Hawkesbury Settlers Welcome Governor Macquarie 1810
There is no doubt, that the establishment of the township of Windsor, was, certainly, a notable event in the early history of New South Wales. The following article, refers to some of the circumstances relative to the foundation of that town.
The Hawkesbury River was discovered during the governorship of Captain Phillip, and the first settlement was made on its banks, in the year 1794. Up to the year 1810, the spot now occupied by the town of Windsor, was known as The Green Hills. From the time of the first settlement on the Hawkesbury, down to the arrival of Governor Macquarie in the colony, frequent floods had devastated the homes, farms, and crops of the colonists settled there. Shortly after Governor Macquarie entered upon his Government, he recognized the importance of the Hawkesbury district as "the granary of the colony," and decided, that some effort should be immediately made to protect, as far as possible, the homes, farms, and crops, of the settlers. Accordingly "in order to guard as far as human foresight could against such calamities," he decided to fix upon several sites where townships could be erected, which would be high and dry during flood time. He chose, among other places, the site upon which the town of Windsor now stands, and granted allotments of land in the newly-formed township to those settlers whose farms were so situated as to come within the influence of the waters of the Hawkesbury during an inundation.
These grants of land within the town were made an 'inseparable part' of those farms with out the town which were esposed to the ravages of the floods. Therefore, those town grants could not be disposed of or sold as separate properties.
The allotment of land given to each settler was proportioned to the size of his farm, and was given to him as a place of refuge for his family, his crops, and his stock; and he was expected to erect thereon a house, a corn yard, and a stockyard. It was decreed that those persons who thus obtained land under the foregoing provisions should build their houses either of brick or weatherboard ; and it was also necessary that every house so built should have a brick chimney and a shingle roof. No house was to be built lower than nine feet high, and each settler had to lodge a plan of his building with the district constable. To give the settlers in the vicinity some place of refuge during flood time, therefore, was the direct cause of the establishment of the town of Windsor
The Hawkesbury settlers from time immemorial have always been loyal subjects.
Even so far back as Governor Bligh's time, when the military deposed Bligh, the Hawkesbury settlers, almost to a man, remained loyal to him.
Bligh stated at the trial of Major Johnston, in England, that had he been able to escape from Sydney to the Hawkesbury, he would have been safe from the attacks of his enemies.
It was natural that after the appointment of a new Governor (Macquarie), the Hawkesbury settlers should exhibit the same loyalty to Bligh's successor, and this feeling was warmly continued throughout the long period of Macquarie's governorship,
The following is from the records, and whilst exhibiting loyalty, at the same time shows
the high opinion the settlers had of William Cox, the founder of the well-known family of that name, and, what is still more interesting, gives the names of the pioneer Hawkesbury settlers who helped to develop the resources, not only of this grand district, but of the then unknown interior.
Many, of their names are familiar to us, and descendents of some are still with us.
Quite an interesting chapter could be written of these old identities would time and space permit.
However, it is interesting to keep a record of the names of these pioneers who first, with axe and fire, prepared the way for agriculture, making the Hawkesbury the first granary of the colony, from which all its food supplies came.
It should. be remembered that only 16 years prior to the address being handed Macquarie,
Governor Phillip had placed the first Hawkesbury settlers - 22 in number on the banks of the Hawkesbury and at the mouth of South Creek.
Strange to say, none of the first settlers' names appear on the address.
HAWKESBURY SETTLERS' ADDRESS.
The following address from the settlers of the Hawkesbnry was presented on the
1st instant (Dec. 1810) to His Excellency the Governor Macquarie at Windsor (formerly the Green Hills),
by Thomas Arndell, Esq.
"1st December, 1810.
We, the undersigned settlers, residents of the Hawkesbuiy and its. vicinity, beg
leave respectfully to congratulate your Excellency on your arrival at this settlement,
and earnestly hope your Excellency will be pleased with the agricultural improvements and
industry that prevails here, and trust that the continuance of our exertions
Will ever merit your Excellency's approbation. We also beg leave to return our unfeigned thanks
for your Excellency's recent appointment of William Cox, Esq., as a magistrate at this
place-a gentleman who for many years has resided among us, possessing our esteem and confidence,
who, from his local knowledge of this settlement, combined with his many other good qualities,
will, we are convinced, promote your Excellency's benign intention of distributing justice and
happiness to all.
-Thomas Arndell,Thomas Hobby, Benjamin Carver, George Hall, Lawrence May, Robert Masters,
James Richards, Henry Baldwin, Paul Bushell, Robert Farlow, William Baker, John Yoel,
Thos. Matcham Pitt, James Blackman, John Merritt, John Cobcroft, John Gregory, Richard Norris,
William Heydon, Thomas Hampson, Daniel McKay, Daniel Fane, John Lyoner, Henry Murray,
John Jones, James Milaman, R. Fitzgerald, John Stevenson, Robert Wilson, Jonathan Griffiths,
Elizabeth Earl, G. Evans, John Bowman, Hugh Devlin, John Watts, William Eaton, David Bell,
James Welsh, Patrick Closhel, William Carlisle, Thomas Gordon, Caleb Wilson, Thomas Markwell,
Thomas Winston, William Baxter, Thomas Hagger, John Baylis, Donald Kennedy, Patrick Murphy,
Owen Tierney, William Shaw, John Dight, Roger Connor, Matthew Lock, Edward Pugh, William Small,
James Wall, William Faithful, William Simpson, Thomas Arkell, Charles Palmer, Thomas Weyham,
Elias Bishop, Thomas Spencer, Joseph McCoulding, Benjamin Baits, John Ryan. Robert Smith,
Paul Randall, John Wild, Benjamin South, William Etrel, Henry Lamb, Martin Mentz, Robert Guy,
John Harris, Thomas Cheshire, Stephen Smith, Thomas Lambley, Edward Field, Rowland Edwards,
George Collis, James Portsmouth, Pierce Collett, Jacob Russell, Thomas Appledore, William Dye,
R. Carr, John Leese, Thomas Cowling, John Embrey, John Benson, John Boulton, William Ezzy.
To which His Excellency, in a letter, on 5th December, 1810, was pleased to make the following answer.
Sir,-I beg you will make known to those respectable settlers of the Hawkesbury who signed the
address presented by you to me that I am much pleased with the sentiments it conveys,
and to assure them that it will always be an object of the greatest interest to me to promote
their prosperity by every means in my power. With this view I have fixed on ground for your
different townships (Windsor, Richmond, Wilberforce, Pitt Town) for the accommodation of
the settlers who have suffered so severely by the floods of the river; and by a
speedy removal to those situations of security, I hope they will enjoy the fruits
of that labor which, I am happy to observe, promises this season to be rewarded;
with one of the finest crops I ever beheld in any country.
I hope on my return to this part of the colony to find the new habitations built on an
improved and enlarged plan to those hitherto erected on the banks of the Hawkesbury.
I am very glad to find that my appointment of Mr.Cox has met with the satisfaction of
the settlers, and I have every reason to believe that he will fulfil the duties of his
office so as to gain the goodwill of all.
-I have, etc.,
Macquarie foresaw shortly after his arrival in the colony, that it was immediately necessary to assist the settlers to ensure regular supplies of food; it was a fortunate thing for Australia that they were assisted and encouraged by him at that period, for as the Hawkesbury district was the ' granary of the colony,' it is morally certain, that the destruction, by floods, of homes and farms, stocks and crops, would have precipitated famines, similar in nature, to that experienced at Port Jackson in 1792. The recurrence, of these famines must have impeded the progress of the colony. If, then, the progress of the colony had, at that time, been retarded, the opening up of Australia would never have proceeded so rapidly as it did. Therefore, in referring to the first days of Windsor, it will be seen, that the circumstances surrounding its foundation, not only proves Macquarie a prudent man, but also shows us that the Hawkesbury settlers, by supplying the colony with the means of its existence food helped very materially to promote the rapid growth of English colonization in Australia.
William Cox was appointed Magistrate after the death of Andrew Thompson.
Frank J. Brewer,1905
Windsor and Richmond Gazette
Windsor, NSW :1902-1945)
Friday 16 October 1903 Page 9
Transcription, ©Janilye, 2012