Tag Archives: mystery solved

Millicent Trig, Cowan, The Wider Berowra Area

In answer to the October 2 blog regarding the Trig “Poppy” at Berowra: I have not seen “Poppy” but I have seen “Millicent

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Back in July last year, Robyn and I set off in an area north of Cowan to search for the elusive trig station Millicent. We headed in what we thought was the general direction but after a fruitless search and ending up back where we started from, we decided to call it a day.

In August last year I set off from the eastern side of the Pacific Highway, 1 km north of Cowan to search again for Millicent. I carried a topographical map, a Google map but no GPS. The aim was to “follow my nose”…not always reliable!

After climbing a steep track up a hill I veered into the scrub on the right and did some serious bush bashing. Prickly hakeas, banksias, acacias, mountain devils, persoonias, red and yellow bloodwoods, scribbly gum and stringybark all attempted to block my path. The bush was alive with wildflowers in bloom with the yellow pea flowers dominating.

Suddenly the black mast & vanes loomed into view still partly shielded by foliage. What an exciting moment! The next hour was spent exploring around the site. The original stone cairn 1883 at a height of 230 metres, had been replaced in 1974 by a pedestal and mast and vanes. Remnants of the original trig, the stone cairn, mast and vanes were scattered around the site and the State Survey Marker # 262 was clearly visible.

Millicent trig was one of the last stations to be constructed in Sydney’s north (June 1883). Today, trig stations remain as an important reminder of our history in establishing accurate land surveying and mapping.

Roslyn Mort (Berowra Heights)

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Mystery Solved

Brooklyn June 20152015-05-23 16.06.18

The photo appearing last week, January 1933 Station between Newcastle and Sydney was taken near Brooklyn railway station & it is not far at all . . . from Berowra that is!

A current photo, above, taken approximately from the same position shows clearly there have been changes over the past 70 years but the building (refurbished) on the right and the tree & the memorial seem to set the scene.The building up at the top of the 1933 photo was I am told an orphanage & the half obscured sign mentions the Patonga ferry. While the sign in the centre of the photo points to Brooklyn Park which even today is still a good walk back towards the highway.


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September Mystery Solved

Yes, you are correct if you think that our September Mystery Object is a child’s school LUNCH BOX.

In the 1940s Berowra resident Joan Milne was given this little black lunch box when she started kindergarten. As you can see it was well looked after and sturdy enough to still be in good shape today.

It has a little brown leather strap handle and a metal clasp which still functions. Manufactured in wartime the little lunch box is practical, undecorated and made to last.

If you would like to find out more about this lunch box and others visit:


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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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Mystery Solved

Congratulations to David Lever and Neil Davis and all of you who correctly identified our May mystery object!

It formed part of an insulator on a 33 volt power line on a pole in Crowley Rd, Berowra.

During a fierce electrical storm in approximately 2009 our object was struck by a bolt of lightning and shattered to pieces.

Alan Milne



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Mystery Solved

Mystery object and photo courtesy of Harold and Isobel Harrison.

Mystery object and photo courtesy of Harold and Isobel Harrison.

This mystery object has kept us guessing for quite a while!

We have continued to receive possible solutions for example that it might be used as a still. Thank you for that idea.

Most recently John Read has written:

“My suggestion for Harold’s Item is that it is a ‘Spirit Bottle with tube used to fill the Spirit Cup when lighting or starting up a Pressure Kerosene Lamp or Stove’… [the tube is detached…]

The Methylated Spirit in the Spirit Cup was lit to vapourise the kerosene which, under pressure, fuelled the stove or lit up the mantle in a Pressure Lamp.”

Thank you, John, Harold and his friends seem pretty convinced that you have solved the mystery.

Please contact us if you have any objects to mystify us in blog segments.


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A Christmas Mystery – Solved!

What could these Christmas Mystery items be?

What could these Christmas Mystery items be?

Last week, Berowra Living History bought our readers a Christmas Mystery. Did any of you guess what they were?

These clips are a fascinating part of Christmas past, being the early equivalent (dating from the early 1900s) of Christmas tree lights. They clipped onto the tree and each held a candle. They even had a prettily made tray to catch the wax as the candle melted. Light was an important part of Christmas celebrations, symbolising the Star of Wonder from the Nativity. Of course, lighting a highly flammable tree with candles was also dangerous, but the candles were not lit until Christmas Eve and often were not even added to the tree until then. They were also never left unattended.

Do you have memories of Christmas celebratiosn in Berowra? We’d love to hear from you!


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Mystery Solved September


This weeks Mystery Object has proven difficult to guess, yet it is an item which many residents of Berowra, and the wider area may have used at one time or another. This item is an ironing sprinkler which would have been placed in the top of a bottle and used to wet down clothes in the time before steam irons. The clothes which needed ironing would be sprinkled with water from a ‘sprinkler bottle’, with a top like the one above. Then, the clothes would be rolled up and left overnight to ensure the water was evenly distributed. This allowed clothes to be ironed easily without leaving scorch marks.

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Mystery Solved – June/July

Object submitted by Neil Davis

Object submitted by Neil Davis

This object was found by me, a long time Berowra resident, during road work in the early 70’s.  It was at the bottom of the eastern embankment at Berowra railway station.

I remember when I was a young boy electricity was first connected to the railway station. It was approximately 1936. Quite high wooden poles carried the wires. On top of each pole was fitted a decorative weather cap made of zinc to keep water from rotting the pole.

Quite some time later these wooden poles were taken down and replaced by steel ones. I can only assume that at this time the caps were just thrown over the edge and down the embankment where this one was found by me.

Neil Davis

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Mystery Solved

Clearly a whistle, but what was it used for?

Clearly a whistle, but what was it used for?

This week we had a correct guess as to the provenance and importance of the whistle. Congratulations to Neil and Merle Davis for their guess:

In my opinion the article is a scout`s whistle and lanyard, which was part of the scout uniform, in past years. My son Mark has one identical to this, which was worn by me when I was in the 1st Hornsby troop. And both my sons used this same one.  Also, this same whistle was worn by the late Bill Foster. He, being, one of the 1st Berowra boys to join the 1st Berowra troop. Bill Foster was my brother in law, and he gave me the whistle when I joined the scouts and so on.

Congratulations to Neil and Merle Davis for their guess – an in fact, this is the very whistle they talk about!


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