Tag Archives: mystery solved

Mytery Solved – September

Did you guess the mystery object?

Did you solve the mystery? Maybe you thought the object was a glue pot and brush such as those used in earlier times in homes and offices.

In post offices we have advanced from using glue pots to the convenience of stamps with adhesive backs which we needed to lick or wet with a sponge, to stamps which are self-adhesive!

As was mentioned last week this carpenter’s glue pot is from the Harrison Collection.  Isobel Harrison has informed us that it was donated to their collection by Mary Sykes, who, when her husband died, cared for the blind Eric Proctor at The Laurels guest house in Berowra from about 1960 to his death in 1984. Eric Proctor was much loved by the people of Berowra who visited him at The Laurels and were enriched by his wisdom.


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Mystery Solved – August

So, were there any canny guessers out there who worked it out?

The mystery object was a CODD BOTTLE OPENER. With so many visitors coming to Berowra, there were sure to be some of these bottle openers being used in the area.

The bottle opener fits over the neck of the bottle (codd bottles are also commonly known as ‘marble bottles’) and is pressed. This pops the marble into the bottle, allowing the drink to be poured.

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Mystery Solved – June 2012

Did you guess our Mystery?

It’s a jewellers bellows

The June Mystery Object was a jewellers mechanical bellows. It dates from C1840/50.

The wheel with the handle turns a series of wheels which in turn rotate a fan housed in the wooden chamber. This in turn expels a jet of air through the funnel.
The bellows measures 53cm long and is smaller than a domestic bellows which are of the same design and measure approximately 63 cm.

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Mystery Solved – May

Did you guess what they were?

Well I’m sure some of you solved the May mysteries!

Yes, both these domestic items belong in the laundry of yesteryear.

The rectangular washboard or scrubbing board was an aid to hand washing and a vast improvement on bashing or scrubbing soiled clothes on river rocks to remove the dirt. The wooden frame of the washboard held a working grooved section of metal, galvanized steel, zinc or even glass.

With the displacement of washboards by more modern appliances some of these useful items found themselves new homes as they were converted into percussion instruments!

The humble pot stick was a necessary laundry aid in the days of washing in boiling coppers. These were loaded with heavy wet sheets, towels and so on which needed to be moved about or hoisted out for rinsing in the laundry tubs. The pot stick was not afraid of hot water…

Laundry Day was often a Monday and demanded a very labour intensive routine in contrast to the press button ease of washing activities in many areas today.

Ann Lomas

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Mystery Solved – March

Do you know what it is?

When I was a kid there was a well-worn track down to Baker’s Pool. Running off from there was a side trail which led directly down to Bob Murray’s Cave. To enter the cave you had to step up onto a threshold of stone over a small watercourse. On that stone was the word WELCOME carved.

This diagram shows what the original slab looked like, and where the piece shown above fits

This diagram shows what the original slab looked like, and where the piece shown above fits

I believe the section of spiral to be one of the flourishes at either end of the capital ‘W’, as shown in the diagram above.

Mark Davis

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Mystery Solved – January 2012

Did you guess our Mystery Object?

Did you solve the first mystery for 2012?  I heard that it was too easy for some of our senior residents!

Yes, it was a Meat Safe!  Your detective work might have led you to notice the two hooks on the little rectangular shaped box. The hook on the top of the safe allowed people to hang it outside in a cool and shady place to catch a helpful breeze. Perhaps it was put in a suitable tree. The hook on the door needed to be firmly fastened to keep the meat safe from unwelcome guests of the animal, bird, reptile or insect variety.

These safes and others like them were in use before the invention of ice chests and later refrigerators. In places, where electricity or ice was difficult to obtain, the meat safe was a very useful and long serving household item.

This meat safe is from the Harrison collection and was used locally by earlier generations of their family.

Have you or your family got any stories related to meat safes or early practices in food storage to share with us? We’d love to learn more.


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Mystery Solved – December

It’s that time – time to reveal what the Monthly Mystery was! Were you able to guess?

Our mystery object - did you guess what it was?

This month our mystery object was – A SOCK DARNER!

Today we might take the humble sock for granted, but they are actually very important, and were probably one of the first articles of clothing humans wore! They protect an important part of our body, our feet, providing warmth, protection and helping to draw sweat away from the feet, preventing fungal infections. In fact, socks are so important that in times of war there were appeals for people to knit socks for soldiers.

Socks were also far too valuable to simply throw out when they developed a hole. Unlike today, when we simply throw out items which are too old or a little worn, people living in the early and mid 20th century far preferred to ‘mend and make do’. After all, commercially made socks were expensive and knitting a new pair was far more time consuming than simply mending the holes in the old ones. After all, socks were knitted on fine needles with fine wool, and took a long time to make. Instead, people mended their socks very carefully, often using a tool like our mystery sock darner. The sock darner would be used to ensure the mend was done neatly and that the sock was still comfortable to wear. Sock darners weren’t used only for sock mending though – they were also used to mend other clothing and homewears.

Remember to check back next month for a peek at our next Monthly Mystery!


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Mystery Solved

Our mystery object - did you guess what it was?

Yes, our first mystery item is an EGG GRADER!

Weight and size could be judged in an easy manner before eggs were taken off to market. Did you solve the mystery?  Just for the record, in our 2009 competition a student from Berowra Public School submitted the first correct answer to be drawn and won the prize.  St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School was the lucky winner of the school prize

Having a few hens to provide eggs for the table was part of life in Berowra and the surrounding areas from settlement days onwards, with some people later becoming involved in poultry farming.

Have you ever kept hens or geese?

As you may have noticed the egg grader is from the collection of Harold and Isobel Harrison. They continue to raise hens, ducks and geese.

The window display at Berowra's Bendigo Bank

A few window gazers! These are the owners of the item, Harold and Isobel

There were many other interesting objects and documents in our display some of which are shown above. You may like to take a closer look.  We will have more to share with you about this exhibition and about poultry farming in Berowra later and, of course, regular Monthly Mysteries to puzzle over.


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