Category Archives: farming

Mystery Object – February

Any ideas on what this mystery object might be?

The Mystery Object this month appears in the very front of this appealing circa 1928 photograph from the collection of Jim Hatfield,  longtime resident of Berowra.

Featured prominently is Ambrose Hatfield (father of Jim & his 6 siblings) kneeling with 3 dogs. On the ground, in front of Ambrose, there is some sort of mysterious item – do you know what it is?

The rented Hatfield family home at the time is behind the group & it was here that Jim was born in 1928.

This Berowra property became a caravan park in approximately the 1950’s and had the name Mirabooka. Later it became La Mancha and has now been developed as a full residential site called “Eloura”

Could the Mystery object be animal or mineral or maybe something quite unexpected ?!


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One Of Jim’s Childhood Homes

Home of Jim Hatfield, near todays Clinton Close

This image, circa 1938-39, comes from the collection of a long time Berowra resident, Jim Hatfield. It shows Jim as a young boy, second from the right with some members of his family and a friend, on the far right. While the young woman and the girls and boys line up at the back of their house, the pet dog claims a spot in front of its kennel.

The house which was rented from a Mr Warne, was located near present day Clinton Close. Two chimneys are shown, the one at the rear of the house was for the kitchen, the other was in a more central position on the side of the house and provided warmth for the main body of the building. Internal walls were made of corn sacks white washed with lime. You will be able to make out a couple of other houses in the vicinity. Such a different scene today!

Self- sufficiency and improvisation were very important in those challenging times.  The whole family, like most in Berowra, had plenty to do.  The house was set in at least five acres of land. In the centre of this land was a gully which carried water after rain. Jim remembers an orchard of mainly stone fruit trees with a couple of citrus trees. Vegetables were grown and poultry were cared for, plus a few pigs, cows and calves to supply for the needs of the family. Meat was first eaten fresh and the remainder corned. It was stored along with dairy foods in a cool area under a water tank.

Imagine growing up in Berowra in the thirties and forties. Imagine the hard work and the carefree adventures of the five and their dog shown in this fine picture. We will have further stories to share. Maybe you have some of your own!


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Mystery Solved

Our mystery object - did you guess what it was?

Yes, our first mystery item is an EGG GRADER!

Weight and size could be judged in an easy manner before eggs were taken off to market. Did you solve the mystery?  Just for the record, in our 2009 competition a student from Berowra Public School submitted the first correct answer to be drawn and won the prize.  St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School was the lucky winner of the school prize

Having a few hens to provide eggs for the table was part of life in Berowra and the surrounding areas from settlement days onwards, with some people later becoming involved in poultry farming.

Have you ever kept hens or geese?

As you may have noticed the egg grader is from the collection of Harold and Isobel Harrison. They continue to raise hens, ducks and geese.

The window display at Berowra's Bendigo Bank

A few window gazers! These are the owners of the item, Harold and Isobel

There were many other interesting objects and documents in our display some of which are shown above. You may like to take a closer look.  We will have more to share with you about this exhibition and about poultry farming in Berowra later and, of course, regular Monthly Mysteries to puzzle over.


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