The early settlers of the Windsor district near Sydney were accustomed to damaging floods from the Hawkesbury River but nothing could have prepared them for what happened in 1867. The River rose almost 20m and created an inland sea from Windsor to the Blue Mountains. The town was cut off and hundreds of people sought refuge on the remaining higher ground. Damage throughout the district was on an unprecedented scale.

The community had scarely recovered from this catastrophe when, in 1874, much of the town was destroyed in a few hours by fire. Many who had lost their possessions in the great flood suffered again from the fire.

The book gives a detailed account of these two dramatic episodes and describes how the community succeeded in re-establishing itself after much suffering and hardship. It is a story of destruction, heroism and resilience in the face of repeated adversity which has become part of the folk memory of the Hawkesbury.


Disastrous Decades - Flood & Fire in Windsor 1864 - 1874 by Michelle Nichols