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Pittwater Council

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Pittwater Council

Pittwater Council
New South Wales
Location in Metropolitan Sydney
Population 57,155 (2011 census)[1]
 • Density 628.1/km2 (1,627/sq mi)
Area 91 km2 (35.1 sq mi)
Mayor Jacqui Townsend (Independent)
Council seat Mona Vale
Region Metropolitan Sydney
State electorate(s) Pittwater
Federal Division(s) Mackellar
Website Pittwater Council
LGAs around Pittwater Council:
Broken Bay
Hornsby Shire Pittwater Council Tasman Sea
Warringah Council

Pittwater Council is a local government area on the northern beaches of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It covers a region adjacent to the Tasman Sea about 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of the Sydney central business district. The area is named after Pittwater, the body of water adjacent to much of the area governed.

The Mayor of Pittwater Council is Cr. Jacqui Townsend, an independent politician.


  • Suburbs and localities 1
  • Demographics 2
  • Council 3
    • Mayors/Deputy Mayors of Pittwater 3.1
    • Current composition and election method 3.2
  • History 4
  • Settlement of Pittwater 5
  • Transport to Pittwater 6
  • Services in Pittwater 7
  • Places of interest at Pittwater 8
  • Sport in Pittwater 9
    • Pittwater sailing/yacht clubs 9.1
    • Surf life saving clubs 9.2
    • Swimming clubs 9.3
    • Golf clubs 9.4
    • RSL clubs 9.5
    • Football clubs (all codes) 9.6
    • Netball clubs 9.7
    • Tennis 9.8
    • Canoeing 9.9
    • Cricket 9.10
  • Sister cities 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Suburbs and localities

The suburbs which comprise the Pittwater local government area were detached from the Warringah local government area in 1993.

Suburbs and localities serviced by Pittwater Council are:


At the 2011 Census, there were 57,155 people in the Pittwater local government area, of these 48.8% were male and 51.2% were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 0.4% of the population. The median age of people in the Pittwater Council area was 42 years; notably above the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 20.0% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 17.0% of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 56.1% were married and 11.0% were either divorced or separated.[1]

Population growth in the Pittwater Council area between the 2001 Census and the 2006 Census was 3.40% and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 Census, population growth was 5.54%. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78% and 8.32% respectively, population growth in the Pittwater local government area was lower than the national average.[2] The median weekly income for residents within the Pittwater Council area was higher than the national average.[1]

At the 2011 Census, the proportion of residents in the Pittwater local government area who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 75% of all residents (national average was 65.2%). In excess of 57% of all residents in the Pittwater Council area nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 Census, which was slightly higher than the national average of 50.2%. Meanwhile, as at the Census date, compared to the national average, households in the Pittwater local government area had a significantly lower than average proportion (10.8%) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4%); and a significantly higher proportion (88.7%) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8%).[1]

Selected historical census data for Pittwater local government area
Census year 2001[2] 2006[3] 2011[1]
Population Estimated residents on Census night 52,376 54,157 57,155
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales
% of New South Wales population 0.83%
% of Australian population 0.28%  0.27%  0.27%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
Australian 26.7%
English 32.0%
Irish 8.7%
Scottish 7.8%
German 3.0%
top responses
(other than English)
German 0.8%  0.9%  1.0%
Italian 0.8%  0.7%  0.7%
Serbian 0.6%  0.6%  0.5%
Spanish n/c  0.8%  0.5%
Croatian 0.5%  0.5%  0.5%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
Catholic 22.4%  23.2%  23.9%
Anglican 29.5%  27.3%  26.1%
No religion 17.5%  20.8%  25.3%
Uniting Church 5.1%  4.7%  4.2%
Presbyterian and Reformed 3.6%  3.1%  2.8%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$653 A$754
% of Australian median income 140.1% 130.7%
Family income Median weekly family income A$1,486 A$2,137
% of Australian median income 144.7% 144.3%
Household income Median weekly household income A$1,767 A$1,819
% of Australian median income 150.9% 147.4%


Mayors/Deputy Mayors of Pittwater

Years Mayors Deputy Mayors Year
1 May 1992 – 24 October 1992 Eric Green[4]
24 October 1992 – 1997 Robert Dunn
Allan Porter 1992 – ????
Ross Bonthorne 1992
???? 1992 – 1994
John Winter 1994 – 1995
???? 1995 – 1997
1997 – 2004 Patricia Giles
???? 1997 – 1998
Julie Hegarty 1998 – 1999
Lynne Czinner 1999 – 2002
David James 2002 – 2004
2004 – 2005 Lynne Czinner David James 2004 – 2005
2005 – 2007 Alex McTaggart Patricia Giles 2005 – 2009
2007 – 2009 David James[5]
2009 – 2012 Harvey Rose
Jacqueline Townsend 2009 – 2011
Ian White 2011 – 2012
2012 – present Jacqueline Townsend
Bob Grace 2012 – 2013
Kylie Ferguson 2013 – date

Current composition and election method

Pittwater Council is composed of nine Councillors elected proportionally as three separate wards, each electing three Councillors. All Councillors are elected for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is elected by the Councillors at the first meeting of the Council. The most recent election was held on 8 September 2012, and the makeup of the Council is as follows:[6][7][8]

Party Councillors
  Independents 8
  Australian Greens 1
Total 9

The current Council, elected in 2012, in order of election by ward, is:

Ward Councillor Party Notes
Central Ward[6]   Sue Young Independent
  Ian White Independent
  Kylie Ferguson Independent Deputy Mayor
North Ward[7]   Bob Grace Independent Deputy Mayor, 2012–2013
  Alex McTaggart Independent
  Selena Griffith Greens
South Ward[8]   Jacqueline Townsend Independent Mayor[9]
  Julie Hegarty Independent
  Kay Millar Independent


The Pittwater Shire was named after an estuary of Broken Bay which the shire surrounds. Broken Bay forms the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, the main river which formed the Cumberland Plain and Sydney basin. Pittwater was discovered in 1788, the year the first British colony was established in Australia. However, Pittwater and the surrounding region was inhabited for many millennia by local Aboriginal tribes and much evidence of their habitation remains especially their rock etchings in Kuring-gai Chase National Park which borders Pittwater's western side. Pittwater was named in about 1800 by the colony's first Governor, Governor Phillip,[10] honouring the then British Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger. Phillip called it "the finest piece of water I ever saw".

Pittwater in the early 19th century was developed as a new port with loading and unloading facilities erected at what is now the current Newport public wharf. As the port developed so did local industry such as sheep at Mona Vale, orchards at southern Newport (on the western ridge below Bushranger's Hill) and Church Point, salt from Saltpan cove and Scotland Island. During the period from the 1950s to the early 1970s, sand mining operations were undertaken in the upper reaches of McCarr's Creek. After sand mining operations ceased, the tailings ponds were all that remained of the mining operation. The tailings ponds consisted of a very fine black mud which created the opportunity for "mud-larking". Participants used the mud for all sorts of activities. (this can be left to the reader's imagination). The mining area and tailings ponds were later rehabilitated into a park and re-vegetated with local flora.

Another less acknowledged industry was rum smuggling (rum being one of the earliest currencies in the original colony), a customs lookout was originally based on Barrenjoey Head with, initially a long boat (Jolly boat) manned by convict oarsmen, then later a fast Customs sloop. Even as recently as the 1990s smuggling (of illegal drugs) was still occurring in Pittwater.

Around the 1850s a school was established on the site of what is now Newport Public school. Over later periods, public (primary) schools were established at Mona Vale, Avalon and Bilgola Plateau. In 1963, Pittwater high school was opened at Mona Vale (located on Pittwater Road), Barrenjoey high school (located at the northern end of Avalon beach) was opened in 1968.

Both high schools were highly innovative and front runners in establishing and offering alternative sporting activities. Pittwater was one of the first public high schools in Australia to offer sailing as a sport and even built is own 30' yacht (International Diamond class). The construction of the yacht was undertaken by the students with the assistance of local boat building companies and donations from numerous local organisations. The construction and launch of the yacht 'Kalori' in 1968–69 was even documented by Movietone news. Barrenjoey high school was one of the first public high schools in Australia to offer surfing as a sport. This being a reflection of the popularity and history of surfing which has been associated with this area for many decades. The Pittwater area has seen the development and success of a large number of world champions in both sailing and surfing along with many other elite sports people in many sporting disciplines.

During the Second World War, unlike Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson), Pittwater was not protected by a boom net. As a consequence local militia and later Australian Army were stationed at the western side of the entrance to Pittwater and were dispersed along the western shore in a network of trenches, pillboxes and gun emplacements. Most defence activity was centred on West Head with two large guns placed at the base of the cliff. Many of the WW2 defence structures still exist today although many are overgrown. One noticeable structure still very visible from the water is the "railway" which was cut into the West Head cliff and was used to supply the defenders encamped along the western shore line. The railway cutting was cut at an angle of around 60 degrees with rail sleepers concreted into place to keep the rails in place. A rudimentary wharf was constructed just south of West Head and was formed between the shore line and a rock outcrop, access to the rock outcrop was via a ramp made of two large poles and a walkway on top. The ramp poles were still in place as late as the 1980s. After WW2, an RAN torpedo testing facility was built on the northern side of Taylor's Point (eastern side of central Pittwater) with a large building perched at the end of a long wharf. Three target pontoons were permanently moored at 1-nautical-mile (1.9 km) intervals along the central and northern part of Pittwater. On a number of occasions, test torpedoes went off course and either ending up on Clareville beach or were lost only to be later found by local fishermen. The torpedo test facility has since been removed although some of the shore based buildings still remain.

Due mainly to its shallow entrance, Pittwater was never developed as a commercial port. It has remained as a waterway primarily used for either the transport of residents and visitors to the less accessible parts of the western shore or for water based activities such as sailing, boating in various forms and the occasional amphibious aircraft. Regular sight seeing flights operate between Palm Beach at the northern end of Pittwater and Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. Pittwater is home to a number of Motor, Yacht and Sailing clubs who utilise the comparatively less congested waterway on a year-round basis. Pittwater is also the starting line for the Pittwater to Coff's Harbour Yacht race which commences in early January each year. The northward Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race has become very popular as an alternative to the more demanding southward Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Settlement of Pittwater

The Pittwater area has had European settlement since the beginning of British colonisation. Up until the early part of the 20th century, the area was primarily used for either agriculture or leisure activities. Its pristine beaches were popular for holidays and a number of camping areas, and later caravan parks, were established on or near Pittwater. After World War I, early urban settlement patterns were beginning to develop although most of the area's urbanisation occurred after the second world war with major home building activity occurring the full length of the Pittwater peninsula. The Pittwater shire is now the northern most shire of Sydney's coastal metropolitan areas. The area remains very popular and is still growing in population numbers. The area provides a vast number of leisure activities centred on the waterway and the adjacent beaches on the eastern side of the Pittwater peninsular.

Transport to Pittwater

Although there were plans to construct a railway to the area, it was never brought to fruition. Debate still remains as to the benefits and disadvantages of a railway into this area. As a consequence, access to the area has primarily been by road although in earlier times there was a regular steamer service to Newport. One of the earliest forms of public transport were horse-drawn coaches from Manly on Sydney Harbour. Coach trips were an overnight event with passengers staying in a hotel at Mona Vale (which still remains beside Pittwater Road). Mona Vale was and still is the junction of Pittwater Road (leads to Bayview, Church Point, McCarrs Creek, Scotland Island at the southern end of Pittwater) and Barrenjoey Road (which runs up the Pittwater peninsular leading to Newport and onto Barrenjoey Lighthouse on Barrenjoey Headland (north end of Palm Beach)). Just south of Newport is Bushranger's Hill, which provided an ideal location for watching for coaches en route to Newport. However, local history does not indicate whether any Bushranger "bail-ups" of coaches actually occurred.

Access into the Pittwater shire is still via the original Pittwater Road and later, Mona Vale Road. The only mass form of transport available is buses although a large proportion of commuters choose to use private vehicles which is not surprising given the state of the public transport system in the area.

Services in Pittwater

A water airport is located at the Palm Beach Water Airport. Ambulance stations are located at Palm Beach, Avalon, and Narrabeen. Fire stations are located in Avalon, Elanora Heights, Ingleside, Mona Vale, Palm Beach, and on Scotland Island. Hospitals are located at Mona Vale Public Hospital, the Avalon Clinic and Palm Beach Private Hospital.

Places of interest at Pittwater

  • The Newport Arms Hotel on Saturday or Sunday afternoon
  • The Basin (Coaster's Retreat)
  • Palm Beach Sand Dune at the north of Palm Beach.
  • Barrenjoey Lighthouse on Barrenjoey Headland
  • West Head lookout at the northern end of Kuring-Gai Chase
  • Lion Island (no landing permitted to protect penguins)
  • Upper Gledhill Falls and the Duck Ponds on McCarrs Creek Road
  • The Bahá'í House of Worship at Tumble Down Dick/Ingleside
  • St Michael's Cave at the border of Avalon Beach and Palm Beach
  • Little Reef at Newport
  • Portuguese Beach on the western side of Pittwater
  • Commodore Heights (Kuring-Gai Chase National Park)
  • Centro Warriewood
  • Drifters Lane (Deep creek)
  • Pittwater Presbyterian Church[11]

Sport in Pittwater

Pittwater sailing/yacht clubs

  • Avalon Sailing Club
  • Bayview Yacht Racing Association
  • Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
  • Royal Motor Yacht Club
  • Pittwater Aquatic Club
  • Palm Beach Sailing Club
  • Sailability Pittwater (Bayview)

Surf life saving clubs

  • Warriewood Beach
  • Mona Vale Beach
  • Bungan Beach
  • Newport Beach
  • Bilgola Beach
  • Avalon Beach
  • Whale Beach
  • Palm Beach
  • North Palm Beach

Swimming clubs

  • Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club
  • Narrabeen Swimming Club
  • Narrabeen Ladies Amateur Swimming Club

Golf clubs

  • Mona Vale Golf Club
  • Bayview Golf Club
  • Avalon Golf Club
  • Palm Beach Golf Club

RSL clubs

  • Pittwater RSL (Mona Vale)
  • Avalon RSL
  • Palm Beach RSL
  • Narrabeen RSL

Football clubs (all codes)

  • Avalon Soccer Club (Football)
  • Narrabeen Football Club (Football)
  • Pittwater RSL Football Club (Football)
  • Mona Vale Raiders Rugby League Club (Rugby League)who are the best in the manly region and the best club on the Northern Beaches
  • Avalon Bulldogs Rugby League Club (Rugby League)
  • Newport Breakers Rugby Union Club (Rugby Union)
  • Warringah Rats Rugby Club (Rugby Union)

Netball clubs

  • Avalon Netball Club
  • Narrabeen Youth Club
  • Peninsula Netball Club
  • Commodores Netball Club


  • Careel Bay Tennis Club
  • Mona Vale Tennis
  • Bayview Tennis Club
  • Elanora Heights Tennis Club


  • Pittwater Outrigging Canoe Club
  • Bei Loon Dragon Boat Club


  • Peninsula Cricket Club (Junior)

Sister cities

Pittwater's sister city in the US is Wilmette, Illinois and they participate in an annual student exchange program between their high schools. Pittwater and Wilmette are connected spiritually as well, each is home to a Bahá'í House of Worship, of which there are only seven in the world.


  1. ^ a b c d e  
  2. ^ a b  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Elected mayor of provisional council, 14 November 1991.
  5. ^ Warringah Councillor, 1980–1983.
  6. ^ a b "Pittwater Council – Central Ward". Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Pittwater Council – North Ward". Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Pittwater Council – South Ward". Local Government Elections 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Priestley, Andrew (25 September 2012). "Pittwater Mayor Jacqui Townsend on a mission". The Manly Daily. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Ernest Scott, A Short History of Australia [2]
  11. ^ Pittwater Presbyterian Church website

External links

  • Pittwater: Manly and the Northern Beaches from Beachnet
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