Harold Hall was born in 1917 and his family lived in the old church house at Ebenezer. He has witnessed many changes in the river, including changes in the channel s well as in the water flora and fauna.
This oral history project was commissioned in 1991 by the Water Board and consists of 16 interviews with long term residents of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment about their knowledge of the river and the changes they have witnessed.
Jim Drinnan operated a dredging plant on the Nepean with a focus on the area between Cobbity Bridge and Ellis Lane near Camden. He had lived in the are since 1958 and started as a dairy farmer, but difficulties with water supply saw him turn to dredging, to clear sand from the Nepean, which was impeding flows.
Ted Foster holidayed at the resort called Una Voce at Lower Portland Head as a child and later in his teens, in 1948, he took up rowing on the Nepean at Penrith. He has continued to boat on the river across his adult life. He has a waterman’s eye for water quality and changes in the river.
Russell Mitchell was born and bred on the Hawkesbury at Sackville and has memories going back to 1937. He has a very detailed knowledge of the Hawkesbury as an adult, he worked on the car ferries.
Nana Jurd came to the Central MacDonald on her marriage in 1920 where they were orchardists until the 1949 flood when they lost 2800 fruit trees in full bearing.
John Downes had lived all his life at Brownlow Hill and had knowledge of the Nepean back to the 1920s.
John had lived on One Tree Reach for his entire 55 years at the time of interview. He was the fifth generation of his family from the area and could draw on multi-generational knowledge. He was had worked as a prawn fisherman for 35 years and new the river from Broken Bay to Lower Portland.
John Crace had lived in the Cobbity area for 43 years when he was interviewed. He purchased land at the junction of Cobbity Creek and the Nepean in 1959. Overlooking the river, he was able to observe changes over 4 decades.
Arthur Parkes came to Richmond in 1934 and took up dairy farming at Clarendon and later at Cornwallis. He has a great deal of in-depth knowledge of the area and how the Hawkesbury has responded to flooding and changes in the catchment.
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.
Frank was 77 years old when he was interviewed and had lived on the river at Laughtondale on One Tree Reach all his life. The family was involved in citrus orcharding and he was also a prawn fisherman. He speaks from first hand experience of water quality in changes in the river and changes in type and number water fauna that he observed while out prawning.