Category Archives: Von Jones

In Their Own Words – Enterprises On The Waters

“Yvonne J “, photo courtesy of the Jones family

“Yvonne J “, photo courtesy of the Jones family

In 1948, the “Yvonne J” was the third cruiser that my late husband, Max Jones built especially to hire to people who wanted to have a holiday on Berowra Waters and the Hawkesbury River. They were the very first of the hire cruisers in NSW.

  Extract from “Outdoors and Fishing”, March 1955, p.60 (price 2/6) Periodical donated to Berowra Living History by Neil Davis

Extract from “Outdoors and Fishing”, March 1955, p.60 (price 2/6)
Periodical donated to Berowra Living History by Neil Davis

During the war in the Pacific (1942-’45) many boats were shipped out from USA in kit form and assembled in boat yards around Sydney Harbour.

When Max was in Asia with Australian Water Transport Small Ships Company he saw many of these very small boats working in shallow rivers and bays as tugs and carriers. The boats were only 26ft long, good design and built of plywood. They were known as “Dories”.

The war ended 15th August, ‘45 and Max was discharged in April,’46. About that time the army was selling off surplus equipment through Army Disposal Stores. When boat kits came up for auction Max got 8 of them. The first two he assembled and fitted out as 4 berth cruisers and sold privately and the others he kept for hiring. Later he brought in larger 36ft, 6 and 8 berth boats. It was a very successful business that we both enjoyed – many of our regular customers becoming lifelong friends.

“Jones Bros Cruisers”, photo courtesy of the Jones family

“Jones Bros Cruisers”, photo courtesy of the Jones family

In the 70s, when we had been in the boat hiring business for nearly 30 years, the first fibre-glass houseboats were being built for hire. That’s when we decided to sell up and get out. By that time we had fifteen 4 to 6 berth hire cruisers each with a dinghy and some spares. We also had half a dozen 18ft half cabin boats for fishermen, complete with icebox for cool beer and fish.

Then there was my favourite – the work boat with its massive Thunderbird motor. It was very fast and powerful for towing.

Yvonne (Von) Jones

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Celebratory Cakes

Von Jones, long term Berowra resident, celebrated her 92nd birthday this year. Von is shown with her birthday cake made to the family fruit cake recipe. Many of us can vouch for how delicious it was! These other birthday fruit cakes seem too beautiful to cut!

The fruit cake recipe has been passed from mother to daughter through the generations. Here we have Von and Max’s wedding cake from 1948 followed by their daughter, Bronwyn’s wedding cake.

Christmas for Von and now Bronwyn has always meant multiple cakes to bake for the family and to give as presents. Don’t they look appetizing!


Photos courtesy of the Jones family.

Do you have special family customs around important celebrations?


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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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