Adopted by Council

Project snapshot

At the 19 December 2023 council meeting, the proposal by the Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee was endorsed. This proposal will see a rock relief carving on Black Road, Ocean Road, Palm Beach to honour local surfing legend Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly.

The petroglyph carving, suggested by the recognition committee, is created by incising, picking or carving part of the rock surface.

It is anticipated work will begin on this tribute in early 2024, weather permitting.

View the Council Minutes (Item 10.1, page 10)

Outcome of engagement

Outcome of engagement

We heard from 101 community members, who provided feedback on the proposed community art project.

Community feedback indicated a high level of support for the commemoration of Midget Farrelly in Palm Beach.

Many community members, whilst supportive of the idea of commemorating Midget Farrelly, did not feel that a relief carving on Black Rock was an appropriate form of recognition.

To view the full Community Engagement Report, click the button below.

A report outlining the outcomes of engagement was presented to Council at its meeting on Tuesday 19 December 2023. In response to feedback received through the public exhibition, the report recommends that Council endorse the concept of a Petroglyph carving on Black Rock, Ocean Road Palm Beach.

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Engagement history

Engagement history

We sought your feedback on a community led public art project between 27 July and 24 August.

The Midget Farrelly Recognition Organising Committee is planning to install a rock cut relief commemorating the achievements of the late inaugural Australian world surfing champion Bernard “Midget” Farrelly in Palm Beach.

The project is funded by the Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee and supported by his family.

The artwork aims to celebrate an icon in Australian surfing history, promote a distinct sense of local identity and engender a sense of community pride.

Artwork location

The Midget Farrelly Recognition Committee propose the artwork be located on the western face of the northern rock on Ocean Road at Palm Beach.

It is envisaged the artwork will be a permanent relief sculpture carved into the rock face, designed to soften with the natural effects of weathering.

About Midget Farrelly

Midget lived at Palm Beach for 54 years and surfed there almost every day on one of his many short or malibu surfboards. He was a member of the Palm Beach and Whale Beach Surf Lifesaving Clubs for over 20 years and was an accomplished sweep and mentor to the clubs' young rowers.

Midget Farrelly was the first Australian to win a major international surfing title, the 1962 Makaha International Surfing Championships, the unofficial world surfing championship of the day. In 1964 he won the inaugural World Surfing Championship at Manly Beach in Sydney in the men’s division, alongside Phyllis O’Donnell who won the women’s title. In 1985 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Born in 1944 and bred on the Northern Beaches, he started his first surfboard business in Palm Beach at the age of 18 after working for renowned Barry Bennett surfboards in Brookvale from the age of 15. He was considered a major player in the shortboard revolution.

Surfer riding a wave

Midget Farrelly, 1967. Photo by Jack Eden (1931-2019).