The Hawkesbury River
The Hawkesbury River is one of the major waterways in the greater Sydney basin and together with the Nepean River forms an arc around the northern and
western edges of the city. Rising in the mountains west of Sydney it meanders north and then east until it meets the Pacific Ocean at Broken Bay, just north of
Sydney. It is tidal for many kilometres inland and provides great fishing and water sports.
William and Mary Hubbard had very different plans for their trip to the Hawkesbury and in late 1802, following the birth of their second daughter Harriett at
Parramatta and after quitting their 100 acre farm at the Northern Boundary near Parramatta they took up land in 1802 or 1803 at a bend in the river known as
Sackville Reach. Harriett was born on 29 October 1802 but was not baptised until five years later on the same day in 1807 at St. Johns Church of England,
Parramatta (2) (3).
The land at Sackville consisted of 70 acres and was granted to them by Governor King and registered in the Colonial Secretary's Office on 29 April 1803 (4). The
Hawkesbury River flats had been found to have extremely rich soil and this area was to become the real breadbasket for Sydney Town in the early days. That
richness however had been brought there by regular flooding along the entire river valley and in early 1803 there had been a flood, probably just before the
Hubbards arrived. All the settlers had been clearing the river banks of trees and grasses which had the effect of allowing the topsoil to wash away in any of the
regular floods. Governor King issued an order on 4 October 1803 regulating against such clearing (5).