Interviewer: Sue Rosen
Length: 9290 words
Date: May 1992
Fred Smith was born in 1924 at Bushell's Lagoon and lived on the Hawkesbury all his life. He has memories going back at least as far as 1930 and provides a lively account of river life.
"The water was beautiful in those days..... We used to work, in those days, more or less, a barter system. One farmer would help the other, and being young and silly, I was a pretty good cauliflower planter; so my father would send me off to help the neighbours, and if we wanted a drink of water we just .... If we were working near the river, we just went and put our head in the water and had a drink; …The river was so clean, I used to swim in the river, and the banks were good. You could just walk straight down the banks. There was never any trouble; then I think, in (19]71 I think it was, we had a big flood, a very big flood; and that eroded the banks something shocking. They were just devastated. It's been that way ever since. Every flood we get is a bigger flood, and a more treacherous flood, (and] more wash. They blame the speedboats, but I think they're only a minor part of that; but, no, the river, say back 20 years ago, was lovely. It was fresh. It was clean."