Friday, 30 November 2018


One of the Northern Beaches’ oldest community cultural facilities, the Harbord Literary Institute in Freshwater is holding a celebration to mark its 100th birthday this Saturday and you are invited to attend (1 December, 10am – 3pm).

Drop in to participate in celebrations which will include ‘old time’ games, a musical performance by the students of Harbord Kindergarten, story times, history talks, a cake-cutting ceremony, refreshments, an outdoor playground and activities for the children including a Christmas decoration craft workshop.

Mayor Regan said the enduring nature of the Harbord Literary Institute is a testament to the continuing civic honour and community spirit of the local population for this venue.

“The Harbord Literary Institute is a cherished community icon. It has served our community well for over 100 years, hosting countless social, cultural and recreational activities.

“This well respected building has proved a durable, versatile and a much-valued community asset.”

The Harbord Literary Institute was a community project made possible by volunteers and an elected committee established in 1915. Thomas Sterland was appointed as President. His son, Albert Sterland, a master builder and the committee’s honorary architect, Mr H.C. Hind of Manly, oversaw the Institute building works with the foundation stone being laid in July 1918.

The resulting building was modest, simple and practical - a plain brick hall with a metal roof; it’s only exterior decoration being string brickwork courses and buttresses.

The building received heritage listing in 2011 and includes a hall, meeting room, community library, children’s playground and a kitchen.

Historian Dr. Keith Amos points out this delightful old building is much more than that!

“For five generations it has been a hub of social and cultural life.

“Its old walls have witnessed every kind of function from concerts, silent movies, weddings, birthdays, library lending, to the excited learning of pre-schoolers and homecomings for soldiers,” he said.

The official opening of the event and cake-cutting ceremony will be from 11.30am -12 midday this Saturday.

Special guests will include Mr. Keith Sterland - the founding president Thomas Sterland’s grandson and Ms. Susan Moylan-Coombs who will conduct a ‘Welcome to Country.

For further details, go to Northern Beaches Council’s website.