Surf City, Sydney

an Historic Houses Trust blog

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.

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Written by garycrockett

December 1st, 2011 at 10:39 am

Posted in 1960s,1970s,exhibition

Crescent Head Road Trip 1963


Bryan Hughes takes us back on an early 60s road trip to Crescent Head with a mob of Manly surfers …

Breakdown shot…

…..this was at the old petrol station at Cowan, (near Berowra) on the way back from Crescent…..I don’t remember what was wrong with the car but there was plenty of advice, probably boiled on the long climb up from Brooklyn……yeah, check out the radio…and this was before cassettes and even 8 track cartridges……also if you look back in the line of traffic I reckon that’s a Roll’s, pretty rare even then…..

Camping shot…

… Norah Head….the bloke on the roof was Jeff Fergus, it’s Ray Joyce on the right and I honestly can’t work out all the others except Chris Johnson in the middle….he was from the USA and didn’t surf but was the best skateboarder around back then (we had old skates on bits of board and he had the first real trucks with composite wheels I think I’d ever seen)…..the tarp tied to the front of the car was our sleeping shelter and belonged to my dad, we used it on plenty of trips and I still have it…..out of interest the board I had then, (Jeff’s standing on it on the car) was an 8’6″ balsa “Crow Surfboards” from the USA…never found out how it got to Australia but I bought it with my paper route money in the summer of 1959….

Crescent shot…..

……taken about where the first cabin in the campground is now……Jeff being harassed by a local dog……I wonder what he was eating…..

All words and photos courtesy Bryan Hughes

Written by garycrockett

November 23rd, 2011 at 12:32 am

Posted in road trips

Tim Bailey loved Surf City

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Huge thanks to Channel Ten News, Tim Bailey and the crew

Written by garycrockett

November 22nd, 2011 at 9:05 am

Posted in exhibition

Book launch this Saturday – Saltwater People of the Broken Bays

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Come along to the launch of John Ogden’s latest book…

Manly Art Gallery
26 November 2011
To be launched by Jack Thompson and Jeff McMullen

Saltwater People of the Broken Bays explores the incredible history and natural beauty of the coastline between North Head and Barrenjoey. The scalloped beaches found here were home to the coastal clans of the Eora people for at least 20,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. Their water skills and ability in the surf underscore the northern beaches as the birthplace of Australian beach culture, where beach bathing, body surfing, surf life saving and board-riding all began in this country. But it is not just surfers who are drawn to the surf zone, that ever changing interface between ocean and shore that can in turn be calming, thrilling, or threatening. Poets, artists, photographers, architects, and dreamers are inspired by the beauty and drama of this coastline.

John Ogden is a photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker, writer and artist based in Avalon, Sydney. Ogden’s career began in Southeast Asia during the last days of the Vietnam War, later extending his practice to cinematography in multiple genres of filmmaking. His photographs are often direct yet quietly subversive, choosing not to shy away from political commentary, provocation or occasional dark humour.

John Ogden started Cyclops Press and published his first book Australienation in 2000. Through Ogden’s black and white humanist photography Australienation explores the reconciliation process between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and the various tribes and many races that subsequently settled in this Great Southern Land. An equally emotive record of the first Australians, Portraits from a Land Without People, published in 2009, is an anthology of photography that is now acknowledged as the most comprehensive pictorial history honouring Aboriginal culture yet produced.

Written by garycrockett

November 22nd, 2011 at 4:16 am

Posted in exhibition

Elcho Island visitors to Surf City


Students, teachers and elders from Elcho Island at Surf City, Museum of Sydney, November 2011, photo Inara Walden

Got a note today from Inara Walden at the Museum of Sydney about [in her words] … a visit from 28 teenagers from Elcho Island (off the coast of Arnhem Land in the Arafura Sea, where Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and the Chooky dancers are from). The group are visiting Sydney for 5 days on a special tour with their teachers and elders. The majority of the group have never left the island before. For many of the students English is a 2nd or 3rd language (in fact there are 22 different dialects used in the community), but this didn’t daunt our professional MOS Guides who managed to adapt their delivery and fully engage the students who seemed enthralled and interested in absolutely everything. Highlights for the students were the story of Bennelong and Governor Phillip’s spearing, the Michael Riley video ‘Eora’ in Gadigal Place, and touch screens in Surf City. The cardboard surfer craft activity also went down a treat.

Students from Elcho Island, getting radical at Surf City, Museum of Sydney, November 2011, photo Inara Walden

Students from Elcho Island, in the curl at Surf City, Museum of Sydney, November 2011, photo Inara Walden

Written by garycrockett

November 16th, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Posted in exhibition

Mick Mock Surf Auction 2011


Early 60s ‘Surf City’ cloth patch from Mick’s amazing collection. Photo Peter Burne.

You probably won’t find this badge but there’ll be plenty of other surf culture treasures under the hammer at Mick Mock’s next auction, taking place as usual, at the Harbord Diggers, Sydney.

Viewing Saturday 26 November 2011 from 3 to 5pm
Auction Sunday 27 November 2011 kicks off at 10.30am

Written by garycrockett

November 14th, 2011 at 6:01 am

Posted in exhibition

Mark Richards and Mark Warren 1975

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Mark Richards (left) and Mark Warren on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii around 1975, screen grabbed from the 2009 film Bustin Down The Door

Good turnout yesterday to the launch of Phil Jarratt’s latest book Australia’s Hottest 100 Surfing Legends at the Museum Of Sydney, with comperes Phil Jarratt and Shane Stedman leading a jovial Q&A session with a panel of local ‘big hitters’ and stirrers including Simon Anderson, Mark Richards, Bruce Raymond, Mark Warren and Terry Fitzgerald. Great tales of ‘making do’ in mid 70s Hawaii, insights on board building and the future of a local industry, smuggled coke in surfboard fins and Simon Anderson’s questionable TV viewing and dietary habits.

Written by garycrockett

November 14th, 2011 at 12:25 am

Posted in exhibition

Art Nation article ABC this afternoon

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It was great fun talking to Fenella Kernebone recently at the Museum of Sydney, for this Art Nation article. Fenella also caught up Dorothy Vigden (De Rooy), Marilyn Birmingham (Bennett), Terry Fitzgerald and Martyn Worthington.

Written by garycrockett

November 6th, 2011 at 9:07 am

Posted in exhibition

Phil Jarratt book launch at Surf City

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Museum of Sydney
Cnr Bridge and Phillip Street Sydney

Surf writer, former Tracks and Australian Surfer’s Journal editor, Noosa Surfing Festival organiser and surf culture stirrer Phil Jarratt is launching this cracker book on Australian surfing legends at the Museum of Sydney next Sunday. Join Phil and a line up of surf icons and champions including Shane Stedman and Mark Richards for an afternoon of yarns and personal observations, pick up a signed copy of the book and, if you haven’t done it already, check out the exhibition.


Written by garycrockett

November 2nd, 2011 at 6:51 am

Posted in exhibition

Long Reef surf, stilts, motorbikes, handstands, 1970s

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Matt Holle forwarded me a note from Bruce De Graaf regarding… a movie that a couple of mates of mine set up in the late 70’s…it was all super 8 which they adapted and threw onto Youtube – it takes me back. All of these guys surfed with me at Long Reef and skateboarded around the local schools when there was no surf. One mate’s wife sang the backing for it.

According to youtube … Original 8mm footage from the late 1970s at Long Reef on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, surf, skate, motorbikes and stilts! Footage re-used courtesy Murray Ingersole and Dave Seymour. Screened at 2010 New York Surf Film Festival []. Beach Boys cover and original song Sweet Dreams performed by Rosie and The Thorns [].

Big thanks to Bruce and Matt.

Written by garycrockett

October 6th, 2011 at 12:16 am

Posted in 1970s