Last week, David Lever shared two of his beautiful paintings of Berowra Hall with our blog followers and, as promised, this week he returns to more closely examine the paintings and the events which they represent.
The annual plain and fancy dress ball was held on Friday 2nd October 1914. The Ball was reported to be highly successful and in fact more so than those held in previous years. That raises a question as to where Balls were held in Berowra prior to the construction of the Hall.
Decorations for the Hall, supper room and supper tables were along patriotic lines of red white and blue. Many beautiful and striking costumes were worn. The characters I have depicted in my painting were well described in the newspaper report enabling me to capture them in a manner in which they might have appeared.
Some of the costumes represented were; Britannia, Daughter of the Regiment, France, Golden Queen, Pierette, All British, Lady Teazle, John Bull, The Admiral, Sir Peter Teazle, Uncle Sam, and Pierotte. Some of those now unfamiliar characters were at the time well known stars of plays and music halls
The report on the Ball named the wearers of the costumes as well as providing detailed descriptions of the gowns worn by ladies who chose not to wear fancy dress costumes. Excellent music was provided by Mrs Hewitt and Mrs Long.
The engagement of Miss Maggie Chrystal, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs . George Chrystal of “Ormiston” Goodwyn Rd. Berowra, to driver Harry Toms, A.I.F., second son of Mr and Mrs Charles Toms of Thornleigh was announced on 31st May 1919.
On 23rd October,1920, their military style wedding took place at St Marks Church of England, Berowra. The ceremony was conducted by The Reverand A.L. Wade of Hornsby, the service being choral.
Girlfriends of the bride decorated the church with arum lilies and marguerites. The church was filled to capacity. The bride was dressed in white charmeuse, elaborately hand embroidered , and wore a handsome bridal veil surrounded by orange blossom. The bride and bridesmaid carried bouquets of pink and white carnations tied with the grooms military colours of red and blue and were a gift of the bridegroom. The groom and best man wore their military uniforms.
Members of the tennis club provided a guard of honour as the couple left the church with raised tennis racquets. They were then driven the short distance to Berowra Hall.
A wedding breakfast was provided at the Hall for 80 guests. The event was celebrated with musical and singing entertainment as well as dancing. The couple received many wedding presents. Mr and Mrs Toms left for their honeymoon at Lawson. The bride was dressed in a grey outfit with hat to match.
AFTER THE FIRE
The land upon which the Hall had been built remained vacant until the early 1950’s when the current house was built by local builder George Huett. Prior to that the charcoal covered land had been a popular play ground for local children.
In 1936 Berowra was provided with a new hall ( The Tavern) which was built on the land now occupied by the Berowra Chinese Restaurant on the Pacific Highway. But that’s another story ……