Westland Wapitis over Richmond

Photograph from Iris Cammack collection, courtesy of Carol Roberts, Windsor, NSW. The Westland Wapiti aircraft was designed in 1926 to United Kingdom Air Ministry specifications for the Royal Air Force. It was a two-seat, general-purpose light bomber built as a replacement for the DH9A. While the Wapiti Mk 1 was fitted with a 420hp Bristol Jupiter engine, the Mk IIA was fitted with a more powerful 550hp Jupiter. It carried one fixed Vickers gun forward and one Lewis gun mounted in the rear cockpit, with a bomb load of 500lbs (227kg). Loaded, the Westland Wapiti aircraft weighed 2,450kg, about as … Continue reading Westland Wapitis over Richmond

Picture postcards and family communication

Photograph of Myra McCabe courtesy of Carol Roberts from the Iris Cammack Collection. As well as letters, one of the most popular forms of communication between families during the early 1900s was the privately-printed postcard. Postcards were introduced into Australia from about 1875 and twenty years later, the Victorian Government gave permission for privately-printed postcards to be used under the conditions that they be made of ordinary cardboard, measure no more than 13.3 x 8.3 cms and nothing except the address, stamps and a brief message could be included. From 1898, the NSW Government Printing Office released a series of … Continue reading Picture postcards and family communication

Upper Hawkesbury Motor Boat Club, Cecil Hall and ‘Glenelg’

Photograph of Cec Hall and Glenelg on Hawkesbury River c1933 by Bert Hornery from Iris Cammack Collection in possession of Carol Roberts, Windsor. The Upper Hawkesbury Motor Boat Club (UHMBC) formed on 24 October 1932 with the aims of improving access to the river, encouraging aquatic sports and competitions, assisting Council in times of flood and generally making the sport of motor boating more popular on the Upper Hawkesbury. The UHMBC quickly became one of the most highly regarded in NSW, not only because of its popular social functions and well-run competitions but also because it promoted the annual boat … Continue reading Upper Hawkesbury Motor Boat Club, Cecil Hall and ‘Glenelg’

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