American singer Toni Childs found the Hawkesbury River
and loved the location.....So much so, they shot the music video for her hit Many
Rivers To Cross onboard the MV Surprise (one of the oldest working boats on
the river) around Bar Point and Pumpkin Creek. The shots of the Mangroves set
the scene for a mysterious and secluded yet romantic video to promote this great
song from a music legend.
The township of Brooklyn was known as Hawkesbury River
until the construction of the railway bridge by the Union Bridge Company of
Brooklyn New York USA in 1889. The township was nicknamed Brooklyn with the
adjoining island nicknamed Long Island and it stuck. Evidence of the old name is
still present on the local railway station with the station retaining the name
Mangroves in the early days of European settlement were
cut and burnt and the ash shipped to Sydney to make soap by boiling it up with
A commanding view of Brooklyn ( with Kangaroo Point in the
background) is pictured on Australia's first five pound note.
Travelling upriver past Spencer and on the way to Wisemans
Ferry, Paddys Bight is on the port hand side. The highland above is known as Canoelands,
said to have been named because it was an area in which Aborigines collected
bark for building canoes.
Trollope Reach, was named after the English novelist who visited
Australia in 1872. He became a great admirer of the scenic beauties of the
Hawkesbury River and after his visit wrote, "The lower part of the river
- that between Wisemans Ferry and Broken Bay - is very much finer than the upper
reaches.. On the Rhine, on the Mississippi and on the Hawkesbury alike, there is
created an idea that if the traveller would only leave the boat and wander
inland he would be repaid by the revelation of marvellous beauties of
nature...but on the Hawkesbury, the headlands are higher, the bluffs are bolder
and the turns and manoeuvres of the course which the waters have made for
themselves are grander and to me more enchanting than those of either the
European or the American river.
The river trade on the Hawkesbury River was of great
significance to the early growth of Sydney and played an essential role in the
lives of settlers along the river for 150 years. Until 1832 all cargo was
carried by sailing vessels, then paddle-steamers like 'William the Fourth'
started to appear steaming upriver.
In Cowan Creek before turning into Coal and Candle Creek for
Akuna Bay, you can see Looking Glass Rock. Positioned opposite Cottage
Point, the rock glows brightly with the dawn sun in mid-summer. Local Aborigines
believed that if the rock ever became submerged, then it would be a sign that
the Europeans would depart. For thousands of years this area was part of the
territory of the Dharug and Eora Aboriginal tribes and many of their cave
paintings and works of art are preserved in the National Park.
Mrs Fenton Mathew travelled extensively along the river in the
1830's while her husband conducted land surveys. She recorded in her diary many
interesting observations such as..." I was much amused with the porpoises,
who followed us in large shoals tumbling and sporting about, sometimes jumping
quite out of the water." Porpoises were often seen near Dangar
Island as recently as the late 1970's. Fair Penguins can be seen in
Broken Bay and Pittwater as a colony still exists on Lion Island.