Category Archives: Famous residents

Prominent Citizens – Reverend James Daniel Boberg

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This week, with Australia Day nearly upon us, I thought it was an appropriate time to investigate whether any Berowra community members had been recognised in the Australia Day Honours. I discovered that there was indeed one man who was residing in Berowra and honoured for his ‘service to the community’ in 1985. This man was The Reverend Father James Daniel Boberg, and he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Reverend Boberg is something of a mystery to me though, and my various searches revealed very little, other than that he died on June 7, 1997. Beyond this, I was able to find out next to nothing, other than a comment from a close associate who suggested he was ‘well loved’ and ‘popular’ in the local community.

Do you remember The Reverend Boberg? Can you share a story of this important and honoured member of the Berowra community? If you have a memory, or photo to share, we would love to hear from you!


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Mystery Semi Solved

ada mystery Last week, Berowra Living History shared the beautiful image above with our online community. We were looking to find out who people identified Ada Richards as being, and this remains something of a mystery. Both N Saunders and Neil Davis identified the striking lady in the top row holding a guitar (seventh from the left, and fifth from the right), the lady who I also suspect to be the illusive Ada. Others have suggested the lady third from the left in the back row, or the lady behind the young man third from the left in the front. However, although we know she is featured, which of the many beautiful women shown above is Ada remains a mystery, with nobody able to positively and conclusively identify her in this particular image. Do you have information to share which will put this mystery to rest? Elissa

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A Remarkable Find: George Collingridge Paintings

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Recently I had the good fortune to have the opportunity to purchase three paintings by former resident of Berowra Creek, George Collingridge.

I noticed the paintings in an online catalogue for a local art auction. The watercolours were framed as a triptych. It was obvious that the value of the paintings was not fully appreciated, as the reserve price was $100 to $150. Although I must say that it is difficult to know their true value as so few come onto the market. However, to me, possessing an interest in local history, they are rare and valuable.

I nervously attended the auction, intent on being the successful bidder. To add to the tension I noticed others in the room singling out the Collingridge paintings and carefully examining them. Another bidder ( on-line) obviously had the same desire of acquisition and bid up to $750 in nerve wracking increments of $50. The paintings were mine at $800.

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I have had an interest in art as well as local Berowra history for over 40 years. During that time I have never seen a Collingridge for sale. Although I have since found that a small number, maybe 8 or 9 have been offered for sale at high prices during that period.

From the style of the works and the signatures on each work I believe that they were painted circa 1885/1886. At that time the artist was living either at Collingridge Point, Berowra Creek or at a later place of residence in a home he built in what is now in the grounds of Hornsby Hospital.

Collingridge settled on Berowra Creek during the early 1880’s and lived there for five years. Both of these homes still exist.

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I am not aware of the locations he has depicted in any of the three paintings. As he travelled extensively around Sydney, the Central Coast, the south coast and the Blue Mountains, they so far present a mystery yet to be solved. I see Singletons Mill and Dusthole Bay as possible contenders.

Enquiries with the auctioneers revealed that the woman who sold them, bought the works at a garage sale at a small cottage in Birchgrove about twenty years ago. From memory she thought that the owner may have been related to the artist or had been a neighbour or friend. It seem there was a connection with the artist.

On examination of the back of the paintings I found the artists instructions to the framer indicating the order in which he wanted the works to be displayed.

There is a considerable documentation on George Collingridge and his many achievements which I won’t attempt to summarise here. However I was curious as to what his personality might have been like. It is easy to be misled be the few formal portraits.

In the records of the Mitchell Library I was pleased to find two newspaper interviews conducted by reporters from the Sydney Morning Herald on the occasion of Collingridges 72nd birthday and his 80th birthday.

Both reporters described him as welcoming, enthusiastic and full of life. He was only too willing to stop what he was working on and talk extensively about his life and his plans for a further trip around the world in his eighties. One of the reporters stated that his studio and work area were just the opposite of what one might imagine that an artists studio might look like. Collingridges work area was immaculate and well ordered.

David Lever

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Happy New Year

Ada Foster and Band 2

We wish you a Happy New Year with this beautiful image from the collection of Von Jones and Family!

This vintage professional photograph shows the late Max Jones’s grandmother, Ada. She is the tall young woman standing third from the right. Ada was an accomplished musician and an enterprising business woman. Forebear of a number of our pioneer Berowra families, Ada can be called the matriarch of Berowra.

Visit our Museum of Berowra : The Mother, The Father and The Matriarch to see more of the story of Ada and early Berowra.


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Saluting Berowra At War


This week, with the world wide commemorations of the anniversary of the start of the First World War, Berowra Living History wanted to remind our readers of the role played by our Berowra Boys who went to war, and the wider Berowra community. Sixteen boys with known connections to Berowra went to serve during World War One, alongside seven boys from Mount Kuringai. Although the local war memorial lists many more names, their identities and connection to Berowra remain something of a mystery, for now at least.

Our boys were not the only ones contributing to the war effort though, with troops stationed locally to protect the vital transport link represented by the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge and local residents working tirelessly in fundraising efforts and even providing a haven for returned servicemen. The children also played a role in our war efforts, as the article above by Valerie Jameson demonstrates.

If you would like to learn more about Berowra at War, visit our exhibition.



Acknowledgement: The article used in this post is: The Childrens Way: While The War Drags On. Valerie Jameson. The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser, September 13, 1918. This article from TROVE is used courtesy of the National Library of Australia. To access the original visit:

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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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Valerie Jameson

Valerie Jameson

Valerie Jameson a former resident of Berowra in about the 1920’s is not well known today in our suburb.
According to National Archive Records Valerie wrote about 7 literary items such as “Peter’s Nationality” and composed about 12 musical pieces including “The Magpie Warbler”.

Many benefited from Valerie’s music such as  The Far West Children’s Cause and The Hornsby Hospital. Newspaper accounts indicate she held concerts near and far.

The front cover of “The Magpie Warbler” sheet music is pictured below along with an image of Valerie Jameson.

One of a set of four ‘Magpie Ballads’ by Valerie Jameson


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