Year-Round Patrols for Clovelly Beach After Hundreds Rescued

Randwick City Council announced today that Clovelly Beach will now have year-round professional patrols, between sunrise and sunset, seven days a week.

The decision comes after an alarming number of rescues and incidents over the recent spring and summer seasons. From July 2023 to the end of summer 2024, lifeguards at Randwick beaches performed 648 rescues and administered first aid over 5,100 times. They also responded to 102 major incidents including drownings, near-drownings, and resuscitations.

With 4.7 million visits to our beaches since July, including 3.76 million over spring and summer, it’s certain that the beaches are incredibly popular all year round.

“Residents and visitors alike love to visit beaches in the Randwick Council area to enjoy the pristine coastal environment in this beautiful corner of the world,” Ms Veitch said.

“While it’s incredible to have an ocean playground on our doorstep, enjoying the water comes with risk, whatever the time of year.”

Randwick Mayor Philipa Veitch said year-round patrols are critical for public safety after a 2023 review showed increasing numbers swimming at Clovelly during off-peak seasons.

Clovelly joins Coogee and Maroubra as beaches in Randwick receiving the expanded coverage. Last summer also saw the return of patrols to Malabar Beach for the first time in 20 years, as well as the introduction of new patrols at Little Bay Beach due to drowning incidents and public demand.

During those patrols, there were around 350,000 beach visits, with lifeguards performing four rescues and 959 first aid cases.

The data shows extending coverage to unpatrolled beaches saves lives. “Already lifeguards estimate that there have been 330,000 visits to Clovelly Beach since the summer season ended. They have performed nine rescues and administered first aid to 476 people visiting Clovelly in this time,” Mayor Veitch stated. 

The council is urging all beachgoers to heed safety guidelines: swim between the red and yellow flags only, don’t swim after eating or under the influence, never enter if no flags are present, and follow all lifeguard instructions.

“If you’re visiting the beach in the Randwick Council area during what will hopefully be a beautiful Sydney winter, please ensure you swim at a patrolled beach and follow the instructions of the Lifeguards.”

Published 18-May-2024

Mysterious Rash Plagues Beachgoers in Clovelly

An unexplained rash resembling bite or sting marks has plagued beachgoers in Clovelly and other Sydney beaches this summer. 

Despite extensive investigation, experts remain baffled as to the cause of the skin condition, sparking concern among locals.

In recent weeks, numerous locals, particularly those frequenting beaches like Clovelly, have reported developing peculiar rashes on their skin after swimming. The rash patterns vary from red blotches to tiny raised bumps, prompting speculation about potential causes and raising questions about the safety of popular beach spots.

On a recent Sunday in February 2024, a swimmer emerged from Clovelly Beach with red blotches covering her legs and feet, joining the ranks of those affected by this mysterious phenomenon. Despite her lack of discomfort whilst in the water, the appearance of these blotches has left her and others bewildered.

Sand Flies
Photo Credit: Australian Environmental Health Guide

Whilst some experts suggest sand flies, a type of biting midge, as the likely culprits behind these rashes, others remain unconvinced. The Queensland Museum, reviewing images of the affected individuals, admitted uncertainty about the cause but also leaned towards sand flies due to their typical delayed reaction, causing localized hive responses.

Sand flies or biting midges,  known for their tiny size and inconspicuous nature, pose challenges in detection but are widespread across Australia. However, the localised nature of the bites raises doubts among experts, leading to speculation about the involvement of crustaceans such as scavenging amphipods or isopods. 

Conclusive evidence remains elusive thus the true cause of the rashes remains shrouded in uncertainty.

According to the Australian Environmental Health Guide, biting midges will not transmit diseases to humans but it can cause painful and irritating bites. The severity of reactions varies, with some individuals experiencing red swollen bites measuring several centimetres in diameter. 

Symptoms may include pain, itching, blistering, and weepiness, lasting for days or weeks. Desensitisation may occur in individuals continuously exposed to midges, whilst tourists or others may suffer severe reactions requiring medical attention.

Two ‘Australian of the Year’ Awardees Warn Against Tanning Culture

Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer are melanoma researchers who were recently honoured as 2024 Australians of the Year and they are delivering a stark warning about our nation’s tanning culture. 

Despite having one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, Australians continue to embrace tanning as part of their lifestyle, especially for many sun-loving beachgoers at Clovelly Beach. 

Ms Long and Mr Scolyer raised concerns about Australia’s tanning culture during their acceptance speech, equating it to “brewing melanomas.” They emphasised the alarming rates of skin cancer in the country, revealing that approximately two out of three Australians are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70.

The pair of experts have transformed once-fatal skin cancer diagnoses into largely curable cases. However, in a poignant moment, Mr Scolyer, shared his own battle with stage four brain cancer, highlighting the fragility of life and his determination to make a difference. 

Australians of the Year 2024
Photo Credit: University of Sydney

Amid their recognition, Long and Scolyer passionately addressed the issue of tanning culture in Australia, advocating for a radical rethink of sun safety practices and calling for a change in the way tanning is portrayed in media and advertising.

As temperatures soared to 36 degrees Celsius at Clovelly Beach on Australia Day, the day the awardees accepted their honour, the tanning culture was unmistakably on display. 

Some beachgoers admitted to a lack of concern about the risks associated with sun exposure and melanoma. Even visitors from other countries shared their enthusiasm for the Australian climate and its beaches. They embraced tanning as part of the experience but noted the need for a commitment to sun safety, including regular skin check-ups. 

A  recent survey indicated that a significant portion of young Australians prioritise aesthetic appeal over potential health risks, highlighting a concerning trend. Whilst sunscreen and skin protection have improved, tanning remains deeply ingrained in Australian culture. 

“Our bronze Aussie culture is actually killing us so we call on advertisers and social media influences stop glamorising tanning or using it to sell or advertise for entertainment,” Ms Long said in their acceptance speech.

“We must elevate sun safety to equal status with other life-saving safety measures like wearing a seatbelt or a helmet,” Mr Scolyer added.

Published 30-Jan-2024

Generous Pensioner Leaves $4.5 Million Home to Charity to Feed the Homeless in Clovelly

The late Malcolm Mawhinney, an unassuming pensioner, has left a lasting legacy by bequeathing his multi-million dollar Clovelly home to charity, a generous act that will help feed the homeless.

The property sold for a remarkable $4.55 million in August 2023, exceeding the suburb’s median house price.

A former public servant who lived a modest life, Mr Mawhinney often appeared as though he was struggling financially. Thus, charity founder Reverend Bill Crews, known for his work in homelessness outreach, was astounded when he discovered that Mr Mawhinney had left his entire home, a two-bedroom property located at 23 Northumberland Avenue, to the reverend’s homelessness foundation.

Rev Crews only learned about the remarkable bequest when he fulfilled Mr Mawhinney’s last wishes by scattering his ashes on the Sydney Cricket Ground, where he had a dedicated annual seat for the Sydney test match.

A Simple Life and Hidden Generosity

Despite appearances, Mr Mawhinney maintained a simple life. He was known to live frugally, often having baked beans for dinner and enjoying a few schooners at the local bowling club in the afternoons. 

Rev Crews described him as “a lovely gentleman, always kind and gentle, but he looked like one of our [homeless] guests” and “as poor as a church mouse.”

Unbeknownst to many, he volunteered with the Exodus Foundation, even showing movies to homeless individuals in the foundation’s hangout hall, ranging from action films like “Rambo” to classics like “The Sound of Music.”

Clovelly, Malcolm Mawhinney
Photo Credit: Google Maps

An Unassuming Cricket Fan

Malcolm Mawhinney was not just a generous benefactor but also a dedicated cricket, AFL, and rugby league enthusiast. He supported teams like the Sydney Swans and Wests Magpies. 

Mr Mawhinney’s memorial service was held at the iconic Clovelly Bowling Club, a place he frequented for an afternoon beer, located just 250 meters from his home.

His impact on the community and the homeless population will be felt for the next six months, thanks to his remarkable act of generosity. The pensioner’s legacy serves as a testament to the hidden kindness that can exist within the unassuming residents of even the most affluent neighbourhoods.

A Lifeline for the Homeless

The substantial windfall from the sale of Mr Mawhinney’s Clovelly home will greatly aid the mission of the Bill Crews Foundation, renowned for its work in feeding Sydney’s homeless population, and providing essential support to those in need. 

The foundation offers food services through its food vans and the Loaves & Fishes restaurant in Ashfield, in addition to free dental clinics, legal assistance, laundry services, food parcels, clothing, and financial aid to struggling individuals.

Homelessness has become a growing concern in Australia, with an increasing number of “working homeless” people living on the streets and in makeshift tent villages due to soaring rents and low vacancy rates. According to Mission Australia, over 122,000 Australians are homeless on any given night, with another 1,660 joining their ranks monthly.

Published 8-Nov-2023

​​Actor’s Childhood Home in Clovelly to be Auctioned Off to Benefit Charity

The late Australian stage actor Richard Hughes has bequeathed the full sales proceeds of his childhood home in Clovelly to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a charity that supports seriously ill children and young people.

The property, located at 24 Park Street, will go up for auction on Saturday, 5 Aug 2023, with all funds raised being donated to the foundation.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom semi-detached house, situated on a 280-square-meter block with picturesque views of the water, has a price guide of $3 million to $3.3 million, according to Colliers agent Nelson Dueza, a long-time friend of the late actor. The property has remained in the family for an impressive 83 years since Mr Hughes’s parents, Dick and Beryl, purchased it around 1940.

Clovelly Richard Hughes
Photo Credit: Colliers Australia/YouTube

Mr Hughes, who passed away at the age of 77 in late 2022, had a remarkable career in the theatre, appearing in productions with Kirribilli’s Ensemble Theatre. He was known for his playful and witty nature, often entertaining his loved ones with puns and jokes. 

In his retirement years, Mr Hughes focused on family, caring attentively for his mother, Beryl, and his aunt June, until they both passed away in their nineties. He was also the organiser of regular family reunions, strengthening the bonds among his extended family.

The childhood home holds cherished memories for the actor, who grew up there as an only child, enjoying the stunning views of Coogee and Wedding Cake Island, which are just a short distance from Clovelly Beach. The property’s location is one of its standout features, as it offers breathtaking ocean views from multiple rooms.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation, the chosen beneficiary of the auction’s proceeds, creates over half a million Starlight experiences for sick children annually through their various programs. These experiences provide a much-needed respite from the challenges of illness, allowing the children and their families to laugh, play, and connect during difficult times.

Clovelly, an idyllic beachside suburb located 8km southeast of Sydney’s CBD, is highly sought after, with Domain’s House Price Report for the March 2023 quarter showing a median house price of $3.8 million.

The sale of this beloved childhood home is not only an opportunity for a new chapter in the property’s history but also a chance to make a significant impact on the lives of seriously ill children, thanks to Richard Hughes’s heartfelt bequeathment to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Published 26-July-2023

St Luke’s Anglican Church Renovation Approved, Locals Express Traffic Concerns

St Luke’s Anglican Church in Clovelly has been granted approval to proceed with its $1.8 million renovation project, amidst vocal opposition from local residents concerned about potential traffic congestion. 

The decision was made during a recent meeting of the Randwick Local Planning Panel, where objections from neighbouring residents and the Varna Street Action Group were raised.

The proposed upgrade works for St Luke’s Anglican Church involved the partial demolition of the church hall and excavation of the basement. The Anglican Church Property Trust Diocese of Sydney, the owner of the site, submitted DA 417/2022 in August. 

The primary goal of the renovations was to make the church fully wheelchair accessible for the first time. This would be achieved through the installation of a lift connecting the basement, first and second floors, as well as the addition of a new first-floor meeting room, office space, and accessible bathrooms.

St Luke's Anglican Church
Photo Credit: DA 417/2022

However, residents expressed concerns about traffic congestion caused by the church’s activities. With Clovelly Public School located opposite the church, residents feared that the existing congestion would worsen, especially during school hours. 

The Varna Street Action Group, representing concerned residents, also raised objections about the size and scale of the proposed building, as well as the potential overshadowing of neighbouring properties. Dance classes operating within the church had also been identified. In total, Council received 19 unique objections to the development plans.

Despite this, the Randwick Local Planning Panel approved the renovation project, citing the need to make the church facilities accessible to all members of the community. The panel acknowledged the concerns related to existing traffic and parking conditions but clarified that these were not the subject of the current application. 

St Luke's Anglican Church
Photo Credit: DA 417/2022

To address the residents’ worries, the panel imposed conditions to regulate activities within the site and facilitate better communication between the church and the properties around it. However, the commercial use of the hall was not part of the planning panel’s consent and would be addressed separately.

David James, the spokesperson for the Varna Street Action Group, expressed support for the church’s goal of improving accessibility but maintained that the area already suffered from significant traffic problems. He believed that expanding the commercial space in the church hall without providing additional parking would exacerbate the congestion issue.

To foster community engagement and address concerns, a condition of the approved plans includes the establishment of a community liaison committee consisting of senior church representatives. This committee will meet four times within the first year following the completion of the renovation work. Additionally, an acoustic consultant will review a management plan to ensure compliance with all acoustic requirements.

St Luke’s Senior Minister, Reverend Dave Rogers, emphasized that the development would not significantly increase the church’s size but would greatly enhance accessibility and create a more welcoming environment for the community. The church has been an integral part of Clovelly since 1894 and seeks to accommodate various community activities.

Published 22-June-2023

Newly Renovated ‘Village on Cloey’ Relaunches as Tuga X Village

After undergoing renovation, Village on Cloey rebrands to form Tuga x Village offering patrons the best of both worlds.

Diogo Ferreira, who also owns Tuga Pastries, felt that seven years since Village opened, the venue needs a makeover and a new identity to go along with it. And after undergoing a renovation, the rebooted version gave birth to Tuga x Village which now combines the concepts of both businesses.

Village on Cloey Undergoes Renovation and Rebrands as Tuga x Village
Tuga x Village’s Torricado | Photo credit:  Facebook / Tuga x Village

The former Village on Cloey which has now joined forces with its sister venue will focus heavily on Portuguese-inspired pastries, breads and dishes. Many of the offerings will take inspiration from Ferreira’s trips to Portugal including one of his favourites, bolo de caco.

Ferreira discovered the tasty bread during one of his trips to Portugal and fell in love with it. It’s a sweet potato bread that he said looks like an English muffin and has a delicious texture that is great for sandwiches.

Village on Cloey Undergoes Renovation and Rebrands as Tuga x Village
Photo credit:  Facebook / Tuga x Village

Apart from bolo de cacao, expect to find pastéis de nata, and traditional Portuguese bread Pão Alentejano and Torricado – made with slices of bread that are toasted over charcoal rubbed with garlic and olive oil before serving with toppings.

Peri peri chicken, almond croissant, and Portuguese doughnuts are also on offer as well as Village on Cloey’s crowd-favourite bacon and egg roll on house-baked Turkish bread. 

Village on Cloey Undergoes Renovation and Rebrands as Tuga x Village
Village bacon and egg roll | Photo credit:  Facebook / Tuga x Village

But Diego is not done yet. He is also planning to open his flagship store and bakery in Marrickville which will supply pastries and breads to Tuga in Alexandria and Clovelly as well as the new Tuga x Village.

Published 16-February-2023

Woman Dies in Gordons Bay Following a ‘Medical Episode’

A 47- year-old woman has died after being pulled unconscious from the water by three teenage girls at Gordons Bay near Clovelly. The woman reportedly suffered a medical episode.

On the afternoon of 9 January 2023, three young women, all aged under 16, found a woman floating face down. They pulled her out of the water performed CPR on her.

Lifeguards quickly rushed to the scene and took over CPR but unfortunately were not able to revive the woman after 30 minutes and died at the scene.

Surf Life Saving‘s Ben Hennan said that the three teenagers did a fantastic job under the circumstances. He added that the location was difficult to navigate on foot, but lifeguards were able to respond quickly as they have access via water. 

A witness said the police arrived at about 1.30 pm and rushed to pull the woman up from the water’s edge. 

Another witness said that a stretcher was brought in along with defibrillators. They saw about 20 police officers and paramedics who scrambled across the rocks to reach the woman. They did CPR on her for about 20 minutes and then stopped. The beachgoers were then asked to get off the rocks. 

The Gordons Bay incident is the eighth coastal drowning that has been recorded this summer and the 18th since 1 July 2022. It comes just days after an off-duty officer died at Bogola Beach near Narooma on New Year’s Day whilst trying to save his teenage son. 

Over Christmas and New Year, NSW surf lifesavers performed 1,200 rescues, the highest ever recorded in the past five years. Likewise, in the last five years, lifesavers and lifeguards have performed more than 50,000 preventive actions and attended to 85 emergency incidents.

The public is reminded to swim only at a patrolled location and between the red and yellow flags. And when caught in a rip current, one has to stay calm, conserve energy, attract the attention of a lifeguard or a lifesaver, and wait to be rescued.

Some Locals Oppose Proposed Amenities and Field Upgrade at Clovelly Crocs Home

The proposed upgrading of amenities and field at Burrows Park, the home ground of the Clovelly Crocs Junior Rugby League Club, has met strong opposition from some community members who have raised several concerns about the plans. 

Burrows Park, its sports field, and associated amenities building, have been proposed to undergo an upgrade as the building is deemed old and non-compliant with current building codes. 

The upgrade would also mean that the ground, which is currently smaller than the NRL standard size, will be extended by 10 metres to allow U13-aged teams and above to play games at Burrows Park.

Council is reported to have allocated $250,000 to investigate the project which is expected to cost about $4 million to deliver.

“This upgrade is essential to retaining and attracting participation in the local Rugby sporting codes and community-based sport, including continuing to grow female participation which has seen significant growth over the past 3 years,” the Clovelly Crocs statement last October 2022 reads.

It will also ensure the continued survival of both the Clovelly Crocodiles and Clovelly Eagles. The Clovelly Crocodiles have been based at Burrows Park since inception and with over 100 years of history in our local Clovelly community, this essential upgrade will ensure the success of the club for many more years to come.”

Just recently, though, the Crocs has reportedly abandoned the plans to have the sportsfield expanded following a strong opposition from some residents who raised several issues against the proposal. The club, however, would still support the ground re-turfing and upgrading the facilities at Burrows Park.

Some of those who oppose the proposal fear that the field becoming bigger would mean that it would be used by the Sydney Roosters.

Likewise, Friends of Burrows Park said that residents, as well as recreational users of the space including runners, dog walkers, bird watchers and beachgoers, are opposed to the idea. These groups are said to be concerned that the dog park would later be used as a parking area to accommodate the expected increase in the number of visitors.

Locals also fear that the project would impact their quiet enjoyment of their homes and the recreational space, given the noise and parking congestion the project would create. 

Clovelly Eagles, which also uses the ground, is said to be opposed to the proposed upgrade as well.

In its announcement last October 2022, Council said that residents will be consulted about the proposal once a scope and concept have been developed.

Burrows Park Field Upgrade Now in Initial Design Investigation Phase

An initial design investigation has been launched on the proposed amenities and field upgrade at Burrows Park in Clovelly, after the existing amenities building was found to be ‘old and non-compliant’ during a recent Council inspection.

Located immediately north of Clovelly Beach, Burrows Park Sportsfield features a football field, toilets block and picnic shelters.

Randwick City Council has deemed the existing amenities building as old and non-compliant with current building codes. Funding has been allocated to investigate upgrading the building for it to better meet the needs of local juniors utilising the field.

Although Council has announced the commencement of the initial design investigation on the proposed project. At this stage, no design brief or project scope has yet been confirmed. 

Representatives from the junior sporting clubs that currently use the park were invited to a meeting organised by the Council to help better understand their needs and challenges, in preparation for design work and community consultation.

Some of the early feedback gathered from the meeting includes the concern that the sub-standard size of the playing field prevents children 13 years and older from playing rugby league, prompting them to seek other fields to play home games. 

The possibility of providing a standard and compliant NRL-sized field to accommodate junior games for over 13s will now form part of the design brief investigation currently underway.

However, further investigation needs to be completed to determine whether this will be included or excluded from the final project scope.

Randwick City Council is encouraging interested residents to register at the Your Say Randwick website. Once the consultation has commenced, all subscribers will be notified and invited to participate.

Burrows Park is bounded to the east by an area of remnant vegetation and to the south by the cliff top at the edge of Clovelly Bay. Walkers and joggers frequent the park for their daily exercises which also features a free outdoor gym. It is also home to the Clovelly Bowling Club.