosive storms (see example below). Dune reconstruction and revegetation along
the northern part of Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach has also reduced risk to
beach nourishment work the discussion paper states "Council currently
undertakes opportunistic beach nourishment when sand excavated from building
sites becomes available. In the last 10 years or so, about 50,000 tonnes of
sand in total has been added to Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach in this manner.
To add a sufficient quantity of sand to Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach so that
seawalls would be unnecessary to protect development and the seawalls could be
removed (so-called “massive” beach nourishment), in the order of
2,600,000m3 (4,200,000 tonnes) of sand would be required to provide initial
protection (with ongoing sand required to replenish sand loss over
time). Initial costs would be in the order of $130 million using
land-based sand sources. Even using cheaper offshore sand sources (which
currently cannot be accessed under NSW legislation) the costs would still be
prohibitive (in the order of $65 million). Massive beach nourishment
would lead to more frequent and prolonged closure of the Narrabeen Lagoon
entrance. This would have significant adverse impacts on lagoon flooding,
water quality, ecology and recreation. Ultimately, this may lead to
consideration of the construction of a groyne (structure extending
perpendicular to the beach into the water) at the lagoon entrance to capture
sand, which itself would have impacts on beach amenity, swimming and surfing
conditions. However, in the future (if funding and sand sources become
available), there may be the opportunity to undertake “moderate” sand
nourishment in order to reduce the time that seawalls are exposed and
major sand addition already done to the beach zone was the North Narrabeen
(Birdwood Park) dune, north of North Narrabeen SLSC. That area was
artificially created in 1975, using about 100,000m3 of sand removed from the
Narrabeen Lagoon entrance. Before that time, this area was
unvegetated and was relatively low.
In major coastal
storms in 1974, the low dune was overtopped by waves. Wave action then damaged
the area in the vicinity of the Ocean Street bridge. Rocks were also washed up
to 40m into the caravan park adjacent to Narrabeen Lagoon. The dune was
built in 1975 to reduce the risk of this happening again. The
North Narrabeen dune has grown naturally since its creation in 1975, mainly
through trapping of windblown sand moving onshore.
Some of the
surfers have been long stating that aeolian buildup of the North Narrabeen
dune has been depleting sand from offshore sand banks, thereby detracting from
surfing quality at North Narrabeen. An article like this think, is
DAILY, 21 June 2012: Surfrider board member Brendan Donohoe said the
wave at North Narrabeen was at risk from the beach's oversized dune whose
vegetation growth locked up sand, impacting the ocean sand bank and changing
wave patterns. The dune, which is believed to have grown from about 2m
in the 1970s, to more than 7m, also restricted the Narrabeen Lagoon from
flushing during dry periods and reduced water quality, he said. Last
night surfing identities including two-time world champion Damien Hardman,
Laura Enever, Ozzie Wright, Jaymes Triglone, Martin Lynch, Simon Anderson and
Terry Fitzgerald attended the launch of the campaign, which is aimed at
focusing attention on the waves in Australia. Hardman grew up in North
Narrabeen and has surfed there for more than 30 years. "North
Narrabeen has always had a reputation for having the most consistent and best
quality break in Sydney," he said. "It's still good in the corner of
North Narrabeen, but when I was a kid there was good waves along the whole
stretch of the beach." Enever, who has surfed there for about 10
years, said she wanted to help to preserve the quality of the break. "We
want our kids and grandkids to be able to surf here," Enever said.
"We love North Narrabeen and want to protect it and keep its legacy
going." Warringah Council has already been under pressure to reduce
the size of the sand dune from surf lifesavers who can't see the beach from
their clubhouse office. The North Narrabeen Coalition, which represents
North Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club, Boardriders Club and Surfrider, has
said the council's plans to reduce the dunes to about 7m as part of its draft
masterplan, did not go far enough. Mr Donohoe said the council should
investigate the use of a rapid sand pumping system. "We don't want
to lose our breaks by burying them in sand," he said. "It's almost
impossible to re-create a great surfbreak."
this just local "lore", or a hunch, or does anyone have any definite
evidence on any of this? Once again the Council was enquired to
and asked did it think it understood what the surfers might have in mind as to
coastal processes and any relationship between dune and offshore sand causing
the wave break. It seems it once again did not.
Contrary to the expressed idea that the dune captures (and fixes) sand blown
off the beach, and eventually from offshore, thereby reducing offshore sand
banks is the following idea. Without the dune it might be that there'd
be faster transport of sand into the Lagoon and relatively less sand left in
the beach and surf zone area than occurs with the dune present. It
was also asked what was this 'masterplan' that the article
mentioned. The reply was that the masterplan referred to was the
"North Narrabeen Beach Masterplan".
Discussion Paper stated: "Comments on this Discussion Paper are
encouraged on our website warringah.nsw.gov.au . At this site, you are
also able to sign up to receive further updates as the project progresses such
as notification of upcoming community forums and information
sessions." (It is not easy to find though ... ).
"North Narrabeen Beach Masterplan" which Council advised the surfers
were talking about in 2012, Council contracted UNSW's Water Research
Laboratory to advise on that and some of the advice was "The Birdwood
Park dunes have grown significantly since 1951 (Figure 3.2). A substantial
increase in dune height occurred in the wake of the 1974 storm
event". The Laboratory (report signed by G. P. Smith, Manager
- but see mention of J. Carley below)
presumably was not aware that the 'growth' after the 1974 storm was sand
placement by the Council? [Water Research Laboratory Ref: 11099.01
DSR:JTC:ED P20120309, dated 9 March 2012.]
Council had engaged a panel of
independent experts, which it stated to be:
Angus Gordon , a leading
coastal planner and engineer, is currently identifying the key aspects of
wave, water and land interaction occurring along the Collaroy-Narrabeen
James Carley, a senior coastal
engineer at UNSW Water Research Laboratory, is conducting a detailed analysis
of the sand dunes within the project area including the history and likely
continuing movement of sand along the beach that will need to be considered
within any option or plan.
Jennie Powell, a senior
environmental consultant with Ecological Australia, is currently researching
existing and potential flora and fauna issues which will need to be managed or
mitigated by the masterplan.
Exhibition of the North
Narrabeen Beach Reserve and Birdwood Park Masterplan was in 2012 and there
were presumably submissions received. However, no individual submissions
were found on the Council website (only an account of the "Stage one
community consultation"). A community meeting was held
on Monday 5 December 2011, between 7pm and 9pm at the North Narrabeen Surf
Life Saving Club. About 48 people attended the meeting. The
record of that meeting stated that "As the presentations progressed it
became apparent that many of the participants were highly anxious about what
the master planning project would include. As a consequence of
significant questions and discussion during the meeting, the format remained
as presentations, questions and answers". The meeding did not
move into a workshop as had been intended. The main issue and
concern recorded from participants, particularly the members of the
"North Narrabeen Coalition" (a group of surfing bodies and some
local residents), included "the build-up and height of the sand
dunes", specifically the Birdwood Park dune. Another meeting
was held with the North Narrabeen Coalition on 9 February 2012, attended by 12
coalition members and staff from Council, Straight Talk and the Water Research
public record of the Master-planning shows that ideas were divided. Some
wanted the dunes to remain as is, apart from weed removal, to protect from
king tides. Others wanted sand removal, to lower dune
height. Some believed that dune height had affected surfing
conditions but there was also comment that dunes have no effect on surfing
conditions. It is recorded that "many comments were received
expressing concern about the height and vegetation of the dunes in Birdwood
Park" but few of these are made available verbatim.
the submissions to the exhibited masterplan have not been seen it is known
that most of the submissions from the public exhibition process strongly
advocated that the main issue that needs to be addressed is the lowering of
the height of the dunes both in front of and to the north of the surf club,
and that no other work needs to be done to the area. The Masterplan did
not recommend and large scale lowering of the Birdwood Park dune.
The North Narrabeen Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation in fact both
strongly opposed the exhibited Masterplan. Some 105 Submissions
were received. Approximately 60% of the submissions opposed the plan on
the basis of there being not enough emphasis on reducing the height of the
dunes, a further 15% opposed the plan for various other reasons, and 10%
wanted the area left as it was. Less than 10% of submissions were
supportive of the Masterplan.
the belief that a tall dune protects the area behind it would be widely held
and was why Council constructed a taller dune here in the first
place. This was confirmed in the community consultation
thus: "best defence against large swells denuding the beach is to
have a lot of sand in the fore dune - it provides a storage of sand that gets
picked up and moved into the waves to make a sand bank, which helps reduce the
wave energy hitting the beach and reduces the ongoing erosion power of the
clear exposition of the belief that dune height had adversely affected surf
break was looked for but not found in available online
documentation. It is known that the The Surfrider Foundation
submission stated that the Birdwood Park dune should be immediately reduced in
mass and the sand shifted into the beach system to improve beach safety and
"surf quality". Query to Council about why the
Foundation might think this would improve surf quality did not find that the
Council had any idea of this, nor could such be found from search of material
at the Surfrider Foundation's "endangered wave campaign".
individual's similar comment found on the web is by Michael Zaracostas,
at 2 Aug 2012: "Just wait a few more years and all will see
the dangers of disregarding the NSW Planning manual on dune management
"Coastal Dune Management". Not only on the northern beaches but all
along the coastline where the introduced dune vegetation exists in the wrong
places, too close to the shoreline. Natural erosion happens for a reason.
Because of the introduced vegetation, the sand now blows into that vegetation
and stays there, trapped. It comes from the beach which is washed ashore from
the offshore banks. The sand that washes up the beach now can't wash back into
the water like it's supposed to, the vegetation has trapped it. We end up with
a surplus of sand onshore with a deficit of sand offshore. Very dangerous
stuff! We might have created dunes but we have created an imbalance in a very
complicated dynamic system. You can have your man made dunes, Ill stick with
what's natural thanks."
Narrabeen is renowned as one of the great surf breaks of the world some
state. The large triangle of white water to the left of the headland in
the aerial photo below is said to illustrate why.
lake emptying into the sea here creates a deep channel (known as shark alley)
that is seen as a line of dark green water leading to the apex of the
triangle. This is instrumental in forming the sand bank that creates this
classic break. Long Reef about 4 miles to the south hooks onto the
southerly swells and directs them towards North Narrabeen. The deep water off
shore allows these swells to finally break with more power than most beaches
in the area" ( http://members.ozemail.com.au/~russo/tour/narrabeen.html
) (also at http://www.seaaustralia.com.au/Sydney%20Surfing.php
- original source unknown).
'explanation' runs thus:
THE WAVES BREAK AS THEY DO?
THE North Narrabeen surf breaks
are a product of waves, rocks and sand, assisted by the inlet of the Narrabeen
Waves arrive all along the
Sydney coast, so what’s special about North Narrabeen? The Alley is
located to the south of the headland and rock platform and, if you check out
the seafloor under the break, you will see the rock shelf continues seaward
with a thin covering of sand delivered by the Alley rip, created by the lagoon
The big Alley Left first peaks
on a rock/reef further offshore, then forms on the rock shelf in line with the
exposed rock platform. This is why it peaks much further out than the beach
breaks. The Alley breaks over rock and requires the right wave from the east
through northeast, which is why it is so consistent - the rock is always there
- just add swell.
The Alley Lefts follow the edge
of the sloping rock shelf, only terminating or closing out when it reaches the
The Alley Rights are assisted
by the lagoon inlet and the permanent rip which flows out next to the the
pool, which provides easy access to the break. This flow of water scours the
sand to maintain a deeper channel into which the Alley Rights can break,
sometimes to the northern end of the beach.
Carpark Rights are a beach
break assisted by a rip south of The Alley Left, which tends to flow out at an
angle across the surf zone in front of the surf club. This rip scours out the
channel into which the Carpark Rights break. The deeper the channel, the
better the Carpark Rights, with the best developed rips and channels usually
forming during big seas with the rights persisting for a few days following.
The Bombie is all rock reef.
Located seaward from the Carpark Rights in deeper water, it starts breaking
with 3 metres of swell. Again, the Alley rip at the northern end of the beach
provides access to the Bombie during big seas.
When all is combined, this 400m
long section of beach has two lefts and three rights which can hold anything
from south to northeast swell and from 1 to 5m of swell. The Alley, being
rock-based, works whenever the swell is right. The Bombie, also rock only,
works in occasional big swells. The Carpark Rights is more fickle.
The Alley Lefts - is the main
surf area and is considered the most consistent break on the East Coast of
Australia. There is both a left and right break. Both of high quality,
the left regarded as world class. During east to north swells and northeast to
southwest winds the left forms a long, hollow, powerful wave up to 250 metres
long and holding up to 10 feet.
The Alley Rights,
or Shark Alley, works in south to east swells and northeast to southwest
winds. It also forms long, hollow, powerful waves that can either barrel or be
a long, walling right depending on the banks and conditions.
( SEE: North Narrabeen
National Surfing Reserve - http://www.surfingreserves.org/pdf/North%20Narrabeen%20NSR%20Booklet.pdf
had stated that the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan, which should bear
further on the matter, would be exhibited
during November 2013.
Narrabeen-Collaroy Beach has
been monitored by scientists since 1976. Apparently there are no
local sea level markers (or gauging) at Narrabeen that can affirm the stated
9cm of sea level change over the last 30 years. It has had no
obvious effect as yet. Monitoring records suggest little or no
overall change, but reveal large variability as sand is swept away in storms
and then slowly returns. There have been beach width change by as
much as 80m. Professor Ian Turner of the UNSW Water Research
Laboratory has been studying the beach changes over this period.
1 - Accumulating chronology for Edward Giles Strone
following is what was learned of Mr Stone by 2009. By now (2013)
there is likely to be more available. Any substantial
corrections/additions will be noted in red.
E.G. Stone was born somewhere in Sydney, the exact year seemingly uncertain?
[or at least not yet known to me ...]
He was the son of John Jasper Stone, a practicing Civil Engineer, and mother
He served a cadetship with his father, then worked for the Roads and Bridges
Branch of the Public Works Department for about seven years.
After that he joined the Sewerage Construction Department.
Three years later, in 1900, he joined the newly formed Sydney Harbour Trust as
their Chief Design Engineer.
In 1907 he entered private practice and promoted his services as a
"Consulting Engineer and Structural Architect, specialising in Reinforced
In 1909 he applied for a patent for 'improvements relating to storage
chambers' such as silos, using precast concrete plates with integral edge
He set up a precasting plant somewhere at Emu Plains NSW for the manufacture
of reinforced concrete houses, silos, water troughs, etc.
One of his ?pre-fabs of that time still stands at 2 Railway Street, Emu
In 1912 he entered partnership with Ernest J. Siddeley and that firm began to
In it Stone was the driving force on the design side, while Siddeley acted as
project manager who had hands-on superision of the works contracts the company
The company adopted the Considère system for reinforcing concrete and they
produced some remarkable buildings and structures using this - such as the
Dennys Lascelles Austin wool store (Geelong), the Barwon Sewerage Aqueduct,
the big barge (later acting at pontoons for Circular Quay passenger wharfs),
the Breakwater at Glenelg, the concrete structures of the Mortlake Gas Works,
Stone proposed to the Australian government to begin building ships of
"The Argus" of Friday 8 June 1917 (page 6) reported the proposal of
Stone's to construct a fleet of concrete ships. The paper reported "Mr.
E.G. Stone, of Messrs. Stone and Siddeley, engineers and contractors, had put
before the Prime Minister a proposal to construct a 4,000 ton concrete vessel
within seven months, and "after that, if the work is organised on a large
enough scale, to maintain an output of one similar vessel a week".
The proposal stated "The vessels would be built of concrete, with a
framework of steel bars, which can easily be obtained. Messrs. Thompson
Brothers, of Castlemaine, and other engineering firms have offered to supply
the necessary engines within the specified time. They will be internal
combustion engines, of the semi-Diesel type, and the vessels will be capable
of a speed of 10 knots an hour. A greater speed could be attained, but it
would not justify the expense. The vessels will be purely cargo-carriers, of
course. My firm has offered to back my opinion that the vessels will be
seaworthy and satisfactory, by a guarantee of £10,000, and
Messrs Thompson Brothers will back their engines".
The envisaged concrete ships never happened. And Stone and Siddeley company
was moreover washed into financial ruination by bad stormy weather that made
their Glenelg Breakwater attempt a costly failure.
Stone then became one of the founders of Tasmanian Cement Pty Ltd in 1922
(later renamed the Goliath Cement Company).
The initial plant was to be near Hobart but Stone became interested in the
Railton site because of nearby oil shale. He formulated an invention to
use the exhaust gases from the cement kiln to distil oil from the oil
shale. Erection of plant began in late 1923 or early 1924.
That never happened either .. Stone's daring? or innovative idea to co-produce
cement and shale oil apparently never worked, and with it he almost sent the
Near broke by 1924, Tasmanian Cement persuaded Dorman and Long (who had
secured the contract to build the Sydney harbour bridge) to take up shares in
the venture .. and Stone was eased out.
Stone was first asked to resign as Managing Director, then the new Board
(including L Ennis of Dorman and Long) next voted to sack Stone as
construction engineer. The company then ditched Stone's shale oil dream and
the cement plant was converted from would-be oil firing back to more
conventional pulverised coal firing. It then produced its firsst cement, in
Stone then moved north and built a cement works at Port Kembla.
That works also seems to have never been successful and never produced cement,
and presumably the investors lost their all.
There is the booklet "Swept under the Carpet - A History of a Failed
Cement Works Project at Port Kembla" by Don Reynolds (Illawarra
Historical Society Wollongong 2003) which describes this plant. According to
this booklet it seems that he convinced investors that he could make cheap
cement from shellgrit and clay. The shellgrit was to be separated from a
the coast made up of ca. 50% shellgrit and 50% quartz sand.
Don Reynolds states in his booklet: "There has been a great deal of
speculation that the project was in fact a major confidence trick."
After that Mr Stone moved still further north, to land he bought at the mouth
of Deep Creek, Narrabeen Lagoon.
There he began building the "Never Been Beaten Lime & Cement
Buildings dig go up, as certain old photos show, and a large concrete dam was
constructed to provide a water supply for the plant. But what it produced is
in doubt - and I doubt it ever produced any cement(?).
Today if you can park your car near the bridge over Deep Creek, look in the
bushes immediately besides the busy Wakehurst Parkway (on western side of the
creek) and you'll find a big round cylinder with geared teeth on the periphery
[link now defunct] )
This is a rotary kiln ... as used for roasting the clinker that is then ground
And here is a view inside it: http://www.lachlanhunter.deadsetfreestuff.com/JB/deep-ck-rot-kiln.jpg
[link now defunct]
I presume that this is the kiln he must have transported to there from Port
Kembla .. but from the pristine-looking insides it rather looks to have never
seen active service ??
Some time after this Stoney must have died .. no cement ever flowed into
cement bags for sale, to fulfill his vision.
Whilst there (at Deep Creek) he also experimented with some odd things, like
miniature concrete submarines .. this is know because the remains of one such
strange construction were found lying there (but it no longer exists because
some vandal smashed it up). [Probably he was experimenting with possible
money-making ideas, he hoped, to offer presumably to the 'War Department'? ...
something else he was working on there is thought to have been a 'submersible
anti-aircraft gun platform', also made of concrete.
Very odd things indeed .. was he by then going slightly bonkers or was he just
exceptionally innovative in his thoughts?]
So a fair bit of the man's career is known .. and is still being researched.
However exactly what he did at Emu Plains, or where his first works there were
located, is not known.
There is also known to have once been some interest in shale oil in Emu Plains
or district .. but that is probably just coincidental, with no likely
connection to Mr Stone.
The big old rotary kiln relic at Deep Creek today sits as a silent memorial to
a ?gifted man who tried to make cement and failed .. at Tasmania, then again
at Port Kembla, and for the last time at Narrabeen.
His ventures into actually making cement were unorthodox and
unsuccessful. In the years he and Siddeley just 'used' cement, to make
concrete structures, good success and profit was had .. and the Emu Plains
plant, wherever it was, was part of that phase.
[Stoney's last stand at cement making, at Deep Creek, is being researched by
an industrial archaeologist, funded by the Wahringah Council, and a thorough
write-up of it all should become available in the Local Studies library there
some time. Nobody has yet looked intently for his Emu Plains roots.]
present writer has still to see a booklet that has researched about Mr Stone's
Port Kembla cement plant (a failure by all accounts).
Stone's hope of making cement using shells at Narrabeen Lagoon has been
discussed at a number of online discussion groups and the following comment
was made by a chemical engineer who was Technical Manager at Blue Circle
Southern Cement and familiar with all aspects of cement making from the
quarries (limestone & shale) through to clinkering in kilns, grinding of
the product, cement marketing and cement use in concrete. His firm
opinion was that Stone could never have made cement with the raw
materials available near the site or from anywhere within 150 km
distance. From the shell grit analyses in Don Reynolds
little booklet about Stone's plant at Port Kembla, and others sources,
the calcium oxide content is not sufficiently high to make cement. At
Port Kembla, Stone would have had to add some high grade limestone from
Marulan as a supplement. It seems doubtful if BHP would have allowed him
to do that seeing they had an investment in the Southern Portland Cement works
at Berrima. This is assuming:
1) target CaCO3 in raw mix say 80%, 2) clay slip in mix (to promote liquid
phase in clinkering) 6% with zero CaCO3), 3)shell grit say 50% CaCO3 and 50%
SiO2 4) Marulan limestone 93% CaCO3 - The Marulan (or similar) limestone might
end up having to be something like 76% of the mix. In those terms
it all seems very obviously a totally uneconomic venture. The No. 3
shell grit figures could be improved if Stone went after coarser shell only
and purified it considerable - but how much quantity of that could be
available at Narrabeen Lagoon? At the online discussion lists where Mr
Stone's work has been discussed there has been insufficient detailed evidence
of this thoughts/plans presented to judge between the tentative opinions which
persons have formed of it all ( intuitive innovator, 'conman' [as the main
writer about his Port Kembla works seems to have thought], wild optimist or
just delusional [perhaps more so as time went on?].
MISCELLEANEA - The creature of Narrabeen Lagoon
Mabel Walsh was driving home with her nephew
John when she saw the strange creature walk out of the lake and into nearby
"It was a bit over 4-feet tall, with dark grey, tough leathery skin, like
an elephant’s. It had small front legs and walked on its hind
legs, which were thick and round like an elephant’s… I didn’t notice a
tail or ears, but it had small eyes and smaller front legs or arms. Its
head reminded me of an ant eater’s. Its trunk was rigid, squared off at the
end and stuck down and out at an angle.
"It had a strange shuffling walk, but was quite fast. It shocked me. It
was a peculiar looking thing. I’ve never seen anything like it.
We saw it only for a few seconds."
Mrs Walsh - "Call me a nut
if you will but there's a strange creature in Narrabeen Lakes."
"During 1971 a lady was awoken by a
terrible gurgling noise but saw nothing. Two fishermen in a boat, saw
something by the light of a kerosene lamp. It had a trunk like an
elephant and was walking on the water with its back legs. It was
described as being grey in colour".
Curl Curl embayment (another barred lagoon) - http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5737284/curl-curl.htm
Butterworth, McCann, 1980. Deep Creek catchment
Cameron, D.W., Morris, B.D.,
Collier, L., and Mackenzie, T., 2007. Management and monitoring of
an ICOLL entrance clearance. 16th NSW Coastal Conference Papers.
Clarke, M.N. and Malone, J.D. ,
Beaches. Coastal process hazard definition study. NSW Public Works
Department, Coastal Branch, 1987. PWD Report No. 87040.
CLT, 2006. Narrabeen Lagoon Entrance Clearance Review
of Environmental Factors. Prepared for Warringah Council by Cardno Lawson
Treloar Pty Ltd.
CLT, 2007. Narrabeen Lagoon Entrance Clearance
Operation Post Completion Report. Prepared for Warringah Council by Cardno
Lawson Treloar Pty Ltd.
Corkill, T., 2008 (in press). Death
Spears In Sydney: Fact, fiction or social construct?. Australian Archaeology.
David, T.W.E. and Halligan, G.H.,
1908. Evidence of recent submergence of coast at Narrabeen. J.
Roy. Soc. NSW, Vol 42, pp. 229-237.
2004. James Meehan – a most excellent surveyor. Crossing Press.
Department of Main Roads, 1946.
Wakehurst Parkway. Main Roads, Vol. XII, No.1, pp.26-29.
Flack, K., 1994. Holocene evolution of the
Middle Creek estuary, Narrabeen Lagoon. B.Sc. Hons. Thesis, Univ.
of NSW. (Geography Department).
Foley, D., 2001. Repossession of
our Spirit. Traditional owners of northern Sydney. Aboriginal History
Monograph Number 7. Aboriginal History Inc, Goanna Print, Canberra.
Fullalgar, Richard, McDonald, Josephine, Field,
Judith and Donion, Denise (proof). Deadly weapons: Backed microliths
from Narrabeen, New South Wales. in "Archaeological science under a
microscope: studies in residue and ancient DNA analysis in honour of Thomas H.
Loy", Terra Australis, 30.
Gibson, J.W., 2008. Report on the ruins
of the Never Been Beaten Lime & Cement Works, Deep Creek, Narrabeen,
NSW. Report prepared for Warringah Council. Heritech
Groth, D., 1996. The
Holocene evolution of the South Creek estuary, Narrabeen Lagoon. B.Sc.
Hons. Thesis, Univ. of NSW. (Geography Department).
Harris, C., Marlow, J. and Harris,
A., 2010. Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment - Past, Present and Future, in The
Natural History of Sydney. D. Lunney, P. Hutchings and D. Hochuli (eds). Royal
Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman NSW.
Haworth, R.J., R.G.V. Baker and
P.G. Flood. 2002. Predicted and observed Holocene sea-levels on the
Australian coast: What do they indicate about hydro-isostatic models in
far-field sites? Journal of Quaternary Science 17: 581-91.
Hiscock, P. Blunt and to the
Point: Changing Technological Strategies in Holocene Australia.
Archaeology of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands, ed by Ian Lilley,
Higgs, K. (2012-).
Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Bibliography. [ cf. Manly Dam Catchment
Bibliography at http://members.iinet.net.au/~kenhiggs/manlydam/html/references.html -
Contact Ken Higgs, kenhiggs @ iinet.net.au
Lewis, M. B. (Ed.), 1988. Two
hundred years of concrete in Australia. Concrete Institute of
Australia. North Sydney.
Lewis, M. B., 2004. Australian Building:
a cultural investigation. Web site www.abp.unimelb.edu.au/
Lewis, M.B., 1990. E. G. Stone and
the ConsidËre System. Exedra, II, 1 (Winter 1990), refereed papers, pp. 16-21.
Jo MacDonald Cultural Heritage
Management Pty Ltd, 2005. Archaeological Salvage Excavation of Site
RTA-Grn 109-113 George Street Parramatta, NSW. Report to Landcom.
Jo McDonald Cultural Heritage
Management. 2005. Salvage
Excavation of Human Skeletal Remains at Ocean and Octavia Streets, Narrabeen:
Site. #45-6-2747. Report to Energy Australia. Held at Department of
Environment and Conservation, NSW.
McDonald, Josephine J., D. ;Donlon,
Judith H. Field; Fullagar, Richard L.K.;,Coltrain, Joan Brenner; Mitchell,
Peter and Mark Rawson, 2007. The first archaeological evidence for death by spearing
in Australia. Antiquity, 81, pp. 877-885.
Mckay, P., 1977. The History of the
Cement Industry to 1939 -An Essay. Cement and Concrete Association of
Australia. July 1977.
Patterson Britton and Partners Pty Ltd,
Lagoon data compilation sudy. Vols. I and II. Prepared for
Warringah and Pittwater Councils.
PBP, 2003. Narrabeen Lagoon Entrance Clearance Operation
Post Completion Report. Prepared for Warringah Council by Patterson
Britton & Partners Pty Ltd
Reynolds, Don, K.,
2003. Swept under the Carpet - A History of a Failed Cement Works
Project at Port Kembla. Illawarra Historical Society. Wollongong. 4 pp.
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Lake. Preliminary results of geological investigations. (Submitted
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for Warringah Council as Reserve Trust Manager. 59+ pp.
n.d. Dee Why to Barrenjoey and Pittwater. (Self-published, printed
by D.S. Ford, Sydney) (from content within the book it could have been
published ca. 1968).