William Thomas Charley and the Wallaby Sniping Cage

Few people in the Hawkesbury would know that William Thomas Charley invented the concept of the Wallaby Sniping Cage at Gallipoli in 1915. The cage was used mainly for night firing and held a rifle in a fixed position after aiming, enabling it to be fired again without re-aiming. William Charley was born in 1868 in Ballarat, Victoria. His mother, Catherine, died when he was two years of age and his father neglected the children to the extent that from 1871, he and some of his siblings were made Wards of the State and placed in various institutions. His brother … Continue reading William Thomas Charley and the Wallaby Sniping Cage

Patrick and Honorah Butler of Windsor and family

Gravesite of Ryan-Butler family, St Matthew’s Catholic Cemetery, Windsor. Photograph 2017, Carol Roberts. Patrick Butler arrived in New South Wales from Ireland in 1840, aged about 20. After seeking his fortune on the goldfields he eventually arrived in the Hawkesbury and married Honorah Ryan at St Matthew’s Catholic Church in Windsor in 1853. Honorah had arrived from Tipperary, Ireland, with her family in the late 1830s and they settled in Kurrajong for a few years before making their home in Windsor. Later generations of the Ryan family farmed at Pitt Town and Freemans Reach. Showing a great deal of initiative, … Continue reading Patrick and Honorah Butler of Windsor and family

Hawkesbury River tea meetings incredibly popular: ideal place for gatherings

This article by me first appeared in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 28 June 2017. Along the Hawkesbury River during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tea-meetings were a very popular form of entertainment and fund-raising for church and community groups. Church tea-meetings were held on various dates throughout the year and generally lasted all day and into the early evening. The Sackville Methodists (or Wesleyans) celebrated the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) birthday on 9 November, Lower Portland Church of England celebrated on 1 January, Leets Vale Wesleyans celebrated Empire Day on Queen Victoria’s birthday on 24 May … Continue reading Hawkesbury River tea meetings incredibly popular: ideal place for gatherings

First One Hundred Years of Lower Portland Public School

Booklet ‘1867-1967 History of Lower Portland Public School’ courtesy of Colin Mitchell The first Lower Portland school was opened in 1866 or 1867, after the severe flood of 1864 and about the time of the biggest flood ever experienced in the Hawkesbury, in 1867. Many families were left destitute after the 1867 flood with farms, homes and crops ruined, so it is not surprising that the school closed the following year after the school inspector reported ‘the discipline is feeble and the moral aspect unsatisfactory…the attainments are small’. By 1869, Walter King was nominated as teacher for a new school … Continue reading First One Hundred Years of Lower Portland Public School

The Jersey Butter Factory on Windsor Terrace and its conversion to flats

The decision to draw up the Articles of the Association for the Hawkesbury Dairying Company and to select a site for the establishment of a butter factory in Windsor was made at a meeting held on Thursday, 14 January 1892 at Bushell’s Royal Hotel in Windsor. The meeting was chaired by Mr James Bligh Johnston and was attended by a large number of Hawkesbury farmers and interested local residents. It was estimated that £2,000, in £1 shares, would be required to form the company and a further £1,000 would be required to run the factory. This cost was based on … Continue reading The Jersey Butter Factory on Windsor Terrace and its conversion to flats

Lost tradition of making cabbage-tree hats comes alive

The popularity of the cabbage-tree hat spread throughout Australia and has been immortalised in folk song and poetry. Continue reading Lost tradition of making cabbage-tree hats comes alive