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Leura Guidebook

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You are invited to the launching of a new biography of a forgotten Hawkesbury hero at the Regional Hawkesbury Museum in Windsor on  7 October at 2pm.

Frederick Whirlpool is a name not likely in your databank, whether online or in your memory. But the fascinating story is one that fills huge gaps in the life of an ordinary man whose life deserves factual interpretation. Buried in an unmarked grave in Windsor, his is an anguished narrative.


Arriving in Victoria in 1859, Fredrick became a volunteer rifleman and school teacher, but his story begins much earlier in Ireland and before joining the East India Company Army.

East India Company Insignia


   Alan Leek

Historian and decorated veteran of the NSW Police force, retired Superintendent Alan Leek writes of the first Victoria Cross pinned to an Australian uniform -- of Whirlpool's valour during the Indian Mutiny which earned him the VC but left him with severe sword wounds and ultimately ended his military career.


'The Campaign in India 1857 - 58'   a series of 26 coloured lithographs by William Simpson, E Walker and others, after G F Atkinson, published by Day and Son, 1857-1858.


Repulsed by fame, Frederick fled Victoria and hid his Cross after he attempted to join the Victorian Police and was rejected due to corruptiom and unsolicited political interference. Fragments of Whirlpool's life were known but since 1895 according to Leek, 'they have been tainted by error, guesswork and in one recent British work, pure fantasy.' The author of this biography reveals Frederick's true identity and his early life in Ireland solving an old mystery and telling the story of heroism, suffering and failure of the sad and enigmatic hero. 


"Frederick Whirlpool VC (Australia's Hidden Victoria Cross)"  by Alan Leek will be launched at the Regional Hawkesbury Museum in Windsor on  7 October at 2pm.


The Sydney Wine Trail

The weather has been quite nippy of late, windy on many days, and night comes upon us before we are ready -- all reasons for staying put!  But this last week of July, cloudless skies and warmer days have lifted our spirits and we are eager to get out of the house -- more than eager. Sunshine and the juice of the grape make the perfect daytrip to lift those winter blues!


The beautiful rural Hawkesbury region is now home to a surprising number of vineyards and three cellar doors. The Hawkesbury wines lay claim to a unique 'terroir' - a French classification, which defines the environmental conditions - the soil and weather in which the grapes are grown.


These boutique Hawkesbury cellar doors share a larger area once known in 1803 as Portland Head. It is here that Dr. Thomas Fiaschi, an Italian immigrant and surgeon, imported and planted the first vine cuttings from Italy and France in 1882.


In the Hawkesbury, every vintage is unique, affected by any unusual seasonal changes and the rich river soil, producing the tannin compounds in the grape. But large wine producers across Australia have dozens of vineyards and blend grapes from among these locations to maintain a product that is similar year after year. Not so with the grapes of the Hawkesbury... each year depending upon the variables will produce grapes unique to many variables. 


     Hawkesbury towns & villages


Bull Ridge Estate produces Verdelho, a dry white with a citrus, pineapple flavour and a hint of pear. Our vintner suggests this wine when serving chicken or fish. Among the four varieties in the 2014/15 crop, Bull Ridge produced two reds, Shiraz and Durif (Petite Sirah). The Shiraz is a lighter dry, perfect with summer lunches while the Durif is full bodied with more tannin - beautiful with a serving of lamb or beef.



The long-established Tizzana Winery (early photo above) in an historic and beautiful cellar produces a medium bodied dry red, 2015 Petit Verdot and a lighter Aleatico Rose from grapes grown at Tizzana Vineyard. A favourite in our household is the 2013 Clarissa, a dry red blend made from Shiraz, Tannat and grapes. The dominant aroma characteristics, berry and spice, are complemented by liquorice and coconut characters and aged with oak to make this medium bodied red the perfect accompaniment with red meats. Tizzana's production also includes Ambrose Rosé - made from Aleatico grapes which when slightly chilled ideally accompanies cheeses and nuts.


The cellar doors of The Sydney Wine Trail (Hawkesbury) are opened for tastings on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from noon to 6pm. Weekday tastings are by appointment.


    Tizzana Winery 


Tizzana Winery

Address: 518 Tizzana Road, Ebenezer
Hours: Open Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 12noon - 6pm
Phone: Please call for groups or weekday tastings: 02 4579 1150

Bull Ridge Estates

Address: 430 Bull Ridge Road, East Kurrajong
Phone: 0422 348 244
Open Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 12noon - 6pm

Appointments for groups or weekdays
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Jubilee Estates Vineyard

Address: 519 Tizzana Road, Ebenezer
Hours: Open Sat, Sun 12noon - 5pm 
Open hours vary so best to book
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    Hawkesbury countryside