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The old days at Terrigal. The old days at Terrigal. Featured
23 November 2021 Posted by 


Amazing adventures of family holidays
CAMPING at Terrigal Haven was a rite of passage for generations of summer visitors to the magical seaside town.
Like many first time visitors to Terrigal, my initial experience was camping in a caravan high on the western side of the bowl.
The centre of the bowl around the playing field and beside the Norfolk pines was the place to be, but unless you arrived early in the season and grabbed your regular spot, the “bleachers” was your location.
The public facilities were limited to say the least. The showers and toilets were in constant use for the whole period and sand was strewn across the floor from a thousand feet clad in thongs.
Fresh water was available from a tap at the side of the shower block and a lineup of campers with buckets patiently took their time to fill up.
It was basic but for a teenager from the bush, Terrigal Haven was one amazing adventure. Swimming at the beach, walking on the rocks, surfing at the town beach, climbing The Skillion, fishing and general running around were the highlights of every day.
To get into town you either headed over the hill along Scenic Hwy or you went via the rocks. It was a bit of a climb getting up on to rocks from the Haven beach and there was a rumor that the council would put stairs in to make it easier. 
On the weekend, surfers would arrive in panel vans and station wagons hoping that The Point was pumping.
Like many of those visitors from the camping days, I eventually returned to Terrigal and bought a house and brought up a family in paradise. 
Sadly, the big storm of 1974 put an end to camping at The Haven and it became a permanent sporting field. We will feature the night of the storm in another History Feature in the near future.
Recently the Good Old Central Facebook page featured our photo of the Haven in its prime and these are some of the comments from those who camped there:
Elizabeth Dewhirst
‘Proper camping, no electricity, no fancy tents & kept everything cold with ice.’
Barry Bond
‘That’s how I remember it, and there should be more of it today so people on a limited budget can have a family holiday.”
Mark Lamont
‘I recall at least two summers there when our tent was blown down at night, all of us sleeping the rest of the night in the Holden station wagon. Others went through similar.’
Gary Sulter
‘I used to sail a VJ out of that club luckily i had taken my boat home instead of storing it at the club the weekend the club got washed away in a massive storm.’
Graham Gustard
‘All got washed away in the 1974 cyclone.’
Diane Kincaid
‘I remember that Cyclone in 1974 so vividly. It was horrendous and deadly for some of the campers. They searched for the missing camper for a long time. The waves were so powerful it washed huge boulders into the camping area. Many homes were also destroyed in the beach areas. I remember seeing the framing of homes dangling from the electrical wires and trees. It was the worse Cyclone I've ever experienced, and I have been in many around the world. I was so sad that they stopped camping there but fully understand why.’


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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