FLASHBACK FRIDAY | Photos from the Leader’s archives

SHOPPING UTOPIA

Roselands shopping centre was described as “a product of the motorised age” when it opened in 1965.

Built at a cost of £6 million ($12 million) on the site of a former golf course, Roselands was promoted as the biggest and most modern shopping centre in the southern hemisphere and ahead of anything in the US.

Mr B.A. Grace, the chairman of Grace Bros, which built the complex, said it was “a city in the suburbs”.

Six thousand invited guests attended the official opening on Monday October 11, where Premier Bob Askin  said, “This is private enterprise at its very best”.

‘‘Roselands is the true product of the motorised age in which we live,” Mr Askin said.

‘‘Catering for 15,000 vehicles per day, it is a shopping utopia for the motorist.’’

The following day, the doors were opened to the public – and they flocked in.

They were overwhelmed by the shopping and eating areas and features such as the Rose and Rain Drop Fountains .

‘‘The ground floor would cover two of the biggest city blocks in Sydney,’’ the Leader reported.

‘‘The retail area alone has been calculated to equal the shopping facilities of a mile-long suburban shopping centre.”

BANGOR’S SOLAR SCHOOL

Pupils wait to cross busy Menai Road to get to the new "solar school".

Pupils wait to cross busy Menai Road to get to the new "solar school".

Bangor Public School was acclaimed as the State’s first “solar school” in 1984.

Bernie Gregory was the first principal of the school, which was designed to make use of natural light and was fitted with solar panels to produce winter warmth.

It also provided the first community centre for the new Menai housing area, and church services were held there.

But, while four years of planning went into the showpiece school, which cost $2.6 million, government bureaucrats overlooked the fact most of the 400 pupils lived on the other side of Menai Road, which was busy as it was the only east-west link through the area.

After a brief campaign by parents, a steel footbridge was erected over Menai Road as a “temporary” solution until a better bridge could be constructed. 

The steel bridge remains today.

Bangor Public School under construction. Picture: Peter Kevin Solness

Bangor Public School under construction. Picture: Peter Kevin Solness

END OF AN ERA

The bridge under construction in June 1964. Picture: George Lipman

The bridge under construction in June 1964. Picture: George Lipman

More than 5000 excited residents attended the opening of  Captain Cook Bridge on May 29, 1965.

The new crossing replaced the car ferry (punt), which had operated  between Taren Point and Rocky Point, Sans Souci, since 1916.

The Leader June 2, 1965.

The Leader June 2, 1965.

Governor Sir Eric Woodward was in the first car to cross the bridge, which cost £1 1/2 million ($3 million) to build.

A youthful stilt walker and cyclists were among the crowd who followed.

‘‘Even before Sir Eric and Lady Woodward and the official party had driven across the bridge, hundreds of people tried to be the first pedestrians across,’’ the Leader reported.

Early days of Captain Cook Bridge.

Early days of Captain Cook Bridge.

‘‘At one stage half the bridges and its approaches almost had disappeared under the mass of people crowding across it.

‘‘The ceremony was one of the most picturesque in St George or Sutherland Shire for many years.

‘‘Equally moving was the running of the last Taren Point ferry across the river.

Early days of the punt. Picture: Sutherland Shire Library

Early days of the punt. Picture: Sutherland Shire Library

‘‘Gaily decorated, with flags and streamers, the ferry was packed with hundreds of people, plus a full complement of cars.’’

LAST DRINKS

Last days of the old Northies. Picture: John Veage

Last days of the old Northies. Picture: John Veage

There was outrage in 1998 when plans for a $35 million redevelopment of Northies Cronulla Hotel were unveiled.

What had for many years been a quaint beachside pub with a lot of character was to become a a 14-storey apartment block with a tavern below.

The big balcony was a feature of Northies before the redevelopment, Picture: John Veage

The big balcony was a feature of Northies before the redevelopment, Picture: John Veage

​A major sore point was the loss of the large balcony that people used to flock to, particularly on weekends.

About 100 people gathered to protest in Dunningjham Park, but the council was unmoved.

Mayor Kevin Schreiber said it was not as high as either the Kingsway building, which would become Rydges, and it was the same height as Cote D'Azur on the opposite corner.

Councillor Byron Hurst, an independent, supported the plan, while helping to scale back the size.

‘‘Ten years ago, dining out in Cronulla meant eating a meat pie from the Cronulla pie shop while sitting in the gutter outside,’’ he told the Leader in 1998.

‘‘This is, if you like, the final piece of the jigsaw of how Cronulla has become more cosmopolitan.”

There were several versions of the hotel dating back to 1888 before the “New Northies” came along.

FIRESTORM

A line of fire threatens the townships of Bundeena and Maianbar during the 1994 wildfire through the Royal National Park.

A line of fire threatens the townships of Bundeena and Maianbar during the 1994 wildfire through the Royal National Park.

In 1994 a weekend of firestorms swept though the region, killing one person and destroying scores of homes.

Residential streets in Jannali, Como West, Bonnet Bay, Alfords Point and the Menai area bore the brunt of the devastation and 104 homes were lost and many more damaged.

Around 95 per cent of the Royal National Park was burnt out as fires around Helensburgh, which were burning out of control, joined up with a wildfire spreading through the park.

Firefighters were backburning from Grays Point and Heathcote to Waterfall along the railway line desperately trying to protect houses from damage.

‘‘The Helensburgh fire will meet up with the wildfire heading south and hit together in a Biblical apocalyptic updraught later tonight,’’ a spokesman for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Mr Gavin Gatenby, said at the time.

A report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service that year said one more bushfire that century could cause a disastrous loss of diversity within the park.

‘‘The January fires [in the Royal] burnt some of the longest unburnt stands of heath in coastal NSW,” the report said.

AUSTRALIAN MADE

Ten of the country’s best bands, headed by Jimmy Barnes and INXS, performed at the Australian Made rock concert at Endeavour Field attended by about 25,000.

Ten of the country’s best bands, headed by Jimmy Barnes and INXS, performed at the Australian Made rock concert at Endeavour Field attended by about 25,000.

IT was the coming of age for Australian rock — a national festival featuring a line-up of our best home-grown bands including INXS, Jimmy Barnes, Divinyls, Mental as Anything, Models, The Saints, I’m Talking and The Triffids.

Australian Made was a festival held between 1986 and 1987 in the six state capitals of Australia.

One of the concerts was staged in the shire at Endeavour Field (now Southern Cross Group Stadium) on Australia Day, January 26, 1987.

The festival was the first of its kind in Australia and would usher in the big travelling music extravaganza which launched in the mid 1990s. It was also remarkable for being a no-alcohol event.

To promote the tour, INXS and Barnes recorded a cover of The Easybeats song Good Times which was released in December 1986 as a single and used as the theme song.

RAINY DAYS

Melissa Goddard and Belinda Brennan had their own water amusement park on Captain Cook Drive, Kurnell, in 1990 after the remnants of Cyclone Nancy dumped more than 400mm of rain on Sydney. Thirty homes at Kurnell were flooded.

Melissa Goddard and Belinda Brennan had their own water amusement park on Captain Cook Drive, Kurnell, in 1990 after the remnants of Cyclone Nancy dumped more than 400mm of rain on Sydney. Thirty homes at Kurnell were flooded.

Sydney’s heavy rainfall over the past few days is reminiscent of conditions back in February, 1990.

Back then St George and Sutherland Shire copped a drenching in the wake of tropical cyclone Nancy to the north. 

"Nancy brought down a lot of warm, moist tropical air southwards,’’ a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said at the time.

By the second week of February Sydney's rainfall for the month was already 475.8 millimetres - well above the February average of 112 millimetres - and only 90 millimetres off the 1956 February record of 564 millimetres.

The city recorded 243.6 millimetres on February 3 - the second highest reading in the State.

SYDNEY OLYMPICS

A crowd of more than 30,000 roared in 2000 when Susie Maroney carried the Olympic torch into Tonkin Oval, Cronulla, and with the aid of support runner Stacey Thomson from Cronulla High, lit the community cauldron.

A crowd of more than 30,000 roared in 2000 when Susie Maroney carried the Olympic torch into Tonkin Oval, Cronulla, and with the aid of support runner Stacey Thomson from Cronulla High, lit the community cauldron.

The Sydney Olympics in 2000 were a time of great optimism.

Community spirit shone through as St George and Sutherland Shire residents joined an army of Olympic volunteers while crowds lined the streets for the torch relay.

Our athletes did us proud with triathlete Michellie Jones and trap shooter Michael Diamond winning gold.

MIRANDA FAIR

An old quarry, pictured in 1962, was the site for Miranda Fair, which was hailed as a ‘‘shoppers’ paradise’’ when it opened in 1964. The £31⁄4 million ($6.5 million) Myer-Farmer’s development was the largest fully enclosed shopping centre in NSW until Roselands upstaged it the following year. In 1969, Westfield bought Miranda Fair for $10 million and set about enlarging it.

An old quarry, pictured in 1962, was the site for Miranda Fair, which was hailed as a ‘‘shoppers’ paradise’’ when it opened in 1964. The £31⁄4 million ($6.5 million) Myer-Farmer’s development was the largest fully enclosed shopping centre in NSW until Roselands upstaged it the following year. In 1969, Westfield bought Miranda Fair for $10 million and set about enlarging it.

MIRANDA Fair was hailed as a ‘‘shoppers’ paradise’’ when it opened in 1964.

The £31⁄4 million ($6.5 million) Myer-Farmer’s development, which was built on the site of an old brick pit, was the largest fully enclosed shopping centre in NSW until Roselands upstaged it the following year.

A special edition of the Leader was published on Monday, March 16, to mark the opening at 3pm that day by premier Bob Heffron in front of 1600 guests.

‘‘Only 17 months ago this site was an old quarry in paddocks covered with weeds and long grass, and Miranda itself was a quiet little shopping centre,’’ the front page noted.

In 1969, Westfield bought Miranda Fair for $10 million and set about enlarging it.

RED PLANET

Memories persist of a strange day in 2009 when a red dust cloud blew in from the outback, blanketed Sydney, including St George and Sutherland Shire, and created eerie images such as this front page photo of an early morning swimmer at Cronulla. Picture: John Veage

Memories persist of a strange day in 2009 when a red dust cloud blew in from the outback, blanketed Sydney, including St George and Sutherland Shire, and created eerie images such as this front page photo of an early morning swimmer at Cronulla. Picture: John Veage

FLASHBACK FRIDAY

Every Friday we delve into the Leader archives to embark on some time travel.

We will bring you a photograph of a news event from 57 years of Leader news coverage that you may or may not recall.

Flashback Friday submissions are also welcomed.

  • Feel free to share your recollections with us on our Facebook page @stgeorgesutherlandleader or email leaderletters@fairfaxmedia.com.au