“The storm in ’74 comes to mind” was Gary’s answer when I asked about memories of Terrigal.

He’d grown up and spent his life in our beachside suburb of the Central Coast.

It’s where I met and chatted to Gary – having his smoko break outside the surf club at 7 am as the sun came up and the swimmers were rushing to and from the water, to avoid the cold air as much as possible.

He attended public school in Terrigal, loved to surf and was a builder with his dad. Once spent 5 years in one street building three homes. These days he works as a contract cleaner along the Terrigal foreshore and knows everyone.

Every other local knows Gary by name, and all had a greeting and a wave as they filed past, getting their morning exercise.

That storm in ’74 was a big one. Washed most of the beach away and half the Haven. Even washed a car with two sleeping guys into the ocean. Both drowned.

Gary grabbed his phone while we were chatting and started showing me photos of Terrigal in the old days. It’s certainly changed, and he’s seen it all.