Fruit has been grown in the Hawkesbury since the early 1800s and by 1810 there were over 100 hectares of orchards growing peaches, plums and apricots. From the 1820s the cooler climate in the Kurrajong area became popular to grow fruit and the hills were covered with fruit bearing trees.
Stone fruits and apples were well-suited to the elevated areas of Kurrajong and Bilpin were suitable for stone fruits and apples. Granny Smith, Delicious and Jonathan apples were grown. Some orchards grew peas in between the trees as an additional crop.
|Orchards at Kurrajong early 1900s|
Courtesy State Records NSW Digital ID: 12932_a012_a012X2450000131
Did you know by 1890 the Hawkesbury grew over 195,000,00 oranges? In the 1930s the district was struck with an outbreak of fruit fly forcing a number of orchards to shut down. Other fruit grown included pears, plums, currants, gooseberries, strawberries and cherries all performed well. Melons were grown up and down the river and were easily transported by riverboat. By 1944 there were still 286,000 citrus bearing trees all over the Hawkesbury which was 20% of NSW total. The 1956 flood destroyed a lot of the orchards situated along the riverbanks. Beautiful peaches also were grown around Wisemans Ferry and Maroota – who can ever forget the taste?
Unfortunately the number of orchards in the Hawkesbury has drastically reduced over the past 30 years with only a handful remaining.