Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

We invite organisations to submit information for inclusion on this site. Please click here to email your information to the Directory Editor, Ros Stirling.

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 Windsor

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Windsor, located 56 kilometres north-west of Sydney, is one of Australia's oldest settlements. Modern development has today encroached on the town but a substantial number of its historic buildings are still standing.

Prior to European settlement the area was inhabited by the Dharug Aborginal people.

European exploration of the area began in 1789, when Governor Arthur Phillip entered the area looking for suitable farmland to supply food to Sydney Town. Governor Phillip found the Hawkesbury region suitable for this purpose.

The district and townsite, initially known as Green Hills, were settled in 1794 when the first 30 acre land grants were made to 22 settlers in the Hawkesbury region. These farmers soon began to produce almost half the food for Sydney Town.

Windsor's streets were not laid out until 1810 when Governor Macquarie planned the town, as one of the five 'Macquarie Town' settlements he laid out on higher ground after serious flooding of the district's plains. He named this town after the English royal town of Windsor.

The Macquarie Arms Hotel first opened in 1815 and was built at the behest of Governor Macquarie. Though it has not continuously operated as a hotel, it is still regarded as Australia's oldest inn. There have been numerous alterations to the original structure since 1815. A plaque on the hotel's wall indicates the height of the 1867 flood when the Hawkesbury River rose to almost 20 metres.

Governor Macquarie also requested the construction of the St Matthew's Church of England (1817-21) and the courthouse at Windsor (1821-22).

The convict-built St Matthew's Anglican Church (1817-20) was designed by ex-convict architect Francis Greenway and is considered his finest work. The graveyard pre-dates the church and is the resting place of some of the colony's early pioneers, including a number of those who arrived as part of the first fleet. Both the church and the rectory (1825) were built using sandstock bricks made by William Cox, who had earlier constructed the first road across the Blue Mountains.

Cox's 'Fairfield' house was built in 1833. A double-storey wing was added to the original building after it was bought by William McQuade, a Sydney theatre manager, in 1866.

The Georgian colonial courthouse (1822) is another of Greenway's designs and is still operating today.

A colonial terrace building known as 'The Doctors House' (1844) was built on the site of The Lord Nelson inn (1819). It takes its name from the medical practitioners who occupied it for over a century.

Peninsula House (1844) is home to the brick observatories constructed in 1879 by noted amateur astronomer John Tebbutt, who was born in Windsor in 1834. Some of Tebbutt's observations gained international recognition.

St Matthew's Church, Windsor (courtesy Paul Dudley)

Windsor is today the administrative centre of the Hawkesbury region.

Hawkesbury Historical Society Inc
Information: The Society (founded 1956) aims to promote and encourage the study of the history of the Hawkesbury and to collect matter and preserve matter relating to the history of the Hawkesbury.
Publications: Hawkesbury Historical Society Newsletter edited by Michelle Nichols.
Events: See the Society's website for updated list of events.
Address:

PO Box 293
Windsor NSW 2756

Website: http://www.hawkesburyhistory.org.au
   
Hawkesbury Regional Museum
Information: The Hawkesbury district has a long history including a rich indigenous cultural heritage established by the Darug people, as well as a distinctive built environment dating back to the earliest days of the colony. Hawkesbury Regional Museum conserves and interprets that heritage to residents and visitors, many of whom have family links to the area.

The museum comprises a new, purpose-built construction at 8 Baker Street, Windsor, and the heritage building known as Howes House at 7 Thompson Square. Together they form a unique cultural facility offering a high-quality museum experience. As well as a permanent exhibition on the themes River, Land, People, the museum offers a program of changing temporary exhibitions on a wide variety of subjects.

Opening Hours
Wednesday - Friday: 10am-4pm
Weekends:10am-3pm
Monday and Tuesday:Closed
Public holidays: Closed
School and group visits may be arranged for other times
Phone: 02 4560 4425
Address:

8 Baker Street (PO Box 146)
Windsor NSW 2756

Email: museum@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au
Website: www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au
   
Hawkesbury Family History Group
Information: The Group was established in 1982 and is a support & information group for family historians, is co-ordinated by the Hawkesbury City Council Library Service. Hawkesbury Family History Group does not have their own library as such but supports the Local Studies Collection of Hawkesbury City Council Library. The Local Studies Collection has a wide range of information about the Hawkesbury district with emphasis on the historical past particularly useful for both local & family historians. This collection is free to use by the public and is opened Monday to Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-1pm Sunday 2pm-5pm & closed public Holidays. For more information about the Local Studies Collections & holdings see www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/library/
Publications: Hawkesbury Crier (quarterly Journal) edited Michelle Nichols; Monthly New Sheet (free & online) www.hfhg.hawkesbury.net.au; Hawkesbury Pioneer Register Vol. 1 (1994); Hawkesbury Pioneer Register Vol. 2 (2001). Order form at www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/files/19457/File/familyHistoryGroupPub_OrderForm.pdf
Events: Monthly meetings, all welcome, no charge. Every 2nd Wednesday of the month (except January) 10am to 12noon at the Hawkesbury Central Library.
Contact: Michelle Nichols (Co-ordinator)
Phone: 02 4560 4466 during business hours
Address:

c/- Hawkesbury Central Library, 300 George Street
Windsor NSW 2756

Email: mnichols@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au
Website: http://www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/community/1029.html
   
Hawkesbury Tourism Visitor Information Centre
Information: Open weekdays from 9am to 5pm; Saturdays 9am to 4pm; and Sundays 9am to 3pm.
Phone: 1300 362 874; 02 4578 0233
Address:

Ham Common, Windsor-Richmond Road
Clarendon NSW

Postal Address:

PO Box 20
Richmond NSW 2753

Email: hawkesburytourism@pacific.net.au
Website: http://www.hawkesburytourism.com.au/
   
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