On Sunday 237 family members came along for the ride to enjoy the beautiful country sides in 5 chartered buses.
The area around the present town of Windsor was known as Green Hills when in 1810 Governor Macquarie founded and named the townships that are now called “The Five Macquarie Towns” – Windsor, Richmond, Wilberforce, Pitt Town and Castlereagh. Each was established on high ground so the inhabitants could avoid the repeated floods that had devastated the early settlements. Windsor and Richmond were so named because they reminded Governor Macquarie of those areas bearing the same name in England. Castlereagh was named in honour of Lord Viscount Castlereagh, Pitt Town in honour of the memory of William Pitt, the man who originally planned the colony, and Wilberforce after the patriot and humanist William Wilberforce. Produce from the Hawkesbury farms was sent to Sydney by boat and so quite early a new industry evolved on the banks of the river. Boat building flourished for many years and in 1817 a wharf capable of taking 300 ton vessels was built at Windsor. Henry Snr. and Jnr. plied Henry’s vessel “he Contest” along the Hawkesbury River from Sydney Cove to Windsor. Thus being familiar to the area of Windsor, where he later moved his family.
Many large vessels were built between Richmond and Pitt Town on the Hawkesbury River, some of which sailed to New Zealand to take part in the sealing trade. Vessels big and small plied the Hawkesbury until the silting of the channel in early 1880’s prevented larger vessels from using the river. Steam ships entered the river trade as early as 1893 and carried virtually all the produce – including atone fruit, maize and melons – down river to the Sydney markets.
Today on this bus tour we will drive through parts of the Hawkesbury area (see above) where Henry Snr took his family in 1811. While Henry’s children George, William Susannah and Henry Jnr moved to Bathurst and The Oaks/Camden (respectively) remaining family members Diana, Eunice, John and Edgar remained in the Windsor area. Charles Dickenson, and later other descendants, traveled to live in Queensland with many descendants moving to many other States of Australia and Internationally. In the townships (see map above) Henry had connections through land grants, a business or other descendant. But mostly driving through the area, the experience of viewing the area is akin to “walking in our ancestors footsteps”. In following the map above chronologically the words of Richard Llewellyn sums up this experience as stated in his well read novel “How Green was my Valley”:
“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who are to come.
I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers,
and in front, to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.
As I felt, so they had felt, and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning, and no end,
and the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand, and his hand was in mine,
and my unborn son took my right hand, and all,
up and down the line stretched from Time That Was, to Time That Is,
and is not yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, had in the Image,
fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the eternal Father.
I was one of them, they were of me, and in me, and I in all of them.”
Or as simply stated by the Fellowship of First Fleeters “To live on in the hearts and minds of Descendants is never to die’.
There is a Push for five Macquarie Towns to gain state heritage listing.