Old buildings are what Windsor does best!!

 One of the reasons I love living in the Hawkesbury so much is that just by popping down to the local shops to buy a paper, (or maybe a cupcake or two), you can almost literally bump into so much history. Last Sunday MD and I meandered around Windsor looking at the markets, (more about them next week), and enjoying the autumn sunshine…I couldn’t resist taking a few shots of these interesting buildings…

Spoiler alert…this might get a little factual so if you have an allergy to dates turn off now!

The town of Windsor itself became the third settlement in the colony in 1794 and is the first of what became known as the ‘Macquarie’ towns.It was originally named the picturesque ‘Green Hills’ but was changed to the slightly more boring ‘Windsor’ in 1810 by Governor Macquarie after the town in England.

The first post office in Windsor opened in 1828 and was housed in many different buildings, including The Doctor’s House – more on that in a minute. This post office was built in 1879, it is now used as office space…

I’m afraid I could only get this close and had to shoot over the fence because this house is lived in by some lucky person…

This building is the very cute home of the National Australia Bank…I’m not sure but I think it was originally built as a bank, does anyone know for sure? There is another bank building at the other end of the paved mall that is now the home of a restaurant called ‘Vault 146’, the wine is stored inside the original vault, you can still see the heavy steel doors, it’s really cool – I’ll do a post on it sometime soon…

If this building looks a tad familiar it’s because I used some of the detail around the beautiful door for the banner at the top of my blog! It’s known as ‘The Doctor’s House’ and was built in 1819 as a pub called ‘The Lord Nelson’. From 1876 onwards the house was occupied by a succession of doctors – the first being a Dr Fiaschi, hence the name!

It sits proudly on the best piece of real estate in Windsor, right down on the banks of the Hawkesbury river and practically next door to another famous pub – The Macquarie Arms, which was opened in 1815, so that probably explains why it didn’t work as (another) pub.

Segueing in nicely with the medical theme, this is the hospital. It was built, (as you can see from the dates over the door), in 1818 as a convict barracks, then was converted into a hospital for prisoners in 1823. In 1846 it was operated as a facility for the poor, aged and sick by the cutely named ‘Hawkesbury Benevolent Society’, then ran as a fee paying hospital from 1879. It was closed in 1996 when we got our spiffy new hospital literally across the road.

Now, I have some personal experience with this next one…the courthouse…and no, I wasn’t up before the beak…I sat in the public gallery for a day and watched as the cases were heard, (it was research for a novel I was writing: a sad tale of a lady who is convicted of a crime she wasn’t responsible for and the effects it has on her life as a ‘good’ wife and mother), anyway, it is a beautiful building and inside is just as it would have been back in the day…fascinating if you like that kind of thing!! I was sitting in the gallery trying hard to follow the legal arguments and court procedures and all I could think about was the history of the room itself… 

It was built in 1822 and designed by famous convict architect Francis Greenway, according to the sign out front it is the oldest purpose built courthouse in Australia. Inside in the public gallery is hung an 1820’s portrait of Governor Macquarie – apparently it was originally hung behind the magistrates chair but was damaged when during a rather rowdy public meeting it got hit by an egg! It was removed, restored and can now be seen safely resting inside the courtroom.

Anyone can tour inside the courtroom, of course as long as court is not is session!

Are you getting over saturated with dates yet? OK here’s just one more and I promise I’ll finish…

This is Tebbutt’s observatory, made famous by an astronomer named John Tebbutt who lived his whole life in the Hawkesbury. In 1861 he found ‘the great comet’ which was imaginatively named Comet Tebbutt 2 – I have no idea why it was 2, can any astronomers out there can tell me? His first observatory was built in 1863, but then demolished to make way for a bigger telescope in 1874…that’s the round building in the last picture! The square building was built in 1879.

And this is his house…I couldn’t get any closer because it’s lived in now…it’s called ‘Peninsular house’ and was built in 1845.


10 Comments to “Old buildings are what Windsor does best!!”

  1. Enjoyed your post. Also like popping into Windsor on occasion – UK, that is…!

    • Your site is really interesting…you are so lucky to have so much history at your fingertips… here in Aus we think something is old if it’s from the 1800’s! Also loved the photos of the cakes…would you mind if I added you to my blogroll?

  2. Very beautiful series. The architecture of these buildings is really interesting. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  3. What a lovely tour You made to us to take a tour with You in Windsor. I love very much from the photos of Doctor’s house. The balcony was very different than we have here.

    Thank You. Have a happy Sunday!

  4. Ohh I loved this post!! My family are convict descendants, My ggggmother is buried practically in the main street! at the St Mathews cemetery. (Catherine Hogan,I think her stone has fallen over recently)
    My aunt and uncle lived in what was a house opposite the Macquarie Arms Hotel, It is now offices of some sort.

    “the Doctors House”………… back in 1981, I was nursing training and met a 99yr old patient who had been a servant at the doctors house. She told stories of scrubbing the front steps, polishing the brass nameplate and emptying fire grates.He as apparently a lovely man and she was sad when he retired,died or left(I cannot remember now).

    funnily enough, most pple in the “hawksbury bowl” were connected by intermarraige up until the late 60’s when people became more mobile and started moving away.

    you should review murrumburrah ,nice little village.

    • Thanks Bernadette…I’ve always loved the doctor’s house, perhaps because it calls up images of the past like you describe…I think people are living in it again now, how nice would that be, it would certainly have a lovely view!! We’ll try Murrumburrah, thanks for the tip, it’s difficult to find new places to go, (partly why I started this blog), if you’ve got anymore suggestions let me have ’em. Have a lovely weekend…

  5. Best time to come down this way is in spring, rolling plains are green, fields are planted with canola flowing so glorious yellow, makes beautiful photos. Once on the Olympic Way you go through Binalong which is where Henry Lawson was born (I think) well there is a monument in the park of him for some reason. There is the lovely Swann Inn,an original Cobb and co inn, with links to bushrangers Ben Hall and John Gilbert. Gilberts grave is just over the bridge.

    In Harden/Murrumburrah,
    Murrumburrah is starting to come along with little crafty shops in the origianal old buildings and a “make it bake it grow it” markets once a month. There is the Witchcraft cottage, that does light meals, devinshire teas and sells crafty items and the Terracotta Restraunt and also the lovley Old Commercial Hotel, that does fabulous home style meals.

    I need to visit Windsor, Richmond again, it’s so long since I’ve been there, much of my childhood memories are there.

    • That sounds lovely…thanks again for the tip…my parents lived for awhile at Grenfell, their house was the first cobb and co stop, the founder of the company lived in it with his family – it was gorgeous but just a little bit spooky!

  6. oh the house in Grenfell sounds great 🙂 I’ve only been over there once, must go again and visit the “castle” Its not far from Grenfell think its called Illuka Castle, it’s only open a few times a year.

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