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Narrabeen Ice Skating Rink
The Old Rink
Watching Roger Waters last concert performance in Sydney this week got me thinking about where I first heard the song "The Wall". It was great to catch up with the boys, discuss old times and relive old tunes. "The Wall" is my first memory of Pink Floyd and the place I heard it for week after week is the Narrabeen Ice skating rink. I must have been eight or nine and the kids all skated faster when the big hits were played. I think we first skated at Narrabeen in 1979 and I distinctly remember skating as fast as my eight year old legs would allow to Kiss "I was made for loving you". Scary huh?
We skated on a friday night for about 1 1/2 hours. The first hour was free skating using the whole rink but the best fun was the last half hour when the kids who wanted to were allowed to play ice hockey on the left half of the rink. We were given old sticks to go with our dilapidated hire skates which had little or no ankle support and charged around in a massive scrum after the puck. The operators of the old rink used to turn off the refigeration at some point in the evening and there was always plenty of water on the surface in the last half hour of skating. They would save money anyway they could and it was probably another reason the kids loved the old rink. Nothing like some wet clothes to emphasise the story of your crash and to raise your parents eyebrows.
I am not sure my mother fully appreciated the contact nature of Ice hockey or perhaps she realised that I was never a huge prospect of playing seriously. I was not allowed to play rugby league although I did try out for the scool team once surreptitiously. Dad gave me a fantastic ice hockey stick one christmas which far outshone the dodgy hire boots and was the envy of the other kids using their hire sticks. I thought it was only a matter of time before I got my call up into the big league with the Mighty Narrabeen Bombers!
I have read that the original rink opened in 1947 and was a surplus aircraft hanger from world war 2. I think it was 1981 when the old rink was closed and demolished. The Bombers, Australias first Ice Hockey team, were homeless and the community was up in arms. A replacement rink was built and opened around 1984 my memories of the new rink were girls wearing "Bubble Skirts", yes I was a teenager by then and Whitney Houstons "How Will I know". The Ice Skates for hire at the new rink were a vast improvement on what we had become used to at the old rink. The boys had plastic moulded speed skates and the girls had figure skates. Everyone was properly fitted. No more saggy ankles.
After leaving school I didn't go back to the rink at all. During the early nineties the financial problems re-emerged and the rink was eventually closed. It stood dormant for many years until the developers came in and built a block of flats. It is prime real estate after all on the banks of the Narrabeen lagoon.
This is where the Ice skating rinks were located. There is now a block of units & small shops on the site.