A New Year And A New Direction

Its Time!
berowralivinghistory is taking a new direction . . .
Keep your diaries clear for History Week, September 2-10, 2017. Exciting new plans are afoot!

This is our last blog for now, but the blog and museum sites will remain available. You can also continue to read our Blast from the Past each month in the Bush Tele magazine or at www.thebushtele.com.au
If you want to contact us, we welcome comments on the blog, or emails through our contact page. We can also still be contacted by phone on (02) 9456 4775. We welcome your calls!
See you All in September,

the berowralivinghistory team

The Flat Roofed Home In Waratah Road



Coming to live in Berowra in the late 1940’s the Cavanough Family, Fred and Lila and their 3 boys (Victor, Noel and Gary) moved into a “Nissen” hut on their block, 43 Waratah Road. This was a one roomed dwelling with a stove in the middle, beds towards the back and kitchen near the north front door. The nearby laundry tubs and copper were in the open, which didn’t matter as you’d never wash on a wet day!

Fred Cavanough after his day’s work made concrete bricks, in a press, one at a time and dried them before laying them into their new home.


Back of house/Brick press, New laundry, Concrete mixer

Finally the walls grew and the great day came when, with framework in place, the concrete flat roof was to be poured. “Sheer legs” (3 long bush poles with block and tackle attached) were set up beside the house.


Roof pour day “sheer legs” and block and tackle

Willing neighbours such as the Lambs, Olsons, Bullocks, Pearsons, Butlers and more, came to help do the “Big Pour”. Some mixed concrete which was then put into a wheelbarrow and winched to the roof where others spread it, while the next batch was being mixed. And so the job was done with the neighbourhood women and children being entertained all the while and no doubt supplying the needed food and drinks to the workers.


Flat roofed house “completed”

The Cavanough home now has a pitched roof so it’s lost its unique look.

Oh, and by the way a lovely separate laundry (in earlier image) was built behind the new home so Lila could now, at least do her washing in the shade!

Shirley Collins with thanks to Gary Cavanough for input and images.

So Many Memories


In December, 2016 Berowra Living History was very happy to receive a call from John Pearson pictured above. John had found us through our blogs and

wanted to share memories of growing up in Berowra. He has also, after his family had “first pick”, generously given us early photos from his late mother, Joyce Pearson’s collection.

Pictured with John on the day we interviewed him is Shirley Collins.

Shirley had come forward and offered her stories and photos to us some years earlier. Shirley taught in Berowra Public School in both its locations and has a keen interest in her former pupils and in local history. She has often been part of the interviewing team and supported us in so many ways.

John lived in Berowra from 1947 when he started school at age four and a half till 1961 when he finished his apprenticeship. He was part of the first move from the original Berowra Public School site to its current one. John recalled how there were no removalists’ vans but twenty-seven kids pulling the poles of the loaded Summerhills’ dray.

John’s dad, Bill Pearson took over the Berowra Radio, Electrical and Hardware Store on the death its former owner. Bill had the first television in Berowra and set it up in his shop window in part of what we have known as the Professionals Real Estate Agency, on the corner of Berowra Waters Rd and the Pacific Highway. Many Berowraites gathered outside the window to marvel at this new invention, television!

Young John’s carefree days in Berowra meant plenty of time outdoors with friends in such places as one known to them as the “Starlight Room” and we currently call Barnetts Road Reserve and Lookout now part of the Berowra Valley National Park.

John Pearson would really like to reconnect with those he knew in Berowra and continue to share memories.


Happy New Year


The sunset image above was taken on Dangar Island, an inviting residential and holiday location on the Hawkesbury River, within easy reach of Berowra.

The busy Dangar Island wharf in the foreground has quietened down. You may notice the palm frond in the top left corner which shows that the photo was taken just a little to the east of the wharf.

This image of the magnificent sky at the closing of the day points us to the spectacular Sydney Harbour fireworks for the closing of 2016 and the welcoming of 2017.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Ann and the team

The Aussie Christmas Sentinel

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Seeing a lovely Christmas Bell like this one in the bush is special. It was located growing not far from several others near Currawong Road.
They look so delicate, and can be hard to find these days in our suburban bushland as housing takes over more and more land and natural vegetation is disturbed.
An informative blog about Christmas Bells was posted by Ros on December 13th, 2013

Useful Christmas Work Indeed

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With Christmas approaching, we tend to spend a lot of time thinking about gifts – who we will receive from, who we need to get gifts for and of course how expensive the holiday season is! For many of us, we little think about those less fortunate. Yet once Berowra played an important role in providing much needed work to the unemployed in the lead-up to Christmas!

The article above, from the Evening News of December 24, 1895 outlines the ‘useful Christmas work’ which was provided for about 400 men in need of a job. These men cleared a track for horsemen and pedestrians from Berowra Station to Cowan Creek. The track, which passed through Kuringai Chase, was ‘satisfactorily done’ so that those who were to visit the picturesque Berowra area over the holidays could ‘heartily appreciate the advantages of this clearing’. Even today, people wanting to walk from Berowra Station to Cowan Creek still appreciate these advantages, walking along much the same track! Useful Christmas work indeed!

Article retrieved from Trove

That Lovely View Is A Well Known Local

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On October 7th I posted an image of a framed, lovely photo gifted to berowralivinghistory. So far we have not been able to locate & talk with the lady donor.
However, following that post 4 people commented and all said it was the view from Barnetts Lookout Berowra Heights.Thank you all.
So I have talked to several people and visited the Lookout to take the photo below which I believe captures essentially the same scene.I had no luck locating the rocks on the left hand side of the original photo & friends suggested that they may have gone when the lookout was upgraded.
Can you tell us more perhaps?

Family Photos


The days leading to 25th December are full of eager anticipation for children.

A big thank you to long time local resident, Jim Hatfield for sharing this delightful family photo taken in Berowra, 1933.

It shows a smiling young Jim on the far right. Hazel on the left is looking after baby, Amelia, known in the family as Milly, next we have little Fred and Daphne. On closer inspection these last two, of the bunch of fair haired children, seem to have just been enjoying treats from the iconic Arnott’s Biscuits tin! Perhaps they all have.

Do you have memories from your childhood which you would like to share?


Berowra Village Shopping Centre In The Beginning

Turner Road Sopping Centre
This photo and the following comments come from Geoff Weller who grew up in Berowra.
‘The photo of the Berowra Village Shopping Centre on Turner Road dates from 1971 shortly after the construction.You can see the Ampol Service Station (Cunningham’s)in the background.
Turner Road had a single lane of bitumen then (it was a dirt road when my family first settled there in the late 1950’s,and I can still remember riding my bicycle on a dirt road) and the construction of the shopping centre bought with it the very first kerbing and guttering on Turner Road.’
Berowra Village Shopping Centre was the subject of an earlier blog on the 15th of April 2016.

Berowra War Memorial


This week, with Remembrance Day upon us, it is the ideal time to turn our attention to the Berowra War Memorial. Most Berowra residents will be familiar with the war memorial in its current position outside the Community Centre, yet this was not the original location of the local memorial. Originally, the war memorial was located near Berowra Station. The memorial was opened in 1932 by Captain R. F. Talbot. The article above, from The Sydney Morning Herald, March 28, 1932, provides a short account of the opening. You can see the original article on TROVE

Over the ensuing years, Berowra War Memorial was repeatedly vandalised, and eventually the decision was taken to move the memorial to a place where, it was hoped, it would be safe from such attacks. The war memorial was relocated and reopened in 1987 at its current site.

To learn more about the history of Berowra at War, visit the exhibition.