Category Archives: berowra

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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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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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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The Flowers That Bloom

Flowers copy

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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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

Large Group
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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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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At Play In The Berowra District

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This week, with the holidays well underway, Berowra Living History thought it was a perfect time to share this wonderful image of Bobbin Head. In years gone by, many holiday makers made their way to Berowra and spent a few days, perhaps even a week, enjoying the beautiful surrounds. Many visitors would have spent a day enjoying Bobbin Head. As can be seen in the image above, once there was an extensive children’s playground, adjacent to the picnic tables and perfect for entertaining the children while parents sat back and relaxed.

Do you remember this wonderful playground?

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Remember The Earlier Berowra Village Shopping Centre

Recently we gained copies of the accomanying two photos so it seemed appropriate to recall more about the  Berowra Village Centre (the original name).
After canvassing a few sources I have learnt that the Centre was opened in 1970.It was built on land in Turner Road that was formerly two farms owned by the Hazlett and the Lailey families, we believe.
So far I do not have a definite list of the original businesses in the centre.

However by February 1972,an advertisement by the Centre including – ‘Now Open Thursday Night’ carried details from Sally’s Gifts and Toys,  The Village FRUIT BAR,  Colorsound’s Village Music Centre Joy’s DraperyLuca’s Milk Bar, McKENNA CHEMIST, ROBERTA COIFFURES, SYDNEY THOMAS, and The Village Delicatessen and Cake Shop with Pleasant Surroundings -Ample Parking
Berowra 2

While talking about this centre a list of some 14 or so businesses emerged as having been part of the complex at some time during the 20 plus years it was open. Included were a Hardware, Butcher,Newsagent,Pizza, Jeweller and Bank plus St Vincent de Paul, Accountant and Doctor’s Practice.
Can you help name the original businesses or perhaps you have some photos or stories to share related to this local shopping centre?
The above images are courtesy of Hornsby Shire Historical Society.
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