Born in Gordon, NSW on the 8th June 1925, Alexander William Bewley was the eldest of 3 brothers and 7 sisters. He was called Alex or Alec by his family, but then became known as "Allan" after joining the Army and being called thus (and nick-named 'Snow') throughout his life by colleagues and friends. When he was 4 years of age the family bought a house in Fletcher St. Wentworth Falls, where he later noted that in winter there were icicles from the dripping gutter a couple of inches thick and 2 feet long
Allan’s early life in the 'Mountains was a time of few shops, so the milkman came round with his horse and cart, and the butcher and the baker all came daily. The iceman came 3 times a week and even a haberdashery man visited selling children’s clothing, materials etc. Occasionally the ‘rabbito’ would come selling rabbits for sixpence a pair. Mr Ross-Kelly, the sanitation man called once a week to collect 'the pan'.
Work was scarce in these early days so Allan’s father Bill
took on many odd jobs: he spent many months breaking stone on the
During his early years Allan was never idle--a trait he
carried on through life. He was always looking for ways to make pocket money: mowing
lawns, collecting kindling wood for the Reverend Davies, delivering newspapers before
and after school, delivering medicines for the local chemist on Saturdays,
working as a telephonist at the 'phone exchange from 10pm till 7.30am and even
catching leeches in
|Teenage Allan (second from left) with some 'Likely Lads' outside the Royal Easter Show, 1939|
Upon leaving High School he started working full-time (5 ½ days a week) at Curries’ Grocery and Hardware Store, in 1941, for 21 shillings a week. At the same time he had developed a passion for shooting. He often went shooting with friends in the bush and round Cox's River though if caught by Mr Swan the policeman, riding his motor bike with sidecar, he'd be given stern warnings and told to go home.
When war loomed, the Federal Government called in all recent
models of privately owned rifles and Allan had to hand in his new Winchester
pump action .22 rifle at the local Police Station. Young
|A youthful Allan Bewley shortly after 'joining up'--he found a very clever way of avoiding the age check (he was 16 when he enlisted) and saw action at an early stage, at Newcastle and then New Guinea.|
Allan was allocated
to the Australian Army Service Corps, where his first posting was the
|For the remainder of WWII, 'Snow' (his newfound and obvious nick-name) served as a Supply operator, conveying everything from food and ammunition deliveries and ambulance service to communication support to front line troops.|
At war's end, in
February 1946, Allan was posted to a Supply Depot Platoon in the British Commonwealth
Occupation Force (BCOF) in
|While serving with the Occupation Force in Japan, the Korean War broke out (1950), and Allan was obliged to develop expertise in baking bread. Promotions followed apace!|
|As he rose in the ranks of the Army, Allan continued to develop knowledge and skills which made him indispensable to military progress--promotions continued as he was posted around Australia and South East Asia.|
experience was in demand in the 1950's and 60's with the outbreak of
anti-communist wars in Malaya and
Moving ever closer
to Warrimoo, he was posted to
|With years of experience to his name, Allan Bewley became a valued liaison person between all the services: Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as with Australia's treaty allies, Britain and the USA. This role continued beyond his retirement in 1975.|
however, did not sever Allan's commitment to his service: such was the esteem
that he was held in military circles, that four years later, on the 21 May
1979, the Chief of the General Staff appointed
|Colonel Allan Bewley leading the Australian Army Service Corps veterans on ANZAC Day.|
He is one of the greats of the Australian Army Service Corps, and its successors, the Royal Australian Army Service Corps and Royal Australian Corps of Transport, and in particular the air dispatch organisation...
'Par Oneri – Equal to the Task.' "
Warrimoo's Elder Statesman
|Wooing Lorraine Heggie (early 1950's)...|
|...and the Marriage of Allan and Lorraine Bewley (nee Heggie) in September 1954|
The Bewley family grew in concert with Allan's military postings: first born, Lex, arrived in Devonport, Tasmania (1954), then Andree (1959) at Puckapunyal, Victoria, and finally Lisa, in Singapore (1961). Eventually, in an effort to settle the family, eight and a half acres of bushland were purchased in Warrimoo, along Railway Parade near Allan's parents' new home.
|Allan with son Lex and daughter Andree, prior to moving to Warrimoo.|
The new home-building followed from one generation to the other: the clearing and excavation team, the builder and the brickies moved from one property to the next as both properties where designed with long driveways and two levelled landings before opening out to the house clearing. They even used the same coloured bricks!!
|The Bewleys' new home. It was completed in 1965 and built from the same style bricks as those of his father's place, just up Railway Parade, nearby. They named their property 'Geebung'.|
The Bewleys moved
into their new home called 'Geebung' in 1965 and both
|Just up the hill from the house, the large greenhouse was built...|
|...to breed and house the many plants for a Warrimoo-based Nursery, supplying large chain stores across the length and breadth of NSW.|
Allan was always thinking one step ahead, so before his retirement from the Army in 1975 he had already started building and stocking what would become his second full-time occupation, and passion – 'Geebung Nursery'. His father and brother Kevin were both well known nurserymen in their own right so they had a wealth of knowledge to share and plants to propagate from. Within a very short time of the nursery becoming a registered wholesale business an old grey-blue-green Army Combie, newly acquired by Allan, was loaded up with a metal tray structure and packed with the first delivery to Coles Bathurst.
|The original Combi-VW van used to transport Bewley plants from Warrimoo to all points around the state.|
In no time the Nursery flourished. Word of mouth from that first Coles' Bathurst manager on the quality and variety (of mostly indoor and patio plants) led to Geebung delivering to Coles stores everywhere from Katoomba, Lithgow, Gunnedah, Orange, Dubbo and Parkes in the west and thence stores all across the state of NSW. Soon Mitre 10 at Mudgee began orders so that the Mitre 10 and then K-Mart chains sought to retail Warrimoo plants well. The 'Geebung' name was established.
|Allan shows an observer the details of plant propagation--he was ably supported by employees, friends and family, including daughter Andree.|
Over the next 40 years the Bewley family, especially daughter Andree, assisted Allan in his business endeavours and learned much about plant propagation. Many in the family inherited the 'Bewley Green Thumb', and their reputation assisted the Nursery's earnings to the point where overseas travel became readily available.
And Allan did indeed
love travelling!! With true military precision, before leaving
|Income from the Nursery gave the Bewley family scope to travel internationally--they were able to consistently visit family and friends the world over during Allan's later years.|
was always Warrimoo. Both Allan and
|Allan receives yet another award for community service, this time from Macquarie MHR, Kerry Bartlett.|
|Usually in collaboration with John Hollis, the Bewleys held fire brigade fundraisers in their backyard at 'Geebung'--Allan is addressing the throng, while Brigade Captain John Burley is to his left.|
naming of the 'AW Bewley Bridge', for all to see into perpetuity, was a
wonderful acknowledgement of his high standing in the Warrimoo and Greater Blue
Mountains communities and the culmination of a lifetime of giving to others.
The huge effort, dedication and local knowledge that he put into the planning
of the underpasses and access roads during the major upgrading of the
|At the 'A. W. Bewley Bridge' opening in 2001, with son Lex (who helped design the bridge) and Attorney General, Bob Debus.|
|Atop Warrimoo's most spectacular landmark, the 'A.W, Bewley Bridge', in December 2001, with Deputy Mayor, Angelique Henson|
deafness, Allan never stopped developing his own skills and knowledge … from
learning quite advanced computer skills at a late age so he could write, add photos
to and print out thousands of pages of his life stories to be then leather
bound for future generations, to taking up woodworking to the degree that his
old shed was filled with tools and machinery that were the envy of all who
ventured there. He loved making small tables and even made lovely wooden boxes
for (his passed wife)
|Allan with son Lex, and daughters Lisa and Andree--Andree spent the last three years with Allan in his dotage, supplying his every need and enabling his wish to die at home with his family, overlooking the beautiful bushland of Warrimoo...|
 A more thorough account of Allan's work in the WCA is provided in the 'Institutions' page of this Blog.