Saturday, November 6, 2021




Cowan is a small town and suburb 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Hornsby Shire.

Cowan shares the postcode of 2081 with Berowra.

Brooklyn, which lies 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) to the north-east of Cowan, is considered the northernmost suburb of the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area.

Name Origin:

Possible origins:
  • Its name is believed to be an Aboriginal word meaning 'opposite', 'other side' or 'big water'.
  • The 1828 census lists two convicts called Cowan, and it is also thought possible that Cowan was named after one of them.
  • Another suggestion is that it was named after a small town in Scotland.
  • Besides the English botanist George Caley, who explored the area in 1805, the first Europeans to visit the area were timber-getters. The timber from Cowan was used for coach building, one of the first industries in the area.
  • A station and platform were constructed in 1901. With the coming of the railway, Cowan become a popular holiday spot and a regular starting point for bushwalkers.
  • In 1958, the rail line was electrified, and this also increased the number of people visiting the area, with families moving into the suburb, particularly those wanting to raise children in a bushland setting but near the city.
  • There has been little change in Cowan village since it was first laid out as a crown subdivision in 1910.
  • The predominance of freestanding three-bedroom houses set in gardens provides a sense of openness, and creates a pleasant transition to the bushland which surrounds the town.
  • The population of Cowan has remained relatively static since 1966, when there were 500 people, increasing to 522 in 1991 and rising only to 549 in 2001.

Cowan Creek, Ku-ring-gai Chase c1900-1910

Awaiting a helper engine before the Cowan Bank at Hawkesbury River 1940

Part of Cowan to Jerusalem Bay Walking Track

Cowan Railway Station

1107 Pacific Highway, Cowan,

25B Fraser Road, Cowan

Locomotive 'Newcastle Express' enroute through Cowan, date unknown

One of the Windybanks houseboats on Cowan Creek. The houseboats had full kitchen and bathroom facilities. Some even had sunroofs. People who stayed here recalled picking fresh oysters off the surrounding rocks.




Cranebrook is located 50 km west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Penrith.

It is surrounded by the rural suburbs of Castlereagh, Llandilo and Londonderry and has come to incorporate the Mount Pleasant housing estate, long regarded as a separate suburb.

Name origin:

Cranebrook takes its name from a pioneer farmer, James McCarthy, who was granted 100 acres (400,000 m²) of land in 1804 and named it "Crane Brook farm", after the abundance of cranes in the area.

  • Cranebrook is a Western residential and semi-rural suburb on northern edge of Penrith.
  • Cranebrook's geography is hilly and many residents on the western side enjoy views across the Nepean River to the Blue Mountains.
  • Residents on the eastern side enjoy views across the ADI Site, an area rich in Cumberland Woodland and populated with many kangaroos.
  • West of Castlereagh Rd are the Penrith Lakes, a series of flooded quarries. The quarries were formed by a quarrying conglomerate in 1979. The site supplies around 75% of Sydney's sand and crushed aggregate requirements, including about 85% of the materials for ready mixed concrete.
  • One of these lakes is the Sydney International Regatta Centre which hosted the rowing events of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. There is also the popular Penrith Whitewater Stadium which hosted whitewater slalom events for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
  • It is a popular misconception that these lakes are filled via the Nepean River, they are actually filled via rain water and ground water. When the Nepean River floods, the lakes system can act as a weir.
  • The lakes were also a film location for the film Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
  • Positioned on land once owned by wealthy landowner Samuel Terry and his wife Rebecca, Mountain View Reserve bushland and wetland is located on the outskirts of Cranebrook, a 7-minute drive from Penrith CBD. The reserve is home to many species of wildlife, some rare and unique to this area and has a 1.8km easy grade track which can be walked or ridden and is pram friendly It features magnificent views. Access to Mountain View Reserve is via Nepean Street, Cranebrook, enter via the Castlereagh Road end.

McCarthy Cemetery near Penrith Whitewater

 James McCarthy, an Irish Catholic convict, was transported in 1793. He was a successful farmer and a devout Catholic who secretly held Mass with Father Harold in his home. In the early colonial period Catholics were not permitted to practice their religion by the authorities. When his daughter died in 1806 she was buried on the property and later other Irish Catholics had their burials on his property. This is considered the first Catholic burial ground in Australia.

Another view of McCarthy’s Cemetery, the oldest Catholic burial ground in NSW, McCarthy’s Cemetery is not associated with a church building, but evolved from a private burial ground to a consecrated cemetery.

McCarthy’s neighbour’s farm "Mount Pleasant" was owned by another ex-convict in Samuel Terry, habving established his farm in 1810. He became a phenomenal success and together with his wife Rosetta Marsh expanded the farm all the way to the river. When he died in 1838, he was the richest man in the colony! 
Pictured above: "Mt Pleasant" in Cranebrook, on the Nepean River.

Samuel Terry

Samuel Terry (1776-1838) came to Sydney as a convict in 1800, but within twenty years he was the richest man in the colony. After his sentence ended he acquired inns and ran them successfully. In 1810 he married the widow Rosetta Marsh who also ran successful businesses. The two then bought many more hotels, houses and land. They ran milling, brewing and shipping businesses.

Their most valuable farm became "Mount Pleasant" on the hill here, where they built a large house in 1820 with an outlook to the river. The farm stretched more than 1000 acres from Llandilo to the Nepean River.

The village of Cranebrook grew to justify the building of a school in 1882. It is today a private home as a new school has been built nearby which is called Samuel Terry Public School.(McCarthy Catholic College is at Emu Plains).

Pictured above: 1950's photo of Cranebrook School

Sydney International Regatta Centre
SIRC Bridge

Above: Bushfires at Cranebrook

Below: Some Mountain View Reserve pics…

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