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PEARL BEACH - Incomparable !

Past Residents of Pearl Beach
Arthur John "Jack" BUTLER. (1896-1988)   -   Ruby May BUTLER. (1900-1996)

Arthur John "Jack" Butler

Ruby May Butler

Jack and Ruby Butler amid their beloved orchids. (1970's)
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The Butler name is deeply entrenched in the history of Pearl Beach.

Jack Butler and his cousins, after their return from World War One, frequented Pearl Beach on a regular basis to go fishing. This was a practice he continued for many decades. In the early 1920's Jack married his sweetheart, Ruby May Franklin.

Initially, they had a small cottage in Crystal Avenue used for weekend fishing visits. Later, in the latter half of the 1940's, Jack and Ruby Butler  moved from their Sydney home in leafy Lane Cove to Pearl Beach. Jack, a Master Builder, constructed his own home in Diamond Road along with many other mid-twentieth century houses in the area before deciding upon retirement.

Jack Butler was one of the founding members of the original Pearl Beach Progress Association. He was also a founding member of the, now defunct, Woy Woy RSL's Pearl Beach Sub-branch. Jack donated time, labour and money for the complete construction of the war memorial that now stands in front of the Community hall.

Both were passionate about orchids and had a large orchid house on their spare block behind their residence.

Both Jack and Ruby Butler remained residents of Pearl Beach until their passing. Their only daughter, Joyce, still resides in the original Butler family home in Diamond Road.

In 2004 their grandson, Ian Butler and his wife Mariëtte, took up permanent residence in a new home adjacent to Jack and Ruby's family home.

Stephen Phillip Young
The Young family house today. (2009)
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Edited extracts from email correspondence)

I was absolutely delighted to come across Pearl Beach on the INTERNET.

I am now aged 59. As a young boy, later into my 'teens' and into my 'twenties, I frequented Pearl Beach with my father, John Jeremiah Young, and my mother Phyllis May Young. Dad is still alive and turned 95 in 2009. Dear Mum passed away in October 2005 aged nearly 92.

My father built a simple holiday cottage in Cornellian Road, about 3-blocks from the corner of Cornellian Road and Pearl Beach Drive. (I never new it as Pearl Beach Drive ... to me it was just the road that led down from the mountain.) As a youngster, Jade Place had not been laid and, as I remember, Jade Place was laid when I was in my early twenties. Our cottage was next door to the Cordner family who were permanent residents of Pearl Beach. I expect our cottage and the Cordner's house have since been pulled down. In fact, dad built our cottage just after WW2. It was much later when the Cordner's moved in next door.

During all the time I frequented Pearl Beach, it remained the same for years. I remember the Bush Fire Station and the Progress Hall. In fact, Pearl Beach was somewhat busy in the summer school holidays and there was often a dance on at the hall on Saturday evenings. I can recall 'Greenies' general store which was on the corner of Agate Avenue and Coral Creek. If I remember correctly, there was a butcher's shop inside 'Greenies'. There was also a Botanical Station at the end of Crystal Avenue which, if I am correct, was run by the University of NSW. As I understand, this is now the Crommelin Native Arboretum. As a youngster I used to go to the waterfall up in the bush near the end of Crystal Avenue... I think it was near there.

In the 50's and 60's Pearl Beach was quite and the people were plain folk. I was nothing to walk down to the General Store on the end of Pearl Parade to get the newspaper and the bread. Nowadays, I expect the walk from Cornellian Road to the General Store, now some sort restaurant come food store, would be considered too far and would be deserving of getting out the BMW or Audi to accomplish this task. How people and values change over the years. Mind you, the best bread at the time was made by the baker in Patonga.

With Mum and Dad, and my brothers I would visit Pearl Beach on the weekends. Our cottage had a communal bedroom and as a youngster, myself and my brothers were sent to bed early. I guess this was a need as we were dog tired from our adventures at Pearl Beach during the day - the rock pool, playing with the Pearl Beach permanent residents' kids, keeping Dad company while he fished. I recall being able to hear the surf crash during the night and the fall of the rain onto to our galvanised iron roof.

I can remember the Kookaburras too. Pearl Beach was full of them. I also remember the Simmons family [not sure of spelling]. They were permanent residents of Pearl Beach and lived in a block across from our lot. I recall too our 'loo' with its pan; Dad built that too. As I have said, how times change. Dad sold our lot some time ago.

I recall the rock pool well. I notice from your photo gallery that there is a hand rail around the pool nowadays. I used to go to the pool at high tide whenever practical. Mum and Dad would come too. We used to sit by a large rock that probably fell down from the 'overhang' ... that rock must have fallen down before I was born.

My goodness - Opera at the Arboretum, breakfast on Sundays at the café in Pearl Parade, pole houses, resident artists, visiting overseas academics, holiday accommodation costing up to $4000.00 to $5000.00 per week. In my day our joy was to fetch a loaf of fresh bread that we ordered the day before, to go bush walking or swim in the rock pool. Of an evening we would have a barbeque and then listen to the wireless.


Laurie Allen
Edith Bradley and Paul Allen. (1978)
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12 Coral Cresent under construction. (1940's)
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Edith Bradley at 12 Coral Cresent. (1968)
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Boy on Pearl Beach Swings. (1950's)
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Edited extracts from email correspondence)

I have been looking through your website and felt moved to drop you a few lines.

Thank you for the online brochure from the very early days showing photos of the original "round the mountain" road. That was very interesting. I walked that road many times on my way to and from school, although long after those photos were taken.
(See menu: About Pearl Beach/Biography/Yesteryear)

I grew up in Pearl Beach - from 1951 (born in Ocean Beach Private Hospital) till 1970, when I left for Sydney. My family lived at at 21 (previously 11) Coral Crescent, now owned by another long-term resident, Mary Smith. In 1966-68 I worked holidays and weekends in the Post Office for George Way where I handed out letters and manned the manual telephone exchange (!) so I do remember quite a few of the old "identities"! My brother Doug and sisters Rose and Coral, all older than I, also grew up in PB and had their own experiences. Coral has since passed away.

I remember your grandfather, Jack Butler, quite well. My mother was a widow, and when something needed fixing around the house, she would ask your grandfather for help and he would oblige for 10 shillings or a pound or so. I particularly remember tripping on our front step once and putting my head through a fibro sheet(!) around 1968. This was one of the times when "Mr Butler" was called upon.

I have attached a few old photos of Pearl Beach. I doubt they would be of general interest, but might find a place in your archives. The first shows two long time residents of Pearl Beach, my uncle Paul Allen and his sister Edith Bradley (taken 1978). Aunt Edith built a house at 12 Coral Crescent with her husband Ken in the 1940's. It was still standing up until a few months ago (early 2009), but may have been demolished by now. The second photo shows the house as it was when half-built - surrounded by bush. The third photo shows my Aunt at the back (ie facing the beach) of the house in 1968. The fourth photo shows Pearl Beach as it was, probably in the early 60's. My aunt lived at 12 Coral Crescent until her death in 1979, and my uncle lived there until his passing away last year. The sale of the property in March 2009 marked the end of over 60 years' connection with Pearl Beach by our family. Lastly, I spent some time looking through our old photos, to see if there were something more there that might be of interest, especially to "old-timers", and found the attached photo of the Pearl Beach "playground" as it was in the 1950's. It consisted of a single very strong swing. Beneath it there was a deep depression, made by children's feet pushing themselves up. This depression would fill with water when it rained, making swinging a damp sport! The little boy in the picture has no hope of touching the ground so must be pushed. This swing stood a little to the south of the toilet block/change shed which stands at the beach end of Amethyst Avenue. In the background across Pearl Parade is the home of Mr and Mrs Dan Walters.


If you can assist with information and photographs about other early or long-time residents, please contact:



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