An extract on Windsor Bridge taken from the History of Thompson Square

From Thompson Square, a punt continued to run, as it had done since Macquarie's time. In 1874, however, after ten years of agitation, the first bridge over the Hawkesbury was completed between the punt and the wharf.

The opening of the Windsor Bridge on 20 August 1874 was described as 'the greatest gala-day ever witnessed in Windsor' and the day was proclaimed a general holiday.

From above: Aerial photograph of Thompson Square, taken in 1929, courtesy of Carol Roberts, Windsor, from the collection of her mother, the late Iris Cammack (Figure 27). Picture: Frederick Halpin Willson.

From above: Aerial photograph of Thompson Square, taken in 1929, courtesy of Carol Roberts, Windsor, from the collection of her mother, the late Iris Cammack (Figure 27). Picture: Frederick Halpin Willson.

The procession to the new bridge of enthusiastic locals was a kilometre long, led by two volunteer bands, clergy, politicians and school-children.

Three separate feasts were held around Thompson Square, one for the children, a formal dinner for the grandees in the School of Arts and a bullock-roasting in the Square itself 'for the poor'.

The day ended with a ball in the military barracks, between Thompson Square and the South Creek Bridge (Walker, 1890/1977, 61-62).

The euphoria was enshrined in a proposal to build a Town Hall in Thompson's Square, which was dedicated for the purpose in 1875. This did not eventuate and the original open nature of the civic square was affirmed by the declaration of much of the square as a recreational reserve in 1899 (Steele, 1916, 223).

Soon after the construction of Windsor Bridge in 1874 a new approach road was constructed through Thompson Square.

Whilst up to this point the details of direction have been rationalised to approximations to aid the ease of discussion, in discussing the development of roads in Thompson Square, the directions need to be precise.

This road cut diagonally NNE across the Square from Howe's house on the west to Bridge Street. The new curving approach road is very visible in a well-known photograph taken in 1879.

The 1870s road cut in two the original rectangular reserve in the middle of Thompson Square. This did not affect the integrity of the square or its use as a civic space.

The extent of the sight-lines has remained unaffected.

Plan: Detail of survey of Thompson Square by Charles Scrivener, December 1894 (LPI, Crown Plan R.2026.1603) (Figure 26).

Plan: Detail of survey of Thompson Square by Charles Scrivener, December 1894 (LPI, Crown Plan R.2026.1603) (Figure 26).

On 14 October 1899 the two unequal parts of the old reserve were separately gazetted as Reserve 29900 (to the south) and Reserve 29901 (to the north).

The survey already undertaken by Charles Scrivener in 1894 and annotated in 1899 (Figure A) gives a particularly detailed image of the Square at the end of the Victorian period.

The survey was done just before the deck of the 1874 bridge was raised more than 2 metres, so it does not reflect the slightly amended road-approach which was necessary after 1897.

In 1896 the raising of the bridge and the construction of an adjacent temporary bridge brought much activity to the Thompson Square area.

As a result, on 16 May 1896, the area of The Terrace between the grassed area in Thompson Square and the wharf was declared a reserve, no.24075, 'for Traffic and Wharfage'.

The works, serviced both by water and land, also prompted the resumption of a small triangle of land at the north-west corner of allotment 10 on the corner of Bridge Street and The Terrace to give wider access to the wharf and a less acute right-angel bend where the road turned towards the new bridge.

The land resumed had been laid aside for a Presbyterian manse in 1851, but the church had not built on this flood-prone land.

The bridge was at an uncomfortably low level and it was raised by more than two metres in 1897.

The Windsor and Richmond Gazette reported that: hundred of loads of soil were carted from the lowland near Mileham and Brabyn Streets to fill in the river bank to the higher level (Steele, 1916, 184).

On 14 October 1899 the two sections of Thompson Square shown in Figure 26 were separately gazetted as Reserves 29900, to the south, and 29901, to the north (LPI, Crown Plan R.23477.1603).

An aerial view of the Square taken in 1929 (Figure 27) shows very clearly the road arrangement introduced in the 1870s, as well as the two separate reserves ratified in 1899 and, in the bottom left, the triangle of land resumed in 1896.

Layout: Plan of Main Road 182 by Clarence Seccombe, December 12, 1946 (LPI, Crown Plan R.23477.1603) (Figure 28).

Layout: Plan of Main Road 182 by Clarence Seccombe, December 12, 1946 (LPI, Crown Plan R.23477.1603) (Figure 28).

Although D.G. Bowd says that 'a new approach [to the bridge] was cut on the Windsor side in 1934 to meet the requirements of motor traffic' (Bowd, 1973, 64), a new line of road from Bridge Street through the Square to Windsor bridge was not surveyed until 1946 and the present road was not gazetted until 18 May 1951 (NSW Government Gazette, 1951, vol.2, 1484).

The road is coloured brown in the 1946 plan (Figure 28) and runs in a north-westerly direction, intersecting the Victorian roadway which is on the opposing diagonal.

The parts of the earlier diagonal roadway which were now closed and rejoined to the reserves R.29900 and R.29901 are coloured blue in the plan (Figure 28).

The northerly reserve was declared as Reserve R.74215 in 1951 (NSW Government Gazette, 1951, vol.2, 1484).

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