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Government Cottage Archaeological Site
1843 - Government Cottage Archaeological Site - Plaque marking the site (5061086b1).jpg
Plaque marking the site
Location 41 George Street, Windsor, City of Hawkesbury, New South Wales, Australia
Built 1796–1815
Official name: Government Cottage Archaeological Site; Commandant's House; Government House
Type state heritage (archaeological-terrestrial)
Designated 4 February 2011
Reference no. 1843
Type Government House
Category Government and Administration

Government Cottage Archaeological Site is the heritage-listed site of a cottage which served alternately as the base for the Colony of New South Wales' commandant of the Hawkesbury district, house of the district's magistrate and an "informal official residence" for the Governor of New South Wales when in the district. It is located at 41 George Street, Windsor, City of Hawkesbury, New South Wales, Australia. The original house was built from 1796 to 1815 and demolished c. 1920-21. It was also known as Commandant's House and Government House. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 4 February 2011.

Modifications and dates

  • 1806-07 - roof and floor repaired and two rooms added by Bligh
  • c. 1811-1815 - repairs and improvements made to the cottage
  • c. 1920-21 - building demolished
  • early 1920s - existing building constructed on site

Heritage listing

The site and its views have outstanding state significance as evidence of the earliest development of the Hawkesbury district, its initial role as the Commandant's cottage quickly establishing its symbolism as an important representation of the presence of government and military control in the district. The high potential of existing archaeological features and deposits in a site where key elements in shaping the development of the district have converged - the arrival of the man who shaped the development of the district (Macquarie), the presence of the cottage on a site which captured Macquarie's aesthetic interest and the role of the cottage in trips to name and mark out the five Macquarie Towns - creating a landmark site in the historical development of the site representative of the birth of the Hawkesbury district as it is understood today. It is likely to be the site of one of the earliest Government Cottages constructed outside the Sydney colony.

Government Cottage Archaeological Site was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 4 February 2011 having satisfied the following criteria.

The place is important in demonstrating the course, or pattern, of cultural or natural history in New South Wales.

The site has state significance as the base for Governor Macquarie's travels and activities in and around the Hawkesbury District, in particular while he marked out the sites of the five Macquarie towns, Windsor, Richmond, Wilberforce, Castlereagh and Pitt Town. It has state significance as the location of one of the earliest government buildings established at Windsor as well as one of a series of buildings constructed to house members of the military establishment in the locality. The location has particular significance as a physical representation of the civil control established at the Hawkesbury settlement between 1795–1796 and c. 1810 and thus, the centre of government for the settlement.

The place has a strong or special association with a person, or group of persons, of importance of cultural or natural history of New South Wales's history.

The site has particular associations as the location of an early building in the colony outside Sydney constructed as part of the military establishment at Green Hills (later Windsor) under the administration of Governor Hunter c. 1796. It is closely associated with all the later eighteenth-century military administrators of the Hawkesbury, Commandants Abbott, McKellar, Fenn Kemp and Hobby, and with the governors Hunter, King, Bligh and, especially, Macquarie.

The place is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in New South Wales.

The site has state significance for its views from the ridge above the Hawkesbury River to the river and the floodplains beyond in the direction of Cornwallis and Freeman's Reach, notable as early as 1810. The views provide a context for understanding of the site of the cottage as the commandant's house, located in a commanding position for surveillance of the infant third settlement, and the responses it provoked in visitors regarding its beauty.

The place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.

The surviving archaeological deposits and features have state significance as evidence of one of the earliest eighteenth-century buildings in the colony outside of Sydney, and one of the first permanent public buildings constructed at the third Sydney settlement, Windsor. The remains have the potential to demonstrate the manner in which the building was added to and adapted to suit its changing roles

The place possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.

The archaeological site is likely to include elements of one of the earliest government cottages constructed outside of Sydney in the colony and one of a few whose main purpose for construction was not to house a Commandant in charge of overseeing convicts specifically.

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