Patonga is a small and remote riverside fishing village* occupying a one kilometre long sandy spit projecting from the headland of the Brisbane Water National Park to the north. The spit, at the mouth of the Patonga Creek which feeds into the Hawkesbury River at Broken Bay, forms a beach frontage onto Brisk Bay to the East, and a sandy foreshore on the creek to the West.
From the spectacular drive down into Patonga, during which visitors see glimpses of the town below…to the serenity of Cool Corner…to the expansive view across Brisk Bay to Palm Beach…to the isolation of the heritage cottages at Dark Corner…to the sheer splendour of Patonga Creek and its environs, new visitors will be stunned that a place so special can be so close to Australia's largest city and yet remain virtually unknown.
Patonga is a holiday destination you'll remember from your youth…where beach houses are cottages, where pelicans outnumber seagulls, where the smell of freshly caught fish pervades the village wharf, where climbing a mulberry tree is the best fun your kids have ever had… and where everything is accessible by foot or bike.
Patonga is a village that has changed little over time…come and enjoy…but handle with care!
* since the last of Patonga's two Churches (St. Anthony's Catholic Church at 2 Bay Street) was deconsecrated some time after its last mass in 1994, Patonga no longer has its own church. British custom would dictate that Patonga, at that point, ceased to be a "village", and is technically now a "hamlet" (as pointed out by Jocelyn Maughan of Patonga Bakehouse Gallery).
PLEASE BE AWARE - SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO PATONGA VILLAGE
In March 2013, the Draft Crown Lands Plan of Management (PoM) for Patonga Crown Reserves and Dark Corner cottages was published on the Gosford Council website. The Draft PoM was an extremely detailed 213 page document, featuring advanced plans for the "improvement" of Patonga. While the document recognised that the "Essential Character" of Patonga be maintained, in fact the recommendations showed little recognition of Patonga's essential character. Neither the Patonga Progress Association nor Patonga residents were consulted during the preparation of this document.
Note - as at April 2014, co-operation between residents and Crown Lands (referred to at the bottom of this article) has led to a number of agreed changes to the PoM. These amendments will likely be reflected when the PoM is re-exhibited later in 2014. Hopefully a great result for the residents of Patonga!
Key actions outlined in the Draft PoM included:
HIGH PRIORITY (i.e. "essential/significant action" - per PoM) - Construction of Tennis Courts and Pavilion on Eve Williams Memorial Oval (specifically at the unique and environmentally sensitive region known as "Cool Corner"), despite the fact that Tennis Club patrons believe this location is entirely inappropriate for tennis
HIGH PRIORITY - Subsequent removal of the Tennis Courts from their current location at the Patonga Caravan and Camping Area for the sake of additional parking, despite the current location surely being the only appropriate location on the peninsular for this much loved activity
HIGH PRIORITY - Reconfigure Car-parking at the Patonga Caravan and Camping Area (including providing secured gated entry), with no obvious recognition of the needs of the 50 or so Creek residents who have minimum parking location requirements in order to maintain and access their properties
HIGH PRIORITY - Create designated dinghy anchor points on Patonga Creek and consider license fees to cover costs of providing anchor points and policing, with no recognition of the "practical" issues Creek residents face in so doing, and no recognition of the practice of leaving dinghies casually by the waterways as a quaint and informal luxury that goes to the "Essential Character" of Patonga
HIGH PRIORITY - The erection of replacement cottages to be used as tourist accommodation at the isolated and otherwise quaint location known as "Dark Corner"
MEDIUM PRIORITY (i.e. "desirable change" - per PoM) - Plant additional Norfolk Island Pines to create uniformity along beach front, without recognising the huge impact that would have on the views of various privately held properties
MEDIUM PRIORITY - Remove Petanque Court and construct new car-park in its place on Eve Williams Memorial Oval, directly adjacent to the Old St Anthony's Catholic Church/Schoolhouse, despite the fact that 1) the Petanque Court is a unique and much loved feature of Patonga and is situated in the only ideal position for Petanque play on the Oval, ie. sun in winter/shielded from wind on Brisk Bay/no overhanging deciduous trees, 2) Old St Anthony's Catholic Church has a heritage value equal to any other current structure at Patonga and has held its significant place on the oval for more than 75 years, and 3) there has never once been an occasion when ample car-parking was not available in Bay Street
LOW PRIORITY (ie. "not a significant change" - per PoM) - Floodlighting on Eve Williams Memorial Oval, without consideration for the local fauna and despite the fact that no-one in Patonga has identified a need for floodlighting. "Low Priority" - Sure! But are they serious? Floodlighting? In Patonga?
Patonga Beach Progress Association
The Patonga Beach Progress Association, headed by its President Dain Simpson (pictured below with concerned residents), called a Progress Association meeting on 6 April 2013 to discuss the far ranging implications of the PoM for the future of Patonga. Hundreds of residents were present. It was agreed that a sub-committee made up of legally qualified professionals and established residents be formed to co-ordinate a response on behalf of the residents of Patonga.
The general feeling now is that residents can look forward to strong co-operation with Crown Lands in achieving a Plan for the betterment of Patonga, without damaging its character.
Nonetheless, the PoM is a reminder to residents of Patonga that, while being surrounded by Brisbane Water National Park, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River limits the development that can be undertaken by private enterprise, Patonga's future is firmly in the hands of Crown Lands and the various objectives it may from time to time adopt.
Petanque at Patonga
The Petanque Court is situated adjacent to Old St. Anthony's Church/Schoolhouse on Eve Williams Memorial Oval. Bring your Petanque/Boules kit, your children, and a picnic lunch and enjoy this quintessential French pastime! The court is available to all, except during competition or team practice.
For more serious players, please contact the Patonga Petanque Club. More information regarding Petanque and the Petanque Club can be found by clicking here.