A monument to the 1867 flood that devastated the Hawkesbury was recently rediscovered at Windsor Public School, linking the walk along George Street back to a relevant piece of local history.
The flood, which saw water nearly 18 metres above the river’s usual level wash away people’s homes and divide the town of Windsor into two islands, is still the most devastating in the Hawkesbury’s long history of flooding. The monument is one of two markers in Windsor that indicate where the 1867 flood came up to – the other is on the wall near Macquarie Arms Hotel facing Thompson Square.
The monument was erected in 1969 by the Hawkesbury Historical Society to commemorate where the flood waters came up to. Though covered by hedges for many years, the Society was made aware of its existence in 2023 and worked with Windsor Public School’s principal Mike Watson to cut back the shrubs surrounding the display, allowing it to be seen while walking past the school on George Street.
Members of the Hawkesbury Historical Society, Mayor Sarah McMahon, Principal Watson and students from Windsor Public School were in attendance for the official reunveiling of the monument. Mayor McMahon spoke to the importance of this history to the Hawkesbury: “This find has been extraordinary.
Windsor is such a historically significant town, both for the Hawkesbury and the story of Australia. There has been plenty of work done by individuals and groups to bring this monument back into view.
Credit must be given to Principal Mike Watson for ensuring the shrubs that were covering the monument are now cut back to display it permanently. Windsor locals Grant Gerrish, Noel Bridge and AJ Papandrea have taken a keen interest in matters such as this, and along with local groups like the Historical Society, it’s wonderful that such a collaborative effort has occurred to revive this special tribute. Now that it’s on display again, I’m confident it will become part of the permanent fabric of Windsor’s historical narrative.”
The monument can now be easily seen from the outside of Windsor Public School; an important reminder of the Hawkesbury’s long history with flooding since Windsor was settled in 1791.