Avalon Beach, New South Wales
Sydney, New South Wales
Avalon Beach, looking north
|Population||10,602 (2011 census)|
|Location||37 km (23 mi) north of Sydney CBD|
Avalon Beach is a northern beachside suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is 37 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Northern Beaches, in the Northern Beaches region. The area is also known as Avalon, with the name Avalon Beach being assigned during a change in boundaries and names in the Pittwater region in 2012.
The Pittwater and Northern Beaches area was formerly inhabited by the Garigal or Caregal people in a region known as Guringai country.
The first land grant in the area was 60 acres (240,000 m2) to John Farrell in 1827. A 400-acre (1.6 km2) land grant was made to Father John Joseph Therry in 1833, who fought hard for the recognition of the Catholic Church in the colony. He built a church in this area but his plans for a settlement never eventuated. In the 1920s, the area was still known as 'Priest's Flat'. Arthur J Small handled a subdivision in 1921 and chose the name Avalon.
Significant housing developments took place during the 1920s. The architect Alexander Stewart Jolly designed a number of houses that were built in the Avalon area in that period. Loggan Rock was a flamboyant log cabin combined with a stone tower; the combination of logs and rocks gave rise to the name. The house is heritage-listed. Careel House is a bungalow made of stone that was quarried in the area. Nowadays it is on the Whale Beach side of the boundary. It is also heritage-listed. Hy Brasil, located near Clareville, was built in 1936, but was originally known as The Gem. Later it was bought by Ted Herman, son of the painter Sali Herman, who changed the name, using the name of a mythical island west of Ireland. It is heritage-listed. A sandstone cottage known as Wickham designed by the Burley Griffin was unfortunately demolished with council approval in 1994.
Another significant development was the creation of Ruskin Rowe in 1950. This street was designed as an estate by the architect Harry Ruskin Rowe, son of the architect Thomas Rowe. Rowe created covenants to preserve the character of the estate, but they have been ignored to an extent over the years. Nevertheless, the estate is heritage-listed because of its historic significance, as well as its scientific significance in preserving the bushland environment of the area.
According to the 2011 census of Population, there were 10,602 residents in Avalon. 73.8% of residents were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were Britain 9.8%, New Zealand 2.0% and United States of America 1.1%. 91.7% of residents spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included German 1.2%, French 0.5% and Italian 0.4%. The most common responses for religious affiliation were No Religion 31.6%, Anglican 25.5% and Catholic 21.6%.
Avalon features an RSL club, bowling and sailing clubs; a golf club, a supermarket, shops, offices, cafes and a cinema. It is unique in that this large commercial centre is separated from the beach only by the road, a fact which until recently was used to argue against commercialisation of the beach side buildings themselves as restaurants and cafes were already so close to the beach.
Sport and recreation
Avalon Beach is a surfing beach and has a 25-metre salt water rock pool at the south end. Avalon Beach SLSC members patrol Avalon Beach. Several former surfing world champions are also past or current Avalon residents; including Ben Player.
Avalon Soccer Club, established 1982, has over 80 teams and 1000 registered players. Avalon Junior Rugby League Club has contributed several players active in the Australian National Rugby League. Avalon also has a small nine-hole golf course.
Pittwater Council has created the Bangalley Headland Walk, which goes through part of the Careel Headland Reserve. The track starts at Whale Beach Road and goes to Marine Parade. St Michaels Cave is an interesting coastal feature.
A guide hall which contained a theatre "the Globe" was demolished by council in 2013. As a result, the production of Hamlet termed "Bard in the Park" sponsored by Pittwater Council in March 2016 went ahead With only mild success as the council had leased part of Dunbar Park to the RSL's beer garden on the same night with amplified noise imposing upon the strained non amplified voices of the actors in the very same park. Luckily the doorman at the RSL on one of the night's was a Shakespeare fan himself and turned down the imposing RSL noise on the beer garden in Dunbar Park, but this lasted for his shift only. A new small performance space is needed In Avalon as the Surfclub building where small plays were performed now holds a commercial restaurant and cafe at the same site and it is hoped that council will consider turning over the lease of the Southern part of Dunbar park to a use more suited to general and widespread community when the lease next arises for lease in August 2016. This particularly as the edge of the part of park now rented to the RSL is used most in the mornings when that portion of the park currently leased to the RSL is closed off to users. It is hoped that the new lease will at least make this part of the park available to those non alcohol drinking morning users.
- Barrenjoey High School
- Avalon Public School
- Maria Regina Catholic Primary School
- Montessori public school on the former grounds of Barrenjoey Highschool
An episode of the American television show, Baywatch, was shot at Avalon Beach in the late 1990s. Producers of the show, seeking to relocate from their Californian base due to cost constraints, proposed a full relocation to Avalon and promised an upgrading of the SLSC in return, painting a huge sign saying "Avalon Beach" across the surfclub. However, following complaints from residents (supported by former world surfing champion and local property owner Mark Warren), the series moved instead to Hawaii. The anti-Baywatch supporters were led by former Pittwater mayor Alex McTaggart who was subsequently elected to NSW State Parliament for two years. In 2011-13 there was a move by the Avalon Surf Life Saving club officials, led by Chrisine Hopton who put together plans for a complete demolition of the small, sunny surfclub. A large development aimed at commercialising Avalon beach went ahead with mayor Jacqueline Townsend and general council support and council's millions of dollars input, and with isolation of many opponents, leading to a division of beach users in Avalon and a substantial change in the beach's culture, "Avalon Village" culture became exposed as a myth. The development was opposed in the land and environment court but opposition was defeated and it was ruled that the new surf club was merely a renovation of the old surf club (pictures needed here). Opportunities to open up public space on the beachfront with a proposed relocation of the surfclub to the top of the land behind the bus shelters, save the land around the legendary waiting tree, minimise stormwater drainage onto the beach and provide community space for wheelchair bowlers (who use the commnunity centre weekly and one of whom had recently won the bowling world championships in Hong Kong) to be able to view the beach from a public space from within the new club were all whittled away in (non)negotiations during the (non) consultative process.
This development and developments by the same and other architect/builder/developers around Avalon are postulated to have been a leading reason FOR the inclusion of pittwater in the council's re-amalgamation With Warringah and Manly Councils rather than being one of the amalgamations stalled or discouraged as part of Ipart NSW recommendations for re-alignment of boundaries throughout the state. A development led by the same architect/developer proposed for opposite North Avalon Shops also went to the land and environment court on the grounds of density but is thought to be able to get approved in its original form following the amalgamation of councils, though this remains to be seen. Palm Beach and Whale Beach residents - to the North of Avalon - have recently been keen to set themselves apart from Avalon Beach, so as to politically and culturally be able to argue for the maintenance of their low density (low occupancy) housing of their suburbs. This cultural fact and Pittwater Council's keenness to commercialise Avalon beach, making it alike in appearance and form of beaches now in the same district such as Dee Why whose sandstone stepping, playground and structure the beachside features at Avalon were modelled alike, means that many people from Avalon now feel that Avalon will become highly developed as are many of the more Southern suburbs of the new Shire such as Collaroy and Dee Why.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Avalon (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- Pearce, Greg. "Avalon Beach And Bilgola Beach Approved". Retrieved 2015-04-23.
- "Aborigines". Pittwater Library. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 13
- State Heritage Website
- State Heritage Website
- State Heritage Website
- State Heritage Website
- "Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club". Avalonbeachslsc.com.au. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
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