River History: Feast and Flood at Windsor WEA Sydney

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Available Classes

Knowing the history of the colonizing of the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley can help us make sense of the 2022 floods. In looking back, we learn how we may proceed. First and second settlers, Darug and then British, learned about the power and bounty of the river, Dyarubbin. There was contact and also conflict between these two wildly different cultures. Using primary and secondary sources, students will be prepared for interpreting the structures and landscape on the Windsor walk. This course can also be taken on its own.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Karskens, G. (2020) People of the River: Lost worlds of early Australia, Allen & Unwin ISBN 9781760292232
  • Chater Forth, L. (2012) Margaret Catchpole: Her life and her letters, self-published ISBN 9780646565118
  • Tench, W. (2013) A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay: with an Account of New South Wales, its Productions, Inhabitants, etc. Cambridge University Press.
  • Stewart, L. (2015) Blood Revenge: Murder on the Hawkesbury 1799, Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 9781925078466
  • Cochrane, P. (2018) The Making of Martin Sparrow, Viking ISBN: 9780670074068


  • What can be known about pre-1788 Darug life
  • First contact
  • Flood-plains and colonial settlers
  • Lives of some of the inhabitants of St. Matthew’s cemetery, including shady dealings


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the Hawkesbury-Nepean (Dyarubbin) river system: tributaries, choke points, watershed
  2. Have the background to be able to interpret the Windsor walk
  3. Know about the frontier of the penal colony

Interested in this course? JOIN OUR WAITLIST to be notified when vacancies or future classes are available.