Blue Pool, Berowra and Margaret Preston

The drive from Berowra to the northern beaches on a hot summer’s day, parched by the heat sitting in traffic congestion, is not my idea of fun. But, did you know Berowra once had its own swimming pools frequented by the locals.

In 2004, I came across an entry about a woodblock print created by Margaret Preston called “Blue Pool, Berowra”, 1933. This work has always intrigued me and in many ways remains a mystery, as the original print has never been sighted.  Berowra once had many wells, massive waterfalls and natural rock pools situated at the nearby creeks. Remnants can still be found today, as you encounter along Warrina Street – Devlins Creek.

Devlins Creek

Bill Foster’s memory of 1930s Berowra tells this story which also provides some likely clues to the location of Preston’s “Blue Pool” in the following recollection:

“The Warrina St Oval was once a natural spring, which contained a big well. It was known as Devlins Creek. Huge rock clearances nestled the rock pools to give a lovely swimmer. There was always water running through with an entrance bridge, you could cross that creek on the bush track that leads further down the valley.”

I wonder if that’s the bridge we know the Preston’s built on their property nearby.

Myra Payne, Mrs Preston’s maid once stated that the Blue Pool had been filled in with sand! Is this the area that now forms Warrina Oval? Does anyone know of a Blue Pool in the Berowra region?

Is This Margaret Prestons 'Blue Pool'

Have you ever seen this painting/sketch that once hung on the walls of Margaret Preston’s Berowra home in the 1930s. We are very keen to hear from you and any clues you may have to offer us in finding out more about the Blue Pool, Berowra.

Rhonda

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3 thoughts on “Blue Pool, Berowra and Margaret Preston

  1. Scott Wilson says:

    Rhonda,

    Can’t help with the location of the Blue Pool but would like to add a little I know about Devlin’s Creek.

    There is an L Devlin named amongst the First World War soldiers on the Berowra War Memorial whose actually name was Charles Leslie Devlin. He enlisted towards the end of August 1918 signing his enlistment papers as L. Devlin. I assume he was known by his second name.

    He was nearly thirty-three years old and single at the time and gave his occupation as a farmer. He listed his father, a Mr. Charles Willoughby Devlin of Berowra as his next of kin. He went into training but never left Australia and was discharged at the end of December 1918 that year as the war had ended.

    Bill Foster has told me that Devlin’s Creek was named after this family, although I am not sure what they farmed. I know there were poultry farms in the area but I can’t find any mention of Devlin’s in the newspapers of the time that did list a few local poultry men in agricultural show results. I believe that the farm was where the oval now is.

    The actual name Devlin’s Creek doesn’t appear on any maps I have seen of the area, which leaves me wandering if the name is a local name only?

    Can any older locals add more?

    Good luck with your project ladies! I have met Ann and Robyn a while back and know they are keen on local history.

    It seems to me there is a lot of local historical knowledge in this area that is disappearing quickly and projects like this are a good way of capturing it.

    Scott

  2. Denise Dagen says:

    Not sure whether it’s the same place but I remember growing up in Berowra in the 1960’s and there was a small pond (I knew it as Baker’s Pond) down in the gully between Yallambee Rd and what is now Cumbora Circuit. It was a great place to catch yabbies and tadpoles and although not very deep was great for cool splash. I believe the pond disappeared when the sewage came to Berowra. Does anyone else remember this?
    Denise

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