Meeting - Saturday 28 July 2018

Special Guest Speaker Dr Jonathan King: The Planning & Re-enactment of the First Fleet Tall Ships

Please join us at the Chapel on Saturday 28 July to welcome Dr Jonathan King, eminent historian and descendent of Lieutenant Philip King, Arthur Phillip's aide-de-camp, as he brings to life one of the great historical events of the 20th Century. Jonathan's list of achievements have been many and varied but perhaps the highlight was the planning and re-enactment of the First Fleet where he sailed 11 square-rigged tall ships across the high seas from London into Sydney Harbour where three million spectators greeted the arrival on Australia Day 1988 being Australia's largest live spectator event.

Jonathan is also the author of many books on Australian History. He is also a great fighter for the environment and has worked and continues to do so with the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Following his talk he and Paddy Briggs will make a presentation to the Society of the plaque given to John Briggs on his retirement as the last Sydney Harbour Master.

We will meet at the Chapel at 12.00pm for lunch at 12.30 pm.

Dr Jonathan King will commence his talk at the Wesleyan Chapel, 6445 Wisemans Ferry Road, Gunderman after lunch.

Cost: Members $ 15/ Non-Members $20. All welcome.

Bookings essential: or 0405 321 478 (leave a message) by Wednesday, 25 July. 

Background: Formed in 1983 the Dharug and Lower Hawkesbury Historical Society's premises are located on Wisemans Ferry Road, Gunderman, between Wisemans Ferry and Spencer.The premises include a State heritage listed, historic, stone chapel completed in 1855 where meetings and functions of the Society take place. For further details about the NSW Heritage listing Click Here.

The major aim of the Society is the research, collection, presentation and preservation of the history of Wiseman's Ferry and surrounding areas following initial settlement and the on-going involvement and support of the local community in such tasks. A secondary undertaking of the society is the preservation of the former Wesleyan Chapel at Gunderman to ensure its availability to members of the public and for historic research for future generations.

Membership: Annual membership is available for $25 per household (max 2 adults). Please contact for a membership form.

Venue: The Chapel is an ideal venue for small weddings, naming ceremonies, memorial services and other occasions. For more details please email


Boutique B&B accommodation is available next door at The Missions 1937 -


Meetings: The Society meets on the last Saturday of every second month (March, May, July, September, November). Past speakers have included Kate Grenville, author of The Secret River, on her research on Solomon Wiseman for her book; Keith Vincent Smith, biographer of Bungaree and author of Mari Nawi: Aboriginal Odysseys which reveals and celebrates the significant role that Aborigines played in Australia's early maritime history, Elizabeth Roberts, Historian, on the history of the Great North Road; Jeremy Steele who has made an extensive study of Aboriginal languages; Dr Geoff Ford, Local Historian, on the Hawkesbury's forgotten tribes; Les Dollin on the history of the mills on the Hawkesbury and their importance to the survival of the early Colony; and Jean Purtell, author of Hawkesbury River Boats and People. Most recently cultural historian, Warren Fahey, helped the Society celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Chapel.

Excursions are arranged on alternate months and have included the now world heritage-listed Convict Trail, Finch's Line, the original crossing location of Wisemans Ferry, Half Moon Farm, Cockatoo Island and visits to the sites of local aboriginal rock art and engravings. 

If you would like to host a tour or speak at a meeting please email

Research: The Society maintains a small archive and library which is available for researching the history of the area as well as local family history. If you would like to contact our archivist, please email


Mangrove Creek Walking Tracks: To receive your free copy of Mangrove Creek Walking Tracks with maps and notes on the history of the area please email

Visiting Groups Welcome: We can host groups at the Chapel. A talk about the history and/or an excursion to the nearby historic sites are options for visitors. To book a tour please contact us at


How to Find Us: From Wisemans Ferry cross the Hawkesbury and turn right. The Chapel is on the right approximately 8 kilometres.

From Gosford to through Mangrove Mountain and Spencer. The Chapel is approximately 18 kilometres from Spencer on the left.


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