Are you a descendent of Harold Clarke Thompson?
The seven heirs of Harold, who died in 1939, own the land between the mean high water mark and the seaward boundaries of the beachfront lots south of ‘The Ruins’ at Wamberal Beach.
It’s a sliver of land as the screenshot shows.
But that beachfront land has been at the centre of a search for the seven heirs – or their successors – for years.
The first meeting of the Wamberal Seawall Advisory Taskforce in August 2020 noted that Council had been attempting to trace the owners for some 15 months previous.
At every meeting since that first meeting, there has been an update on the land – but no owner found and no decision made on what to do about it.
The latest minutes of the taskforce show that slowly, a decision is close.
“Crown Lands’ investigation into the ownership of the residual land and the heirs and successors to the estate, is largely complete,” the minutes state.
“The title to the residual land was cancelled some years ago, and this matter is being investigated with NSW Land Registry Services.
“The last registered proprietor of the land was Harold Clarke Thompson, however tracing the present-day beneficiaries of the residuary estate has proved a difficult task as it was left to seven persons.
“Although a historical investigation has been conducted into the estate, the current heirs and successors remain unknown.
“Both Council and Crown Lands may have powers to acquire the residual land under the Land Acquisition (Just terms Compensation Act) 1991, where the identity or whereabouts of the owner are not known and provided the authority has undertaken due enquiry.
“However, there are other statutory requirements and impediments on the use of acquisition powers by either Council and Crown Lands that need to be considered.” Crown Lands will be writing to Council about the findings of the investigation.
Another parcel of land, the unformed road reserve extending from between 25 and 27 Ocean View Drive, Wamberal, northwards to 13 Wiles Avenue, Wamberal (about 1.1 kilometres), has also been on the agenda of the Wamberal taskforce as its status is a “public road”, the unformed section of Remembrance Drive, Wamberal.
A report to the Council back in October 2020, just before the councillors were suspended, noted that both parcels of land presented challenges to both Council and landowners in the area due to their status or ownership.
“These issues have become further apparent during the recent coastal erosion events that have affected these locations,” the report said.
“The ownership complications at each location present challenges in proceeding with activities such as coastal protection works.
“By resolving these issues, overall management of these coastal zones can be simplified, and development applications can be prepared with less complication,” the report stated.
The land was part of a grant of 2000 acres to Willoughby Bean in 1833 and, in accordance with the grant, is bounded on the east by the “sea coast”.