Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - History -

Stand on the banks of the Hawkesbury River at the wharf west of Thomp­son Square and imagine the year is 1810. Gover­nor Lach­lan Mac­quarie has spent the last few days of De­cem­ber sur­vey­ing the coun­try­side and de­cided to name sites for new vil­lages, and change this place, known as Green Hills, to Wind­sor. Mac­quarie es­tab­lished the vil­lage sites on high ground since the river has flooded reg­u­larly, sweep­ing away farm­houses, crops, an­i­mals and some res­i­dents to their death. These Mac­quarie towns were Wil­ber­force, Pitt Town, Castlereagh, Wind­sor and Rich­mond. Wind­sor be­came the pre­mier town hav­ing river ac­cess to the sea, the only way farm pro­duce could be con­veyed to set­tle­ment in Syd­ney.

Gover­nor Arthur Phillip had named the area Rich­mond Hill in 1789 and Wind­sor was the sis­ter town up­stream on the River Thames in Surrey, Eng­land.

Gover­nor Arthur Phillip re­turned to Eng­land and Ma­jor Fran­cis Grose was left in charge of the colony. He set­tled twenty two of­fi­cers of the New South Wales Corps and some con­victs who had com­pleted their sen­tences on large parcels of land on the banks of the Hawkesbury in 1794. Boat build­ing flour­ished en­abling the farm­ers to ship veg­eta­bles eas­ily to Syd­ney. Wa­ter-pow­ered flour mills were also built to take ad­van­tage of the tidal flow of the river. The first mill to grind lo­cally grown grain was built in the mid­dle of the town in 1816. At one stage there were twenty six wa­ter-mills along the Hawkesbury-Ne­pean river sys­tem.

A road was built from Par­ra­matta to Wind­sor to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tions between set­tle­ments and Richard Rouse was com­mis­sioned to erect Toll Gates and col­lect a fee to pay for the road. The Toll House may still be seen in Wind­sor at the west­ern end of South Creek Bridge.

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