Category Archives: poultry

Anembo Research Farm

Article from 'The Farmer And Settler', August 27, 1942

Article from ‘The Farmer And Settler’
August 27, 1942.
Article retrieved from

Today, Berowra is full of businesses and homes, but once it the area was home to a farming community, raising a variety of crops and animals from poultry to flowers. One particular farm had a particularly important role in the farming community, not just of Berowra, but of the wider Australian community. Anembo Research Farm, which operated in the early 1940s was run by Mr James and not only did he focus his research on ‘drug plants’ but also on poultry and eggs.

If you have further information on Anembo Research Farm or on other businesses which once operated in Berowra, please contact us!


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A Winner – Hillcrest Poultry Farm

A request by Mr Stewart for carriage of eggs by 'Parcel Post'

A request by Mr Stewart for carriage of eggs by ‘Parcel Post’

An internationally recognised poultry breeder once resided in Berowra, occupying the vast expanse of land where Hillcrest Public School now stands.

Mr James Stewart was a well-known identity in the early days of Berowra due to his pioneering work in the development of poultry farming in this region. Mr. Stewart kept over 1000 laying White Leghorns on his property, known as Hillcrest Poultry Farm. Between the years 1911-12, Mr. Stewart entered an international competition, sending his prized birds to a wintery Vancouver, in Canada. Apparently, the Ozzie birds from Berowra triumphed laying prize-winning eggs in six inches of heavy snow, beating all the local competitors.

As early as 1906, James Stewart’s Hillcrest Poultry Farm was flourishing. No doubt, as ‘Breeders of Pure Bred Heavy Laying Strains’ they provided a sustainable living for the Stewart family as evidenced by the document shown in this blog. In this letter, Mr. Stewart requested the carriage of eggs by ‘Parcel Post’ to a wide distribution area – to all of the States in Australia and New Zealand. But can you imagine sending eggs via post? But in those days, the post office was the hub of any rural town, providing many different services such as the one described here. I wonder if Mr. Stewart managed to persuade the Deputy Postmaster General in Sydney to make Berowra a receiving office? Maybe yes – since the heavy laying hens won an international competition some five years later.

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Sunday Entertainment – The Jones Geese

Today, of a Sunday afternoon, people in Berowra have the choice of many leisure pursuits. Some might choose to visit the river or enjoy the great outdoors, but many more make use of modern technology like televisions, computers and electronic games. Others might choose to hop in the car and visit Hornsby, the coast or the city. In days gone by though, people made their own fun, and found entertainment with their friends in many more rural pursuits.

Von Jones remembers that one of the popular Sunday afternoon pleasures in Berowra was having people drop by to watch their geese playing and enjoy a cup of tea, or perhaps a beer:

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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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