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Leura Guidebook

Leura Guidebook

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Leura Streetscapes & Landscapes

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welcome to Windsor

While many of us think of Windsor as a country town, impressions and ambience from the hill above the Hawkesbury River offer the atmosphere of a small village. Petite shops and cafés line a single street - George Street. The pedestrian friendly Mall is home to an iconic waterwheel at the top end with a town clock and an historic post office as its book-end counterpart.

It is 1810. Windsor is the third city of a fledgling penal colony named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. On the highest ridge overlooking the river, the Macquarie Government erects a government store, a military barrack and a government house. Additional huts on the ridge provide rudimentary housing for convicts with little protection from cold or heat.

Early dates conflict but as early as 1795, a portion of land within spitting distance of the military barracks is preserved as a civic space for residents. Markets are a weekly event as produce is plentiful. Yet, punishment by flogging or hanging in this public space simultaneously entertains and terrorises residents.

By late 1810, the space is named Thompson Square, following the October death of wealthy emancipist settler, Andrew Thompson. Along with the construction of an essential wharf on the river's edge, Thompson Square and the government constructed buildings give the appearance of a small village. Macquarie's vision for a growing colony takes shape. This is Windsor.

From the top of George Street down to Hawkesbury Valley Way, early Windsor buildings still line each side. Bright umbrellas decorate The Mall protecting café fronts and providing a shady respite on hot summer days while the slow-turning waterwheel sends a cooling spray to those nearby. A charming ambience suggests that we slow our pace, enjoy a hearty breakfast or a lovely slow lunch and consider a late afternoon walk along the river.

Often our history - dates, places, wars and peace treaties - is not so captivating to many. But the historic buildings, homes and graveyards are part of the charm of this village. Contemplate the pathway from the wharf up to the cellar of Macquarie Arms pub. Bridge Street did not exist. Rumour has it that rum was carted from wharf to cellar in the dark of night. Along the way, though only a short distance, a barrel often disappeared!


HAWKESBURY REGIONAL GALLERY (WINDSOR) "STEEL: ART DESIGN ARCHITECTURE" - curatorial walk-through and artist talk with Seaton McKeon, Sunday 9 December 1-3pm. This is a winner of an exhibition -- large number of artists' work exhibited. (festive drinks and nibbles) 

PURPLE NOON GALLERY, 606 TERRACE ROAD, FREEMANS REACH. ABORIGINAL ART EXHIBITION & SALE. Give the gift of art for Christmas. Purple Noon exhibition offers discounts on some amazing art.  0409 661 662 . Hours: Open Wed–Fri 10am–5pm, Weekends 11am–4pm

THE HOME STORE 189 GEORGE STREET is open every day as you plan your Christmas shopping. Get a head start on all those holiday decorations

SYDNEY WINE TRAIL in the Hawkesbury. Get up and get out into the beautiful rural countryside. A 'tasting' Sunday is just what the doctor ordered! Ask about the Tizzana Winery 'box of wines' for a Christmas gift. A Sunday Tasting

PURPLE NOON GALLERY EXHIBITION.  'Cut & Formed on the Plains'  works by sculptor Lucy McEachern and printmaker, Vida Pearson. Exhibition closes January 2019. 606 Terrace Road, Freemans Reach. See our Blog.for details 

HAWKESBURY HARVEST FARMERS & FINE FOODS MARKET.   2nd & 4th Saturdays each month. Castle Hill Showground -- it's blooms, bacon beans (coffee) and bread (yummy) from 8 - noon. (Free entry) For details; 0406 237 877

WANT TO BE HAPPY OR PERHAPS JUST A LITTLE HAPPIER? VOLUNTEER... The Hawkesbury Museum and the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery need your happiness! Volunteering is just what these scientists say is best for our state of mind!  Call the volunteer coordinator today: 02 4560 4439

HAWKESBURY CENTRAL LIBRARY, WINDSOR. Author talks, Free Movies, Family History, Workshop of all types, Cemeteries, Inner Resources (yours) and Storytelling. Wonderful Activities


WINDSOR SUNDAY MARKETS ON THE MALL. 9 am - 3pm Lots of crafts, fresh produce, local honey and food stalls. Cafes are open so make this your Sunday shopping go-to place!

HAWKESBURY REGIONAL GALLERY: ART AND DEMENTIA TOURS ON THIRD TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT 11AM. Bookings are essential. These workshops are designed for those living with Dementia and for their carers. Facilitated by gallery staff (specially trained by Alzheimer's Australia) the experience offers an enriching program. Bookings 02 4560 4418.


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On this website we include...

  • Did You Know?

You will find facts - morsels and tidbits which we hope will make history fun. History clues and travel tips are listed throughout the website.

  • Floods, Facts or Fiction:

Life in Windsor is varied but not atypical - politics, weather, the economy and gossip are always hot topics.

  • Play & Stay, Eat and Shop...

This edition is made possible through the continued cooperation and effort of sponsors - enthusiastic and industrious proprietors who love Windsor.

  • We post our blog fortnightly -- Come on board

Hawkesbury Visitor Information

Address: Ham Common, Hawkesbury Valley Way, Richmond
Phone: 1300 362 874; 02 4560 4620
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm; Weekends, 9am to 4pm

Hawkesbury Regional Museum

Address: 8 Baker Street, Windsor
Phone: 02 4560 4655
Hours: Open daily 10am-4pm. Closed Tuesday, available by appointment.