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HAWKESBURY AUTHOR LAUNCHES NEW BIOGRAPHY SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2PM at the Hawkesbury Regional Museum, 8 Baker Street, Windsor.

Frederick Whirlpool is a name not likely in your databank, whether online or in your memory. But thIs fascinating story is one that fills huge gaps in the life of an ordinary man whose life deserves factual interpretation. Buried in an unmarked grave in Windsor, his is an anguished narrative. "Frederick Whirlpool VC (Australia's Hidden Victoria Cross)"  by Alan Leek will launch at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Sunday October 6 at 2pm.

 

 

WHIRLPOOL'S STORY

Arriving in Victoria in 1859, Fredrick became a volunteer rifleman and school teacher, but his story begins much earlier in Ireland and before joining the East India Company Army.

East India Company Insignia

Historian and decorated veteran of the NSW Police force, retired Superintendent Alan Leek writes of the first Victoria Cross pinned to an Australian uniform -- of Whirlpool's valour during the Indian Mutiny which earned him the VC but left him with severe sword wounds and ultimately ended his military career.

 

 

'The Campaign in India 1857 - 58'   a series of 26 coloured lithographs by William Simpson, E Walker and others, after G F Atkinson, published by Day and Son, 1857-1858.

 

Repulsed by fame, Frederick fled Victoria and hid his Cross after he attempted to join the Victorian Police and was rejected due to corruptiom and unsolicited political interference. Fragments of Whirlpool's life were known but since 1895 according to Leek, 'they have been tainted by error, guesswork and in one recent British work, pure fantasy.' The author of this biography reveals Frederick's true identity and his early life in Ireland solving an old mystery and telling the story of heroism, suffering and failure of the sad and enigmatic hero. 

 

Come celebrate an unsung hero, Frederick Whirlpool at the Hawkesbury Regional Museum on Baker Street, Windsor. October 6 at 2pm.

 

 

 

 

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A day-trip or a weekend overnight to Wisemans Ferry offers a change of pace... even in September's chilly weather and before the summer crowds hit the winding road down into this charming village. Wisemans Ferry continues to be a hotspot among our travels - it ts our definition of a village. Miniature, sleepy, it's an easy-going village alongside Old Northern Road and ending at the water's edge - at the ferries. The Hawkesbury River is big and wide and abuts this village.

 

Regardless of age or profession, you can unwind and slow down. It's a family haven; it's a getaway for singles and couples. History buffs love the old Wisemans pub. Families love the park at the river.  A museum. A gallery. Lawn bowls at the club. A restaurant with an upmarket menu. A burger at the kiosk and a quick trip across the river on the wonderful little ferries - who cares what the rest of the busy world is doing.

 

Start with a big breakfast and steaming hot coffe at Busby's in front of the fire. (Sat–Sun 8am to 4pm, Fri–Sat 9 am to 9pm)  Busby's CafeĢ Restaurant is stylishly modern, fresh and spotless. The verandah looks out to the bush and mountains, and the delightful fireplace is perfect in cooler months.

 

   

 

By 10am the Ferry Artists Gallery opens exhibiting metal sculpture, glass and ceramics and beautiful textiles. The work of several painters is always on display.  This is a charming and diverse petite gallery.

 

Take a ride on the Big Ferry and a short climb up the Great Old North Road -- a historic road with terrific signage. Our convict history is carved in sandstone here. The climb is strenuous, so take it slowly. Always carry water and wear a hat, no matter the weather! You will be shedding jackets before a halfway mark pictured below! Here you will perhaps turn back, head down the hill and back to your car for an early dinner at Wisemans Pub -- famous for its steaks and burgers.

 

The Old Great North Road walk, Dharug National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

 

From the National Park website, A Sunday morning climb  " Dharug National Park contains the Old Great North Road, one of 11 historic sites which form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. 

 

Wisemans Inn - more often referred to as 'the pub at Wisemans' – if an overnight is in your planning, Wisemans Inn has accommodation in the style of Solomon Wiseman's day. Rich wood antiques, drapes and new linens enhance each room. The rooms are reminiscent of a gentleman's country home of the 1800s.

 

In 2016, Wisemans Inn introduced a museum, Cobham Hall, on the first level. We were charmed by the authenticity and the artefacts on display. If you are as entranced as we are by life, architecture and construction from the 1800s you are in for a surprise - a pleasant one.

The Bistro serves up big meals -- purchase beer and beverages from the pub -- and claim a table in the large room. In cool weather, the huge fireplace is always a draw. If the day is mild, the patio tables fill quickly. Our experience: the service is prompt -- not much of a delay from kitchen to plate!

 

        

 

While you are in Wisemans before the crowds arrive, check out the campgrounds and riverfront accommodation for your summer fun. Rio Del Resort, Carinya and NSW  Ski Park are easily found.

 

NSW Ski Gardens  2916 River Road

Kiosk open weekends

Set alongside the river, NSW Ski Park is only a kilometre from Wisemans Ferry Village and a short distance past the Webb Creek Ferry dock. This ski park is a popular spot for all the big races - you'll want book and to claim your camp site early.

 

The ski grounds are quite casual, with caravan and camping facilities in a rustic and shady setting–just steps from the river. Showers are located with group amenities. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept under strict control.

 

Picnic and barbecue facilities are onsite and a weekend kiosk serves hot items, soft drinks and ice-cream. The facility is popular with waterskiers, fishermen and those who want a budget-minded holiday on the river. We often see international travellers at the Ski Gardens. Hosts attempt to serve the needs of all their guests - they love their spot on the secret river and are happy to share it.

 

      

 

 

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