| Find Windsor
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.