Neils Story

Recently, when revising a few old files, I (Rhonda) came across this email from one of our wonderful participants, Neil Davis. It contained some fascinating memories, which I decided to share with you.

This is Neil’s Story

Berowra Railway Station.
Image courtesy of N. Davis

Throughout the war my father, being in essential service, could not enlist. So along with others at home he was made an air raid warden, and was in the home guard, or militia. We never knew how he was to guard anything or anybody I think maybe they gave them a pick handle. They were issued with a slouch hat with a blue band, and a pair of kakhai shorts. (bombay bloomers) We all had a laugh because my dad had never worn shorts.

All motor vehicles were fitted with metal headlight covers. These had slits at the front to let out just enough light to drive by but at the same time not being visible from the air, or from enemy planes. The windows of all houses were to be glued over with brown paper or criss-crossed with strips this was to prevent injury from flying glass, caused by enemy bombing explosions etc.

After the war the returning service men and women were greeted with “welcome home” dances. These dances were held at the Berowra Cabaret, at interval periods, as they returned. I can remember my mother, like so many others making gallons of a very strong punch. This was known locally as mountain dew.

Thinking back to the Berowra cabaret, it had, on the southern side, which was Park Road, now Berowra Waters road, a mini golf course. It was made of concrete base with sandstone sides or edges. It was never used in my day, so it was probably popular with tourists in the late twenty’s. BEROWRA had a younger set club. We enjoyed one night a week together, at Harwood hall at Mount Kur-ring-gai. Most of us learning to dance from each other.

We went on outings to the beaches, ice skating, and boating. We also attended most of the local dances and balls. Some of these were held at Brooklyn, Milson Island, Berowra, Patonga and Mount Kur-ring-gai. Going to Milson and Patonga, we enjoyed a ferry trip there and back.

Berowra railway station
Bob Davis was the station master throughout the war years, retiring in 1968, after 44 years of service with the railway. Berowra railway station had a goods loading and unloading shed on both the east and west sides. Also a siding line on the west alongside Fosters store. I can remember when all of our belongings, plus the pony were unloaded here, many years ago. Those days the local poultry farmers sent their eggs to Sydney markets by rail. On the weekends racing pigeon fanciers would send their birds to Berowra to be released for the return journey at a certain time of day by the station master.

Another popular outing for some Berowra people was a trip to Leichhardt to watch boxing and wrestling on a Saturday night. We would have to catch the last train north from Central station. It was called the (paper train) as it dropped the papers for the next day, off at most railway stations to the north. People using these late trains would take the Sunday papers they needed from a pile outside Fosters store, and leave the money on top for the Fosters to collect the next morning. These were the days of honesty and trust.

Neil Davis

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