Historic Windsor: 6 Colonial Buildings

It all started with the Hawkesbury River.

Flowing to the west of  Sydney,  Australia,  this mighty river has huge floods.   Engulfing  the surrounding countryside the river’s gift is rich fertile farming  soil.

This floodplain became the market garden for colonial Sydney.   The then Governor of New South Wales,  Governor Macquarie,  established several towns here known as the Macquarie Towns.

Two of these were Windsor and Richmond.

Libby and I went to Windsor searching for colonial history and hit the jack-pot.   At lunch-time we wandered down the street looking for ‘foodie’ places.

‘There’s the oldest pub in Australia!’  announced  Libby.

What a find!

image

Still standing after being established by Richard Fitzgerald as a purpose-built Inn in 1815 the Macquarie Arms was just like the old pubs I visited in London.

Complete with low doorways as people were shorter back then.

image

image

How many feet have trodden over this worn entrance?

image

I wonder if a few of them were bushrangers.

Sipping beer and looking around the original cedar-panelled rooms and winding staircase I wonder what schemes were hatched over a few schooners of cleansing ale.

image

image

Apparently one wild colonial lad was born in Windsor.   Captain Thunderbolt made his entrance into the world here in 1835.  An expert horseman he stole thousands of pounds worth of prize racehorses and evaded capture for many years.

Did he return to his birthplace to bend an elbow?  We will never know.

However, we do know the high mark of the worst Hawkesbury River flood on record (1867).   A plaque beside the pub gives me pause when I see how far it is from the river today.

image

image

More fascinating discoveries await in the Hawkesbury Regional Museum.

Boomerangs, throwing sticks and axe heads  give us some idea of the life of the Darkinjung, Darug, Eaora and Kuringgai  Aboriginal people who lived here for thousands of years.

Grim reminders of our convict past such as leg irons and balls and chains are quite eerie.

image

image

Gangs of chained convicts worked on roads and buildings.   These sinister relics bring this back to life.

Leaving the convicts behind we walk along Thompson Square past Howes House built in 1827 for free settler,  John Howe,  who was Chief Constable of the town for some years.

image

Beside this is the Doctors House which was the residence for a series of doctors until 1992.

image

image

Across from the Macquarie Arms beautifully restored shops and business places still stand.

image

A humble colonial cottage sits just outside the town centre.

image

Loder House in the Windsor Mall was built in 1834 for George Loder, a free settler, who never lived in it as he died the year it was built.

image

More beautiful photographs of Windsor can be found on Libby’s blog.

Finally,  Libby and I venture a little further from the CBD to visit St. Matthew’s Anglican church (1817).

image

Designed by the ex-convict Sir Francis Greenway (transported for forgery) the church has stained glass windows and a beautiful blue panelled ceiling.

image

image

Headstones of all kinds are found in the churchyard – from the solid and ornate to extremely humble metal plaques.

image

image

image

Saddest of all are the unmarked graves.  Some souls disappear without a trace.

 

Historic Windsor breathes history.

The Hawkesbury River floodplain has provided food for people for thousands of years and countless stories remain to be uncovered from this area.

Captain Thunderbolt rides through my imagination and is that the distant clink of  leg irons I can hear?   And didgeridoos?

 

Thanks for reading my post.  Happy travels.

Maria.

 

 

 

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Historic Windsor: 6 Colonial Buildings

  1. The photo of the 2 story brick building with a balcony, awning and intricate fencing reminds me of New Orleans’ homes.

    This is most charming and I suspect I could drink a pint and listen as you and Libby talk about your adventures. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • New Orleans sounds like a wonderful place. So much great music has come from there. And yes, Meredith it would be fun to have a beer and trade stories from our lives. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Like

  2. i enjoyed researching and writing this post. i think it has opened up a whole new area of interest for me to write about. my trip to the Hawkesbury River area was a revelation. i did not know how many colonial treasures i would find there. Thanks for reading. 🙂

    Like

  3. Nothing like Windsor, here in the UK, Maria. I think your Windsor looks wonderful but just imagine what it would be like if we put your Windsor and the one here in the UK, together. I’m sure Queen Elizabeth II would be very happy spending her weekends there. How was the beer in the Macquarie Arms? We have so many beers over here in the UK and, believe it or not, they all taste so different.
    I’d love to have that wonderful staircase in my house here in the UK, but alas my house is far too small for it. It looks so grand. I can imagine all the people that have ever walked that staircase over the years and wonder what their stories would be? A Grand Piano by the side of that staircase would be perfect, but then I’d have to learn how to play the piano!
    Thanks for posting all the photos and telling us about your trip. An absolute super read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But your Windsor has a castle, Hugh. We don’t have any of those here! I had a cloudy ale in the Macquarie Arms – very good. I also tried Bulmer’s pear cider and I really liked that! I had a British pear cider when I was in London, too, which was excellent. We have many boutique breweries here in Australia. Perth has quite a few.

      Glad you enjoyed my post Hugh. Visiting Windsor was so inspiring with it’s rich history. I still have a couple of posts to write about my trip! 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks Karen. I had fun writing it. I didn’t realize how interesting Australian history can be. I recall being a bit bored with history at school. But when I visit these old historic places they bring it to life.

      Like

  4. Really interesting history, I know something about Australia, but not much, this did level up my knowledge a bit. I like the church a lot, a different style with clear colors. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s