March 28 - April 17, 2021: Issue 489


Hawkesbury River: 1 in 100 Years Floods - What washed up on Pittwater Beaches 

The heavy rans which have inundated eastern New South Wales this week, causing flooding in many places, have been dubbed a '1 in 100 years' flood. In western Sydney Windsor has been underwater and the flows down the Hawkesbury River have carried whole logs, whole sheds and a variety of debris that then flows out past Barrenjoey into the sea and then back onto the Pittwater beaches or into the estuary of Pittwater itself. This image, from Dangar Island resident David Reynolds, appeared earlier this week with Dave captioning it ''Free to good home- large garden shed. Slight water damage. Pick up now North side of Dangar. Pick up in an hour Barrenjoey...''

Reports of people going to help others have included volunteers from a number of local organisations - the SES members working locally and further away, along with local Rural Fire Brigade units, Marine Rescue Broken Bay volunteers were tasked to assist those in the flooded Taree area utilising the new BB30 to save people caught by the waters. As the flood waters rose on Tuesday March 22nd 2021, at Windsor they peaked at 12.75 metres around 6pm with mass evacuations taking place, members from Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches Branch also went to help evacuate people or send in food in the Hawkesbury-Nepean districts

This image of the new Windsor Bridge was taken between 8:50am and 9:50am on the morning of March 23rd, 2021. As of 9:15am the Hawkesbury River at Windsor was at a height of 12.59 metres. - photo courtesy of Paul Caleo

These levels were similar to the July 1990 flood event and covered the $137 million bridge opened in May 2020 at Windsor. This bridge construction has been the subject of a years long protest by residents in Windsor, was touted as being safer and more flood-proof, but that could not happen in what is being stated as a 1 in 100 years weather event.

For meteorologists, the one in 100 year event is an event of a size that will be equalled or exceeded on average once every 100 years. This means that over a period of 1,000 years you would expect the one in 100 year event would be equalled or exceeded ten times. But several of those ten times might happen within a few years of each other, and then none for a long time afterwards.

The long brown tide of debris flowing fast out of the Hawkesbury brought large items to catch on the Pittwater estuary shores, on Lion Island, the Barrenjoey headland and all beaches further south. Even on Thursday this long slick could be seen travelling further down the coast towards Manly. Logs, sticks, whole sheds, fridges, wheels, car baby seats and even furniture has been brought into shore, while that still submerged remains a hazard for those going out on the water in boats or to ferry people from one side of the estuary to the other. 

Overall it is the plastics that are coming ashore though, another this centaury phenomenon that is killing much in the ocean. On Thursday, Turimetta Beach was pretty much pristine. By Friday it was full of debris from the Hawkesbury flooding including a plastic tank, pot plant holders, plastic bottles, water ski, white foam, mixed plastics everywhere.  ''It looked like a mini Kimbriki.'' one contributor remarked.

More images from this weather event and its impact on Pittwater and her volunteers may be seen in this Issue's Pictorial; 'March 2021 1 In 100 Years Weather Event Sends Locals All Over The Beaches As Well As Far From Home To Help Others'. 

This is what the Hawkesbury’s floodwaters look like from space - 786km above the earth, captured by the Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday afternoon, March 25, 2021.

Image; Snapperman Beach becomes the resting place for this couch - photo by and courtesy Cameron Greaves  March 25, 2021

There are seven creeks and four rivers that flow into the Hawkesbury River; Cattai Creek, South Creek, Little Cattai Creek, Roberts Creek, Colo River, Webbs Creek, Grose River, Nepean River, Macdonald River  Mangrove Creek and Marramarra Creek. The Hawkesbury River and its tributaries encircle Greater Sydney on its north side.

The Hawkesbury River has its origin at the confluence of the Nepean River and the Grose River, to the north of Penrith. Both these two tributaries are substantial rivers by the time they join to form the Hawkesbury River.

The headwaters of the Hawkesbury River, the Avon River, the Cataract River, and the Cordeaux River, rise only a few miles from the sea, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Sydney. These streams start on the inland-facing slopes of the plateau which forms the escarpment behind Wollongong. Flowing north-west, away from the sea, these streams combine to form the Nepean River, and flow north past the towns of Camden and Penrith. Near Penrith, the Warragamba River emerges from its canyon through the Blue Mountains and joins the Nepean. The Warragamba, formed by the joining of the Wollondilly River, the Nattai River, the Kowmung River and Coxs River drains a broad region of New South Wales on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. The other principal component of the upper Hawkesbury river system, the Grose River, rises in the area of Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains.

Once formed, the Hawkesbury River proper flows generally northwards, albeit with a significant number of meanders. Initially the river passes the towns of Richmond and Windsor, which are the largest settlements on the river. As it flows north, it enters a more rural area, with only small settlements on the river. On this stretch it passes Sackville and Lower Portland, where it is joined by the Colo River. The Colo River and its tributaries drain the northern section of the Blue Mountains.

The Pittwater estuary and beaches have a connection with the Hawkesbury river that goes back thousands of years in the culture of the indigenous peoples and through the European colonisation of these places. In fact, the Pittwater estuary was once stated to be 'an arm of the Hawkesbury River' itself in early records, with many a 'coaster' travelling to Sydney Town via the river, the estuary and the coast before decent roads to transport produce were built when the Windsor area and surrounds were the 'food bowl' for settlers. It was not until Newport, Church Point and Barrenjoey became landing places with settlements that those reporting on our area began to name the estuary as a place unto itself. 

However, the connections remain, between the people living in either place and as seen by this week's floods and the amount of items and debris turning up in the estuary and along the peninsula's northernmost beaches; Palm, Whale, Avalon, Newport and Bungan Beaches - anywhere the river sweeps its brown muddy tide out into the ocean and that sweep sit back in.

Although baby car seats and wheels for vehicles may not have come ashore during earlier times, the river did bring down a lot of refuse to rest on the estuary shores and beaches, including cattle, pigs riding on whole haystacks and even the crops being brought in but not brought to market. 

Earlier reports also speak of 'foam like snow' alike that played in by local children on Sunday March 21st as the weather event rolled in.

Playing safely in Avalon ocean rock pool on Sunday April 21, 2021 - photo by Adriaan van der Wallen

Then too, Pittwater people came to the aid of those in danger or isolated by floods. 

One of Pittwater's earliest patriarchs, Andrew Thompson of Scotland Island is among the colonialists records as one who came to the aid of those caught in Hawkesbury floods on at least two occasions, and ultimately lost his own life due to an illness that developed as a result of his efforts. The year 1806 was a bad one for the Hawkesbury in terms of a flood that occurred in early April that carried away many people, housing and livestock which were carried down the river and landed in Pittwater and on our beaches. Some notes from the pages of the past:

The wife of Robert Forrester, who had only lain in three days was providentially rescued by Mr. Thompson, when nearly up to the neck in water; from the height of which the house was at first concluded to have been abandoned, but upon a nearer approach the poor woman's piteous cries were heard supplicating compassion from that Power who graciously administered to her distresses at the very moment of expected dissolution. Another poor woman, with new born twins, was also rescued from an apparently certain destiny, when floating rapidly down the River upon a heap of straw, which must shortly have separated, and consigned the whole to instantaneous death. In the midst of the confusion that everywhere prevailed, still justice was alert in protecting the few fragments that remained to the unfortunate sufferers from    violation; and several unprincipled vagabonds in a small boat were apprehended in attempting to pillage private property, and thereby convert to their own depraved inclinations the most dreadful  as well as general disaster that ever befell this or any other to extensive settlement. HAWKESBURY, April 4. (1806, April 6). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from

Among other miraculous escapes was that of Samuel Craft's family, together with that of several other persons, who had likewise taken refuge in his barn, which was washed down in a few seconds after they were rescued by one of Mr. Thompson's boats.  SYDNEY. (1806, April 13). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from

Sydney in 1803 / [published in] F. Peron ["Voyage de decouvertes aux Terres Australes ....", Paris 1807] Item: e00350_0009_m,from album 'Photographs Illustrating the Earliest Times of New South Wales' ca. 1880-1889 (copy photoprints of earlier works, 1770+), courtesy Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales

Andrew Thompson had a few vessels, 'coasters', carrying produce to Sydney Town, one of which was almost wrecked on Lion Island, and another, the schooner 'Geordy' which was being constructed on Scotland Island when he passed away. The site of the present Tennis Wharf has some remnants of the stonework placed there to build boats by this gentleman or those he hired to work there.:

On Wednesday the 27th ultimo a Hawkesbury Boat belonging to Mr. Andrew Thompson, was totally lost near Broken Bay, on her passage to Sydney, with a full freightage of Maize, Potatoes, and Melons; but two men on board her fortunately saved their lives, though not without extreme difficulty. The loss of the boat, we understand, may in some measure be attributed to a want of skill in one of the above persons, who had inconsiderately taken her in charge, and professed himself capable of piloting her to the WORLD'S END. The boat filled when at a considerable distance from the shore; and, as the master observed the water flowing in upon her, had only sufficient presence of mind to observe, that in less than ten minutes they should be both as dead as an anchor lock to which apostrophe his distressed companion could only return a pious ejaculation. The prophesy, however, was not fulfilled; the boat was driven on shore, and dashed to pieces by the violence of the surf, and the proprietor, we are sorry to add, sustains a heavy loss. SYDNEY. (1803, May 8). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from

We feel ourselves happy in informing the Public, that Mr. Andrew Thompson's boat, stated to have been dashed to pieces on her passage to Sydney, was not totally lost, although she sustained much damage. Classified Advertising. (1803, May 15). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 1. Retrieved from

BOATS - On Monday came in from Hawkesbury the William Mary, Miller; on Tuesday the Union, Jones; Hope, Smallwood; William, Grant and Kearns; Hope, Thompson; all laden with corn. By the Union the three men wrecked in Broken Bay were brought in; the particulars of which are contained in the preceding page. SHIP NEWS. (1803, May 29). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 4. Retrieved from

A strong well-built Sloop, from 35 to 40 tons burthen, belonging to Mr. Andrew Thompson, was on Saturday the 17th instant launched at the Green Hills, Hawkesbury. Mr. Thompson has another vessel of nearly the same size now on the stacks, which will be shortly ready to launch. SYDNEY. (1803, September 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 3. Retrieved from

The New Hawkesbury Sloop, built at the Green Hills, Mr A Thompson, owner, came  round for the first time on Monday 1st, with 1160 Bushels of Wheat, on from Cornwallis Farm, cultivated by Government, and could have taken in with safety 250 more. This vessel called the Nancy, was built under the sole management and direction of Mr. Kelly, formerly chief mate of the Eliza whaler, who also navigates her. Her computed burthen is 40 tons, carries 5 men, and has 4 swivels mounted on her quarter railing. Connoiseurs find no other fault with her than on account of her being rather "shallow in the Bow." SYDNEY. (1803, October 23). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from

And on Thursday arrived the Nancy, A.  Thompson owner, and the William from Hawkesbury, with wheat. The Nancy sailed from hence for Hunter's River on the 21st of October; took on board 40 logs of very fine Cedar, mostly measuring 20 feet and upwards, and squaring more than 3 feet; and arrived at Hawkesbury with the freight the 1st of the present month.  SHIP NEWS. (1803, December 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 4. Retrieved from
Some sources state Mr. Thompson received more land grants as reward for saving numerous people during these 1806 floods. He also received, for which he had to pay:

Consideration of the repeated useful and humane exertions of Andrew Thompson, Settler and Head Constable of the Hawkesbury Districts, in saving the lives and much of the property of the Sufferers by the repeated floods in that quarter, as well as from his general demeanor, and to provide a wholesome permanent Drink for the Settlers and Labourers in that extensive Settlement, His Excellency has directed the Commissary to furnish the said Andrew Thompson with the Coppers and other Brewing Utensils arrived by the William Pitt, he making payment for the same, with the usual Advance of Fifty per Cent. on the following obligatory Conditions; That is to say, To supply the Inhabitants with good Beer at not more than One Shilling per Gallon and Small beer at sixpence.
Not to dispose of the Beer so brewed to particular individuals, but the distribution to be as general as possible. Not to sell, give, lend, or make any other use of the Malt he may make than for the purpose of brewing on his own premises. General Orders. (1806, May 11). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 1. Retrieved from

When Governor Bligh arrived Andrew Thompson was the biggest grain grower and most prosperous settler. Not being associated with the Rum Corps, and having a dispute with McArthur, their purported leader from the shadows, that same year over grain, Thompson was appointed overseer of farms Bligh owned and set up. These were later attributed as part of the reason for a rebellion by the Rum Corps against Bligh:

Andrew Thompson. Mr. William Freame sends us the following information re Andrew Thompson, which may interest our readers : — 'Government Order. ' May 25th, 1802. ' Whereas Andrew Thompson, settler, and constable at the Green Hills, has been at a great expense in constructing a bridge (floating) over the South Creek on the road from Parramatta to the Green Hills, which will be of great convenience to travellers from Parramatta and the settlement of Toongabbie, he has requested that a toll may be established by authority, as may compensate him for the expense for he has been at, and to enable him to keep the bridge in repair, Governor King hereby grants to Andrew Thompson the privilege of collecting tolls at the said bridge for a  period of 14 years.' Here followed list of tolls, penalty for using the bridge without paying toll was fixed at £5, Government officials being exempt.' 11 Hawkesbury, Dec. 19th, 1807. ' Having undertaken the management of an estate here for His Excellency Governor Bligh, purchased from Tyler and Simpson, with the design of showing what improvements could be made in colonial farming — and whereas His Excellency has been pleased to trust this important experiment to my charge, I do hereby certify and declare that the estate is according to statement given below, and has been managed without impropriety or known error ; and that there is no debt, charge or encumbrance standing, or to pay, of or belonging to the management of this estate. '-—(Signed) Andrew Thompson,' 
Here followed a statement of the number of stock, &c and the account for the sale of milk for the farm from Ocb. 4th to Dec. 14th, 1807. Total milk sales for that period being £60 Os lOd at lOd per quart. PERSONAL. (1903, May 2). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

With Bligh out of action Joseph Foveaux (arriving at Port Jackson on July 28th 1808 and finding Major George Johnston in command and Governor William Bligh under arrest) he quickly assumed command after a short consultation with the rebels. It was during this period, and until Lt. Gov. William Paterson arrived from Tasmania and took control on January 9th 1809, that Lieutenant-Governor Joseph Foveaux gave Thompson a town grant in Macquarie Place, perhaps in part due to Andrew Thompson's efforts during another Hawkesbury river flood of June of the same year;

Further accounts of this disaster state that the first perceptible rise in the River took place on the afternoon of last Thursday se'nnight, when it rose at the rapid rate of 4 feet per hour until the water began to spread over the banks. The Resident Magistrates took every active precaution for the preservation of lives and property; and as long as assistance was found necessary, such persons as were fortunate enough to be provided with boats were employed in rescuing others who were in imminent danger; and on this occasion Mr. Andrew Thompson personally signalized himself, in an unremitting exertion of two whole days and nights continuance. 

About 4 on Saturday morning the water was at the highest, and remained tranquil for three hours, when it began very gradually indeed to fall. From the Green Hills, over the South Creek as far as Tuckwell's Lagoon near the Red House was a sheet of water, across which Mr. Thompson's accommodation boat conveyed persons to and from and all the lower situations down the River were laid entirely under water. At Bardonarrang and up the South Creek the principal losses are supposed to have been sustained ; but little comparative damage has been felt upwards.—At Richmond the back farms were flooded, and much of the stubble corn spoilt ; at Cornwallis the water rose nearly within a rod of Ridge's house, and had it continued to rise an hour longer it is universally conjectured it would have been equal to the last dreadful inundation, which was considerably the highest ever experienced. It was remarkable, that very little rain had fallen at Hawkesbury for several weeks previous, so that this calamity may rather be considered a phenomenon than as proceeding from any evident cause :—

Many experienced Settlers attribute it to the bursting of a cloud upon the mountains, which overflowing the gulph occasioned the very sudden rise in the River. This disaster happening at a time when most of the Settlers had cropped their grounds, His Honor the LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR immediately ordered every assistance from the other Settlements, to facilitate the clearing and sowing the ground anew; and by Tuesday evening last upwards of 120 working hands were despatched from Sydney for the purpose of assisting the sufferers. This and every other possible aid has been afforded; and on Thursday last Lieutenant Colonel FOVEAUX, accompanied by JAMES FINUCANE, Esq. Secretary to His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, left Town for Hawkesbury, to enquire into the extent of damage done by the flood, and to attend, as well to the distribution of labourers among the sufferers, as to such other assistance as their circumstances should require. By this benevolent and efficacious measure many of the evils will, with the blessing of Providence be prevented, which would otherwise have fallen upon the inhabitants of this Colony as heavily as any disaster of the kind had ever done before; since, independent of what has been lost of the present year's produce, an immense quantity of new-sown ground would have been unproductive, and our distresses continued thus from year to year. 

The following statement of the losses sustained of various kinds was yesterday transmitted to His Honor the Lieutenant Governor ; viz. 
1769 Bushels of Wheat 233 Acres of Maize 785 Ditto of Maize 264 Pigs; and a few 212 Ditto of Barley Sheep and Goats.

At George's River, the water was higher by 10 or 12 feet than it had been in the memorable flood of March 1806. At half past 6 on Friday morn- ing it was at the highest, being then about 34 feet above the ordinary level of the river. Its ravages are distinguishable at the height of more than 30 feet, many situations that were before solid being now perfectly excavated. The whole space extending from the bottom of the Horse-shoe Pond to the house of Mr. Moore was totally under water, and had the resemblance of an extensive lake. The new house of Mr. Knight is so much injured at the foundation as to render it necessary to be taken down and rebuilt. The lower part of the house was covered early in the evening of Thursday, and Mrs. Knight and family were obliged to take refuge in a loft, from whence du- ring the night they had the mortification to perceive the water rapidly gaining upon this last retreat, and in one hour rising 38 inches. The house of Emmerson the scite of which was about 7 or 8 feet lower than Mr. Knight's, was re- moved from its standing, and left in ruins. Much of the ground newly cropped was laid waste, and some stock supposed to be lost. FLOOD at HAWKESBURY. (1809, June 4). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR has appointed Mr. Andrew Thompson, Auctioneer for the District of the Hawkesbury. By command of His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, Alexander Riley, Secretary. Head Quarters , Sydney, January 21, 1809. Classified Advertising. (1809, January 22). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 1. Retrieved from

This time Andrew Thompson did not receive the apparatus to make more beer with (or rum!), instead Lieutenant-Governor Paterson rewarded him with a 1000-acre (405 ha) grant at Minto which he named St Andrew's. Previous leases of land on which he had erected his brewery and salt works were converted into grants. All these grants were later approved by Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

By now his extensive interests required the attention of others, not always successfully:
Lost, the latter of the week, between the Barrack Square and Mr Lord's Warehouse, a Government Receipt for five hundred bushels of Maize, in favour of Mr Andrew Thompson, and dated in February, 1808. - Any person delivering the same to G. Howe, will receive One Guinea reward; payment being stopped at the commissary's office, it can be of no use to any person but the owner. Classified Advertising. (1808, May 15). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 1. Retrieved from

John Howe begs leave to inform the Public, that he keeps and carries on the extensive House and Business of Mr. Andrew Thompson, at the Green Hills, Hawkesbury, with every respectful attention, and has now on Sale a valuable Assortment of Woollen and Linen Drapery, Haberdashery, Hosiery, Stationary, Grocery, Drugs, Cutlery, Ironmongery, Sadlery, Chaise, Cart, and other Harness in sets or otherwise, Men and Women's Shoes, Shoemaker's Tools, Dressed Leather of all kinds, Salt, Pitch and Tar, large Brass Locks, Copper, Copper Pump Works, Leaden Pipes, and other Brewing Utensils, with a variety of other goods of the best quality, and at the most reduced Prices, for ready Payment only.
All Persons indebted to A. Thompson are once more requested to make good their Payments without further delay. 
Thomas Smith, who arrived in the William Pitt, having absconded from the Service of Mr. A. Thompson, in violation of his Agreement, all persons are cautioned not to harbour or Employ the said Thomas Smith, under pain of prosecution. And he is hereby required to take notice, that unless he shall return to his Master's service without delay, necessary measures will be adopted to enforce submission.Classified Advertising. (1809, December 3). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from

Major-General Lachlan Macquarie CB, the fifth Governor of NSW, arrived in Sydney on December 28th 1809 and started as Governor on 1 January 1810. He was the first army, instead of naval, officer to preside as Governor and arrived at the head of his own military unit, the 73rd Regiment. He carried order to arrest John McArthur/MacArthur and and Major George Johnston, the two main leaders of the Rum Rebellion, but both had already sailed to England by the time he arrived in order to 'defend' themselves. The rule of the bully-boy would-be 'kings' had come to an end, although they persisted in undermining or influencing the run of the by then 'Sydney Town' by any means possible.

Macquarie began dismantling what the Rum Corps had put in place to suit them and dispersing those that remained who had not left the corps to Norfolk Island for duties or to Tasmania, for duties. One of his first appointments :

Head Quarters, Government House, Sydney, 12th January, 1810.  His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to appoint Mr. Andrew Thompson Justice of the Peace and Magistrate at the Hawkesbury, in the County of Cumberland ; and he is accordingly to be respected and obeyed as such. Robert Campbell, Esq. is to act as Treasurer to the Orphan School and Gaol Fund, till further Orders.-The late Treasurer is to settle all Accounts and Demands against the said Fund, up to the day of Mr. Campbell's taking charge of that Office. Nathaniel Lucas is confirmed as Head Superintendant of Carpenters and Millwrights. David Langley is re-instated as Superintendant of Smiths. GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS. (1810, January 14). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 1. Retrieved from

His Excellency the GOVERNOR has been pleased to appoint the Rev. Mr. Samuel Marsden, and Simeon Lord, and Andrew Thompson, Esquire, to be Trustees and Commissioners for regulating and conducting all Affairs and Matters connected with the Turnpike Road proposed to be established between the Town of Sydney and the Hawkesbury. They are accordingly requested to appoint an early Day in the course of the ensuing Week, for meeting at Sydney, to take into consideration such Tenders and Proposals as may be sent in to the GOVERNOR'S Secretary, by Individuals willing to contract for making the Turnpike Road in question, agreeably to the Public Advertisement of the  24th instant.-The Trustees will submit their Proceedings and Opinions for the Gaol Ratification of the GOVERNOR, previous to their entering into any Contract that may be laid before them. 
By Command of His Excellency,
J. T. Campbell, Secretary. 
GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS. (1810, March 31). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 1. Retrieved from

Apparently this appointment rankled with the Reverend Marsden, or a dinner at Government House (at Parramatta) associated with it did, the basis of the rankling being that the good reverend refused to sit at table with a publican and an ex-convict. 

Government House, Parramatta, 1805, [1809?]. Series 01: Australian paintings by J.W. Lewin, G.P. Harris, G.W. Evans and others, 1796-1809. Image No.: a1313032, courtesy State Library of NSW.

Windsor, Series 01: Australian paintings by J.W. Lewin, G.P. Harris, G.W. Evans and others, 1796-1809. Image No.: a1313052h, courtesy State Library of NSW.

Andrew Thompson died in October 1810. Some sources state due to a bad cold which developed from attending to others during both the 1806 and 1809 floods, other sources state he was yet another victim of TB (tuberculosis) or 'consumption' as it was then termed, and succumbed, after ailing for many years. Whichever it was, his work is attributed for saving the lives of 100 people during the 1809 flood event.

DIED.  At Hawkesbury, Green Hills, on Monday the 22d Instant, after a lingering and severe illness, aged 37, ANDREW THOMPSON, Esq. Magistrate of that District. In retracing the last twenty years of the life of this exemplary and much lamented Character will not be held uncharitable to glance at the lapse from rectitude which in an early and inexperienced period of youth destined him to these shores, since it will stamp a more honourable Tribute to his Memory to have it recorded, that from his first arrival in this Country he uniformly conducted himself with that strict regard to morality and integrity, as to obtain and enjoy the countenance and protection of several succeeding Governors; active, intelligent and industrious, of manners mild and conciliatory, with a heart generous and humane, Mr. THOMPSON was enabled to accumulate considerable property; and what was more valuable to him, to possess the confidence and esteem of some of the most distinguished Characters in this Country; the consciousness of which surmounted the private solicitude of revisiting his native Country, and led him rather  to yield to the wish of passing the evening of his   life where his manhood had been meritoriously exerted, than of returning to the land which gave him birth. Mr. THOMPSON's intrinsic good qualities were appreciated by His EXCELLENCY the present GOVERNOR, who soon after his arrival here was pleased to appoint him a Magistrate, for which situation Mr. THOMPSON's natural good sense and a superior knowledge of the Laws of his Country  peculiarly qualified him.

Nor can we close this Tribute to his Memory without recurring to the important services Mr.  THOMPSON rendered this Colony, and many of his fellow-creatures, during the heavy and public distresses which the floods at the Hawkesbury produced amongst the Settlers in that extensive District; Mr. THOMPSON's exertions were on a late occasion for two days and two nights unremittingly directed to the assistance of the sufferers, and we hasten to add, that in these offices of humanity, he not only exposed himself to personal danger, but laid the foundation for that illness which has deprived the World of a valuable Life.        
During the unfortunate Disturbances which lately disrupted this Colony, he, whose death we now lament held on the even "Tenor of his Way," and acquitted himself with mildness, moderation and wisdom, and when the ruthless Hand of Death arrested his earthly career, he yielded with becoming fortitude, and left this World for a better, with humble and devout resignation, and an exemplary confidence in the Mercies of his GOD! Family Notices. (1810, October 27). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), p. 3. Retrieved from

"It is the inter-position of Providence to save the Colony from utter ruin, for never was there a more artful or greater knave," said John Macarthur, thankfully, on hearing of the death of Thompson on October 22, 1810.

Yet Governor Macquarie mourned the passing of his "good and most lamented, departed friend," and had a long, eulogistic epitaph engraved on Thompson's tomb-stone at Windsor, N.S.W. (It may be mentioned that Thompson left one-fourth of his £25,000 estate to His Excellency.)

But, knave or not, Andrew Thompson, who was transported at the age of 17, deserves recognition for his pioneering work. Macquarie described him as the founder of Green Hills, now Windsor, and invited him to Government House-this man who had been convict, convict-superintendent, constable, farmer, ship-builder, bridge builder, brewer, publican, illicit distiller, flood hero, inventor, smuggler, and chief magistrate.
Macarthur's hatred of Thompson stemmed from his gate-crashing of the rum traffic, which clashed with Macarthur’s interests and those of the rum monopolists of the New South Wales Corps. As a shipowner, Thompson traded as far as New Zealand. In 1809 he received as a grant of land an island in Pittwater, near Sydney, which he named Scotland Island. There he engaged in shipbuilding and built large salt works. During disastrous floods in the Hawkesbury he was responsible for rescuing more than 100 people, and, in so doing, undermined his health. AUSTRALIAN ALMANAC. (1967, November 22). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 24. Retrieved from

Hawkesbury flood, in 1816 taken from [?]rofton Cottage Windsor No.4, Item: a1528471h, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

The next Hawkesbury flood and the storm that brought it, that of April 1867, impacted on Pittwater through the loss of what was then known as 'Sty. Michael's arch'. This flood, and its widespread damage, can is also when Maybanke Self (Anderson) of Bayview lost her father. Some notes from the pages of the past:

SELFE-On the 13th April, accidentally drowned during a flood in the river, Henry Selfe, of Warragamba, banks of the Nepean, and 22, Lower Fort-street, Sydney, late of Kingston-upon-Thames, aged 62 yearsFamily Notices (1867, April 29). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 1. Retrieved from 

Six weeks elapsed prior to the funeral-more light is shed on how long it took to find the poor man's body under the records of her mother's passing, in 1902, further down this page. That someone can give the date he passed shows someone witnessed the floodwaters taking him.

FUNERAL.—The Friends of the late HENRY SELFE are informed that his funeral will leave Penrith for Mulgoa Church on the arrival of the first train from Sydney, THIS DAY, Tuesday. Family Notices (1867, May 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

The year 1902 was when Maybanke's mother Elizabeth (Bessie) passed away at her son Henry's home. This Notice gives us further insight into where her husband died just months prior to his daughter's marriage and why it took so long to lay him to rest:

Beyond the Veil.

There passed away on Wednesday last, at her residence, in one of the suburbs, Mrs Selfe, aged 91 years, mother of Mr Norman Seife, Sydney's eminent engineer. Mrs Selfe and her husband had a home, away back in the early sixties, on the piece of land now occupied by Mr H Bennett, on the rise at the junction of the Nepean and Warragamba Rivers, where they had proposed to establish a large orchard, vineyard, etc, and had built a very comfortable cottage. One of our biggest floods came along just as they had got everything in going order. Owing to the gorge just below the junction, in time of flood the river rises to an enormous height—somewhere about 100 feet above summer level. 

The late Mr Selfe attempted to cross the stream on to Fairlight Estate, and was washed down; his body being recovered, some time after the water had subsided, below Emu Plains. The shock was so great that the family afterwards abandoned the place. The late Mrs Selfe was a noble woman, and her son is one of our best and most respected colonists. His remains were interred in St. Thomas' Church of England Cemetery, Mulgoa.  Beyond the Veil. (1902, January 25). Nepean Times (Penrith, NSW : 1882 - 1962), p. 3. Retrieved from

The reports on the loss of the arch:


This beautiful Arch is situated on the estate of the late Very Reverend J. J. Therry, about three miles south of Broken Bay. As the scenery along. the coast from Manly Beach to the Bay is of the loveliest description, we advise all lovers of the picturesque to hire a spring cart from Mr. Miles - who lives about half a mile from the Pier Hotel - and proceed, early in the morning, to Mr. Collins' house, about thirteen miles distance, so as to be able to inspect this extraordinary specimen of natural architecture, and to return to Manly the same day if necessary.

As this excursion may gradually become fashionable, we quote a description of the places on the road from the late Postmaster- General Raymond's valuable work, the "Post Office Directory for 1855."

"Seven and a half miles from North Harbour, - Jenkins' house ; the road for the last mile along a level sandy beach. On the left is Narabeen lagoon. Mr. Jenkins has a snug house here, and much land in cultivation, which is an agreeable prospect -  from the sea. 

Eleven and a half miles from North Harbour -Hut on the sea shore. The path from the Pennant Hills Road reaches the sea, and joins this coast road at the farm of one Foley - a tenant of. Mr. Wentworth's ; the distance from thence being twelve miles. 

About half a mile further on is the south-east arm of Pitt Water, on which there are some small cultivated farms. The head of Pitt Water as seen from the heights along which the road or path leads, is equal to any lake scenery, and there are many romantic spots, with good land, on its banks, which might be converted into good farms. 

Thirteen miles from North Harbour - Several farms and cottages. 

Fourteen miles- The Rev. Mr. Therry has a grant here. Fourteen and three-quarter miles - The Hole-in-the-Wall, being a rocky projection forming a rude archway with the shore."

The arch mentioned by Mr. Raymond is about twenty-two feet across the inside, and between thirty and forty feet high underneath. The rocks, of which it forms a part, are seventy feet in height - the colours of these rocks are exceedingly beautiful. At low water the visitor can pass through the arch.

Ascending the cliffs, a view of Pitt Water is beheld, being the harbour belonging to this estate. If an arrangement were madeto have a small steamer plying along the beautifully wooded, lofty, and precipitous shores of the Hawkesbury River, parties of travellers could meet it at this spot, avoiding the disagreeable sea voyage by coming from Manly by land. The steamer could convey them from Mr. Collins' house to Windsor, and the train would take them back to Sydney - it being understood that the Windsor railway will shortly be completed.

Illustration: ST. MICHAEL'S ARCH.  

ST. MICHAEL'S ARCH. (1864, October 15). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872), p. 3. Retrieved from 

W.H. Raworth (Brit./Aust./NZ, c1821-1904). St Michael’s Arch, NSW [Avalon] c1860s. Watercolour, signed lower left, obscured title in colour pencil verso, 34.2 x 56.5cm. Tear to left portion of image, slight scuffs and foxing to upper portion.  Price (AUD): $2,900.00  at: 

St. Michael's Arch 1867 - The storm that turned an arch into a pedestal:



June 24 – We have had tremendous weather, but, as far as Pitt Water is concerned, no damage has been done with the exception to one of our picturesque curiosities, St. Michael’s Arch. It has at length to the too mighty elements and the destroying influence of time, that which was the admiration of all who have beheld it is now almost baseless fabric-there is only about one half of the outer support left, looking at it at a distance it has the resemblance of a coloured pillar. In its fall it carried a large portion of the overhanging rock with it, a thousand tons of gigantic boulders, and in such masses that I think it will stop the ingress from that part to the cave, but at yet we have had no close inspection for the rollers are dashing to the height of the stupendous rocks. The only idea I can give of the gale is that the froth of (not spray) the sea came over Mount St. Joseph, opposite the house, half a foot in size, and spread itself down to the dam, at times shading the heights of the mountain,-its resemblance was that of an overwhelming snow storm.

The sea at Barranjoey washed away the flower garden in front of the Chinamen's huts, taking soil and all, so that the beach comes close up to their door. There must have been awful havoc in the Hawkesbury, for all the beaches from Barranjoey to the Long Beach are strewn with fragments of houses, boxes, chairs, door frames, dead pigs, hay, wheat, broken bedsteads, weather-board sides of houses, oranges with large branches, pumpkins, melons, corn cobs, and other debris, that scarcely any portion of the beaches can be seen. Mr. Conolly picked up a workbox, in which was contained a number of receipts and letters directed to Mr. Moss, Windsor. The beaches on which are the debris is Barrenjoey, Whale Beach, Collins's Beach, Mick's Hollow Beach, Farrell's Beach, Mona Beach, and Long Beach, so it may be imagined the great extent of destruction. BROKEN BAY. (1867, June 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from 

Another version of same report:

BROKEN BAY[From the Herald's Correspondents.]

June 24. — We have had tremendous weather, but, as far as Pitt Water is concerned, no damage has been done, with the exception to one of our picturesque curiosities, St. Michael's Arch. It has at length yielded to the too mighty elements and the destroying influence of time,— that which, was the admiration of all who have beheld it is now almost a baseless fabric,— there is only about one half of the outer support left, looking at it at a distance it has the resemblance of a colossal pillar. In its fall it carried a large portion of the overhanging rock with it, a thousand tons of gigantic boulders, and in such masses that I think it will stop the ingress from that part to the cave, but as yet we have had no close inspection, for the rollers are dashing to the height of the stupendous rocks. The only idea I can give of the gale is, that the froth of (not spray) the sea came over Mount St. Joseph, opposite the house, half a foot in size, and spread itself down to the dam, at times shading the heights of the mountain, — its resemblance was that of an overwhelming snow storm. The sea at Barranjoey washed away the flower garden in front of the Chinamen's huts, taking soil and all, so that the beach comes close up to their door. There must have been awful havoc in the Hawkesbury, for all the beaches from Barrenjoey to the Long Reach are strewed with fragments of houses, boxes, chairs, doorframes, dead pigs, hay, wheat, broken bedsteads, weatherboard sides of houses, oranges with large branches, pumpkins, melons, corn cobs, and other debris, that scarcely any portion of the beaches can be seen. Mr. Conolly picked up a workbox, in which was contained a number of receipts and letters directed to Mr. Moss, Windsor. The beaches on which are the debris is Barrenjoey, Whale Beach,  Collins's Beach, Mick's Hollow Beach, Farrell's Beach, Mona Beach, and Long Reach, so it may be imagined the great extent of destruction. BROKEN BAY. (1867, June 29). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), p. 11. Retrieved from

One of several reports telling what was happening elsewhere

THREE years ago it became our painful duty to record the visitation of disastrous floods, and great destruction of property ; but we regret that during the past month a calamity of the same nature — more widespread in extent and more disastrous in its results — has desolated immense tracts of land, swept away numerous homesteads, and driven the occupants in a pitiless wintry storm to seek for shelter and safety beneath the roof of some more fortunate neighbour ; some to climb trees and await the arrival of boats to rescue them, while others less fortunate perished in the seething waters. The first indications of an approaching change were visible on the 17th ult., and on the next morning the storm set in from the south east. All that day the wind blew violently, and torrents of rain fell along the whole coast district ; and the wind and weather reports telegraphed to the head office at Sydney, showed that the pluvial visitations extended over almost every part of the colony, and continued incessantly until the 22nd. On the 20th it became evident to the residents of the valley of the Nepean and Hawkesbury that a flood was imminent. The river was rising rapidly, and the Grose and other affluents coming down from the mountains were bank-high, and increasing in volume every hour. Four government boats were despatched to Windsor, and at once found ample employment, removing persons whose houses were in danger to higher ground. The 21st was as gloomy as its predecessors, and showed an immense sheet of water — extending from Riverstone to the Blue Mountains, a distance of from fifteen to twenty miles ; while at Penrith the Nepean was nine miles wide, covering the whole of the Emu plains, and running along the base of Lapstone Hill.

On the morning of Friday the following telegram was received by the Government :—" Windsor, 9.30. : Send some boats to Windsor immediately. Great danger of loss of life, and few boats. Send by rail, and thence by water. Flood nearly as high as 1864, and rising." Six boats were at once despatched by a special train to Riverstone, where railway communication ceased. Prior to this the few boats available had done good service. Many persons in imminent peril were taken off lofts and the roofs of houses in Wilberforce and Cornwallis. There was quite a sea all round Windsor, Wilberforce, Cornwallis, Richmond, and South Creek. Numbers in Windsor town have been obliged to leave their dwellings for higher spots. The School of Arts and other vacant buildings were thrown open and filled with people. Up to this time the water had risen forty-eight feet. At 4 p.m. the water was two feet higher than the great flood of 1864. The greater number of houses in the town were submerged, and the water broke over McGrath's Hill, flooding the whole of Killarney. The wind at times blew furiously, the rain came down in torrents, and the waters rolled over the plain with tumultuous impetuosity. The boats had to be shot round chimneys or gable corners, rowed over fences and telegraph wires, pushed through patches of forest on their life-saving errand. Throughout the whole of Friday night the boats' crews laboured incessantly, and not without a considerable degree of danger to the crews. Guns were fired off in all directions, and these signals of distress were answered as speedily as possible. The residents of McGrath's hill had a very narrow escape. One of the crews happened to see a light burning very faintly, and about 3 o'clock in the morning when the boat pulled up, they found nearly eighty men, women, and children crowded into a few places. Thirty were taken out of one loft, and there was just time for the return of the boats for the rest before the flood rose above the building in which they had taken refuge. With lights burning in the bows to enable a man on the look out to discern any danger ahead, they conveyed hundreds to a place of safety. On Saturday morning all the churches and chapels were thrown open — every tenement occupied. Women and children were seen walking about half naked, cold, and hungry. The town was divided into islands, which were gradually and terribly diminishing. The water had risen about sixty-three feet. The houses on the top of McGrath's Hill were under water, and the flood extended down the Parramatta and Windsor Road for miles. Cattle and horses, pigs and poultry were destroyed in large quantities, and in all directions ; and in the vicinity of Windsor and Richmond alone it is stated that 1000 valuable horses were destroyed. With such a crowd in a small town all the food available was speedily exhausted, and starvation stared the unhappy people. Private liberality and government aid was invoked to aid the sufferers ; special trains bearing food were promptly despatched. The rain ceased on Saturday night, and next morning the happy intelligence was disseminated that the flood was falling.

The saddest incident in connection with the flood occurred at Cornwallis, and forms the subject of one of our engravings —

The Eathers were old settlers on the Hawkesbury, and had much experience of floods in the district. On Thursday night they made preparations which they thought would prevent any danger in case of the river rising. Thomas Eather's family consisted of his wife, four girls, and two boys, of the several ages of sixteen, fourteen, twelve, ten, eight, and three years. William Eather's family consisted of his wife and five children, of the respective ages of eleven, nine, six, three, and one years ; the whole of them took refuge in the house of their brother, George Eather ; and, as the water rose, were driven to the roof of the house, and clung there for twenty hours. William Eather gives the following heart-rending narrative of his bereavement :— " On the 21st ult., I saw my family alive ; they were then on the top of a house of my brother, George Eather, having gone there for safety; I was with them; we were about 200 yards from my brother Thomas's ; we had been there from Thursday night, 20th ; on Friday night, 21st, I was about taking my eldest boy into my arms, when I was washed away by the waves ; I saw a tree close by me after I came to the surface, and managed to make for it. I heard the screams of my wife and children, but could not see them ; I fastened myself to the tree, and in a short time was rescued by a boat." Two wives and ten children lost their lives, the two fathers and one little boy alone remained of the fifteen who had braved the storm for so many weary hours.

Although not so disastrous higher up the river, the damage done here was considerable. On Thursday the punts were swept away and lodged against one of the piers of the bridge, threatening its safety, and were sunk by orders of the Minister for Works. Immense quantities of drift wood and other debris were swept against it, causing it to vibrate from end to end ; but, by the labours of a large body of men, the watercourse was kept uninterrupted. The telegraph line was swept away, and the approaches to the bridge injured — one bay of piles being entirely destroyed.

At Maitland the Hunter overflowed its banks on Thursday, and on Friday morning was in full flood. Mr. Morrissett, the superintendent of police, received a message from Sub-inspector Thorpe, of Singleton, stating that the river was about forty feet high, and that a most disastrous flood might be anticipated.

Immediately on receipt of that information, Mr. Morrissett personally advised the residents of the Bend to remove themselves and their effects to higher ground. The majority took his ad-vice, and thereby saved much property. About an hour later, the embankment erected by the corporation gave way in several places, and in an incredibly short space of time, the whole of the Bend was one sheet of water, and hundreds of houses were up to the roof in water. Nearly the whole of Bolwarra, Farley, Ravensfield, and all the adjacent low-lying country was sub-merged. The Oakhampton estate was for the best part under water, and from the Long Bridge (Campbell's-hill) to Bishop's bridge, on the Wollombi-road, was one vast sea. The railway bridge was destroyed and communication cut off at Waratah.
At Newcastle the gale raged violently. On Friday morning, at breakfast time, Captain Allen (harbour master) asked Pilot Taylor to take the lifeboat out and send for some of the new hands to practice. The men went down to the edge of the break, a strong current running out at the time, and they took her into the break to see how she would answer. The second sea that struck her broke three of the oars and unshipped the remainder, and before they could get them shipped again she had drifted out some distance to sea. They tried to pull in, but found her still going astern, and a short time after she broached to, when the crew put her head to the sea and pulled hard to get out ; and when about a mile to the south-east of Big Ben dropped the anchor, but had to keep pulling to keep the strain off the line and keep her head to it ; they were seen from the shore, and it was determined to try and save them. 

The steam tug Bungaree was chosen for this attempt, but when she got off Nobby's it became apparent that she could not get through the breakers, and returned to the wharf. Next morning it was seen that the lifeboat still rode out the gale, and another attempt to rescue the crew was decided upon, the owners of the Bungaree again giving the services of their vessel. About 10 o'clock, after clearing the decks of the Bungaree, closing tightly the hatches and removing the woodwork about the wheels, Captain Wadringham turned his vessel seaward. Everybody in Newcastle proceeded towards Nobby's and the hills to the south of it. The Bungaree sped gallantly through the breakers, but was in danger once or twice. The weather was very thick, and when the Bungaree got past Nobby's it was difficult to see her. Presently, her smoke alone was to be seen, and very soon almost all traces of the Bungaree disappeared. The excitement was then intense as she emerged from behind Nobby's steadily keeping her course, and, to the delight of all, soon came to the life-boat. She got the crew on board, and came into the harbour in as good trim as she went out, but lost the lifeboat in the breakers. When the lifeboat men became distinguishable on the bridge of the steamer, hearty cheers welcomed the sufferers until it became known that one of the men — Williams — had died from the exhaustion that morning in the lifeboat, where his body remained when the tow rope broke, and the Bungaree was compelled to come into port without her. The boat, tossed in the breakers, was capsized, and when the gale moderated next day, was washed ashore, little damaged, on the North Head. Williams' body was recovered a few days afterwards.

In the western districts the storm was equally severe. The hut of a shepherd, named Baker, who lived near the junction of the Mudgee River, got surrounded before he and his family could move (the water rising six feet in ten minutes), and out of eleven persons all were drowned but three. Those saved are the eldest boy and girl and father. Those drowned are the mother, five boys, a baby (girl), and a married man named Smith, who came to help them about dusk, just before the sudden rise of water. At the first rush of the flood they all got on to the tables, then on to a loft, and then had to cut a hole in the back and get on to the top of the roof. Here they remained until the water reached their mouths, when the four left alive swam to a tree. Smith, not being able to swim, sank as soon as he left the hut. The poor old father (Baker) gives a most distressing account of the scene — how he held his children in his arms, dropping them as they died (of the cold he says) to take up others that were alive, until none were left. The survivors were rescued, about daylight, by the brave wife of the man Smith, who pulled a boat about a mile to the hut, and then took them to the shore. She heard them coeeing for a long time, and started to try and save them, which she had great trouble to effect, the current was so strong.

At Bathurst it rained continuously for a week, and on the 21st the Macquarie River was bank high. As the waters continued rising, fears were entertained for the safety of Denison Bridge, and against which logs and trees were accumulating ; the water was too high to allow the debris to pass under, and it became evident that the destruction of the bridge was inevitable. Notwithstanding the danger, about fifty persons remained on the bridge, watching for its giving way ; when, at about eleven o'clock, a crashing sound was heard. Those on the bridge rushed for the shore at either end, when the centre of the bridge, towards the Bathurst side, snapped asunder, with a sweep detached itself, and floated away. The three arches wide coming in contact with a cluster of trees standing in the bed of the river swept them down ; and, reaching shallower water, stranded near George-street, a complete wreck. This bridge cost £13,000. The water burst over the banks of the river, and the plains in its vicinity were rapidly inundated. In the lowest part of the town, houses were flooded and had to be abandoned by their inhabitants. A flock of sheep belonging to Mr. Rotton was carried away, and the shepherd in charge was drowned. The bridge at the Weatherboard also was destroyed.

At Goulburn, rain commenced on Monday night and fell steadily nearly all Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. All this time there was a strong gale from the south-east. The Wollondilly and Mulwarree reached their highest point on Thursday morning, when the waters were within about two feet of the April flood, and about six or seven feet below the floor of the Fitzroy Brielge. Farther south the floods were still worse, particularly in the Araluen valley. The miners were just recovering from the effects of the previous visitation which had filled their claims and caused great destitution, when again they were flooded out, and had it not been for the promptitude with which Mr. Rodd, member for the district, and some other gentlemen acted, many would have died of starvation.

The disasters afloat were not so numerous as was feared. The J. G. Coleson left the Tweed river timber-laden, for Sydney, on the 17th instant, and being blown to the southward, arrived off Shoalhaven on the 21st, having previously carried away her jibboom and mainboom. Captain Archdeacon endeavoured to run into Shoalhaven, but in the attempt she went ashore on the North Spit, and became a wreck. The J. G. Coleson was insured in the Victoria office for £800, and had on board 40,000 feet of cedar. The Helen, schooner, from the Richmond, with cedar, took refuge in Botany Bay, dragged her anchors, went ashore on the mudbank, but got off during the ensuing week. The ketch, Lord of the Isles, at anchor off Kiama before the gale came on, was secured as well as available resources would permit, but on the 21st she went down at her moorings. The schooner, Catherine Hill, timber-laden, from the Richmond to Sydney, went ashore on Bird Island Point, and had two men drowned. The vessel was insured for £1000 in the Pacific office, and is a total loss. The Chance, schooner, from the South Seas, encountered the full force of the gale within 300 miles of this port. The vessel was kept running before it until the rudder head parted close by the deck ; the vessel was at once hove to under a small fore-trysail and close-reefed mainsail, which proved sufficient to keep her to the wind ; but, a cross sea rising, she got a heavy sea aboard — boat, galley, bulwarks, and stanchions being swept clean away. A sad accident occurred in connection with the total loss of the schooner Margaret, bound from the Macleay River to Sydney, with maize. After leaving the Macleay she encountered the full force of the gale, was carried past Sydney, and making land again in the vicinity of the Five Islands on the 21st. All hands being by this time nearly exhausted, not having been able to procure any food for three days, it was determined to run into Wollongong. By skill and excellent management they brought her safe until arriving near the end of the break-water, when she let go both anchors, and Pilot Edwards, in company with his son and a man named Daniel Roxborough, put off to their assistance. Having arrived near the vessel, they called out to those on board to jump overboard one at a time, and they would pick them up, but to this no answer was returned. In the meantime the boat was in a position of the most imminent danger, the steer oar having been lost, but Mr. Edwards, deter-mined not to leave anything undone, kept the boat head to sea, when a roller struck it and dashed it to pieces. All struck out for shore, but only two reached it in safety. The pilot, after swimming for a time, was observed to cling to a piece of the wreck of the Catherine floating near, and then to disappear. A boat from the Otago was promptly lowered, and the body picked up. Drs. Marshall and Lambert were in attendance, but life was extinct. The others succeeded in reaching the beach, although very much exhausted. The schooner dragged, and ultimately parted both chains of her anchors, and was drifted with great velocity on to the rocks where the portion of the wreck of the Adolphus lies. Immediately she struck, her crew jumped ashore in safety. An attempt was then made to slew her round so that her stern would rest upon the rocks near the cutting, where she would have been in comparative security from the further violence of the sea. A rope was accordingly made fast, but gave way, and pieces of the wreck soon strewed the beach in every direction.

At Bulli, about ten o'clock on the 21st, nearly the whole of the new work of the jetty was washed away. The sea was terrific, but the jetty bore well the strain of the furious gusts of wind and heavy swell until two of the piles which had not been metalled and were much eaten by the cobra, suddenly snapped. This caused one of the bays to sink, and weakened the whole structure, and before Mr. Thompson (the Company's manager) and his three assistants could reach the shore, a sudden burst of the storm swept jetty, men, shoots, waggons, everything away.

In Sydney Harbour the man-of-war steamer Challenger and the Italian frigate Magenta dragged their anchors, and were fast driving on the rocks at Fort Macquarie, when steam was got up and the vessels moved to a place of safety. The Charybdis drifted up harbour and moored in Lavender Bay. During a squall of fearful force on Saturday afternoon, the Bramble, lightship, stationed off the Sow and Pigs, carried away her moorings ; fortunately the accident was seen at once. The Vesta (s. ), lying at the Watson's Bay pier with steam up, went to her assistance, succeeded in getting fast to her in dangerous proximity to Middle Head, and towed her up to Sydney. It was considered so doubtful that the Vesta would arrive in time, that orders were given to man the large lifeboat, but fortunately her services were not required. The Feronia, from London to Brisbane, got her decks swept, and took refuge here. The City of Hobart (s.) was two days off the port, had her boats smashed on the davits, and received other injury.

The violence of the gale along the coast may be judged by the fact, that the celebrated natural Gothic arch near Broken Bay, known as " St. Michael's, " was destroyed ; the seaward pillar being washed away, the whole of the overhanging rocks came down with a crash.

The cry for help from the flooded districts has been nobly responded to by all classes of the community. As soon as the news was received, a number of leading citizens met, and Mr. John Fairfax, of the Herald, having been moved to the chair, it was resolved that a calamity so wide spread called for prompt action. The sum of £900, balance of the former Flood Relief Fund was at once voted to buy food and clothing. An influential working committee was appointed, and a couple of days later, a large public meeting was held in the Masonic Hall to take steps for raising additional funds. For the time being personal dislikes and religious antipathies were buried in view of the object to be attained, and in one case a Church of England minister, a Catholic priest, and a Wesleyan minister rode in the same carriage from house to house obtaining subscriptions. In every town throughout the colony a similar movement has been initiated. Already about £5000 has been raised in Sydney and suburbs, and as much more may be expected. In Melbourne, a public meeting has been held, and one gentleman has offered to give £100 towards the Fund if nine others do the same. It is of course impossible to correctly estimate the amount of damage done, but in round numbers it will not fall far short of one million sterling. 

THE FLOODS ON THE HAWKESBURY. — THE DROWNING OF THE FAMILIES OF WILLIAM AND THOMAS EATHER. THE FLOODS. (1867, July 16). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872), p. 7. Retrieved from

Another mentions the need of a lights on Barrenjoey headland, which would be in place by July the following year, and Edward Flood, whose relatives would have an ongoing connection with Rocky Point and Lovett Bay:

On Thursday and Friday last last intelligence reached Sydney in reference to the effects of the late floods on the Macdonald River and Lower Hawkesbury, from which it appeared that while public attention had been directed to the distress which existed in the neighbourhood of Windsor and Penrith, those who for the most part were the greater sufferers had been almost entirely overlooked. This arose in a great measure from the fact that there is no direct communication between the Macdonald or Lower Hawkesbury Rivers and Sydney, except by occaisional trading vessels, and the communication via Windsor has been almost entirely suspended since the flood, while the destruction of the wire effectively prevented any communication via telegraph. When the Colonial Secretary, Mr Parkes, received authentic information on Friday of  the destitute condition of the settlers in the districts referred to, he chartered the Comerang steamer to leave Sydney at 3 o'clock on Saturday morning, with a quantity of provisions for these distressed settlers. The provisions put on beard this boat consisted of eight tons of flour, 200 loaves of bread, ten casks of beef, four chests of tea, one ton of sugar, two tons of potatoes, half a ton of salt, two bales of blankets, one bale of women's and children's clothing, a number of frying pans, saucepans, and pannnikins, and other small articles such as corn flour, wine, etc,. The vessel, in charge of Captain Brett, hauled off from the wharf at 3 o'clock on Saturday morning last, having Mr Parkes, Mr Edward Flood, Mr Richard Hill, and three or four other gentlemen on board. The night was beautifully fine, and the vessel speedily proceeded down the harbour and towards Broken Bay. 

As we approached the entrance to the Hawkesbury we noticed, miles away at sea, that the water was very much discoloured, while timber and other debris carried out to sea by the late flood, were floating about in all directions. Any one entering the land locked harbour which is formed near the mouth of the Hawkesbury cannot but be struck by is adaptability to the purposes of a harbour of refuge, and of the fine scenery all the lofty surrounding hills presents, but before this sheet of water can be rendered efficiently available as a harbour of refuge a light must be placed on Barrenjoey.

Proceeding up the river the first picture of abject misery which met our gaze was at Peats Ferry, about two miles from the sea, a number of persons, men, women, and children, were observed on the ferry wharf, and on landing we found a man named John Woods a limeburner, who with his wife and eight children, had been washed out of their hut, and were now in a state of the utmost destitution. They had come down the river a mile or two to endevaour to procure something to eat from the family who lives at the ferry.

Next these people on the wharf we noticed a number of pumpkins and melons that had been saved from the swift running stream and kept as a last resource. Woods had been forty years on the river, but had never seen such a flood.

Mr Parkes, having satisfied himself of the destitution of the people and the necessity for immediate relief, supplied them with tea, sugar, some articles of clothing for the wife and children, a bag of flour, some mutton, and a pair of blankets, for which the recipients appeared to be very grateful.

A little further up the river we stopped opposite an island-Mud Island-the property of Mr Robert Milsom, in order to obtain that gentleman's assistance  in the equitable distribution of the goods, but he was absent from home. As we proceeded up the stream we encountered a large quantity of debris, together with some dead cattle, which had not yet found their way out to sea. A grove of mangroves, bent and torn up by the roots showed unmistakable signs of the severity of the flood .....THE FLOODS ON THE LOWER HAWKESBURY. (1867, July 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved  from

This 1867 Hawkesbury river flood, or one in 1873, depending on your sources, brought stacks of hay and pigs atop them into Pittwater and from that a 'Haystack Point' at Newport was named where they all washed up - the name persists to this day:

The 1890's records show serious floods down the Hawkesbury in 1898, 1899, 1890 and 1891.

Flood in the Hawkesbury.
THE Hawkesbury District, after experiencing immunity from floods for a very considerable period, has at last been visited again by a most disastrous inundation, which certainly could not have come at a more inopportune time. The season promised to be one of the best that the farmers have had for many a long year, the crops of maize and lucerne being the heaviest known during the past decade ; and each and all were looking forward to the harvest of 1898 to put them on their financial legs again. Old residents assert that they do not remember having seen the fields look so well, and a most prolific harvest was anticipated-but it was willed otherwise, for on Sunday night the flood-waters swept down, and Monday evening saw all the lowlands completely submerged. Heavy rain fell throughout Saturday night and Sunday, the record registered by Mr Tebbutt, at the Peninsula Observatory, up to 9 a m. on Monday being 3 381 inches. 

The Hawkesbury rose very rapidly, the Windsor Bridge being two feet under water at 7 a.m. on Monday, the great body running with much force all day and night. Meanwhile, South-creek and other small water courses backed up. until the lowlands were covered by a sheet of water, upon the surface of which thousands of pumpkins, melons, and other produce floated. But few of the occupants of low-lying lands were able to save much, but what little they could remove was taken away to high ground. Mr George Dickson had a quantity of hay, which, bad been stacked on the McGrath's Hill side of the creek, cut out into trusses and carted away to his sheds in Macquarie-street. Altogether, a rise of something like 35 feet took place, the water breaking over the banks of the river in some places. 

Communication, except by boat, was stopped between Windsor and Wilberforce, Windsor and Pitt Town, and other places. The water in South-creek just reached the floor of the Fitzroy Bridge. The brigade boats were got out, and some good service was done with them, though it is lucky that they were not needed to a greater extent than was actually the case. The Peninsula was for the most part flooded, the only exceptions being a patch of high land here and there. The Chinaman's garden was under water, as a matter of course. 

On all sides the losses were considerable, and great sympathy is expressed on all hands for the farmers who have suffered. At Richmond, the waters covered a large portion of the lowlands, destroying many hundreds of acres of maize, melons, pumpkins, potatoes, and sorghum. In this portion of the district alone losses to the extent of at least £25,000 have been caused by this flood, which was much higher than for many years, reaching to Bronte. 

The river rose to the great height of 39ft. The crops lost were equal to anything seen in the district for very many years, and the unfortunate farmers were looking forward hopefully to a prosperous year. The need of a high-level bridge between Kurrajong and Richmond was felt. and it is to be hoped some effort will be made to have one erected with as little delay as possible. The Richmond-road at Rickaby Creek Bridge was 15 to 20 feet under water for a couple of days.

The strong current in the Hawkesbury necessitated taking off the punt at Wiseman's Ferry, and the traffic north and south had therefore to be stopped for a time. Much debris floated down stream, and great quantities of pumpkins and melons. The flood water did considerable damage on the low-lying lands along the Macdonald River and Webb's Creek, where the maize crop was most promising, and in fact never looked better. The Windsor mail did not reach the Ferry on Monday evening, as the coach could not get across the flooded portions of the roads. Flood in the Hawkesbury. (1898, February 19). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1961), p. 12. Retrieved from

View from the Terrace, Windsor. Item, a419021h, from Album 'Sir Edward Knox family papers: photographs of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and floods at Bourke, Windsor and Grafton, 1880-1893 / Edward Knox' courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Consequent on the heavy rains in the Goulburn, Robertson, Camden, Penrith districts, added to the local fall, the Hawkesbury River commenced to rise in the early part of last week. After receding a few feet, a fresh rise set in on Wednesday, and on Friday the Hawkesbury, as well as all the tributaries between Penrith and Wiseman's Ferry, were in high flood. The flood at Windsor attained its maximum height about 10 p.m. on Friday. It was then 35 feet 6 inches above summer level, and was about 12 feet over the bridge spanning the Hawkesbury at Windsor, and about a foot over South Creek bridge. This is the highest flood since 1904. 

The following information concerning some previous floods will be interesting. It is taken from the Catalogue of Floods and Freshes in the Hawkesbury River and South Creek, from 1898 to 1915, published by Mr. John Tebbutt, F.R.A.S., of the Peninsula Observatory Windsor, in his Meteorological Observations, published this year, and printed at the "Gazette"' office : — 

1900.— . . . The river and creek rose rapidly on July 5, and a flood, which is the third in order of descending magnitude for the past, 60 years, attained its maximum early in the morning of the 7th. It rose to a height or 46.2 feet, and threatened, the Observatory buildings. The floor of the main observatory and of the circular equatorial room were only 24 and 7 inches respective-ly above the flood level. In consequence of the rapid rise of the flood the currents were unusually strong, and much fencing was destroyed. 

1904.— The river and creek , were reported to have risen a little at the close of February. They rose during April 29, and a large portion of the Peninsula was inundated, on the 30th. They began to rise again on July 9. The Observatory Hill was surrounded on the 10th, and the flood attained its maximum on the 12th, being then 40.1 feet above the local mean tidal level. On Friday and Saturday the Hawkesbury Valley was a vast sea of water, and communication by road was cut off with Richmond, Riverstone, and the small settlements along the river. Mails, passengers, and provisions were boated over. 

Some of the householders in the lower parts of the town and many on the bottoms around Cornwallis, Freeman's Reach, Wilberforce, and Pitt Town were washed out of their homes. A number of pigs and poul- try, and a few head of large stock were drowned. At some of the deserted farmhouses a large number of fowls took refuge in trees. 
Several valuable blood mares and foals on Mr. James Gosper's stud farm were surrounded by water and were rescued with boats, great difficulty being experienced in getting the foals safely through the deep water, some being almost, drowned before they were hauled out. The farmers will suffer heavily. About 3000 acres of planted potato and maize land, as well as many acres of pumpkins, melons, cabbages, cauliflowers, and many other vegetables were under water, and were submerged for some days. The whole of the farms on the Peninsula, South Creek, Cornwallis, and along Wilberforce and Freeman's Re- ach were several feet under water. Great quantities of debris and vegetables came down the stream. All stock was re-moved from the low lands and farmers in the horseshoe bend of the river, around Corn-wallis, Freeman's Reach, and Wilberforce, and Pitt Town flats had to leave their homes. The M'Donald and Colo rivers, and Webb's Creek and South Creek were in heavy flood, and held back, the waters of the Hawkesbury. As the river recedes, it is seen that much damage has been done to the banks. 

There have been, many slips, and some farms on the river bank have suffered in this respect. There is a big land slip near Windsor Council's pumping station and there is a danger that further floods will undermine the place. The flood water was very dirty, and a most disagreeable stench came from the river in the early stages of the rise. 

We are told that for many miles outside Barrenjoey heads the sea is quite muddy. There were some sensational experiences during the flood, but, happily no serious mishaps. 
On Thursday night Mr. Ronald Walker had an exciting time. His father's motor launch broke away from its moorings find was carried swiftly on top of the flood towards the sea. Ronald got into a dingy and gave chase. It was between 8 and 9 p.m., and as the current was running rapidly, great anxiety was felt for him. However, ever, he gave up the futile chase and pulled into Mr. W. H. Johnston's home. There he remained till morning, and apprised his parents by phone that he was, safe. We sympathise with those farmers who have been hard-knocked by the flood. It will mean a heavy loss to many of our industrious husbandmen, but they are stout-hearted and will bear the trouble with stoic fortitude. THE FLOOD (1916, October 13). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1961), p. 3. Retrieved from

Entrance to [...?] [...?], Hawkesbury River [picture]. by  A. J Vogan (Arthur James), 1859-1948, photographer. [ca. 1910 - ca. 1915] Item FL15688977, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

Another storm, and its effects, gives you some idea of the quirks of ocean, tide and wind and how they affect what places look like and what they can bring in to our beaches:

Surf Full Of Melons 

Hundreds of big jam melons that had been carried out to sea by the Hawkesbury River flood, were washed up in the surf at Avalon Beach yesterday. Most of them were in sound condition despite their long journey - possibly 50 miles. They were quickly snapped up by scores of local residents and visitors. Mr. Ronald Hogg, who lives nearby, said that people went to the beach on foot and in cars and trucks, which they loaded with melons. Others staggered away with chaff bags full. Apparently the melons had been swept by floodwaters from farms along the upper parts of the Hawkesbury. Surf Full Of Melons. (1949, June 20). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from 

However this flood too had devastating repercussions, with lives lost as well as homes and livelihoods:

NINE FEARED DEAD AS FLOODS SWEEP TOWNS (1949, June 19). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

The following June at Newport beach:


An optimistic motorist drives his sports car through the five feet of foam, which yesterday covered the whole of the camping and parking areas and the beach at NewportNo title (1950, June 25). The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 3. Retrieved from 


In the Sydney Morning Herald, 'Kanangra,' dealing with the gales of April, 1861, has this to say about the foam: — 

Gales lashed the coast for seven days, keeping the sailing 'ships overlong in port at Sydney and Newcastle. 

At Port Macquarie the seas were breaking miles off the coast, and foam in the bays stood twelve feet deep until' the wind changed. Then the foam 'covered the surrounding hills as in a snowstorm.' 

The vast blanket of sea foam that invaded some Sydney, beaches in the recent cyclone is puzzling scientists. The week before last issue of the 'Sunday Herald' showed a picture of a car ploughing through the foam at Newport. Next day, thousands of people visited the northern beaches — and went home baffled. And small wonder. The snow-like froth they saw covered many acres and much of it was several feet deep. There were two peculiarities about this foam: it stuck for a surprising time, and it occurred only between Manly and Palm Beach. There was hardly any foam on the southern beaches, and none at Cronulla. Sydney scientists believe there must have been something unusual in the sea water to make the bubbles stay put; some substance that gave it- a soapiness or oiliness. One theory is that this substance came from the storm-pulverised bodies of myriads of minute jelly fishes and the like, and from seaweeds. If that is so, why wasn't there a foam blanket along more of the coast? 

My own theory is that this substance, probably partly mineral and partly organic, was brought down to the sea by the flooded Hawkesbury River. The south-flowing Notonectian current would carry some of it past Palm Beach and the others, after it got through Broken Bay. Maybe some of this material was the very finest particles of clay, which has 'sticky' qualities. 

Gradually, under the impetus of the onshore wind, the ever-growing mass of bubbles was literally pushed up the beach— and finally across on to the grassy foreshores. [The foam was a magnificent sight at Port Macquarie during the recent gales and floods; -in the early 1930's, during 'a gale, there was also a great mass of foam on Oxley Beach, where a tent, in which people were- living was completely engulfed]. FOAM (1950, July 14). The Port Macquarie News and Hastings River Advocate (NSW : 1882 - 1950), p. 1. Retrieved from 

The harvesting of melons brought ashore brings in the reminder that our area was once a farming district and at Warriewood and Mona Vale, remained so into the 1950's, althoiugh these areas, too, were prone to floods and the loss of crops as a result:


The council engineer has come to the conclusion that owing to the lowness of the land between Mona street and the outlet, and it being subject to tidal waters, nothing of any practical value can be done without large expense in reclamation. This the council would not be justified in undertaking, and the matter resolves itself into preventing the salt water from flowing up the drains Into private property. He holds, that owners of the property by a small combined effort should be able to safeguard their own interests by constructing inexpensive self-acting flood gates. This is done throughout all the country districts. MONA VALE DRAINAGE. (1909, April 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from

Heavy Storm Damage on Mona Vale Farm

CROPS on Mr. James Joyce's vegetable farm at Mona Vale were devastated by the recent cyclonic storm when 24 inches of rain, accompanied by high winds and hail, was registered in the district in a few days.

Only a fortnight previously thin property had been visited by "The Land." At that: time, as reported in "The Land," the famous celery beds were a picture, the tomato vines were carrying great clusters of extra prime fruit ready for the pickers, and thousands of cabbages and cauliflowers were in extra prime condition.

A return visit last week, however, disclosed a scone of utter desolation so far as the lower and more heavily yielding section of the farm was concerned.

' In this area two feet of water had covered the flat which is only four inches above sea level. The flood killed out the entire cabbage and cauliflower crops, after the fierce cyclonic blow had actually torn numbers of the plants out of the soil. Fortunately a proportion of the cabbage' crop had been, harvested, but some 6,000 head were destroyed together with 10,000 cauliflowers, many of them due for cutting next month.

The bulk of the uncut celery came through fairly well, but the dreaded chocolate leaf .spot, hitherto kept under control, is spreading rapidly throughout the plants and many heads will be ruined in addition' to those damaged by flood waters.

Big Tomato Loss

Possibly the heaviest loss occurred in the tomato section where a crop 'estimated at 1,000 cases has been completely ruined.

Only a few cases had been lifted when the storm struck and completely devastated one of the finest crops to be seen in the district. Grown on a piece of new land, top-pruned and trellised the individual clusters' were of remarkable weight and quality.

An attempt was made to pick some of the biggest specimens while the crop was still under water, but these tomatoes, as they ripen, are now showing the effects of the flooding and most will be unmarketable.

With quality tomatoes realising round £1 a case the loss on this crop alone is a severe one.

Other losses included a crop of peas and seed beds of parsnips, cauliflowers and cabbage. The only crop which seems to have escaped the storm damage is a field of long white squash, sown on a piece of high land and now ready to harvest.

In addition to the loss of valuable crops there is the further serious loss Involved in manures, fertilisers, seed, dusting materials and manpower involved In producing the crops.

"It's all in the game," philosophically remarked Mr. .Joyce to "The Land." "As soon as we can clean up the mess we'll have another try." Heavy Storm Damage on Mona Vale Farm (1946, May 3). The Land (Sydney, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from

'Yugoslavs at Warriewood', March 8th 1941 Item: e13170_0002_c, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Another flood caused devastation through the loss of life and homelessness in February 1956. This report (below) also shows surf life savers coming to the aid of people in surf boats as well as the NSW SES volunteers. Formed in 1955 following the echoes of the Cold War and fears over being bombed, this organisation was utilised during the devastating Hunter Valley floods of February 1955, which had been preceded by others in the first few years of the 1950's - many of these impacting on people then living at Avalon Beach Camping grounds and that channel that still sweeps all out to the estuary along Careel Creek. The service was seen then as a viable way to respond to future events in a way that could be managed so that those sent in to help were not only equipped with what they needed but had guidance and training to do so:

Following the enactment of State Emergency Service Act, 1989 (NSW), the New South Wales State Emergency Service was established. The NSW SES is made up almost entirely of volunteer members, numbering over 9,000 as of June 2018. Members are easily identified by their distinctive orange overalls. Every state and territory in Australia has its own State (or Territory) Emergency Service. There are 43,000 volunteers spread across the country. Each state or territory is broken into regions, then units, and finally groups or teams.

Surf Boats, able to manoeuvre many hazards during flood events, have been utilised in this manner since they were lifeboats and particularly since one was launched by the Sly family at Manly to act as a rescue vessel for people 'bathing' there. The formation of surf life saving in Australia, and its extension into the surf sports arena for surf boats, has meant many a life has been saved since then during these storm events.


Warnings of flood danger

Widespread, unbroken rain in the cyclonic weather break slapping the east coast for the last two days has caused four road deaths in Sydney and flood dangers in Sydney and country areas. As the position grew hourly worse today the Weather Bureau issued flood warnings for the Northern Rivers District and Hawkesbury-Nepean river systems, and storm warnings to shipping.

WASHED AWAY. This weekend-tent was washed about 30 yards on to a road during heavy rain at Avalon last night. At times water was 4ft deep in the camping area

NIGHT OF TERROR IN RAIN Campers race for safety More than 50 men and their wives in darkness and drenching rain early this morning waded through four feet of water carrying their children from flooded tents and caravans at Avalon camping area.

Torrents of water swept down from the heights of Avalon and Mona Vale and swirled through the area' at about 2 o'clock this morning. Campers awoke to find water splashing over the floor: They quickly grabbed their children and some belongings and carried them through the water to the caretaker's hut on higher ground. Rush of water carried one tent for over 30 yards. Mrs. Hansen, wife of council employee John Hansen, said. "It was a nightmare. We woke up with water rushing over the floor. 

"We grabbed our three kids, Loretta (2), Brian (4) and Barry (20 months) and ran outside. The water was well over my waist." Jack Kelly and his son Barry, ran through the camping area shouting to wake everyone. Camp residents said the flood caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage. Most of them had no dry clothes today. They said the water came with such a rush that they had no time to put their clothes out of its path.

One-legged ex-POW Jim Redpath surveys some of the 500 chickens drowned at his Narrabeen poultry farm last night.

Campers swamped

Ambulance men and police in all suburbs had a busy night answering calls to other minor accidents caused by the rain. At 9 am today, backwater from Narrabeen Lakes was sweeping through sections of the Narrabeen camping area. This morning, Warringah Shire Council bulldozers were cutting channels to let the banked-up water out into the sea. Heavy seas pounded the beach, stopping the lakes water from running freely out. Floodwaters have covered Pittwater Rd. north of Narrabeen for stretches up to 200 yards. In places, only high-wheeled traffic could get through, and buses were taking an alternate route out of Narrabeen along Ocean St. 

The NRMA In Sydney in the 24 hours up to midnight last night, answered calls to 914 stranded motorists. Rain caused a short circuit of tram wires today at the corner of Marrickville and Victoria Roads, Marrickville, which set alight to a telegraph pole. The Weather Bureau forecasts that heavy rain will continue today, but there is a possibility it will clear tomorrow. 

At North Narrabeen, rain flooded Freshville Farm, home of one-legged ex - serviceman Harry Redpath, and drowned hundreds of his 2000 fowls. Newcastle has had more than 10 inches of rain — four inches in six hours today. Up to midday 6 1/2 inches of rain fell in Gosford district in 30 hours.  FOUR KILLED ON SLIPPERY ROADS IN HEAVY RAIN (1953, May 2). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 1 (FINAL FOOTBALL LAST RACE). Retrieved from

SYDNEY, Friday.
Sydney suffered its worst flooding in history following torrential cyclonic rain to-day.  In near-city country areas, the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers rose to near record levels and seriously flooded .surrounding districts.
Northern flood waters claimed two lives to-day, taking the total to three. 
The victims to-day' were 43-year-old railway gatekeeper Harold John Michie, of ' Currabubula',' 20 mile from Tamworth, and five -year-old Rhonda Bunn, of Newcastle.
Michie left home to go to work, two miles away and is believed to have been swept off a bridge.
The child was holidaying at Moonan Flat with her grandmother and wandered into a flooded creek.
The body of 18-yenr-old station hand Ronald Faint, of Uralla has not been recovered.. He drowned yesterday in the flooded Werris Creek, six miles from Werris Creek.
Police, have attributed three deaths in the city today to the cyclonic rain. Another person drowned in the country yesterday.

The Nepean River area, the river height is rising by a foot an hour and the position is critical. A number of Sydney surf boats and crews left to-night for, the area. 
On the South Coast, all roads, past Nowra have been closed to traffic.
The Shoalhaven River is rising 'rapidly and serious flooding is expected around Nowra. However, the position is in hand and there is no danger to human life.
A Weather Bureau spokesman said to-night that the depression causing the rain, which was located over S.E: Queensland early yesterday moved just off the coast near Newcastle and had intensified.
Because of this, flood rains spread to Sydney, the Illawarra districts and the Blue Mountains.....

More than a thousand' people in Sydney to-night are homeless. Penrith was packed with residents' from nearby flooded areas and travellers cut off from their destinations.
Thousands of sightseers severely hampered rescue workers in the flood affected areas. 
The State Emergency Service early today dramatically switched Its main resources to the Metropolitan Area, which in the past '24 hours has experienced the heaviest rain for 83 years.
More than 150 servicemen, police and Army personnel using four radio-equipped ducks and any' other craft they could get, battled .throughout the day-many going 18 hours without rest.
Many people were trapped on roofs and used torches to flash SOS signals across the swirling waters.

Farmers in the Richmond area have been warned to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice, as the river continues to rise at the rate of about 3 ft. an hour.
The Windsor Road from Parramatta has been cut in more than six places and dozens of cars are marooned on it.
THE crisis is expected in the Windsor-Richmond area early to-morrow morning.
At Pittwater on the North Shore, a 30 ft. cutter went aground, three cabin launches were sunk and scores of others broke adrift during the cyclonic rain.
Traffic was brought to a standstill in every section of the Metropolitan Area during the peak hour and interstate shipping had to battle choppy seas miles off shore until there' was a break in the weather.  WORST FLOOD SYDNEY HAS EVER KNOWN (1956, February 11). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 1. Retrieved from


During a visit to Sydney earlier this month, the District Engineer, Mr. B. E. Weston, attended a function organised by General Ivan Dougherty, Director of State Emergency Services, to which senior officers of all Services and Departments which had co-operated in the recent food, fodder and rescue operations during the floods were invited.

This included representatives from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Treasury, Railways, Weather Bureau, Police. P.M.G. Communications, Public Service Board and Public Works Dept.

The recent flood provided the first opportunity, for a full scale action by a co-ordinated relief organisation and the Director expressed his great satisfaction with the almost 100 percent results achieved and the harmonious relations which had existed throughout.

He pointed out that, although anything in the nature of a national emergency such as floods or bushfires - would be handled by his organisation, his main job as Director of Civil Defence was to prepare the country to face the results of an atomic bomb attack on the main cities and industrial areas and to organise outback areas to absorb, feed and shelter up to one million people from any such devastated centres. A grim thought, but not one to be overlooked.  STATE- EMERGENCY SERVICE (1956, April 27). Western Herald (Bourke, NSW : 1887 - 1970), p. 7. Retrieved from

The one constant throughout these few hundred years of Hawkesbury floods, and their impacts on Pittwater, has been the way people look after each other and send in skilled people, boats, food, clothing or offer accommodation for those made homeless. That too remains a constant.

Hawkesbury River. [picture] Sydney : photo by Charles Potter 1889 Item:FL15797029, courtesy State Library of Victoria

Is actually Resolute or West Head Beach - NB: tip of Lion Island can be seen.


… After leaving Manly, a most interesting drive can be made to Pittwater, near Narrabeen. There is good accommodation at Rock Lily, as well us at Newport, which stands at the head of Pittwater. Barranjoey Lighthouse and the entrance to Broken Bay are not far distant, and some excellent fishing can be obtained in the bays adjacent to Newport.
Above:'Entrance to the Hawkesbury'
ENTRANCE TO THE HAWKESEURY RIVER . PICTURESQUE N. S. WALES. (1898, December 17). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), , p. 17. Retrieved from

Melvey's Wharf, Golds (Gould's) Bay, photo by Charles Potter 1889 Item: FL16034193, courtesy State Library of Victoria.

Melveys Wharf is on the western shore of the Hawkesbury just upstream from Bar Island and Fishermans Point in the small bay north of that occupied by the Knox College Camp. Captain Peter Melvey bought forty acres here in 1867 and built a large stone wharf; he lived at the site between 1867 and 1905. He also ran a store and a steamer, the Marramarra.


  1. TROVE - National Library of Australia
  2. Andrew Thompson (of Scotland Island) - Pittwater Patriarch, Round 1
  3. The First Boat Builders Of Pittwater: The Short Life and Long Voyages Of Scotland Island Schooner The Geordy
  4.  St. Michael’s Arch, Avalon – 1864 To 1962
  5. The NSW Women's Legal Status Bill 1918: How The 'Petticoat Interference In Government' Came Of Age - A 100 Years Celebration Of Women Alike Our Own Maybanke Selfe-Wolstenholme-Anderson
  6. Pittwater Fishermen: Great Mackerel, Little Mackerel (Wilson's Beach - Currawong) and The Basin
  7. Barrenjoey Lighthouse - The Construction
  8. Pittwater Summer Houses: Rocky Point And Elvina Bay Peninsula -  A Place Of  Holiday Songs And Operas In Ventnor, Fairhaven, Trincomalee And Maritana
  9. Part 2 - Our Organisation, Our People: Past, Present, Future. SES Annual Report 2006-07. Retrieved from:
  10. Pittwater Fishermen: The Sly Family
  11. Avalon Camping Ground

COMERANG- 1865-82; 198 gross tons, 152 net. Lbd: 144'6" x 22'4" x 6'8'. Wooden paddle steamer of 70 horsepower and built by J Cuthbert at Millers Point, Sydney for the Illawarra S N Co. Sold 1869 to New Zealand interests. 1882 returned to Australia under unknown ownership and eventually converted into a hulk


THE launch of the steamer Comerang yesterday, from the building-yard of Mr. Cuthbert, at Miller's Point, adds another fine vessel to the steam marine of Port Jackson, and still further developes the resources of New South Wales in that important branch of industry comprehended in ship-building. Some few years ago such an event would have been regarded as extremely novel ; but latterly so many admirable vessels have been built in this port for the colonial trade—and not a few in the same yard as the Comerang—as to deprive a launch of much of its interest to mere sight-seers, though, at the same time, those who have the welfare of the colony at heart must regard every vessel built here as a memorable and gratifying evidence of the advance we are making in that noble art. The steamer which left the stocks yesterday is, we believe, one of the largest built in this port, and was designed by Mr. Cuthbert. It is generally known that most of the ports on this coast have very shallow entrances, and the navigation of the rivers that flow into them is much impeded by flats, which prevent the use of vessels beyond a certain draft of water, unless advantage be taken of the tide. Though much may be accomplished in removing these obstacles by dredging, the physical character of the harbours and rivers can never be materially or permanently altered, and therefore to the shipbuilder belongs the task of overcoming the difficulty by constructing vessels of large carrying capacity and light draft, combined with thorough sea-going qualities. Mere river boats would be altogether unserviceable for the pur-poses of our colonial trade, and this will be readily understood by those persons who have voyaged even to the nearest seaport, the weather on the eastern coast of Australia is frequently very heavy, so heavy indeed as to test the qualities of the finest ships in the world, and it is therefore plain that in grappling with physical disadvantages in the shape of bar harbours and shallow rivers, the builder of vessels for that particular service, trading between one seaport and another, is involved in an important responsibility connected with their safety of such vessels on the ocean.

The loss of the Mynora, one of the Illawarra Company's fleet of steamers, led to the order being given for the building of the Comerang. The reasons that induced the Illawarra Company to have a vessel built on the spot were, we believe, first—that the vessel might be suitably constructed for the trade intended ; and secondly, that the time absorbed in sending to England for a steamer might be saved ; it may be reasonably anticipated that the result will justify the course taken by the company, while the fact of thus giving an impetus to colonial enterprise will also be a gratifying reflection.

The launch took place precisely at half-past four p.m., in the presence of a large concourse of people, who lined not only the wharf, but also the flag-staff height, where an excellent view was obtained. Amongst those persons immediately around the vessel were several members of Parliament and leading merchants, who appeared to take considerable interest in the proceedings. The wedges having been driven in, the shores removed, and the dogshore knocked away, Mrs. Cuthbert gave the vessel her name, and the Comerang slid majestically into the water—the launch being in all respects a very successful one. Loud cheers followed, again repeated, and the steamer was then hauled into the wharf. 

The Comerang is a flat-bottomed vessel, 145 feet on the keel, measuring 22 feet beam, with a depth of hold of 7 feet. She is about 400 tons burden, builder's measurement, and will carry 300 tons of cargo on a draft of 3 feet water. When launched she drew 18 inches, and sat most evenly on the water. She has been very strongly built, the frames and beams being of colonial hardwood, diagonally trussed with iron; the knees inside are also of iron. She is to be propelled by paddles, and it is expected the machinery and boilers will be placed on board, and the vessel ready for her trial trip in about six weeks. The hull has been four months in construction, so that within the short space of six months the Comerang will be ready for sea.

After the launch several ladies and gentlemen were invited by Mr. Cuthbert to partake of refreshments at his residence, and "Success to the Comerang" was duly given, and responded to by her builders. LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER COMERANG. (1865, January 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

Surf Men in Flood Rescue

SYDNEY, Tues: A mercy trip of 1 1/2 miles was made to East Maitland last night by a boat crew to rescue a 65yearold man who was suffering from pneumonia and a heart attack.

The man, Mr. W. Bailey, was marooned by floods. Manned by five members of the Newcastle Surf Club and carrying an ambulance man and a doctor, the boat made the row through water where the current was strong. High tension and telephone wires at water level provided added hazards. Surf Men In Flood Rescue (1949, June 21). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), p. 6 (FINAL). Retrieved from

Major General Sir Ivan Noel Dougherty, CBE, DSO & Bar, ED (April 6th 1907 – March 4th 1998) was an Australian Army officer during the Second World War and early Cold War period. Born in Leadville, New South Wales, a small town between Dunedoo and Coolah, New South Wales, the son of Isabella Dougherty and a father he never knew. He was educated at Mudgee High School and Sydney Teachers College. In 1928 he became a teacher at Marrickville Junior Technical School (now Marrickville Public School). While teaching by day he completed a four-year Bachelor of Economics degree at the University of Sydney. He transferred to Tingha Public School in 1931 and then to Armidale West Public School.

In 1926, while still at Sydney Teachers' College, Dougherty joined the Sydney University Regiment, in which he was commissioned as a lieutenant on 27 July 1927. He was promoted to captain on 11 September 1931 but was moved to the unattached list in 1932 following his posting to Tingha. His posting to Armidale allowed him to resume his part-time military career, and he joined the 33rd/41st Infantry Battalion on 20 December 1934, and then the 33rd Infantry Battalion when it resumed its separate existence on 1 October 1936. He was promoted to major on 14 February 1938, assumed command of the 33rd Infantry Battalion on 1 December 1938, and was promoted lieutenant colonel on 28 August 1939.

Dougherty returned to Leadville at least once a year to visit his mother. On a visit in 1935, he met Phyllis Lofts, a fellow school teacher who taught at Coonamble High School. They were married at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church in Sydney. This cut short Phyllis's teaching career for the time being, as married women were not permitted to work as teachers at that time. During the Second World War this regulation would be relaxed and she was able to take a position at Goulburn High School. They would eventually have five children: Margaret and Graeme, born before the war, and, later, Maureen, David and Noela.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, Dougherty offered his services to Lieutenant Colonel George Wootten, commander-designate of the 2/2nd Infantry Battalion, as his second-on-command even though this involved a reduction in rank to major. This was accepted and Dougherty joined the Second Australian Imperial Force on 13 October 1939, receiving the AIF serial number of NX148. He was however allowed to retain his substantive rank of lieutenant colonel as an honorary rank, and therefore wear his lieutenant colonel's rank badges. Dougherty embarked from Sydney on 10 January 1940 on the SS Otranto. The ship sailed through the Suez Canal and the battalion moved by rail to an encampment at Julis, a town in the British Mandate of Palestine about 26 km north east of Gaza.

He served in Libya, Greece, Crete and Syria as part of the 2/4th Infantry Battalion. Dougherty arrived back in Palestine after the campaign in Greece to find no mail awaiting him. His mail had been stopped on the order of Major General Iven Mackay who wanted to personally break the sad news to Dougherty that his daughter Margaret had been killed in a playground accident in Mosman, New South Wales. The 2/4th Infantry Battalion rested and re-trained in Palestine before moving to Syria in October 1941. In January 1942 it embarked for Australia.

On arrival in Adelaide Dougherty was informed that he was being promoted to brigadier and given command of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, a part of Major General Edmund Herring's Northern Territory Force. Dougherty was unimpressed with the standard of morale and training of his new command and within weeks he relieved all three of his battalion commanders.

In October 1942, Herring summoned Dougherty to Port Moresby to take over command of the 21st Infantry Brigade from Brigadier Arnold Potts.[29] After making an appreciation of the Gona area, Dougherty decided to bring overwhelming force against small Japanese forces, defeating the enemy in detail. Several days of bitter and costly fighting followed as the 21st Infantry Brigade fought for Gona and the nearby Japanese positions.[30] In the process, the 21st Infantry Brigade was almost annihilated by casualties and disease. Dougherty suffered an attack of malaria and arranged to be admitted to hospital in Goulburn, New South Wales in order to be near his family. For this campaign, Dougherty was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Service Order.

In July 1943 the 21st Infantry Brigade began moving north once more. Following the capture of Kaiapit, the brigade was flown in. Dougherty then carried out a rapid advance into the Ramu Valley culminating in the capture of Dumpu. Dougherty then moved into the Finisterre Range, establishing a toehold on Shaggy Ridge. By utilising speed and surprise to keep the enemy off balance, Dougherty had managed to accomplish the 7th Division's mission.  A broken ankle caused Dougherty to be hospitalised at the 2/5th General Hospital in Port Moresby. He rejoined his brigade in early 1944, but only in time for its relief and return to Australia.

Once again the 21st Infantry Brigade assembled at Ravenshoe after taking leave. As amphibious warfare was contemplated for the brigade's next operation, Dougherty observed the invasion of Morotai, sailing on HMAS Kanimbla. Lessons were incorporated into the 7th Division's exercises on the beaches near Cairns, Queensland over the following months. When the 7th Division sailed north again, it was to Morotai.


Dougherty's final battle of the war was at Balikpapan, where the 21st Infantry Brigade landed on July 1st 1945. The Japanese were totally outnumbered and outgunned, but like the other battles of the Pacific War, many of them fought to the death. Despite this, the 7th Division's casualties were significantly lighter than they had suffered in previous campaigns, mainly due to the employment of staggering amounts of firepower. General Douglas MacArthur paid Dougherty a visit on the beachhead while it was still under fire.

Following the surrender of Japan the 21st Brigade was detached to Makassar where Dougherty became Military Governor, a role he had already carried out in Benghazi with the 2/4th Infantry Battalion. Dougherty accepted surrender of the outlying Japanese forces, handled the processing of Japanese POWs and the release of Allied POWs and internees, organised the distribution of food and medical supplies to the civilian population and maintained civil order. In recognition of "gallant and distinguished services in the South West Pacific", Dougherty was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1947.

Returning to civilian life, Dougherty contested the seat of East Sydney as a Liberal candidate in the 1946 election. The seat was a blue ribbon Labor seat held by Eddie Ward, and Dougherty lost. He returned to teaching, accepting a post as headmaster of Enmore Activity School in 1946. In 1948, he became Inspector of Schools in the Bega District. 

He left the New South Wales Education Department in 1955 to become the first Director of the New South Wales Defence Organisation and State Emergency Services, a position he held until retirement in 1972. He was knighted on June 7th 1968 for "services to ex-servicemen and the community".

Dougherty remained in the Army as a reservist. He assumed command of the 8th Infantry Brigade in 1948. He was promoted to major general in 1952 on taking command of the 2nd Division. In 1954, he became the CMF member of the Military Board, which he held until his retirement from the Army in 1957. Dougherty again clashed with Sir Henry Wells, now Chief of the General Staff. Dougherty felt that he should be Chairman of the Military Board when Wells was absent, being the next most senior member. Wells denounced "the impertinence of a part-time soldier wanting to be the chairman of a board of regular soldiers!" Dougherty replied, "No we are all the same, we are all soldiers." In 1960, the Minister for the Army, John Cramer, attempted to appoint Dougherty as Chief of the General Staff in succession to Lieutenant General Sir Ragnar Garrett. The proposal got as far as cabinet, where it was defeated.

Sir Dougherty was a fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney from 1954 to 1974, and served as Deputy Chancellor from 1958 to 1966. The University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1976. The Ivan Dougherty Gallery at the College of Fine Arts, at the University of New South Wales was also named in his honour. As a result, his name is today widely associated with fine art.

After a long illness, Dougherty died on 4 March 1998, survived by Lady Phyllis and his four remaining children. More than 500 people, including an estimated 200 men who had served under him in the Second World War, gathered at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney to pay tribute to him. - Fearnside, G. H.; Clift, Ken (1979), Dougherty: A Great Man Among Men, Sydney: Alpha Books, ISBN 978-0-85553-022-8 and The Australian War Memorial

Hawkesbury River: 1 In 100 Years Floods - What Washed Up On Pittwater Beaches  - threads collected by A J Guesdon, 2021

Previous History Pages:  

Marie Byles Lucy Gullett Kookoomgiligai Frank Hurley Archpriest JJ Therry Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor Bowen Bungaree W. Bradley 1788 Journal Midholme Loggan Rock Cabin La Corniche La Corniche II Lion Island Bungan Beach Botham Beach  Scarred Trees   Castles in the Sand Dame Nellie Melba lunches at Bilgola Spring, 1914  First to Fly in Australia at North Narrabeen  Mona Vale Golf Club's Annual Balls  Governor Phillip camps on Resolute Beach  Ruth Bedford  Jean Curlewis  Mollie Horseman  Charlotte Boutin  May Moore  Neville W Cayley  Leon Houreux   Frederick Wymark  Sir Adrian Curlewis  Bilgola Heron Cove  Mullet Creek  Shark Point  Woodley's Cottage  A Tent at The Basin Collin's Retreat-Bay View House-Scott's Hotel  Bilgola Cottage and House  The First Pittwater Regatta  Women Cricketers Picnic  Filmed In Pittwater   Governor Phillip's Barrenjoey Cairn Waradiel Season The Church at Church Point  Governor Phillip's Exploration of Broken Bay, 2 - 9 March 1788   Petroglyths: Aboriginal Rock Art on the Northern Beaches  Avalon Headland Landmarks  Steamers Part I  Pittwater Aquatic Club Part I  Woody Point Yacht Club  Royal Motor Yacht Club Part I Dorothea Mackellar  Elaine Haxton  Neva Carr Glynn  Margaret Mulvey Jean Mary Daly  Walter Oswald Watt Wilfrid Kingsford Smith John William Cherry George Scotty Allan  McCarrs Creek  Narrabeen Creek  Careel Creek Currawong Beach Creek  Bushrangers at Pittwater  Smuggling at Broken Bay  An Illicit Still at McCarr's Creek  The Murder of David Foley  Mona Vale Outrages  Avalon Camping Ground   Bayview Koala Sanctuary  Ingleside Powder Works  Palm Beach Golf Course  Avalon Sailing Club  Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club  Palm Beach SLSC Part I - The Sheds  Warriewood SLSC  Whale Beach SLSC Flagstaff Hill Mount Loftus Pill Hill Sheep Station Hill  S.S. Florrie  S.S. Phoenix and General Gordon Paddlewheeler   MV Reliance The Elvina  Florida House  Careel House Ocean House and Billabong  Melrose-The Green Frog  The Small Yacht Cruising Club of Pittwater Canoe and I Go With The Mosquito Fleet - 1896  Pittwater Regattas Part I - Dates and Flagships to 1950  Shark Incidents In Pittwater  The Kalori Church Point Wharf  Bayview Wharf  Newport Wharf Palm Beach Jetty - Gow's Wharf  Max Watt  Sir Francis Anderson  Mark Foy  John Roche  Albert Verrills  Broken Bay Customs Station At Barrenjoey  Broken Bay Water Police  Broken Bay Marine Rescue - Volunteer Coastal Patrol  Pittwater Fire-Boats  Prospector Powder Hulk at Towler's Bay  Naval Visits to Pittwater 1788-1952  Pittwater's Torpedo Wharf and Range Naval Sea Cadets in Pittwater S.S. Charlotte Fenwick S.S. Erringhi   P.S. Namoi  S.Y. Ena I, II and III  Barrenjoey Headland - The Lessees  Barrenjoey Lighthouse - The Construction Barrenjoey Broken Bay Shipwrecks Up To 1900  Barrenjoey Light Keepers  Douglas  Adrian Ross  Newport SLSC 1909 - 1938 Part I Overview  North Narrabeen SLSC - The Formative Years  First Naval Exercises by New South Wales Colonial Ships –The Wolverene at Broken Bay   Bilgola SLSC - the First 10 years  North Palm Beach SLSC  A History of Pittwater Parts 1 and 4 Pittwater Regattas - 1907 and 1908  Pittwater Regattas - 1921 - The Year that Opened and Closed with a Regatta on Pittwater Pittwater Regatta Banishes Depression - 1933  The 1937 Pittwater Regatta - A Fashionable Affair  Careel Bay Jetty-Wharf-Boatshed Gow-Gonsalves Boatshed -Snapperman Beach  Camping at Narrabeen - A Trickle then a Flood Pittwater's Parallel Estuary - The Cowan 'Creek' RMYC Broken Bay Boathouse and Boatshed Barrenjoey Boat House The Bona - Classic Wooden Racing Yacht Mona Vale Hospital Golden Jubilee - A Few Insights on 50 Years as a Community Hospital Far West Children's Health Scheme - the Formation Years  The First Scotland Island Cup, Trophy and Race and the Gentleman who loved Elvina Bay  Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay NSW - Cruiser Division History - A History of the oldest division in the Royal Motor Yacht Club   Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay Early Motor Boats and Yachts, their Builders and Ocean Races to Broken Bay, the Hawkesbury and Pittwater  The Royal Easter Show Began As the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales   The Mail Route to Pittwater and Beyond  The Wild Coachmen of Pittwater - A Long and Sometimes Bumpy Ride on Tracks Instead of Roads  The Fearless Men of Palm Beach SLSC's Surf Boats First Crews - A Tale of Viking Ships, Butcher Boats and Robert Gow's Tom Thumb 'Canoe'   Furlough House Narrabeen - Restful Sea Breezes For Children and Their Mothers   From Telegraphs to Telephones - For All Ships at Sea and Those On Land Mona Vale Training Grounds - From Lancers on Horses to Lasses on Transport Courses Fred Verrills; Builder of Bridges and Roads within Australia during WWII, Builder of Palm Beach Afterwards   Communications with Pittwater  Ferries To Pittwater  A History of Pittwater - Part 4: West Head Fortress  Pittwater's Lone Rangers - 120 Years of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase and the Men of Flowers Inspired by Eccleston Du Faur  Early Pittwater Launches and Ferries Runs Avalon Beach SLSC - The First Clubhouse Avalon Beach SLSC The Second and Third Clubhouses From Beneath the Floorboards at Hyde Park Barracks Bungaree Was Flamboyant  Andrew Thompson - 'Long Harry' Albert Thomas Black John Collins of Avalon Narrabeen Prawning Times - A Seasonal Tide of Returnings  Oystering in the Pittwater Estuary - Oyster Kings and Pearl Kings and When Not to Harvest Oysters  Yabbying In Warriewood Creeks  Eeling in Warriewood's Creeks (Includes A Short History of community involvement in environmental issues/ campaigns in and around Narrabeen Lagoon - 1974 to present by David James OAM)   Eunice Minnie Stelzer - Pittwater Matriarchs  Maria Louisa Therry - Pittwater Matriarchs Manly's Stone Kangaroo, Camera Obscura,  First Maze and 'Chute' - Fun Days in Sea Hazes from 1857 On  A Salty Tale of the Kathleen Gillett – A Small Reminder and Celebration of Our 70th Sydney to Hobart  Katherine Mary Roche - Pittwater Matriarch  Sarah A. 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Archibald And Henry Lawson - Did They Go Fishing At Narrabeen In The Spring Of 1895?: Probably!  Bayview Baths Centenary Celebration in November 2016 hosted by Bayview-Church Point Residents Association  Dr. Jenny Rosen's Historical Timeline  Palm Beach RSL - Club Palm Beach Celebrating 60 Years  Early Years At Narrabeen: The Plane Sailing Day Of 1944 The  Five Ways- Six ways Junction; Kamikaze Corner - Avalon Bilgola  RPAYC Season on Pittwater and coming of Jubilees in Summer of 1938 Local Explorers’ Modern Day Discovery - Governor Phillip’s First Landing site, Campsite and contact with Local Aborigines in Pittwater: The Case for West Head Beach  Rendezvous Tea Rooms Palm Beach: links with 1817 and 1917: Palm Beach Stores  and Fishermen St Cloud's Jersey Stud: Elanora Heights: Pittwater Fields of Dreams  Roderic Quinn's Poems And Prose For Manly, Beacon Hill, Dee Why And Narrabeen  A Historic Catalogue And Record Of Pittwater Art I – Of Places, Peoples And The Development Of Australian Art And Artists: The Estuary  Celebrating World Radio Day: The Bilgola Connection With The Beginnings Of Radio In Australia  Emile Theodore Argles - 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J. (Arthur James) Vogan, 1859-1948  Roads To Pittwater: The Wakehurst Parkway Along Old Oxford Falls Track  Roads To Pittwater: The Pittwater Road  My Holiday by Charles de Boos – 1861  Shark-proof pools at Manly on the Harbourside  Dad's Fishing Shack At Long Reef  Historic Photographers Of Pittwater: Harold 'Caz' Cazneaux 1878 - 1953 Roads To Pittwater: The Mona Vale Road  My Singing Story Barrenjoey High School's 50th Year: History Notes + The Original Barrenjoey School  A Bunch Of Wildflowers: Historical Spring September Songs  Camden-Campbelltown Hospitals & Carrington Convalescent Hospital: A Mona Vale-Frenchs' Forest Hospitals Comparison With Pittwater History Links The Newport School: 1888 to 2018  A Visit to Bungan Castle by ABHS   Roads In Pittwater: The Barrenjoey Road Remembrance Day 2018 - Pittwater Veterans WWI 100 Years From Armistice Day 1918   Filmed in Pittwater: A Sentimental Reprise + Narrabeen  Roads In Pittwater: The Bay View Road  The NSW Women's Legal Status Bill 1918: How The 'Petticoat Interference In Government' Came Of Age - A 100 Years Celebration Of Women Alike Our Own Maybanke Selfe-Wolstenholme-Anderson Scott Brewster Dillon: A Tribute - He Did It His Way  Pittwater Summer Houses: Rocky Point and Elvina Bay -  A Place Of  Holiday Songs and Operas In Ventnor, Fairhaven, Trincomalee and Maritana    Remains Of Captain Matthew Flinders Discovered: Links with Bungaree of Broken Bay   Isabella Jessie Wye MBE OAM (Isa)  Off To School In 2019 Quicker Than 104 Years Ago  Photographers Of Early Pittwater: Charles Bayliss  Harold Nossiter's Classic Yachts  Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your name - Scotland Island  Art Deco Inspirations In Palm Beach: The Palladium Dance-Hall, Cafe And Shop - The Surf Pavilion - The Beacon Store  Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your Name - Newport Beach  Professor Christopher John Brennan: A Poet Of Newport Beach  M.V. Reliance Turns 100  Avalon Beach Historical Society March 2019 Meeting: Focus On Trappers Way   Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your name - Clareville  Photographers of Early Pittwater: Henry King  Photographers Of Early Pittwater: David 'Rex' Hazlewood  Richard Hayes Harnett - First Commodore Of The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Designer Of The Yacht 'Australian' - Based On The Lines Of A Mackerel  Pittwater Summer Houses: Waiwera and Hopton Lodge, Bayview The Sirius Circumnavigation (1935-1937): Nossiter Trio Make Australian Sailing History  Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your name - Avalon Beach  Were Manly's Statues, Smashed For Road Ballast, Sculpted By Achille Simonetti?   Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your name - Warriewood  Avalon Beach Historical Society June 2019 Meeting  Flint and Steel Guesthouse    Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - 'Green Hills', Elanora Heights, and Ingleside  Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians Added To UNESCO Memory Of The World Register - The Missing Pages Restored  RPAYC To Host 100th Year Of The Scandinavian Gold Cup and 5.5m Worlds In January 2020 - some Etchells Worlds and Gold Cup on Pittwater History    Pittwater Roads II - Where the Streets Have Your Name: Mona Vale  Pittwater Roads II - Where the Streets Have Your Name - Bungan  Shark Meshing 2018/19 Performance Report + Historical Pittwater Shark Notes  Anthony Thomas Ruskin Rowe, Spitfire Pilot (1919 To 1943) - Who Defended Darwin And His Mate: An Avalon Beach And Pittwater Hero  Newport Surf Club Celebrates 110 Years On October 19, 2019 - A Few Club Firsts  Pittwater Roads II - Where the Streets Have Your Name - Bilgola  Tram Memorabilia - Historic Daylight Run For Sydney Light Rail Begins 80 Years After Last Tram To Narrabeen Closed  Historic Insights From The Australian National Maritime Museums 1890 Pitt Water 'Era' Yacht Collection: The Basin Regattas   Pittwater Roads II - Where the Streets Have Your Name - Coaster's Retreat and The Basin Samuel Wood Postcards of Pittwater and Manly  Bilgola SLSC Celebrates 70 Years: Anecdotes from Early Members  Pittwater Roads II - Where the Streets Have Your Name - Great Mackerel Beach  G . E. Archer Russell (1881-1960) and His Passion For Avifauna From Narrabeen To Newport  A History Of The Campaign For Preservation Of The Warriewood Escarpment by Angus Gordon and David Palmer  Mark Foy of Bayview 2019 Inductee into Australian Sailing Hall of Fame  The Victa Lawnmowers Story With A Careel Bay Link  Plaque Unveiled To Mark Phenomenal Surfing Revolution Commencement: the 1956  Carnival at Avalon Beach That Introduced The Malibu Surfboard  The Other Angels From Avalon: 50th Anniversary Of The IRB Marks The Saving Of Over 100 Thousand Lives The Eos: Classic Pittwater Yachts  Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Whale Beach  Palm Beach Pavilion To Be Renamed The Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Marks DSO, MC Pavilion - some historical insights  Daniel Gordon Soutar's Influence On Local Golf Courses: Some History Notes Pittwater Fire Boats History: January 2020 Tribute Palm Beach Pavilion Renaming Dedication Honours Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Marks DSO, MC  Ella McFadyen's Love Of Pittwater: An Environment, Wildlife and Children's Champion Ella McFadyen's Love Of Pittwater: A Children's Champion - shorter version for Children  Sydney Bus Museum Volunteers Helps Mona Vale Bus Depot Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of Opening Dorothy Hawkins - a new film by John Illingsworth  Dorothy Hawkins' family, father Joseph Homer, ran a dairy near Winnererremy Bay at Mona Vale from 1936 Narrabeen Fire Brigade Celebrates 100th Anniversary + A Few Extra Insights Into Local Fires And Brigade Formations  Pittwater, Narrabeen Lagoon & The Collaroy Beachfront: Some Storms and Flood Tides Of The Past - With Pictures  The Wolverene At Broken Bay In 1885   Jack 'Bluey' Mercer (January 2nd, 1923 - February 17th, 2020) - West Head Battery in WWII  Manly Children's Festival Federation Of A Commonwealth Medals Of 1901  Maybanke Selfe-Wolstenholme-Anderson: 2020 International Womens Day + Pittwater Online 10 Years Celebrations  The Bona - Classic Wooden Yacht 2020 Answers North Head Quarantine Station, Manly: Some History - Governor Ralph Darling Saved Australians, Saved Australia  Winnererremy Bay: Angus Gordon, the Sequel to Dorothy Hawkins by John Illingsworth Roderic Quinns Poems and Prose For Manly, Beacon Hill, Dee Why And Narrabeen - 10 Year Celebrations and all Manly-Pittwater Poets Series in One Place  Stargazing In Pittwater: Historic and Contemporary   The Naval Pioneers of Australia by Louis Becke and Walter Jeffrey 1899  Harold Tristram Squire: October 28, 1868 - May 16,1938; Artist of Mona Vale  All Is Quiet On The Western Front by Roger Sayers Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Palm Beach   Large Sunfish Caught at Barranjuee in 1875  Grace Brook, 1921-2017 by Paul McGrath and Robin Bayes  The Pittwater Floating Hotels That Almost Were: Old Paddle Steamers, Fairmiles  + A Current 'Lilypad'  Pittwater's Ocean Beach Rock Pools: Southern Corners Of Bliss - A History: Updated 2020  Long Reef Aquatic Reserve Celebrates 40th Anniversary  Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Careel Bay   Careel Bay Reserves and Playing Fields in Careel Bay Playing Fields Reserve - Including Hitchcock Park: Birds, Boots & Beauty  North Narrabeen Rock Pool: Some History Narrabeen Lakes Amateur Swimming Club by Maureen Rutlidge, Life Member  Avalon Beach North Headland: An Ever-Changing Coastline - Storm Swell Of July 2020  Anthony Thomas Ruskin Rowe, Spitfire Pilot (1919 To 1943) - 75th VP Day Tributes 2020  Walter ('Wal') Williams - VP Day 75th Tributes 2020 Gwenyth Sneesby (nee Forster) 75th VP Day Tributes 2020  Pittwater's Midget Submarine M24 War Grave Renews Memories Of 75 Years Ago   Avalon Beach and Surrounds in 1968 and 1970 - Photos Taken By Gary Clist  Muriel Knox Doherty of Avalon Beach VP Day 2020 75th Anniversary Tributes   Dundundra Falls Reserve: August 2020 photos by Selena Griffith - Listed in 1935  Binishells In Pittwater Schools Bairne Walking Track, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park (Trig Stations) photos by Kevin Murray  Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your Name - Bayview  Perons' Tree Frog At Careel Bay - who is 'Peron'?  Pittwater Roads II: Where The Streets Have Your Name - Church Point  Stapleton Park Reserve In Spring 2020: An Urban Ark Of Plants Found Nowhere Else Sydney's ACA Building Revitalisation Project Complete: Grand Old Building Has Links To Architects Of St. Patrick's College Manly - Some History Notes  Harry Wolstenholme (June 21, 1868 - October 14, 1930) Ornithologist Of Palm Beach, Bird Man Of Wahroonga   Three Ferries Named Narrabeen (1883 To 1984) + One Named Barranjoey (1913-1985)  Rockley was Cricket for Girls 130 Years Ago - and this Team Visited Narrabeen as well  The Bus To Palm Beach: Some History  Surf Boats Season Kicks Off At Newport November 14; A Whole Range Of Local Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Carnivals Set To Roll Out Over The 2020-2021 Season + Some History Newport to Bilgola Bushlink 'From The Crown To The Sea' Paths:  Founded In 1956 - A Tip and Quarry Becomes Green Space For People and Wildlife Welcome To Country: Neil Evers – NAIDOC Week 2020  Marine Rescue Broken Bay Naming Ceremony for the new BB30 - The Michael Seale   Marine Rescue Broken Bay Unit's Beginnings In The Volunteer Coastal Patrol -  Some RMYC BB Connections  Stokes Point To Taylor's Point: An Ideal Picnic, Camping & Bathing Place   Boy Scouts - The Pre-Nippers Life Savers: Some Notes On Local Troops From 1909  Pittwater Roads II: Where the Streets Have Your Name - Narrabeen  Warriewood Historic Farmhouse 'Oaklands' by Krisitin Zindel  John Illingsworth's Local History; 'The Water Dwellers' 1967, Enemark panoramas of Palm and Whale Beach 1917, 'Paper Run' 1956, John Illingsworth 1921 - 2012: 'A Newport Story  Pittwater Summer Houses: 'Cooinoo', Bungan Beach  Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment: Worth Looking After Past Notes and Current Photos  Pittwater Summer Houses: Ocean Beach House - The Combers, Newport Beach  Pittwater Aviatrixes On The Eve Of The RAAF's 100th: A NSW Women's Week - Women Of Aviation Week Celebration  Florence Mary Taylor   Doreen Mavis 'Bobby' Squire  2021 Tribute   Avalon Beach Reserve Heritage Marker For Old Kiosk Installed  Landing In Pittwater: That Beach-Estuary-Lagoon Looks Like A Great Place To Touchdown!