Category Archives: Aboriginal

Sport In Berowra

Football was just one of the sports young Berowra men could pursue in the late 1940s and early 50s.
1947 Berowra Football Team_01a
Arnold Hamilton (on the LHS middle row in this photo) was 1 of 4 young men who went into boxing about that time. He was trained locally at a gym in Asquith. In the boxing ring he displayed prowess and gained a certain fame.
Arnold came up against Tony Madigan in the NSW State Amateur Boxing Championships. Madigan won the Championship in 1951 and went on to represent Australia at the Olympics.
During 1953 The Advocate followed Arnold’s progress reporting in “Round Up of Local Sports”  on October 16
..Fans who witnessed the fight were unanimous in their opinion that the fight was one of the best they had ever witnessed at the local stadium,or for that matter at any other stadium.
..The fight really had the fans in with excitement.They stood on their toes urging the local champion on…
I do not know when Arnold retired ….do you?
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Still Standing

Remains of the church chimney on Bar Island.  Photo courtesy of Jim Hatfield

Remains of the church chimney on Bar Island. Photo courtesy of Jim Hatfield

Bar Island is located where Berowra Creek joins the Hawkesbury River. It is counted as a very historically significant site. Evidence of Aboriginal occupation can still be seen in a large shell midden at the northern most point of the island. Its somewhat central position amongst the islands in the Hawkesbury made Bar Island a choice spot for the early river settlers and traders, to build a church.

This was an Anglican Church known as St John’s and the first service was held there in 1876. Where once Easter was celebrated all that remains is the crumbling fireplace shown above. St John’s was to be a church and a school. The church was reported to be beautifully located and to attract not only nearby worshippers but sometimes visitors from Sydney.

A cemetery was established on Bar Island and it would appear that as many as sixty burials were conducted there including those of tiny infants and Sarah Ferdinand, a pioneer of  Marramarra aged 98.

The church land has now been handed back to Hornsby Council in exchange for other land. The council has restored headstones in the cemetery and reconstructed the jetty at Bar Island.

More detailed information about Bar Island can be found in Tom Richmond’s :  Bar Island and Lower Hawkesbury River Settlements.


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Then And Now – Aboriginal Carvings

Photo by Keith Holmes

Throughout Berowra’s history, people have gravitated to the area for its abundance of beautiful flora and fauna, and for the spectacular ‘river’, Berowra Creek. European settlers were, of course, not the first, and there is plenty of evidence of Aboriginal occupation around the Berowra area in the form of carvings and shell middens.

The photo above was taken by Keith Holmes many years ago and shows the Aboriginal engravings at the end of Alston Drive. These are just some of the Aboriginal engravings you can see in Berowra, but as you can see from the modern photograph below, with more people living in and visiting the Berowra area, combined with natural weathering, the engravings are slowly fading. Luckily, we are able to document them for future generations, even if the originals do fade from view.

A photo taken in August of 2012

If you have old photographs of some of Berowra’s Aboriginal engravings, or would just like to tell us where to find another example we might not have heard about, please leave us a comment!


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