Australia’s FIRST hire boat fleet !

The small community of Berowra Waters is a picturesque environment. For thousands of years the Aboriginal people lived in complete harmony with the river, evidenced by a rich collection of rock carvings and cave paintings.

Within weeks of the landing of the First Fleet in 1788, smallox was recorded among the native people and many died. The epidemic continued for two years and the tribes of the northern side of the harbour, including the Dhurag and Guringai were halved, and then halved again by influenza and syphilis. One of the last full blood Aborigines to live on Berowra Creek was Granny Lewis at Marra Marra Creek.

In 1789 Captain Hunter surveyed and charted Berowra Creek and in 1895 timber-getting was one of the main commericial activities on the Hawkesbury, Sailing boats ventured right up to Crosslands.

In 1829 The Government Assist. Surveyr, Govett, traced Berowra Creek to its source.

In 1833 the first land grant on Berowra Creek was to George Murphy of 50 acres, land at Marra Marra to John Grace, at Peats Bight (now a wonderful restaurant) 50 acres to George Peat, 30 acres to George Sullivan and 16 years later to John Crumpton, whose descendants still live here today.

George Collingbridge a poet, artist, wood engraver, founder of the Royal Art Society of NSW, publisher and teacher, took up a selection of 88 acres on Berowra Creek in 1886. Now known as Collingbridge Point; he built a stone cottage “Cape di Monte”, which still stands today. He lived there from 1883 to 1887.

Later, in 1898, Jack Smith built a boat shed (now the most historic building in the vicinity), held fishing competitions, ran a small hand operated punt for pedestrians and horse drawn vehicles. As the punt grew popular, the roadwork to the creek began in earnest.

Edward Windybank converted the paddle steamer “General Gordan” into two house boats in the 1890′s. During the same time, the Fretus Family, well known hoteliers, purchased 40 acres and a reserved road to the point overlookingCalabashBay. When the license was removed from a otel they owned in Sans Souci, John Fretus decided to build a hotel/guest house at Calabash Point. This decision was based on the understanding that a partly surveyed road would be completed from Berowra Station to Cunio Point (opposite Calabash also known as Todd’s Point) and would link it toCalabashBayby ferry and onto Berrilee via the reserved road. The Dept of Works and Main Roads decided it was less expensive to wind the road down directly to the creek and the ferry commenced running across toDustholeBayand onto Berrilee viaBay Road. This left the Fretus Hotel without road access and it became a private home, eventually falling to ruin at the hands of vandals and bushfires.

Rex Jones, a young local man, had returned from the war and in the 1920′s began hiring out row boats and development took off! Boat hire at Berowra Waters continues today at Berowra Waters Marina – home of the first hire boat fleet inAustralia!

The Berowra Creek kiosk was built (later known as The Teahouse), Jack Smith’s boatshed added a small shop, the Silverwater Estate was auctioned in 1926 and motor hiring began.

Rex Jones was tragically drowned in 1936 and a memorial in honour of this man stands near the community hall. This is a tribute to one of the many wonderful people who shaped the development of Berowra Waters as it is now known.

In the 30′s Arthur Lubeck conveyed tourists in his beautiful boat “Enterprise” to the gusted houses that now fronted the creek; “Koala Flats” is still here today, “The Pacific” later to become Berowra Waters Inn, “The Riverview”, “Norwick” and “Wymalla Flats”.

The Creek was thriving!

The history of Berowra and Berowra Creek is fascinating, established by people of strength, humour, vision, surrounded by bush, water and ridges, National Parks and walking trails, small beaches, shops and schools, and only an hour from the city ofSydney. This makes Berowra Creek a truly unique place.

ref: Mick Joffe – Yarns and Photo – Beautiful Old Berowra, Hornsby to the Hawkesbury