This week, Roy decided he wanted to visit one of the places he knows about close to home, but which he had never visited. Although Roy loves to spend time in the great outdoors he, like so many others, doesn't always make the time to visit places in the local area, often going further afield. He had heard and read a lot about Crosslands Reserve, and had been told that it was a beautiful place, but he didn't remember ever visiting, so thought this would be a good time to change all that.
If you would like to visit Crosslands Reserve, it is located less than half an hour away from the centre of Hornsby. To get there, follow Galston Road and then turn into Somerville Road. Follow Somerville Road to the very end and the gates to Crosslands Reserve will be right in front of you. The reserve is a great place for a picnic or a walk, and there is plenty for the kids with a bicycle track and play equipment. There is also an interpretive walk, and a boardwalk through the mangroves to enjoy and Roy even saw some lyrebirds scratching happily beside the path. You can even camp at Crosslands, if you make a booking.
Crosslands Reserve is on the banks of Berowra Creek, and would have been the territory of a group of Aborigines. The area along Berowra Creek was important to the Aborigines, as the creek itself formed the border between the Kuringai and Dharug Aboriginal groups. The shores of Berowra Creek are rich with evidence of Aboriginal occupation with rock carvings and middens found. If you would like to see a little of the Aboriginal heritage, Roy noticed some midden deposits in the path extending past the end of the boardwalk.
Although the Aborigines would have been the first inhabitants of Crosslands, the name itself commemorates a European family who lived and worked in the area. The land was originally owned by James Bellamy and went through several owners before being bought by Matthew Charleton in 1856. This is when the Crossland family first appear, with Charleton employing Burton Crossland who had his own grant on the opposite side of the creek, as caretaker on his property. Crossland made his living cutting timber, catching the fish in the creek, growing fruit trees and building boats. His son later purchased the Charleton land, giving the Crossland family holdings on both sides of Berowra Creek. Crossland took the timber he cut to Sydney by river using two of the boats he built and on the return trip would carry sandstone as ballast. He used the sandstone, along with the timber he cut to build many of the early houses along Berowra Creek. Later, Crossland built a road to connect to Peats Ferry Road and the road he built is still the one used to access the reserve - Somerville Road. Crosslands property had become a popular place to visit for picnics and recreation, and as well as the road, the boats were used to bring people to the area. In 1921, the Reserve was taken over by Hornsby Shire Council who still maintain it today.