Connor Powell is the fourth generation of Powell men to attend Bilpin Public School

THE members of the Powell family are Hawkesbury through and through.

Hailing from Bilpin, the Powells are well-known in their local community, and as tradition would have it, the youngest male has just started school at Bilpin Public School - the fourth generation of Powell men to do so.

When Connor Powell was dropped-off at school two weeks ago in a 1929 Chevrolet, his father Daniel, grandfather Maine and great-grandfather Jim were all there with him - though the latter, Jim (James) Powell was there only in spirit, with a photograph of him taped to the car door.

The car was purchased by Maine as a tip-of-the-hat to his father Jim, who had started school at Bilpin Public in 1929, the year the car was made.

Jim passed away 12 years ago, in the same Bilpin house in which he was born.

Maine said the Powell family had "always" lived in the area.

"I think the Powells would have been one of the first settlers in Bilpin," he told the Gazette.

"When they moved here there was no power, no bitumen roads, nothing, there was only a dirt road and bush.

"My dad was born in his house in 1922 and he died in the same house in 2012. He was nearly a local I suppose!"

Maine said "not a lot" had changed about going to Bilpin Public School since he was there as a boy.

"You got up, you got dressed, got your lunch in a bag and your school books and away you went. We used to get the cane but now you don't!" he said.

Maine runs an earth-moving business called JM Powell and Son with his son and business partner, Daniel.

"I've lived here all my life and still today we're working local in business. We've always got enough work to keep us going. I started with a backhoe and got busier and busier. We've got all kinds of machines and excavators now," Maine said.

His dad Jim had worked in industry, too: "My dad invented the log-splitting machine for timber and took the first load of timer to CSR in Pyrmont in the late 40s, early 50s. They patented it, using a hydraulic ram to split the wood with. Then he got into the orchard game."

Maine said he was named after one of the first free settlers in Australia, Edward Maine Powell.

"The Powells owned the first hotel in Australia, the Horse and Jockey, in Homebush in the early 1800s," he said.

Young Connor's mum, Ann, said there was never any question about Connor being schooled at Bilpin Public like his elders.

"We have a lot of history here. It's such a beautiful, cute little school there. He's in a year of nine kids, it's a very small school but very personal," Ann said.

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