Oral Histories

Order now: $16.50

Interviewer: Sue Rosen

Length: 9750 words

Date: April 1992

Chester Smith can trace his ancestry to the First Fleet. The family established the Dargle Ski Gardens, but prior to that had farmed grain and were also involved in orcharding on the river. Chester had been on Dargle from the age of 14 in 1925 and had family up and down the river. He is able to talk about both the impacts of farming and tourism on the river.

"In 1961. We were getting so bashed with floods, and farming, finances in general, we said, 'Well, looks like we'd better go with it, and start skiing. We got in contact with the ski association, and they used Dargle for quite a few years as their main source of water skiing, and that sort of started us off, and meanwhile .... It's turned into a caravan [park] from that date ... from [19]61 on. I'd say we were about the first caravan park in the river, and I used to have people ringing us up from all over the area, local people. Most of them are gone now. 'Don't let that crowd in. Don't be ...' They really were upset, because we were letting the public into the beautiful Hawkesbury River at Lower Portland."

Click here to go back