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.

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

Pop-Up Pedal Park in Clovelly to stay Until October

The pop-up pedal park in Clovelly Beach will stay in place until the first of October 2021, nixing original plans to dismantle the facility at winter’s end. The extension will be a welcome reprieve for kids home schooling during the lockdown.

Children will be able to safely play outdoors and have fun at the pedal park as it continues to be accessible until 5 Oct 2021. According to Randwick City Mayor Danny Said, keeping the facilities in place will “help lighten people’s burden” during this pandemic.

“Council has looked for additional ways for residents to make use of our outdoor spaces,” the mayor said. 

“The pop-up pedal parks have proven to be a popular and effective way for kids to get outside, burn off some energy in a safe environment and feel like life is a little bit normal again. 

Photo Credit: Danny Said/Facebook

“It was a no-brainer to keep them open for longer than was originally planned. The positive feedback we’ve received from the community tells us that this is a valued initiative that brings relief and happiness to many families.”

Since beachside car parks closed during the lockdown, Council installed temporary bike tracks for the kids on the site. The first pop-up pedal park was opened and trialled in May 2020, whilst another facility was installed at the Chifley Reserve.

The pedal parks were subsequently brought back in June 2021, following a Council vote to make this a regular winter offering. This year ramps, rails, and tunnels were added to provide additional skill-building opportunities for junior cyclists, skaters, and scooter users. 

Meanwhile, residents may continue to provide feedback about the pedal parks to Council. 

Outdoor Gym Upgrades Ongoing at Varna Park in Clovelly

Have you been to Varna Park in Clovelly in recent weeks? You may have noticed busy workers building a new workout space near the section with shaded trees as Waverley Council has responded to the community’s needs for an outdoor gym.

The new facility will be the seventh outdoor gym within the Council’s jurisdiction. It will be set up with a chest press, an elliptical trainer, lat pulldown, cardio equipment, exercise bike, and strength and stretching exercises.

A Council spokesperson said that this has been most requested by the community, who want to use a free gym than a commercial option, especially for the older residents. Thus, studies and consultations were undertaken between October 2019 to January 2020 to assess the feasibility of the project. 

Following the consultations, Council started with the upgrades on Varna Park in February 2021 and it’s scheduled to finish by May 2021.  

Photo Credit: Google Maps

The project will also entail the following improvements:

  • Installation of natural and imaginative play spaces
  • New park furniture and bins
  • New fitness station and rubber softfall
  • Turf improvement works

The upgrades on Varna Park have been moving forward despite criticisms that spending on an outdoor gym might not be worth the cost as only a small number of locals actually use the facilities. 

Whilst workout spaces have become the trend in Sydney, it has yet to help with people’s fitness routines in a significant way as only about 17 percent of Australians perform sufficient physical exercises regularly, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Bundock Park Playground Upgrade Expected in 2021

Following community consultations and a public exhibition in 2020, the construction of the proposed Bundock Park Playground upgrade at Eastbourne Avenue will be underway this year. Randwick City Council will soon confirm the start date of civic works that will move the new playground a few metres off its current location.

The Bundock Park Playground upgrades will include new equipment for the children, such as a slide, a basket swing, wooden play equipment with rope ladders and monkey bar hooks to climb. Most of this will be made of wood to be safer for toddlers to enjoy.

The proposed plan also has provisions for the grown-ups, who will be accompanying their kids at the play area. There will be more shade and seating for the comfort of the adults whilst the new location, slightly to the west of the old playground, will take advantage of the beauty of the surrounding bushes and shrubs.

Photo Credit: Randwick City Council

Bundock Park Playground is just across Clovelly Beach. It’s surrounded by plenty of amenities like external showers, BBQ and picnic shelters, and a cafe for dining and lounging in between meals and swimming. 

For enquiries and other comments about this planned upgrade, email or phone the project manager at 9093 6934. 

Clovelly Bowling Club Ranked as 2020’s #1 Bowls Club in NSW

Clovelly Bowling Club ranked as the best bowls club in NSW and the third-best across the country in a recently concluded survey for the Wotif 2020 Uniquely Aussie Awards. The bowls club is one of only three from the NSW to make it on the list. 

Built around the 1940s, the Clovelly Bowling Club‘s biggest draw that’s hard to beat is its gorgeous and picturesque 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean.  

“It’s an absolutely stunning world-class view,” Brian Bagshaw, the president of the bowlo said. 

Photo Credit: Alan Chen/Google Maps

The drinks served at the bar are very competitive and comes with a selection of beers, wines, spirits and mixers. The bar is licensed to operate until 10:0 p.m. 

Members usually come around the bowlo for some games and drinks, whilst some fire up the self-service BBQ to grill meat to share among themselves.

Photo Credit: Osvaldo Picon Viega/Google Maps

Here’s the complete ranking of the Top 10 Best Bowls Club in Australia:

  • WINNER: Merthyr Bowls Club, New Farm, QLD
  • 2 – Chermside Bowls Club, Chermside, QLD
  • 3 – Clovelly Bowling Club, Clovelly, NSW
  • 4 – Broadbeach Bowls Club, Broadbeach, QLD
  • 5 – Moama Bowling Club, Moama, NSW
  • 6 – The Greens North Sydney, North Sydney, NSW
  • 7 – Mooloolaba Bowls Club, Mooloolaba, QLD
  • 8 – Burleigh Heads Bowls Club, Burleigh Heads, QLD
  • 9 – Torquay Bowls Club, Torquay, VIC
  • 10 – Club Kawana, Wurtulla, QLD

According to Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch, more locals are relearning to love their community bowls club amid the pandemic restrictions at bars and restaurants. These community hubs received thousands of votes in Wotiff’s yearly survey, proving that bowls clubs deserve to be in the spotlight. 

The travel website conducted a survey to encourage domestic travel across the country. Wotif learned that 70 percent of Australians are looking forward to taking a road trip to discover local gems whilst 90 percent believe that everyone should do their bit to save the tourism industry and small business. 

“An excellent bowling club. Excellent view. Located along the coastal walk between Bronte and Clovelly. Friendly staff. Very clean. Lawn bowls and barefoot bowls available here. Bar service here. No bistro – but they sell meat pies and some other food over the counter. COVID-safe policies have been implanted here. Extremely large air-conditioned ballroom – perfect to hire for any function – the ballroom has its own kitchen. #clovelly”

Brenden Wood, Google Reviews

“Lovely little bowlo with great views out over the ocean. Go there for a cheap beer or a bite to eat, and try to catch the monthly Starfish musical gigs.”

Simon Proudman, Google Reviews

“What a great place. Amazing views, great value for money and most of all the people working here provided us great service and even took the time to give us a quick bowling lesson.”

Jamie Haffey, Google Reviews

Burrows Park Outdoor Gym in Clovelly to Close for 2-Week Repair Work

Do you use the facilities at the Burrows Park outdoor gym? You might have to make some changes to your fitness plan for the next two weeks as the Clovelly facilities will be temporarily closed beginning 9 Nov 2020, the Randwick City Council announced.

The Burrows Park outdoor gym will undergo some much-needed repair work of its rubber softfall surface. Other miscellaneous civil work will also be undertaken to maintain the lifespan of the equipment.

The facility has 18 low-impact and cardio equipment, which residents may use without paying for a gym membership: 

  • Treadmill
  • Oblique
  • Chest Press
  • Seated Row
  • Lateral Pull Down
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bench
  • Leg press
  • Triple Pull Up
  • Plyometric Box Set
  • Pull Up
  • Assisted Pull up
  • Dips
  • Leg Raise
  • Hand Bike
  • Spinning Bike
  • Cross Trainer
  • Recumbent Bike
Photo Credit: Michael Simons/Google Maps

Whilst civil works are ongoing, traffic calming options around the Ocean St sportsfield, including areas near the Coastal Walkway and Clovelly Bowling Club, will be installed for the safety of motorists, pedestrians and contractors. 

The Burrows Park outdoor gym opened in 2014 and it’s the second free fitness facility established in Randwick City after Maroubra Beach’s outdoor gym.

Explore the Coastal Marine Life through Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours at Clovelly

Exploring underwater has never been this easy and fun thanks to the Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours at Clovelly. 

Whether you are into water activities or not, the tour will allow you to calmly breeze through the water and explore the abundance of marine life found at Gordon’s Bay with the use of water scooters. With a water scooter on hand and a certified instructor per group tour, all of your water woes will definitely be put at bay. All you have to do is swim, smile, and enjoy the rest of the underwater tour. 

What to Expect

The Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours will provide each participant with the following gear for the 90-minute guided water tour:

  • High quality diving mask with tempered glass
  • Wet suits and boots that are buoyant and warm all through the year
  • Clip-on fins that will allow you to propel through the water
  • Battery-powered water scooters that pull you through the water at 5kph
Water scooter
Photo credit: Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours/ Facebook

This guided water activity can either be mild or wild depending on how you’d like it to be. You may opt to be pulled along above or below the water— both of which are fun and also a great opportunity for a close encounter with the marine life. But if you feel a bit more adventurous and if you have the skills, a swim-through challenge with deep dive is also being offered.

All abilities are catered for during the underwater scooter tour; however, it is necessary for everyone to have basic swimming knowledge. Also, all participants must be at least 16 years old to join. 

Underwater scooter tour
Photo credit: Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours/ Facebook

The admission fee for the underwater scooter tour is $200 per person. You may book a slot on their webpage or purchase a gift card for a friend today.

For updates and more information, you may visit Sydney Underwater Scooter Tours.