July 18 - 24, 2021: Issue 502
Waratah Farm: Ingleside - The Narrabeen Plum
BIG CHEQUES FROM A SMALL ORCHARD.
The Narrabeen Plum
My host had Theosophistic tendencies, and before long the conversation turned on the doctrines of the esoteric Buddhists. It is curious that quite a number of intelligent young Australians appear to be opening their mouths to swallow this many-humped camel of the Orient. Men who scorn the faith which accepts the Christian miracles are willing to receive as truth the tremendous miracles of the Theosophist, and do this without any apparent sense of the incongruous. Theosophism, however, can only be a vogue. It will never lay hold of Western minds as it has fastened on the men of the East. It has its foundation in the mind and not in the heart, and consequently it is a system and not a religion. But it is curious to note that it is growing here - most curious to hear its strange esotoric doctrines discussed in the spirit of a disciple in this isolated cottage, with all about it the mild growth of Australian life. How near we are to primitive nature is evidenced by the presence of a little black lizard, which, attracted by the warmth, comes out of some secret hiding-place and creeps towards the strange and beautiful fire which lures it to its doom. Outside, the southern stars blaze in the lucent night with a brilliance undimmed by a day of smoke. The dark waters sleep beneath, tranquil and secret.
Right: Head of Lovett Bay - from Photographs - New South Wales, 1879 - ca. 1892 / N.S.W. Government Printer. Image No.: 294068h, courtesy State Library of NSW.
In the cool early morning I took a stroll through the garden and orchard surrounding the house, on whose trees late oranges and lemons of unusual excellence were still pendant. Down by the waterside were millions of oysters, whose careless profusion suggested a flouted industry. A well-worn path under giant gums and sassafras trees led to a noted part of the grounds. Here was a waterfall tumbling fifty foot in smoke-like spray. The whole face of the cliff which was watered by the spray was covered with clinging plants, ferns, and funny looking creepers. About this spot the vegetation was as beautiful and luxuriant as I ever remember having seen it in the mountains. There were fern trees, as tall as the stateliest in the mountain gullies. Bangaloes of magnificent size, and 40ft, upon the trunk of a glorious blue gum there was a mass of Staghorn ferns as big as small cottage. From the trees the rope-like Supple jack descended, and the bushes about fairly blazed with blossoms. So thick was the growth that it was impossible to force a way through it. A fairer spot there is not on the coast anywhere in the vicinity of Sydney.
A huge Government reserve runs, back from the shores of Pittwater to Gordon, and this also was unusually brilliant with all kinds of our beautiful, barbarously-named bush flowers. Tearing through this vegetation was splendid work, if somewhat trying to the clothes; and on reaching the elevated ground overlooking Cowan Creek: the guerdon was well worth the pleasant travail. Hundreds of feet below, blue as turquoise, Cowan Creek nestled in dark green environing hills. It is sea-blue in colour as well it might be, for it is an eccentric arm of the sea, which winds its way far into the bowels of the, land, being, in fact, the longest arm of Broken Bay. Anyone, however, would mistake it for a fresh-water river. On those breezy heights the draughts of fresh air to be inhaled are delicious. Over miles of eucalyptus leaves a deep balsamic gale rushes up charged with the health-giving qualities that the old settlers found so soon in the eucalyptus woods. After a long and arduous climb, of several hours I found almost instant recuperation in this elevated air, interfused with forest perfumes. It would be hard to be sick under the influence of this " balsam of the forest". A medical friend informed me that he got rid of an unusually persistent cough of many months duration by going to the mountains and chewing the young eucalyptus leaves every day. The virtues of the "gum-tree " are not unrecognised, but are not all known yet, and its place in medicine is, perhaps, destined to be one of great importance. .... A RUN TO PITTWATER. (1889, September 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13739295
The Narrabeen Plum's popularity spread:
OUT-SIZED PLUMS Product Of Wyberba Orchard - When they opened up a number of cases of plums yesterday, members of a firm of Warwick fruiterers were, frankly astounded at the huge size of the fruit. In most of the cases the pack was of 2 2/4 Inch size and in another the plums had a diameter of 2 7/8 inches.
The plums, which were of the Narrabeen variety, were of a beautiful colour, and when sampled made pleasant eating. Needless to say the fruiterers, Messrs. C. and D. E. Keates, soon had them on display, and sales were rapid;
Mr. N. F. Donagh (Wyberba) is the grower of these giant plums, which resemble fair-sized appies. The 2 7/8 inch plums scaled half a pound each, while the slightly smaller specimens weighed 7 ounces.
Mr. C. Schindler (Warwick fruit inspector) said yesterday that while the Narrabeen plum was one of the larger varieties, 'the' specimens at the Warwick Fruit Market were the largest he had seen. The grade standard for the variety was 1 ¼ -inch diameter and the "special" standard was two inches.
He added that the Narrabeen plum was not generally favoured by growers, as although the fruit was quite good the trees as a rule were not prolific bearers. OUT SIZED PLUMS (1938, January 22).Warwick Daily News (Qld. : 1919 -1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article190540321
Prices of choice Narrabeen plums was well maintained, but other descriptions were cheaper. Plums, choice 5/ to 7/ (few higher), other 2/-to 4/ per half-case: MARKET REPORTS (1940, March 1). Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (Sydney, NSW : 1891 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162708901
Plums and Almonds.
"Fond of Fruit," of Cunderdin, wants to plant two Plum trees this winter, one a Satsuma and one that flowers at a similar time. The Satsuma is a blood Plum with dark red flesh, a heavy bearer and later with fruit. Although it is a good idea to have two or more trees of any fruit, this is not absolutely necessary in the case of Plums, but if "Fond of Fruit" desires a fruit for company to the Satsuma then I would recommend the one known as Narrabeen. This Plum is large and round, very sugary, covered dark red, a heavy-cropper, and ripens the last week in January or early February. Plums and Almonds. (1941, May 22).Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), p. 30. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37947227
Nan Bosler OAM, in Memories of Narrabeen and its Public School, 1989, states "The family established Waratah Farm, an orchard on Mona Vale Road near the intersection with Powderworks Road. Old pine trees, planted by them around their property near the Baha’i temple, still stand to-day."
NARRABEEN SCHOOL. A new Public school has been opened at Narrabeen. The opening ceremony was performed by the senior Inspector (Mr. B. J. W. Friend). ' NARRABEEN'S SCHOOL. (1914, August 27).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15532644
The two eldest boys were keen cyclists and members of the Manly club:
Cycling MANLY CLUB.
The result of the annual 20 miles championship of the Manly Club over the Brookvale Narrabeen course was -A M'Mahon, 1 A Larkin, 2, R Larkin, 3. Dead heat Time, 57m 50s. The winner of the point score competition will receive a silver cup, presented by Mr. Les Luker. The position of the riders is as follows -A M'Mahon, 20 points, 1, I Jones, 28 points, 2, Stan Luker, 3. MANLY CLUB. (1914, October 13). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15571885
Mrs Florence Larkin with two of her sons, William and Jock, and her sister outside the Larkin family home "The Pines" at the corner of Mona Vale Road and Powderworks Road, Ingleside. Sister reported as A Hewitt - other sites state is a friend of the mother only. The phootgraph was sent to Arthur Larkin in France during 1916 (WWI). 1916 - courtesy Olga Johnson and Pittwater History Unit - Mona Vale Library
TRAM WAY CONNECTION WITH NARRABEEN.
- TROVE - National Library of Australia
- Ingleside Powder Mill - Pittwater Fields Of Dreams I
- La Corniche - Mona Vale
- The Macphersons Of Wharriewood: The William Joseph Macpherson Albums
- Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - 'Green Hills', Elanora Heights, and Ingleside
- Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your name - Warriewood
LOT 4 NARRABEEN, 249 ACRES OF LAND, upon which is erected a substantial and well finished STONE and WB RESIDENCE, which contains extensive accommodation, also a number of outbuildings and a large quantity of building materials
The Property is known as "INGLESIDE," the residence of Mr WATKINS and formerly the residential portion of the Powder Company s property. There is a large brick and cement reservoir, with a capacity of 1,000, 000 gallons The water is laid on to the House Stables etc.
A SPLENDID BLOCK FOR SUBDIVISION PURPOSES having a large frontage to Lane Cove and Pittwater roads, and road leading to Narrabeen. Immediately opposite Mr Larkin's Orchard THE TITLE IS TORRENS. Plan on View at the Salerooms. Advertising (1912, January 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15303595
Historic Ryde: 1791 to 1922