The Lounge Cricketer


In Australia men’s and women’s cricket teams are starting up their international and inter-state match programme for our 2016-‘17 season, this cricket theme diorama takes us back to pre-TV days.

The Lounge Cricketer” was made by local artist, David Lever in 2014. He exhibited it in “History in Dioramas: David Lever” at Macquarie University in 2015.

The diorama is 11cms in width by 22cms in height and is expertly made from found pieces of such things as lino, copper, brass, bakelite and wood. Notice the miniature springs which are characteristic of some of the cartoons of Emile Mercier.

David has based his little sculpture or diorama on a cartoon drawn by Mercier (1901-1981) for the Sydney newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. Mercier is much appreciated as a cartoonist who captured and commented on many aspects of daily life within the style of his times.


The Reluctant Punt Passenger

This photo was one of three on a page in Volume 101:Photographs of the Allen Family, March 1902-February 1907 and is used here with the permission of the State Library of New South Wales.

Altogether 51 photograph albums relating to the life and times of the Allen family 1890-1934 were donated in 1966.A most interesting collection.


A penned notation alongside the 3 photos states
1March/03    Berowra Creek     This horse refuses to go onto punt

Fires In Berowra


This week, with discussion of bush fires, and of back burning activity being the talk of the town so to speak, it seemed the perfect time to share this article from The Sun, published on December 13, 1926. The article, which recounts the risk posed by fires to some of Berowra’s ‘prettiest spots’, and the hair raising experience of a flower gathering canoeist, is a salient reminder as to why back burning activity is so important!

Thank-You Gordon


The image above was taken by professional photographer, Effie Alexakis at Berowra Living History’s first exhibition in 2007 in the Berowra District Hall formerly the first purpose built school in Berowra, the original Berowra Public School.

As with all our exhibitions to follow in 2009, 2012 and 2015 and various other presentations in our local primary schools, to Probus and Cafe Church to name a few, we have always worked as a team with significant contributions, often in the form of story-telling, from our area’s lifetime or long term residents.

In our 2007 image Gordon Limburg is shown looking at botanical specimens with Carol Nolder. Gordon had set up and manned a table display mainly related to our local vegetation. Over the years he contributed much to a number of local community groups and among other things was respected for his expert knowledge of trees and plants. It is fitting that with his passing, his Memorial Service is held at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden.


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A Surprise Gift Of A Lovely Local View

photo donation.jpg
This 51×75 cm framed, picturesque older photograph features a view down to part of Berowra Creek. It was donated to berowralivinghistory through the Berowra Lions Op Shop.  At this stage we have not had contact with the generous donor.
The question I have is where was the photo taken? If you recognise this photo spot do tell us please.
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Berowra Creek Fashions?


Leigh Studios, Berowra Creek NSW, 1907-1924 Glass plate negative Collection State Library of New South Wales

What looks like a scene out of the film Picnic at Hanging Rock, is the majestic bushland setting of Berowra Creek dated circa 1907-1924. Unlike the ill-fated disappearance of the school girls depicted in Picnic at Hanging Rock, these young women were possibly there on a fashion shoot assignment pitching the new look of the modern woman with the flow and energy of the natural environment as the backdrop.

This was a prosperous time coming out of the horrifying effects of World War One, society was on the cusp of change and the idea of progress was considered a key part of this change. Women were becoming a stronger presence ‒ empowered by the right to vote and supporting the war effort on the home front was recognised within wider society. The dress code for women had become more relaxed with looser and more comfortable fitting low waist dresses, concealing showing curvy hips favoured by Victorian times. The bobbed hair style enhanced a boyish look that challenged perceptions about the traditional role of women. It may be difficult to recognise this as a fashion shoot in its sedateness and nativity as compared with the fast pace ones of today, but for its time the photograph cultivates the idea of the modern woman reflected through fashion. The bushland setting of Berowra Creek represented an ideal setting for conveying this sense of new found freedom.

One of the key design studios of the day was Rousel which created the original billboards advertising the latest fashion for the opening of the Elizabeth Street David Jones store in 1927. Around the same time Leigh Studios Pty Ltd located at 122 Clarence St Sydney served both as a photographic studio and printing service. We know that Leigh Studios took this photograph using the glass plate negative technique which warrants the hand of a specialised photographer in producing high quality images normally used in the commercial, retail or documentary sector.

So what may look like a relaxing day with three young girls braving the wilds of the Berowra bushland could well be a staged photograph that never hit the billboards, or did it? Or, is this simply a story about a group of young women hiring a professional photographer for the day to record their adventures in the bush?

An Observatory For Berowra


Extract from the Sydney Morning Herald, April 20, 1907.

This week, with the equinox just gone by, it seemed the perfect time to turn attention towards the sky, and particularly the night sky.

Berowra, being away from the city, is a beautiful place to view the nighttime sky, and at one stage, was even considered as the site of an observatory! In 1907, as the excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald above explains, there were plans afoot to move Sydney Observatory to ‘a more favourable site’. The site suggested, by no lesser person than the Secretary of the British Astronomical Association, Mr Allan Cobham, was Berowra.

Clearly, this plan never came to fruition, but why not? Does anybody know? Imagine how different Berowra could have been if the observatory had been built!

If you would like to see the full article, click here.

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Peace At Last


This beautiful photograph above comes from the Davis family collection. It shows long term Berowra resident, Neil Davis, aged fourteen who was taken into the city by his older sister, Elaine.

Neil and Elaine are wearing French tricolour ribbons as a mark of their patriotic support and happiness on this day of the Japanese surrender, 15th August, 1945. In 1922 a bronze palm leaf with a tricolour sash had been presented on behalf of the then French president to the Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes to honour those Australians who gave their lives in the First World War.

The young brother and sister who like so many knew the pain of the loss, or life changing injury, of close friends or family members, are standing with the excited crowds in Martin Place, Sydney. Elaine’s husband, Bill Foster was still serving with the navy in the Pacific at the time.

News of the Japanese surrender had spread around the world, finally the war in Asia and the Pacific was over, the horrific Second World War was over. Neil recalls that, in those days, it was exceptional to take a trip to the city from Berowra. This day everything was extraordinary, the spontaneous celebration, the relief, the euphoria, the war on Australia’s door step was over, the lucky ones were coming home, people danced in the streets, victory and peace at last.


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Lady Volunteer Fire Spotters Today



This photo was taken by Ron Boyce at 18.25 on Wednesday 4.12.2002 as a bush fire spread across from Canoelands to Berowra. Stephanie deLeon is shown on duty in the Berowra Fire Tower monitoring the approaching fire.

There are about 8 women in the 30 member Berowra Tower Group which is part of the Hornsby-Ku-ring-gai Support Brigade of the NSW Rural Fire Service. Currently, the other women in this group with Stephanie are Sacha, Suzanne, Anne, Mary-Ann, Janice and Joy.

Duty is all year round and call ups can occur if there is a fire incident. In peak season everyone is on call. Most of the year the week day crew are on duty Tuesday and Wednesday and the week end crew on Saturday and Sunday.

Training is held throughout the year as ongoing competencies are essential.

Information generously provided by Stephanie de Leon

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Berowra Charm

The Fossil Poem copy

From The Sydney Morning Herald, June 29, 1946. To view the original, visit Trove.

Berowra is a place of beauty and splendour, which has long been popular with not just residents lucky enough to live here, but visitors who have flocked to the area to enjoy the splendours of our natural world. Today, many of these visitors post a photo online, or simply take home memories, but in days gone by, visitors sometimes shared their experiences with various publications, like newspapers. The poem above, which was written about a piece of petrified wood found in Berowra, is a charming glimpse into the way in which many visitors once kept memories of their visits alive. To view the original, visit Trove.

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