Tag Archives: Berowra Waters

In Their Own Words – The Box Brownie

Neil Davis with his Brownie Box Camera from the fifties      Photo: Merle Davis

Neil Davis with his Brownie Box Camera from the fifties Photo: Merle Davis

Long term Berowra resident, Neil Davis has some first-hand experience to add to our two most recent blogs:

In the photo showing an early Berowra Waters Ferry, operated by Hornsby Council and driven by local man Mr. Bill Ewings I noticed that our attention is drawn to the shadow of the photographer on the shoreline, which is showing a typical stance used when photographing with a Brownie Box Camera. I happen to have one of these in my possession. It is equipped with a flash light, which can be easily attached when needed. I suppose, rather than describing the workings of this camera, it would be easier for one to look up . . . The Brownie Camera @ 100: A Celebration. This is a very informative site. But I must say that these old cameras . . . apart from being almost indestructible, were very easy to use, and being cheap, were very popular.

Neil Davis with his Brownie Box Camera and Flash     Photo: Merle Davis

Neil Davis with his Brownie Box Camera and Flash Photo: Merle Davis

These quaint old “Punts” as we called the Ferries then, did a sterling job over the years while only travelling at a slow, steady pace. I recall, about 1948, not long after the war, a few of us young blokes swam across the creek from the Rex Jones boatshed to the western side punt ramp. We would then wait for the punt to start back across the river, dive into the water and grab the rear loading ramp of the punt to get a tow back to the eastern side. When Bill Ewings found us clinging on, he quite rightly gave us a severe dressing down about the dangers we had ignored. Probably, this would shock some people today but these sorts of things were part of growing up in Berowra and The Waters. Just like Peter Huett, working on the punt gates, when he was only 10 years old.

Neil Davis

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More On The Mysteries



We have had some interesting conversations about this early image of Berowra Waters Ferry!

The partially obscured man is in fact the ferry master, Bill Ewings, father of Pat and Jill who donated the picture.

We thank long time Berowra resident, Peter Huett for the following information. Peter’s family had the contract for running the ferry in the late thirties. The engine seen at the side of the ferry is a Chapman Pup. If the engine ever broke down the ferry master could bring the ferry to the shore manually. On Sundays, Peter, aged as young as 10, had the job of opening the ferry gates.

The car was identified by Peter as perhaps a Rugby or an Essex.

A lot of you would have seen the shadow of the photographer in the foreground in the typical pose for using a camera like a Brownie. Had the photographer been the driver of the car?

We are still hoping to hear more about the elegant lady posing for the photo.


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Several Mysteries


This little photo inscribed on the back simply “BEROWRA WATERS FERRY” was given to us by sisters, Jill Brancourt and Pat McCready via Shirley Collins after conversations about local history. Thank you to each of them for their contribution.


What kind of car is it? Is its number plate TB 531?

Who is the lady with her hand on the car?

Who is the partially obscured man standing nearby?

Who has been caught in the foreground shadow?

What date would you give to the photo?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Breaktime At The Riverview

Riverview Berowra Waters Hawkesbury RIver

The photo above is a beautiful snapshot of a day out and about on the ‘river’ in Berowra, stopping for lunch at the famous Riverview Restaurant, equally famous today as the Berowra Waters Inn. Riverview, built in the 1920s, became a favourite place for boats to call in and enjoy a sumptuous seafood lunch. With water access only, it provided a unique experience, and often was a part of a tour of the beautiful Berowra Creek. In the image above you can see not only one of the boats which provided such an experience, but if you look closely, also the people who are enjoying lunch in the beautiful building.

If you recognise any of the people captured in the photograph (including the man perched on the boat), or indeed know which boat this image features, please leave a comment for us!

Berowra Living History wishes to thank The Past Present for permission to use this beautiful image.


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All in A Row At Berowra Creek

As it was planned..

Donated to blh, with thanks to Raine and Horne

Donated to blh, with thanks to Raine and Horne

This copy of a 1926 stamped advertisement was probably used to promote the sale of the 32 mainly water’s edge blocks of land down at Berowra Creek. So many & all side by side. The auction was on April 29,1926.  The following appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 1May,1926-

‘REAL ESTATE..BUSY WEEK.. The fortnightly indoor auctions of Messrs Raine & Horne was held on Thursday and largely attended…There was a good demand for the Berowra water front allottments, 32 in Silverwater Estate.They were all sold at from 5/- to 37/6 per foot. Total sales £1696…


As it is today..


This photograph shows some of the  houses that are currently there in the “row”



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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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A Day On The Waters

Blog image

With the weather hot and people looking for ways to spend their leisure time over this Australia Day weekend, it seemed the perfect time to share this image with our readers.

Berowra has long been a haven for people seeking to enjoy a day by (or indeed on) the water in a beautiful bushland surrounding. Of a weekend, or during the holidays, people still flock to Berowra Waters to enjoy our beautiful ‘river’, and this has been the case for many years.

We have a wonderful collection of historic photos and memorabilia, but we are always looking for more. If you have memories to share or photos of a day out and about in Berowra we would love to see them, and share them with our community. Just leave us a comment!


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Memories Of Berowra Waters Swimming Spot

Image courtesy of The Local Studies Collection, Hornsby Shire Library

Image courtesy of The Local Studies Collection, Hornsby Shire Library

My early childhood was spent at Thornleigh and my later teen years at Normanhurst (1945-late 1960’s). Neither place had suitable swimming spots near to our house so during the Summer my father would come home from work and pack us three children (and mum too) into the car and off we would go to Berowra Waters.

The pool was beside the ferry and although I think that the shoreline may have changed since those days, I remember it being almost triangular in shape with a net across the end, I never looked to see if it was shark proof though. My dad was a hard worker (read work-a-holic) and we seldom went to the beach or on holidays so we considered this to be a treat on a hot day. We must have gone late in the day unless it was occasionally a weekend as I do not remember any other people ever being there with us. I remember rides across on the ferry and very occasionally an ice-cream from the shop. I think there may have been a shop just near the ferry and another up higher above the road on the left.

By the time I was a Mum myself the spot became more of a picnic ground and if the netted pool was still there it must have been surrounded by the business that was conducted on the eastern side of the river.

Robyn Rogencamp

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Reflections: Berowra Waters

Langker reflections on Berowra Creek

The small exquisite oil painting by the artist Sir Erik Langker (1898-1982) Reflections, Berowra Waters depicts the creek from some time ago. Imbued with a soothing quietness, the work provides a welcome accompaniment for this time of year after dealing with the hustle and bustle of the festive season.

If this painting relates to another by Langker in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection with a similar title River Reflections and assuming the work was purchased by the AGNSW the same year it was painted in 1948, Reflections, Berowra Waters could also be dated to this period.

Erik Langker was an accomplished and influential artist within the Sydney art establishment during the mid part of the twentieth century. Amongst many roles he played, Langker served as the President of the Trustees at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Subsequently, in 1968 Langker was awarded a knighthood for his outstanding services to the arts. In an article published in the North Shore Times, dated 3 December 1980, Langker felt himself to be a ‘middle period’ painter of the impressionist school.

Reflections, Berowra waters shows a view looking towards the direction of Brooklyn and with an unidentified house in the distant background the exact location is difficult to determine. It appears the artist has painted the work in the plein air tradition of working outdoors. The colours softly muted in brown and green tones contrasts beguilingly with the turquoise colour of the water in the foreground, encapsulates Berowra Waters in its timeless beauty.

Rhonda Davis


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Christmas Bells Are Ringing In Berowra

Blandfordia  grandiflora (Christmas Bell)

Blandfordia grandiflora (Christmas Bell)

Christmas is fast approaching and it brings with it much joy, expectation and happiness.

There is always a special excitement about finding these quaint red and yellow-orange bell shaped flowers in the wild. The bells hang down in clusters of 3-10 pivoting on top of a tall straight stem, as they gently nod in the breeze. Their brilliant colours contrast with the surrounding green foliage.

Yes Christmas Bells can still be sighted in the bush around Berowra. They prefer damp, protected positions. They were once a common sight along the roadside between the Central Coast and the Kuring-gai  Chase area. Unfortunately numbers have been reduced by indiscriminate picking. The Berowra area was well known for its magnificent variety of wildflowers including the delightful Christmas Bells. Margaret Preston had a great love for the local Berowra wildflowers as depicted in her art work.

My Grandfather and family lived right on the edge of Kuring-gai Chase up until 1912. I recall he used to tell us how they would collect bunches of Christmas Bells and Christmas Bush from the local bushland

(Kuring-gai Chase) at Christmas time and take them to the City Markets to sell. How times have changed!

Now days, Christmas Bells are a protected native species.  Many native wildflowers, namely Christmas Bells, are grown commercially and exported or sold locally. Today we have National Parks and other areas set aside for the preservation of native fauna and flora eg. Muogamarra Nature Reserve.

Christmas Bells belong to the Family : Liliaceae   The species that can be found locally are –

Blandfordia grandiflora  and  Blandfordia nobilis. With grandiflora the flowers are larger and spread into a bell shape whereas with nobilis flowers are smaller and more cylindrical. Both have 3 petals and 3 sepals.


PHOTOS are taken in the bushland around Berowra and Berowra Heights. Most plants are off the beaten track and in a well-protected position eg. in a rock crevice or next to a sandstone wall.

LOOK but don’t touch!

Rosyln Mort

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