Community News-part 8

Commemorating the Great Flood of 1867

Hawkesbury City Council and the local community will mark the anniversary of the June 1867 Great Flood with various events and activities around Thompson Square, Hawkesbury Regional Museum and Howe House from Friday, 23 June through to Sunday, 25 June.

Although there have been many floods since European settlement, there has still been nothing in the Hawkesbury that compares with the 1867 flood, which had a recorded peak flood level of over 19 metres at Windsor Bridge.

The 1867 flood extended from Riverstone to the foothills of the Blue Mountains – areas that were never affected previously were covered with water, and houses and livestock were destroyed. Twelve members of the Eather family lost their lives in the flood when they were swept from the roof of a house in Cornwallis.

Long droughts followed by high rainfalls led the Hawkesbury to experience 27 floods in the 19th Century.

A lot of new settlers put their homes and farms close to the riverbanks. During times of flood, this resulted in the loss of human life, housing, livestock and crops. Hundreds of people lost their homes and were made destitute. Agriculture in the Hawkesbury also suffered heavy losses as stock and crops were swept away.

In the 20th Century, three significant Hawkesbury floods were recorded (15.1 metres flood level in 1961, 14.5 metres in 1961 and 14.3 metres in 1978).

For more information about Hawkesbury floods, visit Hawkesbury Regional Museum’s current Flood! Exhibition; look up historic newspaper accounts on Trove and refer to local historian Michelle Nichols’ book, Disastrous decade: flood and fire in Windsor 1864-1874 (Deerubbin Press, 2001).

Infrastructure NSW has launched Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities – the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy which is available at media/59396/insw_hnvfloodstrategy__1_.pdf

Enhancements to Castle Hill and Sackville Cemeteries approved

Castle Hill and Sackville Cemeteries are set to be revitalised.

The Hills Shire Council has approved plans to enhance site amenity and burial capacity at Castle Hill and Sackville Cemetery sites. For Castle Hill approximately 5,000 new spaces will be provided with around 2,075 at Sackville Cemetery. The Plan intends to improve visitor experience through the provision of wayfinding signage, safer access and the beautification of garden and bush settings.

The Concept Plan for Castle Hill Cemetery also includes a dedicated reflection and memorial garden area.

Veterans’ Health Week to promote physical activity in veterans

Federal Member for Mitchell, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, welcomed the announcement Government grant money was available to support events organised by local Ex-Service Organisations and community groups in Mitchell for Veterans’ Health Week 2017.

Veterans Health Week (VHW) will run from Saturday, 21 October, to Sunday, 29 October, with the theme of ‘physical activity’.

Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) and community groups with a link to the veteran community in Mitchell could apply for funding to support an activity that was relevant to the theme of physical activity. Veterans’ Health Week 2017 will highlight the importance of improving and maintaining good physical health. The VHW funding application form, information kit, resource guide and other documentation to assist activity organisers are available on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website ( week) Applications close on 31 July, 2017

$20K to $100K grants open for community tree planting projects

Federal Member for Mitchell, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, encourages community groups, organisations and individuals to start their own tree planting projects by applying for grants under Grant Round Three of the 20 Million Trees Program. Up to $6 million is now available for grants between $20,000 and $100,000 for tree planting projects that will put back threatened bushland and support threatened species. With 13.4 million trees already contracted for planting, today’s announcement will ensure that the 20 million trees election commitment target is met. The 20 Million Trees Grant Guidelines: Round Three are also now available and applications close on 15 August 2017. The 20 Million Trees initiative is an important part of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. More information is available at million-trees

Bushrangers of the Hunter Valley

The Dharug and Lower Hawkesbury Historical Society are pleased to welcome on Saturday, 29th July, Greg Powell, the Lake Macquarie author and bushranger devotee. For the past 40 years Greg has been gathering information on the historic encounters of bushrangers and where and when they operated within NSW and Victoria’s wild colonial past.

Please join us as we listen to fascinating tales from Greg’s new book ‘Bushranger Tracks’ which highlights the many colourful individuals of our bushranger history in the Hunter Valley with the escapees, murders, robberies and captures of a wide array of bushranger characters.

This area was a real nest of bushrangers, from the convict days including the (in)famous Captain Thunderbolt, an expert horseman and bushman, who began his career in the Hunter Valley with robberies out at Tocal and Paterson. He was Australia’s longest surviving bushranger who took refuge in Barrington Tops and roamed the region around Uralla and the North West Slopes before being shot and killed at Kentucky Creek in 1870.

And in the 1920’s there was a lady bushranger, Jesse Hickman, who was accused of murdering her third husband; she was a successful cattle duffer who hid in a cave in the Hunter Valley, south-west of Muswellbrook before dying and being buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave at Newcastle’s Southgate Cemetery.

Greg will commence his talk at the Wesleyan Chapel, 6445 Wisemans Ferry Road, Gunderman at 1.30pm after a sumptious lunch at midday.

Cost: Members $ 15/ Non-Members $20. All welcome.

Bookings essential: [email protected] or 0405 321 478 (leave a message) by Wednesday, 26th July.

Come and be entralled with our colonial past.