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In 1935, aged five, John Holland went to live at Bar Point, an isolated settlement on the Hawkesbury River where his aunt and uncle owned a boatshed that provided facilities for visiting anglers. In this memoir he provides a fascinating picture of daily life, the work at the boatshed, and the colourful characters who patronised it. There are also recollections of river identities such as Jimmy Doyle, Wal Jones, Barney Morley and Gordon Windybank, and of the remarkable eccentrics like Ernie the Hermit and Peter of Donnybrook Bay.

In those days there were no roads, electricity, telephones or TV. Everyone travelled by boat and the daily routine was enlivened by visits from trading vessels, store-boats, mailboat, school boat, floating parsonage and an extraordinary variety of salesmen. This is a first-hand description of lifestyle that was very basic but enriched with humour and community spirit. It will appeal to everyone with family connections to the region, anglers, residents, and those who enjoy boating holidays on the Hawkesbury. The illustrations both recall the period and portray the river as it is today.

Growing up on the Hawkesbury by John Holland

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