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The Hawkesbury has a rich history, explore this by visiting and seeing inside some of the most interesting buildings. If only the walls could talk!
In Windsor, this former residence, inn and newspaper office stands on part of an allotment made to John Howe in 1811. From 1962 to 2000 the building housed a museum, run by the Hawkesbury Historical Society, and is now part of the award-winning Hawkesbury Regional Museum. Howe House is open on weekends and on weekdays by appointment. The Museum itself is open 6 days a week Wednesday to Monday 10am-4pm.
Macquarie Arms Hotel
The Macquarie Arms Hotel in Windsor is the oldest hotel building in Australia. Interestingly the building has not had continuous liquor licence and therefore often has to defend and clarify the title. The building is a two storey brick Georgian building with cellar and attic rooms was built in 1815. Although there have been extensive additions, much of the original interior woodwork is still intact, including the elegant staircases and colonial fanlights. A plaque on the garden wall facing the square indicates the height of the Great Flood of 1867, when the river reached 19.3 metres. Open 7 days, call in for a drink or a classic pub meal.
First opening in 1935 with ‘My Heart is Calling’, the Regent in Richmond was designed by Moore & Dyer in the Art Deco style with Spanish Mission influence, and is similar in style to the Parramatta Roxy. The Theatre is still trading, and has retained it’s original style and shows current and classic films. All tickets are $12, and there is a fully stocked candy and refreshment bar. Popcorn anyone?
Australiana Pioneer Village
Experience the authentic 1810 Village Streetscape including a bank, police station, shearing shed and more at Australiana Pioneer Village. Having been used to preserve some of the area’s historic buildings relocated to the site from the 1970’s, the village was purchased by Hawkesbury City Council in 1984 and the buildings were listed on the NSW Heritage Register in 2004. Some of the re-sited buildings include the Black Horse Inn stables from Richmond, Bowd’s Sulky Shed from Wilberforce, Marsden Park Public School and the Kurrajong Railway Goods Shed. Now run by volunteers, it opens every Sunday and on public holidays (except Anzac Day) from 10am to 4pm. At just $15 for family entry, it’s a great day out.
Tizzana Winery at Ebenezer was built by Dr Thomas Fiaschi in 1887, to process the grapes grown on his acreage at Sackville Reach. The original winery consisted of a two-storied sandstone structure for living quarters and cellars, attached to a three-storied building to process the grapes. Today this National Trust classified building again manufactures its own wines from grapes grown on the property. The attraction offers wine tasting on weekends (and other times by appointment), hosts functions and has luxury B&B accommodation for visitors. So you can call in to sample the wine or even stay for a while!
The Ebenezer Church is the oldest church in Australia and is still in use today. Commencing use in 1809, (services had been held under the gum tree opposite the church in the years prior) the iconic rectangular sandstone building and it’s outbuildings and additions are excellent examples of early colonial architecture. The cemetery in the churchyard is recognised as historically being one of the most important cemeteries in Australia. The church, grounds and schoolmaster’s house is open each day for visitors who are welcome to take a self-guided tour or indulge in a delicious Devonshire tea (available 10am to 3pm).
Wisemans Inn Hotel & Cobham Hall Museum
Cobham Hall was built in 1826 by convict laborers, constructed of hand-hewn Hawkesbury sandstone which is mostly still intact today. Red gum rafters can be seen throughout the roof structure as well as lime made from crushed, cooked oyster shells in the mortar of the walls. The home was later transformed into a hotel. The Hotel is open 7 days and offers a family friendly bistro, with plenty of space for the kids to entertain themselves in the ‘backyard’. The museum focusing on the history of the building throughout its lifespan is located upstairs in the hotel and is open 1pm to 3pm on Weekends & public holidays, with free entry.
For more information on these, and other historic locations refer to the Hawkesbury Towns Heritage Highlights booklets, available online or pick up a copy from the Hawkesbury Visitor Information Centre, open 7 days.