Surf City, Sydney

an Historic Houses Trust blog

Ron Turton Palm Beach


Cracker collection of photos sent in by Ron Turton, who surfed with the ‘Beachcombers’ at Palm Beach around 1959. Ron’s sister Pearl Turton became a Sydney surfing sensation when she won the national contest at Avalon Beach in 1963 and as Ron writes… became an overnight hit with the media. Brian Henderson’s Bandstand (in a bikini!), The Australian Womens Weekly and Everybody’s magazine. Her uncle in England even saw her on the front page of a Pommie magazine in a barber shop in Surrey . She was only 16 at the time.

Thanks again to Ron for sending these pics my way.

The first Australian surf board riding club – the ‘Beachcombers’ of Palm Beach NSW and their boards 1959. Seated – John ‘Olly’ Oliver, John ‘Johnny Mac’ McIlroy,  Ron Turton, Neridah Wright, Joy Gassman, Billy MacTaggart, John ‘Pine Apple’ Prosser. Back ‘Ho Dad’ John Pullenger, John Dunn, Peter Dever, Frank ‘Speedy’ Gonsalves. (info Ron Turton)

Leone Power of Collaroy Beach NSW a great fan of the surf. (info Ron Turton)

Ron Turton Palm Beach NSW Winter 1959. One of the guys had an underwater camera and used to take pics of marine life. I was on this wave near the dressing sheds and up he popped in front of me and took this fuzzy photo! Evasive action required on this 9 footer! (info Ron Turton)

Some original Beachcombers Surfbord Riders Club Palm Beach NSW 1961 near the present day dressing sheds. Note Johnny Hawkes Beach Buffet in the background washed away in king tides. The Beachcomber’s Club was underneath the Beach Buffet. Back row – Ken ‘The Blue Streak’ Mackey, John ‘Pine’ Prosser, Richard Parkinson. Front – John ‘Olly’ Oliver, Ron Turton, Pearl Turton, Glenys Pearson, John ‘Beaver’ Gonsalves, Ronnie Berczelley and Laci ‘Hompus Stompus’ Berczelly. Note the jackets with the initials on them. ‘Cooky’ Burnes style from 77 Sunset Strip! (info Ron Turton)

John ‘Pin’ waxing board, Rodney ‘Rouge’ Harris standing, Sitting – Two Campbell brothers (the Elder is Lee ‘Bombie’ Beacham, Alan Ward, another Campbell and Laci ‘Hompus Stompus’ Berczelly. Pic taken at Palm Beach dressing sheds. South Palm Beach in the background the washed away Beach Buffet and Beachcomber’s club. Check out Col Brown’s famous Ford Twin Spinner it went on many a surfing safari. (info Ron Turton)

Written by garycrockett

July 4th, 2011 at 2:05 am

Posted in 1950s,1960s

15 Responses to 'Ron Turton Palm Beach'

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  1. I think that if you do some research particularly with Barry “Magoo” McGuigan you will find out that the South Bondi Surfboard Riders Club was started in 1956 as the first boardriders club in Australia.

    John Sullivan

    8 Jul 11 at 4:47 am

  2. Thanks John – I’ll check with Barry to make sure. Ron Turton reckons the Beachcombers weren’t aware of any other clubs around and came up with the idea of jackets and ‘membership’ in its loosest sense by themselves and pinpoints the date they moved into the clubhouse under Johnny Hawkes Buffet as 1958. I know the South Bondi Surf Boardriders were up and running then but they may not have known about each other. In any case Ron and his mates were 14-15 year olds and the club was a ‘club’ in name only – no committees, minutes, formalities, etc.

    Gary Crockett

    8 Jul 11 at 9:49 am

  3. It’s not as if we didn’t know about each other Gaz, we didn’t WANT to know about each other – Palm Beach was never a destination.

    pete bowes

    9 Jul 11 at 7:19 am

  4. By the sound of it Ron and his mates were happy in their isolation – a big trip was a bus ride to Avalon after begging the driver to let them stand their boards up in the double decker staircase. Cars changed everything for the Beachcombers around 1962-63. Do you remember the ‘Wanderers’ who I think surfed around Long Reef in the late 50s…?

    Gary Crockett

    9 Jul 11 at 11:41 pm

  5. Hi,

    My name is Carolyne Hawkes, Johnny Hawkes was my step-dad he was such a lovely fellow I actually had the council plans for the Beach Hut.

    has anyone any photos of Johnny or Colin Hawkes my brother….
    Coral Hawkes was my mum.

    Warm regards


    Carolyne Hawkes

    18 Apr 12 at 5:56 pm

  6. Thanks Carolyne – I’ll pass this on to Ron Turton, who might be able to help.


    Gary Crockett

    23 May 12 at 2:07 am

  7. Hi Carolyne,
    Myself and everyone that either lived or surfed at Palm Beach knew Johnny. He was an absolute gentleman and a hard worker.
    I worked at the Beach Hut on weekends while still at school to save money for another new surfboard.His top selling item were cans of Golden Circle pineapple juice ice cold with a straw. They walked out the door at one and sixpence. I used to get one pound a day and we were flat out serving.Hot pies were also a favourite. He was a legend and much loved by us all. My mum, dad and sister Pearl thought the world of him. Everyone did.Gary Crocket has my email address if you want to drop me a line and I will give you a contact phone number and have a yarn to you about a great man.

    Ron Turton

    23 May 12 at 2:57 am

  8. Hi, does anyone have any photos of Palm Marine from the 60s/ 70s?

    Danny Burke

    3 Sep 12 at 3:52 pm

  9. Hi Ron, are you or Pearl on Facebook, would like to connect with you to keep in touch re surfing stories. regards Luciana

    Luciana Battel

    8 Mar 13 at 1:34 am

  10. thanks again Luciana – I’ll send this on to Ron for you.

    Gary Crockett

    14 Mar 13 at 5:08 am

  11. Hi Luciana,
    I am on facebook,
    Ron Turton

    Ron Turton

    28 Mar 13 at 1:18 am

  12. Hey Ron.

    We are interested in using a few of your photos in a palm beach branding project. Can you please contact me asap as deadlines are approaching.

    Kind regards,
    Nick Sammut

    Nick Sammut

    16 Dec 13 at 12:55 am

  13. Sorry for the delay Nick – hope its not too late. Call me on 0409 249 590 and I’ll hook you up with the old surfers involved.


    Gary Crockett

    18 Feb 14 at 2:51 am

  14. What a wonderful surprise to see these amazing photos of people that I knew and loved from those years.

    Tricia Matthews(Thompson)

    14 Feb 14 at 11:09 am

  15. Hello Carolyne, My mother worked with John for many years, Am pretty sure he spoke of you often. I worked for him when I was very young at various locations on the Northern Beaches including his small stall at Flemington Markets and at the Brooky show. I remember your mother very well too.

    Belle Stewart

    19 Sep 21 at 7:58 am

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