Surf City, Sydney

an Historic Houses Trust blog

Archive for the ‘1960s’ Category

Gidget and Elvis ‘clean-teen’ screen romp

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SPECIAL FILM SCREENING – Gidget (1959) and Blue Hawaii (1961)
Presented by Nell Schofield (actor and presenter) and Jaimie and Aspasia Leonarder (Mu Meson Archive and broadcasters)
Saturday 11 February 2012
From 1pm

Museum of Sydney
Cnr Bridge and Phillip Street, Sydney


event details here

Tired of grey skies? Wanna feel sun on your skin again? Come down to Surf City this Saturday arvo for a frothy dose of classic hollywood ‘clean-teen’ fun. Together Gidget and Blue Hawaii kicked off the ‘beach party’ teen flick genre of the early 60s, when the boards were big, the boardies were tight, the bongos were beatin, the butts were wigglin and the surf was bitchin. This big screen double feature will be accompanied by commentary and analysis from Sydney’s own Gidget Nell Schofield and cultural boundary riders Jaimie and Aspasia Leonarder. So take note all you grems, fems and hodads – don’t disappoint The Big Kahuna.

Written by garycrockett

February 8th, 2012 at 3:56 am

Posted in 1950s,1960s

Paul Clarke on Surf Music

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Sunday 5 February 2012
2pm – 3pm

Museum of Sydney
Cnr Bridge and Phillip Street, Sydney

FREE with museum entry

event details here

Surfing, unlike any other sport, religion or lifestyle, comes complete with its own soundtrack. This Sunday afternoon, pop culture buff Paul Clarke – who wrote and produced the surf doco Bombora – the Story of Australian Surfing and car doco Wide Open Road, is talking about surf music and its deep and narly roots in surf culture – from the shrieking reverb and cowboy cool of Dick Dale and the jangling psychedelia of The Easybeats in the 60s through to the salty grunge of Midnight Oil and the Go Betweens in the late 1970s and beyond.

Written by garycrockett

February 1st, 2012 at 3:22 am

Posted in 1960s,1970s,exhibition

Allan Levick, Bondi 1950s


Former Bondi boy Allan Levick called recently to talk about his 1950s Gordon Woods ‘Okanui’ surfboard. I asked him to send in some pics and pen a few memories.

photos courtesy Allan Levick

I had only used this brilliant surfboard for around 3 months………(it was fantastic to ride a board which you could take where YOU wanted to go, not just where the wave dictated)…….when I was invited to join a group of “Bondi Boys” to go water ski-ing, which was still in it’s infancy here in Australia. I immediately became addicted to this “new” exciting water sport, and, rather reluctantly, stored my board away.

Here’s a few words on the origin of my nickname “IKE”. As a young Bondi kid, of around 12 years of age, I decided to try my hand at being a “paper-boy”, selling newspapers on the Bondi trams, to earn some “pocket money”, in order to fund my regular trips to the “flicks” (movies) and my growing addiction to “Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate” (which remains with me today ! ) The owner of the Newsagency Shop, Alex Griffin, grew a moustache and I “christened him “IKEY-MO”. However, HE turned it back on ME and instructed the rest of the team of “paper-boys” to ALWAYS, in future, refer to me as “IKE” and the name has stuck to this day!!

I am also sending pics of the “high-jinks” we young “Turks” used to get up to on the Beach, in those Halcyon Days!

Bondi Beach c1950s, photos courtesy Allan Levick

Just one more anecdote……when I was around 15, I bought my first 16ft long “toothpick” surf board and put together a 2 wheel trolley using old Bike wheels to walk the board down to Bondi Beach (about a mile from the family home in Denham Street).

Bondi Tram photo sourced from lindsaybridge on flickr

On countless occasions, I would “scale” on the rear of a tramcar, and trail the board and trailer all the way down to the beach behind the tram! (Quite a remarkable sight!) The conductors thought it was a great “lark” and, only once, did the local “cops” grab me and gave me a “strict talking to”!

photo courtesy Allan Levick

In conclusion, (not really anything to do with surfing, but you may be interested), water-ski-ing became my passion and I used to get up to all kinds of tricks, eg. barefoot ski-ing, ramp jumping, and the most spectacular and unique, of all, was my own invention…..”ski-ing” atop a 6ft tall stool (ladder) on a 3ft diameter, plywood disc and executing 360 degree turns and backwards ski-ing.

photo courtesy Allan Levick

The “stool” was not attached to the disc which made the exercise even more demanding. Sounds unbelievable but, fortunately, I have photos to prove it, some of which I will attach. I am retired now and still ski occasionally, but haven’t been “up the ladder” for 5 years (I reckon I could though!).

With kind regards, Allan Levick


Written by garycrockett

January 23rd, 2012 at 1:50 am

Posted in 1950s,1960s

Bondi goggles mid 1960s


Another great photo by Charles Bill Moseley showing a pair of slick cats cooling off along the Bondi boardwalk. This and several other scenic treasures on display at Surf City, courtesy Marilyn Moseley.

Written by garycrockett

December 9th, 2011 at 2:15 am

Posted in 1960s

Paul Scott on surfing mags

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‘We used to get out kicks reading surfing magazines / good looking people wearing Lee Cooper jeans / gonna get a Kombi and go from beach to beach / be the kind of people the authorities can’t reach’
The Go-Betweens, Surfing Magazines 2001

Tracks magazine courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum

SURF MAGS OF THE 60s & 70s
with surfer, writer and academic Paul Scott
Museum of Sydney
Sunday 4 December 2pm – 3pm
[free with museum entry]
check out event in HHT calendar 

Australian surfing magazines first appeared in Sydney in the early 1960s, stoking the phenomenal craze of boardriding by celebrating and defining surf culture. Along with surf movies, music, language and fashion, the magazines charted social and cultural shifts in the post-war economic boom and became iconic symbols of youth, mobility and hedonistic individualism. The magazines were also terrific sources of information on board design, where to surf, the rising stars of the sport and the latest moves both in-and-out of the water.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by garycrockett

December 1st, 2011 at 10:39 am

Posted in 1960s,1970s,exhibition

Hannibal, Bondi 1966

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Weary and waterlogged labrador ‘Hannibal’ rescued in the Bondi soup by Ross Kelly, 1966, photo Bill Moseley, courtesy Marilyn Moseley.

Adding to the aquatic Labrador theme, Marilyn Moseley sent in this photo taken by her dad Bill Moseley in 1966 and the Sun Herald news article it appeared in. The surfer Ross Kelly, by the way, was instrumental in setting up the ‘Australian Surfriders Association’ back in 1963.

Sun Herald 8 May 1966 page 5, clipped into album by Marilyn Moseley

Written by garycrockett

September 28th, 2011 at 12:30 am

Posted in 1960s

Shane Egan, Little Narrabeen

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Mid 1970s Shane Egan decal art for McCoy surfboards, photo Gary Crockett

Was a pleasure to meet Shane Egan at the Surf City opening last Friday and hear about his early surfing years around Sydney and, of course, his work as a sticker artist, using ‘indian ink and derwent pencils’ to draw some of the most memorable surfboard decals of the 70s including those for McCoy and Morning Star.

Shane recently sent through a couple of photos along with some accompanying notes…


Shane & (younger brother) Dale Egan, Little Narrabeen surf check, circa 1964. Photo courtesy Shane Egan.

There was something of a transient element even among local surfers who had to walk, ride, drive or skate to the surf. The ever shifting sand-banks were catalytic in forming bonds and breaking them. A group of local surfers would form around a good sand-bank which may last a season or more. Living at Narrabeen allowed you ready access to surf with mates anywhere between Long Reef and Mona Vale – the pubs being a common ground. We lived within a walking distance encompassing North, South & Little Narrabeen, Warriewood and Cooks Terrace. The closest mate to the break had the honour of being the temporary “store-a-board”.

When boards were big & heavy a couple of times I opted to paddle to North Narrabeen via the small creek that runs behind Narrabeen High School & Warriewood Mall and feeds into the lake and eventually spills out at the legendary sand-bank off the point. As surfing spread its opiate tentacles inland and its trendy image grew, the “Westies” began to come in droves. Mona Vale Road and the Manly Ferry were their main arteries to the “name” beaches. Back-beaches like Little Narra and other surf breaks off the main drag remained hidden for a short time but eventually succumbed to the rising surf population.

I was probably the last to hesitantly abandon Little Narrabeen in the late 60’s after the sand left and a road was cut down the steep hill and out the point to run the sewerage outlet pipe.


Dale Egan & Simba the surfing dog, Narrabeen flower power. Photo courtesy Shane Egan.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s surfers were fringe dwellers of the Hippie movement – but with an agenda.

The first time our dog Simba tagged along on our walk to the surf at Little Narrabeen, she followed us right out to the jump-off shelf on the point. Being a Labrador she didn’t stop there and dove in after Dale & I. We hadn’t realised till we looked back and saw Simba negotiating the suck-up rock in a solid 10 foot swell. The next trick was to get her to body surf back into the beach.

Thanks to Shane Egan for text and photos.

Written by garycrockett

September 26th, 2011 at 7:17 am

Posted in 1960s,1970s

Larry Cohen, 1967


Cronulla surfer Larry Cohen with his new Scott Dillon V-Bottom 1967 – photos courtesy Larry Cohen

Board collector and surfer Larry Cohen sent in some photos recently, along with a few notes…

Here’s what he says… I first tried surfing when I was about 9 years old on my cousin’s 9ft 6″ Norm Casey D Fin Malibu Gun. When he wasn’t around I would sneak down and drag it out from under their house and drag it down the beach. (He never caught me). I pestered my old man for a board of my own for about 3 years and then in early 1967 he cracked and bought me a 2nd hand Scott Dillon Stringerless V Bottom “Stubby”. Breakthrough !!!!

It was 8ft long by 24 inches wide and I couldn’t even get my arm around it. It was the best thing I had ever had in my entire life. Nothing I owned or wanted could compare with that board, it was like a piece of magic to me. I kept it in my bedroom where I could just look at it anytime. The Vee Bottom was hard to surf on but way better than my cousin’s old Malibu “plank”. It was like an aircraft carrier to stand on, but I learned to trim and turn it. A surf would last about 4 hours in those days.

After about a year (& more pestering) we traded it in on a Jackson 7ft 8″ double ender pintail shaped by Gordon Merchant. The Jacko was noticeably easier to turn, trim and manoeuvre, and it was faster along the walls of those Cronulla Beach sandbank shooters. I could actually get my arm around the pintail to carry it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by garycrockett

September 20th, 2011 at 3:49 am

Posted in 1960s

Roslyn ‘Dallas’ Watson

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Cronulla surfer Rosyln Watson with her treasured Hohensee surfboard, ‘her first love’ around 1970

Thanks to Leisha Distefano who sent in photos and a note about her mum Rosyln ‘Dallas’ Watson, who according to Leisha, was a ‘surfie chick’ during the 1960’s and early 70’s and was tickled pink when I showed her your recent blog about The Kurranulla Wahines, as she knew many of the names and faces in the photos. She also knew many of the guys from that era such as the Brown brothers, Midget and Shane Stedman. I have attached some photos of her photos from that era. We also have the two surfboards in those photos – one of which was shaped and owned by the late Frank Latta, a Peter Clarke board with Frank’s name engraved along the stringer.

A page from Rosyln Watson’s photo album with images of future (non-surfing) husband Terry Cousens. Notes and photos courtesy Leisha Distefano

Written by garycrockett

September 16th, 2011 at 5:21 am

Posted in 1960s,1970s

Bare Island Bombora 1962

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Thanks to filmmaker Dennis Elton for sending through a copy of his 1962 surf movie Follow the Surf. Here’s a selection of sequences, including great footage of Scott Dillon tackling Sydney’s own Bare Island Bombora, off La Perouse, and other fun stuff.

Surfabout Vol 1, No 3, 1962 article covering Scott Dillon’s Bare Island Bombora ride.

Written by garycrockett

September 13th, 2011 at 9:44 am

Posted in 1960s