Thursday, 25 February 2021
Statements by Members
Mackellar Electorate: Surfing
Duke Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian Olympic swimmer and a keen surfer, and it is said he had a smile so wide that it won over the hearts of all Australians when he visited in 1914. Upon his visit, he held a surfing exhibition at Freshwater Beach on Christmas Eve. It won't surprise the House to hear surfing is quite popular on the Northern Beaches. In my younger years I was more into rowing than surfing. However, it is something that I always wish I had taken up. Thankfully, I have a daughter who is beginning to pick up the board and give it a go, and she drags me along just to teach me some humility.
The culture of surfing on the beaches is so profound there is a statue in honour of Duke Kahanamoku at Freshwater. Overlooking the beach, it is at a perfect spot for the person who brought surfing to Australia via the Northern Beaches. Regrettably, over the years it has been left to nature's course. Trees and shrubs have grown over the path, and general wear and tear have obscured what is an important historical site, because, whether you live in Avalon or Freshwater, Manly or Narrabeen, the ocean, the waves and the salt are in your DNA. We must preserve our local history, we must honour it and we must restore this site to its former grandeur so its glory can shine like a light upon a hill for surfing, for the beaches, for the people of the Northern Beaches and for all the people who love surfing in this country.