A little over an hour by road or train, 55km north west of Sydney, you’ll find the historic Windsor Township. Set on a high bank of the magnificent Haweksbury River, at the foot of the Blue Mountains and surrounding National Parks.
In 1810 Governor Lachlan Macquarie established the township of Windsor which was previously known as ‘Green Hills’. Windsor, as a river port, became the lifeline of the early Sydney settlement as the colony’s granary. Now, 200 years later, the pioneering spirit of our early settlers, and thousand years of Dharug Aboriginal history can be experienced throughout the Hawkesbury Valley.
Visit the Hawkesbury Museum of local history and its RAAF display, or many other places of historic significance.
A fine colonial town
Apart from Sydney, the first planned, permanent settlements in Australia were on the Hawkesbury River. Governor Lachlan Macquarie set out there in 1789 to find arable farmland.
Industrial development has bypassed the region and farms and bush predominate. Of the five “Macquarie Towns” established on rich agricultural land around the Hawkesbury, Windsor is best preserved. It was planned around a town square on the English model and its wealth of fine colonial buildings gives it an early 19th-century flavour. It’s about an hour from Sydney by road or rail.
Perhaps begin at the Macquarie Arms Hotel (1811) with its fine cedar staircase and colonial veranda. It’s claimed to be the oldest pub in Australia. Drop into the Hawkesbury River Museum and Tourist Information Centre for maps and information. Don’t miss St Matthew’s Anglican Church (1817-20) and the Courthouse (1822). Both are the work of Francis Greenway, a convicted forger whom Governor Macquarie pardoned. Greenway turned out to be highly talented and went on to become the colony’s official architect.
Other points of historical interest include The Doctor’s House (1844) and Peninsula House and Observatory. For a remarkable dining experience, try Clydesdales Restaurant, a horse-drawn dining car (restored 1890s horse-drawn bus) that serves cocktails and full silver-service meals for up to eight guests while clip-clopping around Windsor. It claims to be the only such service in the world. Bookings are essential.
Activites and Experiences at Windsor
- Coach Stop
- Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale
Nearest Airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Mascot