Tag Archives: objects

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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Valerie Jameson

Valerie Jameson

Valerie Jameson a former resident of Berowra in about the 1920’s is not well known today in our suburb.
According to National Archive Records Valerie wrote about 7 literary items such as “Peter’s Nationality” and composed about 12 musical pieces including “The Magpie Warbler”.

Many benefited from Valerie’s music such as  The Far West Children’s Cause and The Hornsby Hospital. Newspaper accounts indicate she held concerts near and far.

The front cover of “The Magpie Warbler” sheet music is pictured below along with an image of Valerie Jameson.

One of a set of four ‘Magpie Ballads’ by Valerie Jameson


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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 Object – June 2012

What could it be?

This beautiful object is quite intriguing, isn’t it?

What is it? How is it used?

Have a close look, ask others for their opinions but don’t hesitate to send us your comments.

Thank you to Dave Lever for contributing this image of his fascinating object.


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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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Monthly Mystery – January 2012

What Do You Think This Is?

Have a close look at our mystery object.  You may have seen this object at our 2007 exhibition in the old Berowra School building now the Berowra District Hall.

Have you seen another object like this, perhaps in better condition than ours?  What is our mystery object and what was it used for in earlier times? If it is way out of your experience what is your “educated guess” for its name and function?

Do leave a comment and share your ideas online. All will be revealed in next week’s blog!


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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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Monthly Mystery December

Once again, it is that time of the month – time to reveal our Monthly Mystery.

Can you solve the mystery?

Do you have any idea what this bizarre looking item may be?

This mysterious item may at first seem a little obscene, but look more closely. Nearly every household would have owned one of these, though not necessarily this shape, or in this colour scheme. Mostly used by women, this odd item would have been a great help in performing a domestic task.

If you think you know what the Mystery Item is, leave us a comment. All will be revealed in a week, but in the meantime, get your detective hats on!


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