Category Archives: Uncategorized

George Thompson Turns 90

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The first person we interviewed for Berowra Living History was long time Berowra resident, George Thompson. He has recently celebrated his 90th birthday. George was born on 28th July, 1926. He came to Berowra with his family as a 6-year-old during the depression.

We would like to share with you just two aspects of George’s rich life. In August, 1944 he enlisted, he was just 18. This image of George in uniform was taken by a professional photographer in Sydney. George was 19 at the time and he gave this fine memento to his mother for her birthday.

During his war service years young George did very necessary electrical work on Catalina aircraft in Australia. He was discharged in March, 1946. George is currently the Patron of the Berowra RSL Sub-Branch.


Berowra football team, 1947.jpeg

Our second image is of the Berowra Football Team of 1947. It shows a laughing George in the front row on the far left. George has always been a keen and talented sportsman and has contributed much as a participant and a coach in many different sports including: swimming, football, lawn bowls, tennis and  table tennis. He very successfully coached his daughter’s netball team and the Berowra Women’s Lawn Bowls team. As a youngster he enjoyed horse riding and had fun playing cricket with the local boys and girls where they used pick handles as bats!

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George and his wife, Thea have been much loved contributors to the Berowra community over many decades.



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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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Young Adventurers

Scouts with their trek cart

Scouts With Their Trek Cart

There has been an enthusiastic response to the story of the 1921 scout camp. Thank you to David Lever for alerting us to the evocative image above.

We are very happy to share the image with permission from Scouts Victoria. It appears on their website at:

Do take a look!

Long time Berowra resident, Neil Davis remembers how as a youngster in the late thirties, he and his friends saw a gathering of scouts’ troops on the eastern side of Berowra Creek. Does anyone else remember this? Neil also recalls the scouting song which ends with: “and the trek cart kept rolling along.” He was a cub in the 1st Hornsby Pack and then a scout in the 1st Hornsby Troop.


Neil Davis in his cub's uniform, 1940

Neil in his cubs uniform, 1940

2016 marks the centenary of the Cubs Movement in NSW.  How many of you were or are part of the Scouts or Guides Movements?


An Eventful Arrival For Camp On Berowra Creek

Scout Camp copy

This week, with the holidays underway, it seemed the ideal time to share this wonderful article from the Sunday Times. The article, which was published on October 30, 1921, describes a Scout Camp which took place on Berowra Creek. The article was retrieved from Trove, and you can see the original here.

Many of our own Berowra residents are away, enjoying the school holidays, and several that I know of are going camping in various locations around the state. Lets hope their arrival at their camp sites went smoother than these Scouts!

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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Peter Remembers

Year 4, 5 and 6 Berowra Public School, 1936

In our previous blog we invited you to identify the Huett children and others you might know from the three senior classes at Berowra Public School, winter 1936.

Our thanks go to Peter Huett who introduces us to some of his family and schoolmates from 80 years ago.

In the back row left hand corner we meet ten-year-old Peter himself. He has his hands resting on the shoulders of his cousin, Paul Jones. The tallest girl in second back row you may have picked as another Huett youngster. Yes, this is Peter’s older sister, Laurie.

Sixth from the left in the back row with the fringe is Frank Frost. Turning to the second row from the back, standing next to Paul Jones, we have five girls –Ada Duffy is the girl with the plaits, then Betty Sicily, Laurie Huett (previously introduced) and on the end, Jean Chadwick.

Seated in the third row we meet the young student in glasses, Beryl Jackson, the girl in overcoat and gloves, shares the same first name, she is Beryl James, along the line, the smallest girl with the long plait and its big ribbon is her sister, Gwen James. Standing to the side of Gwen, we have young George Thompson.

Seated on the ground, on the left and partially obscured, is Ray Thompson, George’s elder brother, in front wearing a tie is Rod “Sandy” Holmes from the local dairy farm, the next boy is Keith Frost, cousin of Frank in the back row and Danny Fitzgerald proudly displays the slate, presenting  BEROWRA IV, V, VI  1936.

Lastly Peter introduces the next lads, Lenny Ethridge, Dave Cleland and just over his shoulder a bigger boy, Ray Fitzgerald, brother of Danny. Each child has a story to tell…

Today as we pass by the old Berowra school, Berowra District Hall, we can imagine it alive with these youngsters of the Depression Years and so many children throughout its history.


Back To School

Year 4, 5 and 6 Berowra Public School, 1936

Years 4, 5 and 6 Berowra Public School, 1936   courtesy of Nathan Tilbury

Can you spot members of the Huett family and others you might know in this  early Berowra school photo?

Peter Huett returned to his primary school, now the Berowra District Hall, to celebrate his 90th birthday on Sunday, 5th June. Around that time the coast of NSW was being lashed with torrential rain and king tides. Berowra district was awash with some areas experiencing power blackouts.

As a schoolboy, Peter was never allowed to cite even hail or pouring rain as excuses for missing his lessons. At first walking from his home in Goodwyn Rd where he was born and then from 1935, from the family home at Berowra Waters, Peter, like many others, would arrive at school in sopping wet clothes.

Mr James, the headmaster would set a fire in the open fireplace and the children’s clothes would be dried in front of the fire in the drying room.


Many of Peter’s family and friends gathered to share such memories and to congratulate him on his 90th birthday. Above we see him with friends, Rhonda Davis from the Berowra Living History team and Neil Davis who like Peter, had come back to his old school.


Berowra Mangroves Defeat Wild And Wooly Weather

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This photo was taken by Robyn and may, or may not, show the aftermath of the 2003 storm. The photo features in a past post, available here

This week, there has been quite a lot of discussion about the wild and wooly weather which hit Berowra over the past weekend. With heavy rain and strong winds, one of the big subjects is the damage the storm wreaked on gardens and the bush. Yet this storm is not the first severe weather event to hit Berowra.

In October 2003 Berowra was hit by a massive hailstorm which blanketed the yards of Berowra residents in white. In fact, it looked like it had snowed, as the photos above show! Of course, our gardens suffered then too. Spare a thought though for our beautiful creek, and the mangroves which are such an integral part of the landscape of Berowra Creek and Berowra Waters. Within three days of the storm Hornsby Council reported, in the Inaugural Annual Report of the Estuary Management Program (available online here), that large stands of the mangroves had been defoliated and many of the seedlings had been destroyed. This terrible storm and the after effects should serve to give hope to Berowra residents who despair for their gardens though – within the year extensive regrowth was observed in the mangroves and they continue to be an integral part of our Berowra landscape today.

Changes In The Shire

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Who remembers Bernadette’s Fabrics and other such haberdashery shops?

With so many changes going on now, and into the future, across Hornsby Shire, you might like to pause with this glimpse from the past. It comes from a Bush Telegraph of a few decades ago.

Thank you to long time Berowra resident, Jim Hatfield for sharing this and other pages from his collection.


Reasons To See Berowra

Why you should see Berowra

The image above is a fabulous page extracted from ‘Berowra, Information For Tourists’. The page, titled ‘Reasons Why You Should See Berowra’ is a wonderful glimpse into the way people 100 odd years ago viewed Berowra, and what its benefits were believed to be.

Since this page was published, many more people have come to Berowra, some to visit and many to stay and make their lives in the area. Why did you come to Berowra, and what is it about this wonderful place which inspired you to stay?