Author Archives: berowralivinghistory

Remember When

Neil_ Merle Olympics 2000

In this pause between the closure of the Summer Olympics and the opening of the Summer Paralympics in Rio, we remember when Sydney hosted the 27th Summer Olympics and the 11th Summer Paralympics sixteen years ago.

Long term Berowra residents, Merle and Neil Davis, above, show their enthusiasm on the day they attended athletic competitions at the Sydney Olympics, September, 2000. The Olympic flame is seen burning brightly!

Jim Hatfield volunteer 2000

Jim Hatfield, another long term resident of Berowra, is seen above in his uniform as an Olympics and Paralympics Volunteer in the Sydney 2000 Games. Jim recalls that his duty was to work in security, under the authority of the police, checking spectators’ bags at entry points to the venues.

Perhaps you also participated in the energy and excitement of the 2000 Games. Tell us your story. Thanks to the Davis and Hatfield families for the use of their photos.


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We Know Where The Boys Were Photographed

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Shirley Collins, retired Berowra School teacher, has identified the Broken Bay National Fitness Camp, Patonga as being the location for the photo in the blog of July 22.
The map below clearly shows the locality of this former fitness camp which is now known as Broken Bay Sport and Recreation Centre.
It is only accessible by water so probably the boys were there for a 1 week swimming camp, Monday to Friday, to learn to swim or to do a life saving course.

The Flowers That Bloom

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Excerpt from ‘Where To Spend The Weekend: Berowra Park’, The Sunday Sun, Nov 27, 1910

Berowra has long been known for it’s beauty as a holiday spot and for it’s natural tranquility. There is one other aspect of our beautiful area which has quite a claim to fame though – the spectacular floral displays put on by the bush as Spring arrives. Today, people travel to our area to view the amazing wild flowers which thrive in our bushland surrounds, but this is certainly no new phenomenon. As the article above, from The Sunday Sun in 1910 shows, even a century ago, our floral displays were quite the attraction!

To view the entire article, visit Trove

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George Thompson Turns 90

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The first person we interviewed for Berowra Living History was long time Berowra resident, George Thompson. He has recently celebrated his 90th birthday. George was born on 28th July, 1926. He came to Berowra with his family as a 6-year-old during the depression.

We would like to share with you just two aspects of George’s rich life. In August, 1944 he enlisted, he was just 18. This image of George in uniform was taken by a professional photographer in Sydney. George was 19 at the time and he gave this fine memento to his mother for her birthday.

During his war service years young George did very necessary electrical work on Catalina aircraft in Australia. He was discharged in March, 1946. George is currently the Patron of the Berowra RSL Sub-Branch.


Berowra football team, 1947.jpeg

Our second image is of the Berowra Football Team of 1947. It shows a laughing George in the front row on the far left. George has always been a keen and talented sportsman and has contributed much as a participant and a coach in many different sports including: swimming, football, lawn bowls, tennis and  table tennis. He very successfully coached his daughter’s netball team and the Berowra Women’s Lawn Bowls team. As a youngster he enjoyed horse riding and had fun playing cricket with the local boys and girls where they used pick handles as bats!

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George and his wife, Thea have been much loved contributors to the Berowra community over many decades.



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Monthly Mystery – Do You Remember Pearl’s Dummy Sucking Fish?


This week, Berowra Living History is turning attention to a memory from a time gone by – this time my own and my parents memories. When I was a little girl, the then well known local personality, Pearl, was associated with the RSL Restaurant. Perhaps she ran it? Pearl also owned a fish which was a resident of the RSL and quite famous in an of itself. The fish was even something of a tourist attraction – it could suck a dummy.

My question to all Berowra locals, past and present . . . do you remember Pearl and her fish, or perhaps have a photo you could share?


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A Day Out For The Boys

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The image below comes courtesy of Allan Kember,a former Berowra resident who met up with a group of friends for a reunion in Berowra recently.
Allan shared a number of 1950’s era Berowra School photos but when it came to this photo little was known about it.A couple of the boys in the photo were identified, however neither the reason for the outing (could they be on a swimming excursion as some boys have a towel around their neck?) the location or the year could be remembered.
If you know more about when, why & where this photo was taken or perhaps the identity of the boys or the adults behind them – Please tell us.
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Young Adventurers

Scouts with their trek cart

Scouts With Their Trek Cart

There has been an enthusiastic response to the story of the 1921 scout camp. Thank you to David Lever for alerting us to the evocative image above.

We are very happy to share the image with permission from Scouts Victoria. It appears on their website at:

Do take a look!

Long time Berowra resident, Neil Davis remembers how as a youngster in the late thirties, he and his friends saw a gathering of scouts’ troops on the eastern side of Berowra Creek. Does anyone else remember this? Neil also recalls the scouting song which ends with: “and the trek cart kept rolling along.” He was a cub in the 1st Hornsby Pack and then a scout in the 1st Hornsby Troop.


Neil Davis in his cub's uniform, 1940

Neil in his cubs uniform, 1940

2016 marks the centenary of the Cubs Movement in NSW.  How many of you were or are part of the Scouts or Guides Movements?


An Eventful Arrival For Camp On Berowra Creek

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This week, with the holidays underway, it seemed the ideal time to share this wonderful article from the Sunday Times. The article, which was published on October 30, 1921, describes a Scout Camp which took place on Berowra Creek. The article was retrieved from Trove, and you can see the original here.

Many of our own Berowra residents are away, enjoying the school holidays, and several that I know of are going camping in various locations around the state. Lets hope their arrival at their camp sites went smoother than these Scouts!

Lady Volunteer Fire Spotters

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The above item came from the Roundabout with Mary column of the 1971 Berowra District Newspaper.

Verilda Barnett revealed there were a handful of fire brigade member’s wives, like herself, who answered the call to be smoke spotters.
These ladies, shared this important role and child minding for each other in the 1970’s on total fire ban days.
Among the other ladies were a Pam, Shirley, Chris, Christine, Lyn, Sue,& Kay

 The Barnetts Road Fire Tower was the subject of an earlier blog on the 23rd of October 2015.
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Peter Remembers

Year 4, 5 and 6 Berowra Public School, 1936

In our previous blog we invited you to identify the Huett children and others you might know from the three senior classes at Berowra Public School, winter 1936.

Our thanks go to Peter Huett who introduces us to some of his family and schoolmates from 80 years ago.

In the back row left hand corner we meet ten-year-old Peter himself. He has his hands resting on the shoulders of his cousin, Paul Jones. The tallest girl in second back row you may have picked as another Huett youngster. Yes, this is Peter’s older sister, Laurie.

Sixth from the left in the back row with the fringe is Frank Frost. Turning to the second row from the back, standing next to Paul Jones, we have five girls –Ada Duffy is the girl with the plaits, then Betty Sicily, Laurie Huett (previously introduced) and on the end, Jean Chadwick.

Seated in the third row we meet the young student in glasses, Beryl Jackson, the girl in overcoat and gloves, shares the same first name, she is Beryl James, along the line, the smallest girl with the long plait and its big ribbon is her sister, Gwen James. Standing to the side of Gwen, we have young George Thompson.

Seated on the ground, on the left and partially obscured, is Ray Thompson, George’s elder brother, in front wearing a tie is Rod “Sandy” Holmes from the local dairy farm, the next boy is Keith Frost, cousin of Frank in the back row and Danny Fitzgerald proudly displays the slate, presenting  BEROWRA IV, V, VI  1936.

Lastly Peter introduces the next lads, Lenny Ethridge, Dave Cleland and just over his shoulder a bigger boy, Ray Fitzgerald, brother of Danny. Each child has a story to tell…

Today as we pass by the old Berowra school, Berowra District Hall, we can imagine it alive with these youngsters of the Depression Years and so many children throughout its history.