Clive Roughley in front of his honey shed.
Stretching all the way back to 1856, long before Roughley House began to serve The Hills Shire as a time-capsule of colonial life, or playing host to the popular ‘Jazz at the Pines’ music event; it was the Roughley family home.
Gordon ‘Clive’ Roughley, the final resident of Roughley House, famously sold the property to The Hills Shire Council for just $1 to ensure it would be maintained for future Hills Shire residents to enjoy.
Clive was a well-known local identity due to his many business ventures over the years, from citrus orchards to shoeing horses – But Clive was mainly known as ‘The Honey and Egg Man.’
In his younger years, Clive was a poultry farmer and was better known as one of the leading breeders of Bantams (a miniature chook breed) in the Sydney area. But his main source of income was from honey.
At one stage, Clive had 3,000 beehives scattered across the country areas and processed the honey himself for a time, which involved heating, draining and bottling up to 250kg of the dark treacle-like substance.
Clive sold his honey and eggs from the shed marked with his ‘Honey’ sign behind what is now known as Roughley House, located on Old Northern Road in Dural.
His customers would drive into the property and ring the bell, and Clive would come out from the house and fill their containers with honey straight from the 44 gallon drums it was stored in.
As he got older, Clive outsourced the processing of his honey and started buying eggs wholesale to sell to his customers, a lot of whom would return again and again.
Clive was once quoted as saying:
“I’m quite notorious for my honey. People keep coming back for it year after year. I’ve seen little kids grow up as they came back for my honey.”
In 1988, Clive was named Citizen of the Year by the Baulkham Hills Australia Day Committee, the second such award at the time in a decade. An article in The Northern Herald at the time mused, “Not bad for a bloke many locals call ‘The Honey and Egg Man.’”
For more information about the history of Roughley House, visit Castle Hill Library to borrow descendant Max Roughley’s biography, This Old House.