Copyright 2024 - Windsor Cyclists

A Touch of History

A medium difficulty ride of about 63km with a focus on local history and scenic views of Hawkesbury countryside and foothills of Blue Mountains.

Starting point is Governor Phillip Park at Windsor.

Governor Phillip Park is a reserve at Windsor located on the bank of the Hawkesbury River near the junction with South Creek and about 600 metres north east of the Windsor Bridge. It was named after Governor Arthur Phillip, the first governor of the colony of NSW.

Ride straight ahead through the roundabout at Windsor bridge and past the Macquarie Arms Hotel on the right: Australia's oldest pub, built in 1815. The Macquarie Arms adjoins Thompson Square, where a whipping post for unruly convicts once stood and a set of stocks where people were punished for dunkenness.

Turn right at Baker Street, just before the start of Windsor Mall. Note the water wheel fountain. As you go down Baker Street you will pass the new Hawkesbury Regional Museum. Worth a look some time.

Baker Street takes you down onto The Terrace and along a very pleasant park running beside the Hawkesbury River. A great place for a picnic on a hot day.

Continue along The Terrace and up a short rise until you come to the road to the right immediately before St Matthew's Church of England.

The foundation stone of Francis Greenway’s St Matthew’s Anglican Church was laid by
Governor Lachlan Macquarie in October 1817. The St Matthew’s Rectory and Stables
(1824-5) were built by William Cox, Principal Magistrate to the colony of New South Wales, 1810 - 1837.

Turn right down Greenway Crescent, noting some interesting old houses on the right. Stop and read the plaques if you have time. Continue over the bridge at the bottom of the hill and go straight ahead along Cornwallis Road. You are now in The Lowlands, a very rich flood plain that once grew a vast area of vegetables for the Sydney market but is gradually being been taken over by turf farms. Cornwallis Road takes you down towards and then along the river. There are some quite old farms along this stetch of the river, many on stilts as protection against the floods.

Turn left at Cupitts Lane and continue up until you come to a T-intersection, up a short rise. Turn right into Dight Street which takes you along the back of the RAAF base. Note Clarendon Park on the right. Some parts of this property are dated from the 1820s. Associated with William Cox.

Turn left at Clarendon Street just pass the RAAF lawn cemetery and right into Pitt Street: a pleasant, quiet tree lined street. Then right into Bowman Street and left into Jersey Street. This will take you past the old Richmond Presbyterian Cemetery. The cemetery dates from the 1860s with a number of headstones recording the deaths of babies including the earliest Elizabeth Perry in 1863. Famous local names include Phillip Charley [d. 1937]. Charley made his fortune when silver and lead were discovered at Broken Hill and built a palatial home at North Richmond called Belmont Park, now St John of God.

Continue along Jersey and into Bourke Street, across Windsor Street, the main road linking Richmond and Windsor and the level rail crossing at East Richmond and through the main gates of the old Hawkesbury Agriculural College, now the Hawkesbury Campus of the University of Western Sydney.

Hawkesbury Agricultural College was the first agricultural college of New South Wales, Australia. Established by Sydney Smith in Richmond, New South Wales in 1891, the college was incorporated into the University of Western Sydney in 1989. The magnificant entrance driveway is lined by huge Bunyah Pines.

Now in the UWS grounds, turn left before the circular drive into the main building block ahead into Castle Street and follow it around to the right into Science Road.

Turn left into Science Road, right into Resources Road and right again into Stable Square. Stables Square (1896) was completed to cater for the draught horses which, at the time, were the standard form of farm energy and the Blacksmiths Shop (1894) were built.
Both these buildings are reminders of a time when the horse was integral to all farming activity.

Ride through Stable Square onto Vines Drive and turn right. Follow Vines Drive all the way to the back gate of UWS at Londonderry Road. Leaving the grounds of UWS, turn right and then almost immediately left and into Southee Road. At the end of Southee Road cross Castlereagh Road into Inalls Lane, passing the white Mormon chapel on the left. At the T-intersection, turn right into Yarramundi Lane and then left into Old Kurrajong Road. Follow Old Kurrajong Rd round down and to the right, then onto the pathway across the North Richmond bridge.

In 1857 the Richmond Bridge Company was formed to replace the ferry over the Hawkesbury River at North Richmond with a bridge. A wooden bridge was built, the first over the Hawkesbury River and opened in 1860.

You are now on Bells Line of Road. Just before the North Richmond shopping centre and just past the pub, turn left into Pitt Lane and right into Riverview Street. At the intersection, turn left into Grose Vale Road. It's a bit of a climb now up onto the ridge. There are great views across pasture land towards the Blue Mountains. You are overlooking part of the North Richmond property of P A Yeomans who developed a sustainable irrigation system here in the 1950s. His 'keyline' system now influences the organic farming movement around the world. This historic property is currently under threat of redevelopment into a housing estate.

Continue on past St John of God Hospital. The property was purchased by Philip Charley in 1889 and he built the extravagant mansion also known as Belmont. It cost £56,000 to build. The Duke of Windsor stayed there as a guest in 1927. In 1951 Belmont was purchased as a hospital and is now known as St. John of God.

Just past the old Belmont gatehouse, turn left into Grose River Road. Enjoy a long downhill stretch until you come to Grose Wold Road on the right. This begins a rather long, but mostly gradual climb up to Kurrajong. Where Grose Wold Rd intersects with Grose Vale Rd, turn left. After another short climb, the road levels out and goes past Inniskellen Orchard Roadside Stall & Cafe. Most of the climbs for the day are now behind you. So a well deserved place to stop for a morning tea break. Very reasonably priced Devonshire Teas with great views. Good selection of local jams and herbs and spices for sale as well.

Follow Grose Vale Road into Kurrajong Village. Worth stopping for a look at local craft and antique shops. Ride through Kurrajong Village and across the new traffic lights at Bells Line of Road into Mill Rd. First right into Roxana Rd and then left into Comleroy Road. Great views both ways looking up towards the hills or back down to the plains below.

After about 7km turn right into East Kurrajong Road and follow it for about 11km until your reach Old East Kurrajong Road. Just for a bit of variety, the next few kilometres are unsealed but a reasonable, all weather surface, with a bit of corrugation on the steeper section. But all downhill!

Follow Old East Kurrajong Rd down until the intersection at Creek Ridge Rd. Turn right and follow it round to the left, past Spinks Rd on the right. Follow Creek Ridge Rd until it intersects with Kurmond Rd and turn right. Follow Kurmond Rd a short distance up past the High School. Then turn left down Hibberts Lane. This takes you down a short, steep and windy stretch of road called the 'Cork Screw'. But you really need to be riding UP this section to appreciate the name! Turn left into Freemans Reach Rd and along past the turf farms until you reach the T-intersection with Wilberforce Rd.

Turn right to cross Windsor Bridge. The traffic here can be quite heavy so take extra care and there's a short, sharp climb on the other side so be prepared for it. At the top of the hill turn left at the roundabout and follow George Street back to Governor Phillip Park.

Hope you enjoy the ride!