Ebenezer - In The Footsteps Of The Early Settlers

Ebenezer, NSW, Australia
Distance: 5 km
by Josie Sherman

Sydney’s early penal settlement soon ran out of food as the shores around Botany Bay were too sandy to support agriculture. In 1789 Captain Arthur Phillip sailed north to Broken Bay and sighted the mouth of a river which Phillip named the Hawkesbury River after Lord Hawkesbury. He travelled to the area which had taken on the name ‘Green Hills” (now known as Windsor), where he noted arable land ideal for growing fruit and vegetables, and for grazing livestock.

Ebenezer - In The Footsteps Of The Early Settlers - Cya On The Road

By 1794, 22 families were farming the area, with more constantly arriving. At that time, much of the transportation was by river. When Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney in 1810, part of his brief was to prevent further losses of food stores, buildings and possessions caused by floods which had plagued the Hawkesbury since 1794. Macquarie gave these instructions high priority and established townships on the high ground in various parts of the district. Today many fine buildings from the 19th Century still survive providing insight into early European colonisation.

In 1802 a group of free settlers arrived on the Coromandel and settled on grants of land along the Hawkesbury River in the area known as Portland Head. These families – Davison, Hall, Howe, Johnston, Johnstone, Mein, Stubbs and Turnbull – came to the new colony with a request to be settled together.

The locality of Ebenezer takes its name from the church (Ebenezer Church), although the area was originally known as Portland Head.

Today Ebenezer is a small village which can claim to have the oldest standing Presbyterian church and the oldest existing school building in Australia.

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