Memories of Mother’s Day on Morotai Island in 1945

Mothers Day 1945

It was purely coincidence (or so I thought) that I happened to be looking through old photographs on the night before Mother’s Day this year and found an order of service for a Mother’s Day service held 73 years ago (nearly to the day) on a far-away, war-torn island. The Order of Worship for the Mother’s Day service was amongst the few photos and personal letters brought home to Windsor by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Sergeant Alfred Cammack, after the end of WWII. The service was held in conjunction with the United States 13th Air Force (known as the famous Jungle Air Force) and the RAAF at the RAAF Chapel on Morotai on 13 May 1945. As Mother’s Day in 2018 was also on 13 May, I was left in no doubt that this would be my article for the history section in our local newspaper for the Mother’s Day week.

Mothers Day 1945 (01)

The significance of holding a combined, ecumenical service for the troops at that time was considerable and most likely needed to boost morale. The island of Morotai had been selected in July 1944 by General MacArthur as crucially important logistically and as a command centre for the Allied forces operating in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). The island’s location off North Halmahera made it essential at that time as a base to support the liberation of the Philippines and to support the Australian-led Borneo campaign.

Fighting between Japanese and Allied forces on Morotai began in September 1944, when United States and Australian forces landed on the south-west corner of the island, and the fighting continued until the end of the war. The Japanese forces carried out a large-scale counter-offensive on Morotai, destroying forty-two Allied aircraft during air raids with nineteen killed and ninety-nine wounded. The air raids ceased in March 1945 after American forces attacked the Japanese stronghold on Hill 40, just six kilometres from the Allied perimeter. The last Japanese supply barge reached Morotai on the day before the Mother’s Day service.

For Sergeant Cammack and many other servicemen, that Mother’s Day service would have been a very poignant and moving occasion. He was probably thinking of his mother at home in Brisbane and his wife and baby son in Windsor NSW. His mother was widowed after her husband was killed in France in 1918 during WWI and now she had one son serving on Morotai and the other serving in New Guinea. Sergeant Cammack had last seen his wife and baby son at Evans Head in early 1943, while on posting to No 1 Bombing and Gunnery School (1BGS). They had travelled from Windsor by train to meet up with him before he departed on overseas posting. He served with 549 Squadron RAF at Strauss Airfield in the Northern Territory, working on Supermarine Spitfires, before embarking from Darwin on the United States Liberty ship, SS Nicholas J Sincott, on 25 February 1945 and arriving on Morotai on 14 March as a member of 9 Repair and Salvage Unit’s main rear party.

(Before copying the photographs accompanying this article, please seek the permission of the author, Carol Roberts, as they are family photographs in a private collection.)

Alf Cammack in RAAF uniform c1939
Sergeant Alfred Cammack (RAAF)

In April 1945, the US 93rd Infantry Division arrived on Morotai. A segregated African-American unit, the 93rd Division conducted patrols to destroy the remaining Japanese force on the western side of the island and in August 1945 succeeded in capturing Colonel Kisou Ouchi, commanding officer of the Japanese garrison on Morotai. Soon after, the 93rd Division accepted the surrender of 40,000 Japanese troops at Halmahera and General Blamey accepted the surrender of the Japanese Second Army on Morotai.


Sergeant Cammack returned to Australia in October 1945 after the anti-corrosion preparation of equipment was completed and 9RSU was disbanded, bringing with him a few photos and the memory of a Mother’s Day service held so long ago, during the Battle of Morotai.

copyrightCarol Roberts 2018

I completed the basis of this article for the Hawkesbury Gazette published on 23 May 2018 as ‘Memories of WWII’.

Mothers Day 1945 (2)


‘Gallant American Patrol Captured Enemy Colonel’, Army News, Monday, 13 August 1945, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers,, accessed 17 May 2018.

Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: A Concise History, Vol. 7, Maintenance Units, compiled by the RAAF Historical Section, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1995.

Record of Service, Sergeant Alfred Cammack, Department of Defence (Air Force Office), Canberra.

Personal information from Carol Roberts.

‘No 549 Squadron RAF’,, accessed 14 May 2018.

Rickard, J. No 549 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,, accessed 14 May 2018.

‘Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome’,, accessed 14 May 2018.

‘Battle of Morotai’,, accessed 14 May 2018.


The Jersey Butter Factory on Windsor Terrace and its conversion to flats

The decision to draw up the Articles of the Association for the Hawkesbury Dairying Company and to select a site for the establishment of a butter factory in Windsor was made at a meeting held on Thursday, 14 January 1892 at Bushell’s Royal Hotel in Windsor. The meeting was chaired by Mr James Bligh Johnston and was attended by a large number of Hawkesbury farmers and interested local residents. It was estimated that £2,000, in £1 shares, would be required to form the company and a further £1,000 would be required to run the factory. This cost was based on figures obtained from Mr Josephson of Messrs Waugh and Josephson, ‘boilermakers, dairy and refrigerating engineers’ of Sydney for a building that would ‘do for 1,000 to 2,000 gall[on]s per day’.

Messrs J.B. Johnston, B. Hall, J.T. Gosper, A. Tuckerman, S. Gow, W. McGrath and J.C. Fitzpatrick chose the factory site and paid £320 for approximately five (5) acres (a little over two hectares) on part of Mr J.T. Gosper’s land on The Terrace at Windsor, on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. The site is now known as 63 The Terrace, Windsor.

By 18 March 1892, tenders were being called ‘for erection and completion of buildings for butter factory at Windsor’ and Mr J. Lavor from Parramatta was the successful tenderer.  With the buildings costing £120 and the machinery costing £510, the factory was completed and ready for business by 1 August 1892. It was officially opened on Wednesday, 24 August, by His Excellency the Governor (Lord Jersey) and afterwards became known as the ‘Jersey Butter Factory’.

There was an underground Cooling or Butter Room built into the bank of the river with dimensions of 30 x 12 feet. ‘The floor, like the rest of the building, is of concrete. Brick walls of double thickness, and round this building outside is an air-space or shaft of 3 feet in width which allows a current of fresh air to be continually passing round the room, and by means of many moveable ventilators the air can be admitted or excluded from the chamber…The room is roofed with patent Traeger Wellbleck iron and covered with 4 feet of earth and turf to exclude the heat of the sun…Outside of the cooling room is a flight of brick steps, which communicate from the road into the building…The rest of the building is below the road and is on a level with the cooling chamber…Outside the building, adjoining the cooling room, is a large underground tank from which cool water is obtained…The tank has a capacity of 10,000 gallons’.

There was also a Separating Room on site, with dimensions of 20 x 20 feet. The roof was ‘covered with the new patent fluted red French tiles from a Marseilles maker, which, besides keeping the building wonderfully cool, gives a pleasing and artistic appearance to the building. The milk is received from the road at a door which is immediately above the separating-room, the road being almost level with the roof of the building’. Other rooms in use were the Engine Room, Boiler Room, Washing-Up Room and the Board Room. The windows were ‘all provided with Venetian shutters to exclude the heat of the sun’ and ‘the floors are all granolithic pavement’.

Despite the initial success of the Jersey Butter Factory during the first few years of its operation, it appears that the company was in financial trouble by 1907 as a report in the local newspaper states that it was the intention of Mr I.N. Woods ‘to remove the plant of the Windsor butter factory to the Ebenezer wharf, near Mr Cross’ residence, and will there establish a saw mill. Mr Woods has given an undertaking to send 100 tons of wood per week to Sydney, and it will be shipped by the S.S. Narara. When the wood is cut out around Ebenezer, the plant will be shifted to another spot, and so on, up and down the river.’

By 1911, the butter factory and the land had been acquired by Mr Ray H.H. Brown of Ebenezer and it was from him that the Hawkesbury Condensed Milk Company Limited purchased the ‘fee simple’ and moved the machinery and plant from the Pitt Town Dairy and Butter Company to the factory on The Terrace at Windsor. The company spent ‘over £5,000 in alterations and additions to the building, and in new and up-to-date plant and machinery’. They began operations in Windsor on 28 January 1911, with the intention of manufacturing ‘Red Cross’ and ‘Swan’ brands of condensed milk and sweet cream. ‘The new factory buildings were built by Mr G.H. Hardy of Sydney and the whole of the new machinery was installed under the supervision of the well-known Sydney consulting engineers, Messrs J. Wildridge and Sinclair, who also provided the plans for the building…the floors of the factory are laid in cement or petrite, and the walls are all metal, so that the whole place can be sluiced down morning and evening and kept thoroughly sweet and clean…a fine can-washing room has been provided for suppliers…once the fresh milk enters the vacuum pan, it is never exposed to the ordinary atmosphere again, the whole process being conducted in either air-tight plant or hermetrically sealed chambers.’ It was recorded as ‘that attractive structure on the bank of the river, in the four corners of which the milk-preserving industry will shortly receive attention’.

In 1912, Windsor Council gave permission to Mr Frank A. Waller, Managing Director of Australian Milk Products Limited, to ‘erect additional factory premises, in the shape of a packing shed, which would be in keeping with and in the same material as the present buildings, to cost £200.’ By December 1916, Windsor Municipal Council Health Officer recommended approval of a request from Mr Hilton Clarke of Australian Milk Products Limited, for additions to the packing shed at the factory.

On Wednesday morning, 14 December 1921, it was reported that ‘a bad accident happened at the A.M.P. factory. Mr Stan Daniels was coming down the steps from the condensing room when he slipped. There is a window near the bottom and his arm went through a broken pane of glass. He sustained a terrible cut on the forearm, one of the arteries being severed.’ Mr Daniels was immediately rushed to hospital after treatment by Dr Alsop. The same newspaper also reported on the impending closure of the Australian Milk Products factory in Windsor by Nestles and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company Limited, who had acquired the Windsor condensed milk industry. On the same day, 14 December 1921, staff were told they would not be required after 24 December. That was a poor Christmas present for the staff and Mrs Margaret Kooy, the daughter of Fred Davis who was one of the workers at the factory, commented to the author recently that ‘they bought the factory to close it down’.

By 1926, the condensed milk factory had been sold to the Peacock Jam Company (called the Nepean Tomato Products Factory) for pulping of fruit and tomatoes for jam-making. This venture was apparently not successful and by December 1933 Windsor Council’s Electricity Engineer, Mr K. Mortley, had carried out removal of the ‘disused mains and equipment’ from the site of the factory on The Terrace at Windsor and tenders had been called for the demolition of the wooden buildings on the site. In 1934, Mr S. Busby, Surveyor from Parramatta, submitted to Windsor Municipal Council for approval, plans for the proposed subdivision of land in Terrace Street, Windsor, on account of Nepean Tomato Products. The request was approved subject to payment of ‘necessary fees and charges’.

From 1937, it appears that the extant building on the site of the old condensed milk factory at 63 The Terrace, Windsor was acquired by Mr C. Hall and approved by Windsor Municipal Council as flats. A report of the Council meeting in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette dated Friday, 2 April 1937 on page 7 states that ‘Inspections have been carried out at buildings in course of construction and drainage inspected in accordance with the regulations. The installation of the septic tank at C. Hall’s flats, on The Terrace, has been completed satisfactorily, and with the exception of external pointing, the converting of the factory into flats has been completed with excellent results’.

The external brick walls of the building (which was known locally as Hall’s Flats) are of solid (not cavity) load-bearing design using semi-dry-pressed face and common bricks of modern Imperial dimensions laid in English garden wall bond which has been described as:

English garden wall bond. The general arrangement of bricks in this type of bonding is similar to that of English bond except that the heading courses are only inserted at every fourth or sixth course. Usually the arrangement consists of one course of headers to three courses of stretchers. A queen closer is placed next to the quoin header of the heading course to give the necessary lap.

The window openings of the flats feature bull-nosed brick sills and concrete lintels. This construction is typical of multi-story industrial buildings constructed in the late Victorian/early Edwardian period and is consistent with reports of the Jersey Butter Factory building constructed on the site in 1892. The entrance doorways to the flats are installed in original window openings that have been opened up to floor level. The doorways feature terrazzo thresholds over the full width of the opening and the original two-inch timber (probably Oregon) quad moulding that covered the joint between the verandah decking and the brick wall on each floor is still in place on some of the flats. These are typical of construction details used between the wars and are consistent with the reported conversion of the factory building into flats in 1937.

(This article by Carol Roberts first appeared in Hawkesbury Historical Society Newsletter, April 2015.)

copyrightCarol Roberts, 2017.


All newspaper references from the National Library of AustraliaTrove,, accessed between 14 November 2014 and 23 March 2015.

‘Butter Factory and Dairying Company’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 16 January 1892, p. 4.

‘Butter Factory, Windsor – Tenders’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 19 March 1892, p. 9.

‘Hawkesbury Dairying Company’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 13 August 1892, p. 5.

‘Visit of the Governor to Windsor: Opening of a Dairy Factory’, Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, 25 August 1892, p. 8.

‘The Jersey Butter Factory’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 15 October 1892, p. 2.

‘Dyer’s Windsor’ (removal of plant to Ebenezer wharf), Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 15 June 1907, p. 3.

‘Windsor as it is – and as it was – by The Wanderer’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 19 November 1910, p. 1.

‘A Local Industry: Hawkesbury Condensed Milk Coy., Limited – Now Established in Windsor’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 4 March 1911, p. 7.

‘Windsor Municipal Council, Full Council present at the Ordinary Meeting on the 23rd October’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 2 November 1912, pp. 1 and 2.

‘Early Days of Windsor, Industries’, by Rev. Jas. Steele, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 2 October 1914, p. 12.

‘Windsor Municipal Council, regular fortnightly meeting, Health Report’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 8 December 1916, p. 1.

‘Week to Week’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 16 December 1921, 22 September 1933.

‘An Enterprising Firm, Jam Factory for Windsor, Purchase of A.M.P. Buildings’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 7 May 1926, p. 4.

‘Local and General News’, Shoalhaven Telegraph, Wednesday, 9 June & 4 August 1926.

‘Windsor Council, Electrical Engineer’s Report’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 8 December 1933, p. 1.

‘Windsor Council’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 6 April 1934, 2 April 1937.

Information on English garden wall bond brick pattern from The Construction Civil website,, accessed 10 December 2014.

Construction information about extant building at 63 The Terrace, Windsor, from Geoff Roberts, former CSIRO Research Scientist (Building).


Mary Ann Clarke: a convict’s daughter who married a convict’s son

Mary Ann Clarke was one of fourteen children of convict Robert Smith (John) and his wife, Margaret (Hartley). Convicted of horse stealing at Bristol Assizes, Smith arrived in the colony in 1827, aged 21. In the 1828 Census he is listed as labouring for the shipbuilder, John Grono, and in 1835 married Margaret, the daughter of David and Elizabeth Hartley and grand-daughter of Grono.

Mary Anne Clarke 01a.jpg

(This photograph of my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Clarke, is in my private collection. The items surrounding the photograph all belonged to Mary Ann Clarke and are also in my personal possession.)

In 1869, one of their daughters, Mary Ann Smith, born in 1851 in Pitt Town, married Charles Hitchen Clarke. Her brothers, Lawson and Samuel Smith, married Sarah Ellen Clarke and Isabella Martha Clarke (both sisters of Charles Clarke). To confuse family historians further, Mary Ann’s sisters Jane, Emma and Charlotte all married into the Gibbs family from the Wellington district.

Mary Ann and Charles Hitchen Clarke farmed at Freemans Reach for most of their lives, apart from several years at Cooyal, near Mudgee, from about 1871 to 1879. Their first child, Robert Hilton, was born at Freemans Reach, then four children were born at Cooyal: Samuel Alfred, Elizabeth Margaret, Charlotte Isabella and Alice May. They had gone to the Mudgee district to make a new life for themselves and to be near Mary Ann’s elder sister, Elizabeth, who had moved to the area after her marriage to Joseph Pitt in 1854.

An unfortunate accident occurred in 1879 when Mary Ann and Charles’ daughter, Charlotte (aged two years), was severely burnt when her clothes caught fire. The skin damage from the burns required extensive treatment and, as her parents had heard of the excellent skin graft treatments being carried out by Dr Thomas Fiaschi in Windsor, they packed up and moved back to the Hawkesbury where Charlotte could receive ongoing treatment. Five more children were born at Freemans Reach: Annie Florence, Ethel Jane, Hilda(h) Amelia (died aged one year), Charles Henry and Colin Edward. They married into the Collison, Cupitt, Hornery, Gardiner, Butler, Davis, Gibbs and Lamond families, thereby establishing a long line of descendants who shook off the convict stain and contributed greatly to agricultural, community, sporting and business life in the Hawkesbury, Mudgee and Wellington districts.

Mary Ann Clarke died at the home of her daughter, Charlotte, at 92-98 George Street, Windsor, in 1919 and Charles Hitchen Clarke died in Richmond in 1930. Although their parents are buried at St John’s Anglican Cemetery in Wilberforce, Mary Ann and Charles made a decision early on that St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Windsor would be their family church and they are both buried in St Matthew’s cemetery. Rev. Norman Jenkyn conducted each service and spoke of the ‘esteem in which the late Mrs Clarke was held throughout the town and district…she was a good Christian woman’ who ‘loved her children, lived and worked for them, and was a true helpmeet to her husband’. It was said of Charles Clarke that ‘the Hawkesbury district has lost one of its oldest and most respected residents’.

copyrightCarol Roberts, author 2016

Mary Ann Clarke Gazette.jpg

(This article by Carol Roberts first appeared in the Hawkesbury Gazette, on Wednesday, 9 November 2016.)


Family genealogical information from Carol Roberts, great-granddaughter of Mary Ann and Charles Hitchen Clarke.

NSW Death Certificates:Mary Ann Clarke registration number 1919/008222

Charles Hitchen Clarke registration number 1930/006241


Card clubs entertained during the Great Depression

Wests Card Club 01.jpg

This photograph was taken by my uncle, Bert Hornery, of Windsor, on the occasion of the Wests Card Club’s first birthday in September 1932. My grandmother, Charlotte Hornery (nee Clarke), my mother Iris Hornery and her sister, Lily, are in centre-front row behind the children. (I have a framed, enlarged original of this photograph, left to me by my mother.)

Despite the difficulties of life during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the people of the Hawkesbury rallied together and continued their participation in social and sporting clubs. Card clubs were extremely popular and together with other social clubs, they offered friendship, entertainment and in many cases, a helping hand to those in less fortunate circumstances.

Wests Card Club in Wilberforce, formed in 1931, was renowned in the district for holding crib, euchre and dance parties. Wests also held the cup for being the best players although they were challenged by the Easts, Souths, the Cockey Boys from Ebenezer, the Don’t Worry Club in Windsor and the club in Vineyard at regular tournaments. Crowds of up to three hundred people attended Wests functions in the Wilberforce School of Arts, with ‘crowded card tables and a full orchestra’. Admission for men was two shillings and one shilling and sixpence for ladies. Festivities were led by Herb Shepherd, captain of the club, with assistance from Wes Thompson and Garney Salter, with Les Owens and Reg Turnbull acting as Masters of Ceremony.

The club’s first birthday function in September 1932 saw a record number of people participate in activities and enjoy the club’s birthday cake, which was organised by Mrs Neate of the Royal Hotel, Windsor. Flowers were presented to Mrs Neate by ‘little Shirley Owen[s]’. Due to the large number of patrons at a euchre party and dance held later in the year, players were split up and the euchre players were taken by bus to Inglebrae guest house.

Gladys Owens usually played piano for the dances, while Horrie Stevens and Ernie Keller played the cornet and violin. Bert Hornery from Windsor was the photographer at nearly all of these functions and his sister, Iris, often helped out on piano. Prizes were generous and boxes of handkerchiefs, goblets, wallets, cigarettes, socks, chocolates, handbags, cuff links and tobacco pouches were handed out to winners of card games and Monte Carlo dance competitions. Some of the Wests most successful social functions were held in 1933, with presentations to Wes Thompson on his marriage and William Thompson when he married Madge Beecroft, then 87th birthday celebrations for James (Da) Sullivan.

As the effects of the Depression took a firmer hold, members of Wests Card Club often joined with organisations such as the Upper Hawkesbury Motor Boat Club, Returned Soldiers’ League and the Merriment Sunshine Club to run functions for charity, assisting patients at the Home for Infirm and the hospital in Windsor. It was observed that ‘Wilberforce has two organisations, the Wests Card Club and the Merriment Sunshine Club, which are not merely charitable organisations, though the greater part of their proceeds are devoted to the sacred cause of charity…If anyone is sick or in distress of any kind and the fact comes under the notice of either of these bodies steps are at once taken by either or both to afford relief’.

copyright Carol Roberts

Wests Card Club Gazette.jpg

(My article on Wests Card Club first appeared in the Hawkesbury Gazette on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.)


‘Challenge match in card tournament, Easts v. Wests’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 30 October 1931, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 85890291,, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Card Tournaments: Challenge for the Cup’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 20 November 1931, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 85888118,, accessed 7 October 2016.

‘Wilberforce: To a packed house, crowded card tables and a full orchestra’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 30 September 1932, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86056534,, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 4 November 1932, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86055453,, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘In Charity’s Cause: Two Wilberforce organisations, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 27 January 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86051638,, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club: Happy social function, presentation to Will. Thompson’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 10 March 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86050413,, accessed 13 October 2016.

‘Wilberforce: Another enjoyable euchre party and dance’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 7 April 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86055879,, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club: Presentation to Wes. Thompson, another successful function’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 9 June 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86052912,, accessed 7 October 2016.

‘ “Da” Sullivan: Popular Wilberforce identity celebrates 87th birthday’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 11 August 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86051409,, accessed 13 October 2016.

Roberts, C. ‘Top spots in darker times’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

Sanders, J. ‘Merriment Sunshine Club’, The Hawkesbury Crier, Newsletter of the Hawkesbury Family History Group, March 2016.

The Clements family in Windsor NSW

Herbert Australia Clements was born in Windsor in 1865. At the age of twenty he married Mary Ann Butler, daughter of Edward and Mary Ann Butler of Windsor. The couple had six children: Herbert (born and died 1885), Miriam Clarice (born 1887), Pearly(ie) Grace (born 1889), Percy Edward (born 1891), Dorris Freda (born 1893) and Carlton Herbert (born 1896). Having lost their first-born baby in 1885, tragedy struck again in 1902 when Pearlie died aged thirteen years, after suffering with Bright’s Disease for four months.

Herbert Australia Clements 2

Herbert Australia Clements in Masonic Lodge regalia c1920s/1930s. Photo courtesy of his granddaughter June Irving and great-granddaughter, Julie Sinfield.

In 1892, H.A. Clements opened a grocery store on the south-western corner of Catherine and George Streets in Windsor. The store was popular and a great financial success for the Clements family, selling everything from ‘prime pickled pork, hams, bacon, fresh lard’ to ‘groceries of top quality at bottom prices, crockery always on hand and farm produce at lowest market prices’.

Percy Clements married Violet Amelia Hammond in 1923, Dorris married Bertie Milsim Hornery in 1928 and Carl (known as Mick) married Mona Mary Williams in 1950. The Clements family members were all musical. H.A. ‘Pop’ Clements, sons Perc and Carl and Bert Hornery played in the Windsor Band, while Dorris played piano and organ at the Presbyterian Church in Windsor for many years. Cousins, Harry and Colin (Bubs) Gardiner also played in the band. Miriam (known as Clarice) did not marry. She suffered ill health for many years and died in 1954.

H.A. and Mary Ann Clements were in the grocery business for thirty-seven years before they retired to the new home they built at 7 Macquarie Street, Windsor. They called the house ‘Hermar’ derived from their first names of Herbert and Mary. This area of Windsor, close to The Peninsula and Thompson Square, became a hive of activity for the Clements family. Perc and Vi Clements lived nearby at 21 Bridge Street, Bert and Dorris Hornery lived across the way at 46 Court Street in the brick home they built in 1928.

Clements house 7 Macquarie St Windsor Feb 2010

Clements family home Hermar, 7 Macquarie Street, Windsor. Photo Carol Roberts 2015.

Also in 1928, Carl Clements opened the Hawkesbury Motor Garage on George Street facing Thompson Square. The garage became a family business and an icon in the town: Perc Clements went to work for his brother Carl, who was the proprietor, and they were joined by their brother-in-law and my uncle, Bert Hornery, a motor mechanic who later ran his own refrigeration business just down the road.

Mary Ann Clements died in 1934 and Herbert Australia Clements died in 1957. They are buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Windsor with their daughter Miriam. The dark brick, solid, substantial brick homes the Clements family built in Macquarie and Bridge Streets and the Californian Bungalow built by Bert and Dorris Hornery on the corner of Bridge and Court Streets still stand, as solid as when they were built nearly one hundred years ago. They are prime examples of the late 1920s/early 1930s architectural style which forms part of the heritage landscape of Windsor and other areas of the Hawkesbury.

Clements shaped Windsor 18 May 2016

‘Clements shaped Windsor’, article by Carol Roberts for the National Trust Hawkesbury Branch, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 18 May 2016.

copyright Carol Roberts


‘Town Gossip’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 1 May 1897, Trove, National Library of Australia,, accessed 1 May 2016.

‘Obituary’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 12 April 1902, Trove, National Library of Australia,, accessed 1 May 2016.

‘Week to Week’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 2 October 1914, Trove, National Library of Australia,, accessed 2 May 2016.

‘Personal, About Men and Women’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 23 March 1928, Trove, National Library of Australia,, accessed 2 May 2016.

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages,, accessed 2 May 2016.

Hawkesbury on the Net, Cemetery Register, Windsor Presbyterian Cemetery, accessed 2 May 2016.

Family genealogical information from Carol Roberts, Windsor.

Photograph of H.A. Clements from his granddaughter June Irving and great-granddaughter, Julie Sinfield.

The ubiquitous fibro house

A shortage of building materials after the end of World War II, combined with an acute post-war rental housing shortage, saw the increased use of one of the wonder products of the twentieth century: fibro.

44 court st circa 1960

My childhood home at 44 Court Street, Windsor, c1960. My mother Iris Cammack is in the driveway. The house now has a brick facade. Photo Bert Hornery (my uncle).

While building figures in Windsor revealed that from 1930 to 1936 seventy timber and fibro cottages were built for a cost of £23,419 (approximately £335 per house), by 1948 the cost of building a basic two-bedroom fibro house had increased to approximately £1,100. The same house with land could not be purchased for less than £1,600. By the end of 1958, Wunderlich had produced ‘a vertical grooved sheet…in tune with modern design…which brings real glamour to the most economical of building materials’. At the peak of the 1950s housing boom, one-third of new homes were owner-built and most were constructed of fibro with timber frames. Many had corrugated fibro or iron roofs, but terracotta roof tiles were gradually becoming more popular.

Building contractors and owner-builders found that it was easy to extend or renovate a fibro house and although considered a little bit ‘low class’, one big advantage of fibro was that it was fire-resistant. With fibro or timber strap work covering the joins, fibro was popular for houses, garages, sheds and shops and was painted with Kalsomine in pastel colours of cream, baby blue, green, pink or white. For many, the concept of freshly-painted white walls with red roof tiles represented an ‘overall effect of cleanliness’.

One drawback to living in a fibro house is that fibro does not insulate as well as brick and the rooms are freezing in winter. However, the fibro era was about cheap, modest, affordable housing and home ownership and to some, the fibro house ‘was stunning in its excellence…a complete house…in its own garden’.

Fibro house 2 Dec 2015 edit

My article published in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 2 December 2015.

Fibro became an expression of the Australian identity. Artist Reg Mombassa comments that fibro was ‘the wonder building material of the 1950s and 1960s…inexpensive, durable and ubiquitous’, while the author, Patrick White, writes that ‘at night the fibro homes reverberated’ with the noise and excitement of families.

The house at 44 Court Street, Windsor, built by local builder Arthur Mullinger in 1952 for Iris and Alf Cammack, epitomised for the owners the dream of a detached dwelling on one level on a large, quarter-acre block in the town. No 44 had red terracotta roof tiles, nine foot ceilings, a large lounge room with a brick fireplace, separate dining room and kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, laundry (with second toilet) and a rear verandah which was later converted into a third bedroom. The block of land allowed room for the building of a large garage by the owner, as well as poultry, fruit trees and extensive gardens. Fibro, for many post-war ‘baby-boomers’, is a reminder of the Australian suburban backyard associated with memories of growing up with space to dream, run and play.

copyright Carol Roberts


Carol Roberts, ‘When fibro was norm’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 2 December 2015.

Pickett, Charles. The Fibro Frontier: a different history of Australian architecture, Powerhouse Publishing and Doubleday, Haymarket, Sydney, 1997.

‘New record, Windsor building figures, big 1936 increase’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 22 January 1937, National Library of Australia Trove Article 86044095,, accessed 26 September 2015.

‘Fibro house’, Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday, 31 August 1948, National Library of Australia Trove Article18083078,, accessed 26 September 2015.

‘Fibro retains its lead’, Western Herald, Friday, 12 December 1958, National Library of Australia Trove Article 103993038,, accessed 26 September 2015.

Family information from Carol Roberts (daughter of Iris and Alf Cammack), at

Photograph of Iris Cammack in front of 44 Court Street, Windsor, c1960, courtesy of Carol Roberts (photograph by Bert Hornery).