Waverton has been a fashionable suburb since the dreamtime. With its headland, Yerroulbine gradually becoming surrounded by water as the last ice age ended, the local community progressively moved to higher ground and changed from freshwater fishing to saltwater.
Whilst the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation are no longer here, the land and their impacts on it remain to bear testimony to their occupation. Yerroulbine (or Balls Head as it was named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, Master of the first fleet vessel HMS Supply) holds the stories, in caves and middens and rock carvings. The most public of these is to be seen outside the Genia McCaffery Sustainability Centre, mute but eloquent echoes of a vibrant fishing community which lived sustainably in this area for millennia. The Midden Track around the headland passes more sites including shelter caves.
The background to the suburb name Waverton appears to lie with a house. The following quote from the North Sydney Council website summarises the story as it is known: “Waverton takes its name from Waverton House, built in 1845 on land purchased from Alexander Berry. William Carr and later his widow, Charlotte, owned the house from 1850-1865, and the Old family from 1865-1974. The house has since been demolished. An English visitor to North Sydney remarked that the village of Waverton in Cheshire, is close by the village of Crows Nest. An earlier name for this suburb was Bay Road after the road of that name which led from the heart of the Berry/Wollstonecraft estates to Berrys Bay where these merchants had their wharf and store.” We invite historical sleuths to round out this story, perhaps with a location for Waverton House.
The story of white land holdings is somewhat clearer. A history was prepared by Godden Mackay Logan as part of a Conservation Management Plan for a proposed (excessively large and now consigned to history) marina in Berrys Bay. It can be accessed here, WavertonPeninsula_CMP by GML incl history with the history starting on page 74.
Whilst Waverton may have been popular with its original inhabitants, it was for many years not so highly prized by more recent settlers. Until fairly recently, Waverton had a strong working waterfront heritage and this was reflected in both the style of housing and the occupations of residents. With the move away from heavy industry, (in this case with its associated lines of petrol tankers which queued along Larkin Street for example) Waverton has resumed its place as a desirable suburb, close to amenities but away from much of the hustle and bustle.
The term heritage may be loosely defined as those things existing from the past which have importance now and to which sufficient value is attached as to warrant their retention. Obviously the delicate etchings and remnants of occupation by the earliest peoples ranks at the top of this list as it connects us back to the Dreamtime, a continuity of occupation unexceeded elsewhere in the world. Links to this heritage may be followed to the North Sydney Council website.
Art and Waverton
As part of the effort by locals over the last decade to prevent an oversized marina in Berrys Bay, a website was set up to inform the public of the importance of the area and to give its historical and artistic background. A valuable summary of linkage between this area and some of our best artists was created on this site, but may now be accessed here.
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