Berowra Railway Station which has been central to the development of our area has seen many changes. Thanks goes to long time Berowra resident, Jim Hatfield who took this shot with his box brownie in June, 1958. He was at Berowra looking along the track running towards Cowan. The little black and white photo is quite historic as it shows the very first single light signal to be put in place in NSW. Jim was part of the gang which put in signals from Asquith to Cowan in preparation for the electrification of the line. Electrification was achieved from Hornsby to Cowan in 1959 and from Cowan to Gosford in 1960. On the far right of the photo note the edge of the old steps to the platform.
In our second image which I took on my tablet this week, in much the same location, you will be able to spot a number of changes and some aspects which remain constant. Compare the signals, the arched bridge now minus the old steps, additional train track, our lovely natural setting of sunlit rock face and bush vegetation and more.
Amendments to Part One: Aided by the amazing local knowledge provided by Neil Davis and backed by research undertaken by David Lever we have now established that Reginald Coulter was actually a long time Berowra resident. Previously we believed that he had arrived in Berowra sometime in the 1950s, but we can now say that Coulter came to Berowra in 1943. This adjustment certainly changes the way we view his cartoons of that period, particularly post Second World War. Additionally, we have confirmed his date of death to be 24 January 1976, which had not been notated in the public record.
This extremely detailed and finely drawn illustration by Reginald Coulter was produced specifically as an invitation to staff to attend the Bulletin’s annual picnic day. Using the idea of a Corroboree to promote the Bulletin’s picnic day from today’s perspective is ironic. After all, the Bulletin incited a radical nationalist viewpoint at the exclusion of Indigenous people and migrants; they were seen as not part of the ‘Australian story’. It championed the idea that Australia was for the ‘White Man’, sexist, racist and xenophobic, the Bulletin also became affectionately known in certain circles as the ‘Bushman’s bible’, everything and anything Australian was acceptable and highly celebrated, but at the exclusion of any world relations, issues or politics. By 1925, at the time when Coulter had illustrated this invitation, the founding editor of the Bulletin, John Archibald had left the magazine; he had built a solid readership and supported the careers of great writers and poets such as AB Paterson, Henry Lawson and Miles Franklin. On Archibald’s departure the magazine dipped not only in readership but also became a lot more conservative until Sir Frank Packer took control in 1961. With all that said, what is striking is the way the black-and-white artist Reginald Coulter has utilized the idea of a Corroboree to promote the annual picnic day creating a stylized depiction of dancers that appropriates Indigenous features with Western modes of dance – essentially a communion of people coming together in celebration.
Coulter’s wry commentary including a Who’s Who list on the invite is pertinent as the Bulletin supported a whole new generation of Australian writers and black-and-white artists like no other magazine of its period which rolled out as a who’s who list. In the foreground of the image, the Bulletin is represented as the strong and resilient bulldog against its more subdued competitors of a slinking slim cat and fluffy small dog Wildcat Monthly and the Australian Woman’s Mirror racing against time not to miss the departure of the boat is yet another clever twist of words and images that work in unison under the magical hand of the extraordinary black-and-white artist Reginald Coulter.
However by February 1972,an advertisement by the Centre including – ‘Now Open Thursday Night’ carried details from Sally’s Gifts and Toys, The Village FRUIT BAR, Colorsound’s Village Music Centre, Joy’s Drapery, Luca’s Milk Bar, McKENNA CHEMIST, ROBERTA COIFFURES, SYDNEY THOMAS, and The Village Delicatessen and Cake Shop with Pleasant Surroundings -Ample Parking
The above, from May 1973, was only part of a regular advertisement segment placed by The Berowra Village Shopping Centre in the Berowra & District Times, a Newspaper published by the Berowra Progress Association for a time during the 1970’s.
The basic black and white images and text really indicate how advertising has progressed when compared with what we are exposed to today. It is also interesting to see just a sample of the variety of goods that were available, in our first local shopping centre.
This week, I have been having some wonderful discussions with local residents about some of the strange and bizarre stories, often almost folklore, which are associated with Berowra’s history. These stories are always fascinating, and stick in peoples minds, and they are also featured in one of the exhibitions showcased in the online Museum of Berowra. The exhibition ‘Tall Tales Or True‘ is one of our most popular, and one which we are always seeking to expand.
Do you have any bizarre, mysterious or strange stories of Berowra to share? We would love to hear from you!
After World War Two finished in 1945 and ex-servicemen returned to civilian life, many couples married and began buying their own quarter acre blocks (around 1,000 square metres) in Berowra.
One such couple was Jack and Kath Molyneaux who bought 47a Woodcourt Road in 1949 and six years later purchased number 47.
Building materials were in very short supply so instead of building a large garage in which to live, as many couples did, Jack and Kath built the left hand end of their future home. This took nearly two years and by then their eldest child, Chris, had arrived.
Roof titles were available only after being on the waiting list for about six months so a temporary “roof” of “Malthoid”, (two ply felt impregnated with bitumen) was used instead. (pictures 1 and 2) It was held down by battens, but one day huge hailstones punched holes in the “Malthoid”! Imagine the mess!
Finally, by 1953, the rest of their home was completed. (picture 3) If you look at 47a today, you’ll still see the chimney but because the house has been extended over the years the chimney is now in the centre of the dwelling!
Picture 4 shows Chris, in the corner, cooling off in Molyneaux’s concrete wading pool, with some young neighbours. The pool converted to a sand pit in winter. Note the old 44 gallon drum, with lid and brick, used as an incinerator.
The above 3 photos of our deck,side garden and the road in Coreen Close are labelled as being taken in 2000 when our suburb received a drop in temperature,followed by thunderstorms with heavy rain and hail. The force of the downpour shredded leaves from some plants. Do you recall this event?
Upon checking with the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology site I found the following:
The 24th January 1999 ‘..Heavy rain and flash flooding in Sydney. Severe thunderstorms developed over the Greater Sydney area during Sunday morning.Very heavy rain was reported over eastern parts of the metropolitan area.Another storm produced torrential rainfall over some Northern Suburbs with properties in Berowra damaged and the main northern highway cut at one stage. Berowra Heights had 141 mm in 24hrs to 9am Sunday.
Maybe I have the wrong date on my photos?!
Do you remember when the former Berowra Village Shopping Centre was damaged in a bad storm? Do you have any photos?
This week, Berowra Living History turns its attention to the creation of a new road in Berowra – Balaclava Road. Many Berowra residents may remember when the road was built, and opened up for home development. One resident, thanks to her foresight in photographing the new street, and keeping the development advertisement, allows us a glimpse into the early history of the street. Thank-you to Ann Smith!
One of Australia’s leading and most prolific illustrators, cartoonists once lived in Berowra. Born in New Zealand Reginald Walter Coulter known as Reg was a gifted cartoonist, illustrator, printmaker and writer and as a regular contributor to The Bulletin from the 1920s through to the 50s his works were highly regarded amongst this readership. He studied art at the Julian Ashton art school in Sydney which led to a job as an illustrator for the Woman’s Mirror and the magazine the Aussie.
His versatility in the medium produced an array of witty and at times sardonic cartoons and caricatures. His Aussie sense of humour mixed with socio-political commentary witnessed titles such as Belt into him comrades, 1931 ink on paper and It’s a ‘ard life, 1930, ink cartoon of a schoolboy. During the Second World War, he produced cartoons that depicted loss and a sense of yearning for home but touched with great wit and humor, which was an important ingredient for instilling morale both on the war and home fronts. Coulter continued to contribute to The Bulletin throughout the 1950s, highly recognised these works were subsequently published in Joan Kerr’s ground-breaking book, Artists and Cartoonists in Black and White, 1999. One of the cartoons titled This year the Mutual Admiration Art Society is going all-out for the Archibald Prize, 1958, shows two male artists identical in looks and dress – wearing berets, sandals and Grecian style tunics and another pair of men identical painting each other ‒ a send-up of the vanity behind the making of self-portraits by male artists and at the same time having a dig at the “in-crowd”. Perhaps he was also alluding to the gender inequality of the Archibald Prize at the time.
Reg and his wife Eve moved to Berowra in 1958. Reg built a unique stone cottage using flagstone sourced from the Berowra estate, stylistically akin to a fairy-tale type house. Here surrounded by magnificent views of the bush, Coulter’s illustrations further developed to encapsulate the Berowra bushland and its native wildlife. Reg Coulter’s cartoons are represented in the National Museum of Australia, National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales.
Note: If you have any Reg Coulter illustrations or cartoons in your collection at home we would be very interested to hear from you.