Update | Flashback Friday | Cronulla beach kiosk and outdoor cafe


The Flashback Friday story on the old kiosk that used to stand at the southern end of Cronulla beach brought back memories for followers of the Leader’s Facebook page.

Many commented on the makeshift outdoor cafe, which operated for a few years before the kiosk was demolished to may way for Zimzala cafe-restaurant.

A search of the Leader’s files by photographic editor John Veage has now turned up images of the cafe he captured in 1999, which provide a valuable historical record.

The shots are further proof of the popularity of the cafe and why there were howls of protest when it was closed by the council to make way for a modern eatery.

They show the only protection from the weather was an awning and brightly coloured umbrellas.


A relic from the past disappeared in 2008 with the demolition of the old kiosk at the southern end of Cronulla beach.

In its latter years, the kiosk was given a new lease of life as the kitchen for an outdoor cafe.

Umbrellas were the only protection from the weather, but the informal cafe in the sheltered, sunny nook proved very popular.

Patrons were very upset when the surf club and council closed it in 2005 to replace it with a new, modern cafe-restaurant.

The Nelson family, who had operated the popular Alley Break cafe at North Cronulla, won the lease and opened Zimzala (meaning “sand between your toes”) in February, 2009.

Council gave approval for the new facility over the objections of nearby residents.

Redevelopment was delayed when a retaining wall collapsed, and negotiations fell through with the initial intended tenant.

“We also had to look at ways of building it, arrange a $300,000 bank loan and get the council to guarantee it,” Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club president Kevin Neilson said at the time.

Mr Neilson said the project would make the club more self-sufficient. 

“We want to avoid being a burden on the council and having our members going out selling raffle tickets,” he said.


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

We will bring you photographs 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 @SutherlandShireStGeorgeNews or email leaderletters@fairfaxmedia.com.au