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About the Hawkesbury

History of the Hawkesbury

Discovered in 1789, The Hawkesbury is one of the earliest colonial settlements in Australia and with many of the area’s original buildings surviving from that era creates a  “time capsule” of Australian Colonial History. The atmosphere of the historic towns of Windsor, Richmond and St. Albans, together with the quaint rural settlements of Kurrajong, Bilpin, Lower Portland, Ebenezer, Pitt Town, Colo and Wiseman’s Ferry, contributes to the uniqueness of this truly picturesque area. For locations of Hawkesbury historic and heritage sites, please refer to the Heritage map links at right.

Since 1794, when the first settlers arrived to farm their 30 acres the area has been supplying fresh produce to Sydney. This continues today with many of the descendants from the first settlers still working and living in the district.

Take a walk around Windsor and you will see Colonial buildings still being used for their original purposes. The Macquarie Arms Hotel, first licensed in 1815 is still serving drinks to thirsty travellers. If you have a brush with the law, your fate will still be decided at the Windsor Court House designed by Sir Francis Greenway, built in 1822, or you could do your penance at St. Matthews Anglican Church, another Francis Greenway structure built in 1817.
As you walk through narrow streets of Windsor many examples of the 1840’s style architecture you will see are still used today as residential homes.

Just a few kilometres away from Windsor is the township of Richmond, where there are numerous historical buildings. The Richmond School of Arts is still administered as an entertainment venue by the same society established in 1861.
Apart from the historical churches, post office building and courthouse, there are a number of Victorian mansions still in their full glory. These can be seen along March Street, West Market Street and Windsor Street, most are still used as private residences.


The Hawkesbury, one of New South Wales’ best kept secrets, and only one hour north-west of Sydney.  With 17 small towns and villages to explore, 5 rivers, and more than 70% of our area being National Parks, The Hawkesbury is a haven for adventure and nature lovers, as well as for art and history lovers alike.

We invite you to visit The Hawkesbury and experience what this special place has to offer. Whether your interests lie in art, culture, history, water-skiing, swimming, canoeing (bring your own), bushwalking, horse-riding, or a wide  range of other sports, you will find The Hawkesbury caters for you. If it is retail therapy that you are looking for, you will love spending time exploring our many village shops and galleries, or you will find some fantastic bargains by visiting our local craft and food markets held regularly throughout the year. On the other hand you may simply wish to soak up the peace and quiet  while enjoying our magnificent scenery.

Whether your visit is for business or pleasure, fun or romance, for a day, a weekend or a week, our accommodation ranges from Caravan Parks and B & B’s, to Resorts, Cottages or Motels, catering for both your taste and your budget, you can be sure you will enjoy your visit to the Hawkesbury.