Surf City, Sydney

an Historic Houses Trust blog

Exhibition changeover time lapse


Surf City Changeover from Historic Houses Trust on Vimeo.

Watch an amazing transformation of the Focus Gallery at the Museum of Sydney as our talented exhibition design and production team install Surf City in September 2011.

Written by garycrockett

September 28th, 2011 at 7:31 am

Posted in exhibition

Hannibal, Bondi 1966

leave a comment

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

leave a comment

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

Opening night


What a gas shindig…! Around 600 revellers, friends and supporters rolled up to the Museum of Sydney last night to celebrate the opening of Surf City, crowding out the joint and filling the place with fun and enthusiasm. Good time to reflect on how many fantastic people I’ve met over the past 2 years, who’ve got behind this amazing project and offered insights, advice and guidance, along with a staggering list of cool objects, pics, footage and surfing treasures – some of which have ended up on display. Time also to reflect on the huge contribution made by our exhibition design and production team, our retail unit, our marketing and media folk, our collection management team and our nifty screen media geeks – all of you did an exceptional job and have been a pleasure to work alongside.

Written by garycrockett

September 24th, 2011 at 5:16 am

Posted in exhibition

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

leave a comment

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

Stu Ford photos 1957

one comment

An intriguing collection of photos arrived in the post recently without any notes or sender info. The images are mostly captioned and appear to be linked to a 1950s Bondi surfer called Stu Ford.

I asked veteran Bondi surfer Anthony Anderson, whose uncle was the board builder Noel Ward (pictured below), to put the feelers out and not surprisingly he turned up some interesting info.

According to Patty Ward (Noel’s wife via her daughter Kim)… Stu Ford was the guy who Noel and Scott Dillon asked to come to Bondi from USA to look at bringing short boards and fibreglass long boards as opposed to the timber ones they were originally using to Bondi. They were also asking about the long board shorts to be imported (the ones Noel is wearing in the photo)….big thanks to Anthony Anderson

Noel Ward, Bondi 1957 c/o Stu Ford…?

Written by garycrockett

September 16th, 2011 at 2:01 am

Posted in 1950s

Bare Island Bombora 1962

leave a comment

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


leave a comment

Shane advert in Manly Pacific vs Windansea boardriding contest booklet, September 1968, courtesy John Smythe

Absolute pleasure to meet the unstoppable Shane Stedman at his cliff top ‘shack’ this morning, with photog/writer Bruce Usher, for a few yarns about surfing’s mid 60s coming of age, the idea of ‘motion economics’ for filling big department store orders with so-called ‘standards’, his upfront approach to promoting his business and himself, the various up and coming stars (like Anderson and Fitzgerald) that outgrew the Shane stables and rode on the wave of cooldom that in many ways he inspired, his pre-teen aspirations of greatness bagging and selling cow shit and pippies at Crescent Head to buy his first guitar and his band Shane and the Trojans (aka Shame and the Tragics), his SUP workouts and sparklingly positive take on life. A truly ‘bright’ spirit indeed. Looking forward to Bruce Usher’s Shane portrait piece when its published.

Written by garycrockett

September 2nd, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Denise Hoogendoourn, 1966


Denise Hoogendoourn (now Faunce) with the girl board riding club, the ‘Kuranulla Wahines’, on the beach at Cronulla 1966, photo courtesy Bob Weeks

Talked to Denise Hoogendoourn today about her stint with the ‘Kurranulla Wahines’ and the kind of things a 17 year old Maroubra surfing girl got up to around 1966. According to Denise, the Wahines formed in 1966, spurred on by Caringbah sisters Sylvia and Sandy Hoogeveen, to give ‘girl surfers a sense of belonging and confidence in the surf…which the boys treated as their domain’. Denise remembered the surfer boys of mid 60s Cronulla as being pretty tough on the girls… ‘they didn’t give us much opportunity and thought of us as a bit of a joke’. The Kurranulla Wahines wore board shorts and home made bikinis in yellow club colours and competed against the Manly Femlins and girl members of the Manly Pacific Board Riders, before winding up around 1968. The old clapped-out car Denise and her girlfriends shared, took them on many a fun-filled surf trip although once fellow Maroubra surfer and future husband Rhys Faunce appeared on the scene, Denise’s parents began to get worried. Denise gave up surfing around 1968, when marriage to Rhys and kids got in the way, but there’s plenty of sandy memories and a camper van called ‘the endless summer’ keeping the 60s alive…

Written by garycrockett

August 26th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Posted in 1960s