How to introduce this piece of writing? That’s the question I asked myself when I decided it was time to write another blog. Living in Berowra the Hawkesbury River is the nearest body of water to our home. By car it’s only about ten minutes away – if that.
Berowra is a sleepy suburb some 40 kilometres from the centre of Sydney. It is surrounded by bushland and the magnificent Hawkesbury River. The waterway’s origin is in the south near the town of Penrith and meanders lazily for some one hundred and twenty kilometres until it spills out into the Pacific Ocean at Broken Bay.
I first described this in a poem that I wrote in 2011 whilst with the Hawkesbury River Writers. Although I am still a member of the writing group I must be honest I haven’t participated very much recently as my own writing career has picked up momentum with the soon to be published novels under my pen name: Louise Roberts. But I’m digressing here so let’s get back on track. The Hawkesbury River, or as the local Aboriginal Dhurag and Darkinjung people call it Deerubbun:
The Deerubbun - Our Hawkesbury
Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2011
From its origin eleven hundred meters above Penrith
Until it spills out into the sea,
Meandering practically around Sydney heading north,
Is our beautiful Hawkesbury.
Named so by Governor Phillip in June 1789,
For Baron Hawkesbury, Charles Jenkinson, an earl.
To the Dhurag and Darkinjung Aboriginal people,
The river, the Deerubbun, is their joy, their pearl.
From the town of Windsor the river is navigable
No dams or locks block its way,
Only a few bridges cross its banks
And ferries are also used to convey.
For one hundred and twenty kilometres it travels
Capturing numerous tributaries to feed it,
And attracting people to its shores,
Creating settlements well inhabited.
A scattering of islands, large and small,
Decorate and add character to it along the way.
Tidal flows bring life to its depths,
As it rushes into the Pacific at Broken Bay.
Our Hawkesbury is a dream to some,
And magical to many more.
Whether they be fisherman or oyster farmer,
Painter, writer, or movie actor?
From Berowra the fastest way to get to the river is along the M1 motorway. The motorway’s entrance is on the northern exit of the suburb. You can take the slower route by taking the Pacific Highway through the town of Cowan on route to Brooklyn. Stop at the popular Pie in the Sky café and enjoy one [or more] of their first class pies. The view from their grounds is spectacular and is a favourite stop for all type of visitors: motor cycle and sports car enthusiasts, cyclists and you and me. http://pieintheskycowan.com.au/
Until 1884 Brooklyn was known as Peat’s Ferry crossing but was renamed following the registration of the land. Two years later, in January 1886 the Union Bridge Company from New York U.S.A. was awarded the contract to build a railway bridge across the Hawkesbury River.
Incidentally on 1st May 2014 marks the 125th Anniversary of its opening.
At the time of its construction it was the largest bridge building project in the Southern Hemisphere. It remained in continuous service until it was replaced in 1946 by the current construction. The piers of the original bridge still stand as sentinels – a reminder of years gone-by.
Activities on and around the Hawkesbury are plentiful: such as the annual event of the Bridge to Bridge water-skiing race from Brooklyn to Windsor; a distance of 112kms. Depending on personal taste other activities include fishing, boating, or walking along the numerous trails. Or you can picnic at the water’s edge with the family or enjoy a meal and a drink at one of the many pubs, restaurants and cafés.
One of our favourites is The Club on the Hawkesbury at Mooney Mooney where you can sit out on their terrace and enjoy first class cuisine overlooking spectacular sandstone cliffs above the tranquil waters. http://www.mooneymooneyclub.com.au/coastal-dining/
During the week [Monday – Friday] you can take a short cruise with the River Postman as he delivers mail to the communities that have no road access at Dangar Island and Little Wobby Beach. You might want to visit the following website should you want to learn more about the activities planned in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the railway bridge mentioned above: http://www.dangarislandhistoricalsociety.org
Hope you are able to visit the area one day as it is certainly worth the trip.
RLB – Tomewriter