Oral Histories

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Interviewer: Sue Rosen

Length: 7220 words

Date: May 1992


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.

"I think it's probably fairly important that you appreciate that the weir at Penrith divides the river pretty well into two. We're talking about still water above the weir at Penrith. Below the weir we're talking about a river that's flowing faster. It's a lot narrower. At Richmond, it's a tidal river. In those days the river was a lot clearer, and I can recall that if you did have heavy rain, which would bring a fresh down the river, there would be silt in the water; but within a week it would clear, and you could see right to the bottom of the river again. These days, if we have heavy rains, it's usually a month, or six weeks, before the river clears … I can show you some photographs of creeks now, that after any rain, are almost mud flowing into the river. You can always trace that back to excavations in subdivisions. Before World War II there was a period of old style recreation on the river. In those days, at Penrith there was a wharf and there were some fairly large tourist type boats."

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