I find it strange that you can live in a community for many decades and hear about notable people and places but have never had the opportunity to meet them. It was by chance I met Paul Maher who is well known for his tireless community service. I found Paul sitting behind a table at Richmond Market Place, selling Rotary raffle tickets in aid of local charities. And as I do, I stopped to support the locals.
Being "Mrs-have-a-chat", I was informed by Paul that he is the proprietor of Loxley’s On Bellbird Hill, and has lived there for over 22 years. I’d heard only good reports about Loxley, and it had always intrigued me, but the occasion to visit had never arisen.

A little history
The same 50 acres that boasts the name Loxley was first purchased by ex-convict William Townsend, sanctioned by Governor Brisbane, in 1833. With an ample supply of spring fed water and fertile land, William was able to procure his family's future.
The next owner was the distinguished Sir Charles Moore, who was transported from Scotland to help create Sydney’s first Botanical Garden. He too was taken by the natural beauty of Loxley and lived there many years.
I felt ignorant for never visiting this virtual Garden of Eden. When entering the driveway, I was taken back in time, a feeling of peace exuded from the enormous array of trees and ferns with the sound of bellbirds chiming a welcome.
What a mammoth project Paul took on. It was a basic two-bedroom cottage but it was the magnificent view of the Hawkesbury Valley and Sydney Basin that inspired him. Paul is not only the owner, but the initiator of what this amazing property now has to offer. Loxley has become one of the most sought after venues for weddings, conferences and celebrations, or as a weekend getaway to relax in one of the chalets surrounded by grand old trees, including Paul’s pride and joy — a 200-year-old Kauri tree. When he’s in need of spiritual energy or problem solving, you may see him hugging the Kauri tree.
"It really works, I feel strengthened by its power,” Paul said sincerely. And I believed him, as I too slowed down on my way out to admire this giant; it certainly gave off a captivating aura. Boy, the stories that Kauri tree could tell.
Within the 55 acres, a five-acre dry rainforest is maintained by Loxley staff, after the local Council gave assistance to bring it back to its original glory. Paul has restored and named the original barn the Explorers Lodge. The massive and inviting swimming pool is fed by an underground spring, which is also the main water supply.
Why wouldn’t living on such a magnificent, inspiring property have you forever grateful and wanting to share your energy and heart with the less fortunate? This is exactly how Paul feels when he gives his time and services to many local charities. His favourites are Westmead Medical Research, Saint Gabriel’s For Deaf and Mute Children and all Rotary Australia charity events.
Paul, along with local ladies Joy Shepherd, Kathy and Louise McMahon, created the Kurrajong Comleroy Historical Society (KCH) 15 years ago. Its aim was to discover and share the historical value of our Hawkesbury district, which they have done with a passion. Newsletters can be found online. And KCH membership is growing every year, much to the founder’s satisfaction.
Loxley On Bell Bird celebrated its 185th anniversary on New Year’s Eve 2017. A degustation of cuisine dating from 1833 to the present day was enjoyed and discussed with interest, along with live entertainment and the customary display of fireworks to bring in the new year.

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